Island Forge: Kajiba Clean Up

Some views of the building in its tidiest state ever as the island kajiba series of photo essays comes to a concluson, documenting the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble utilitarian Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style of a century ago.


Tools & Scrap Metal

The kajiba project came to a close much earlier than expected which required most of the tools and materials to be removed from the property on short notice. Several blacksmiths and friends providentially converged around the same time and helped make short work of cleaning up the space and providing new homes for most of the tools and materials.

Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Looking reasonably workable for the final day of forging.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Sorting through the materials and beginning to organize by destination.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Break testing for steel and wrought iron, sorting antique tools and steel.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
1930’s Maple Leaf Motor Oils display rack that came from my great grandfather’s tractor shed, and has been a feature in every one of my workshops, now turned into a handpainted metal sign.

Views of the Building

Circumstances required tools and materials to be moved in during the early construction stages, before the floor and the walls were in, so the building has never before been seen empty. Some various angles of the building after all of the tools, materials, anvil and forge, fuigo and fuigo wall were taken away. Only the large 506lb John Brooks Anvil remains, fittingly, as it was installed before the building was constructed.

Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Empty kajiba building with doors and windows open for air and light.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Left is the working pit for the smith, the floor opening for forge at center.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
506lb John Brooks Anvil was placed on its stump before the building existed and will be the last to leave.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Lovely interaction of light and wood and earth.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Back wall looking towards the south corner.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Back wall looking towards the north corner.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Northeast corner view.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Mineral “shadows” of the charcoal screens permanently remembered by the earthen walls.

Brick & Stone Floor

The floor was laid with reclaimed clay bricks from the backlot of the Bethlehem Walk set, along with some river stones. The bricks will be relocated to the museum forge and the stones are going to a good home.

Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Boiler or furnace brick, melted and warped from heat, adds a character almost like cobblestone.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Soft clay garden bricks provide a smooth working area for chopping charcoal and sweeping up filings.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
Naturally smooth river stones form an undulating work area in front of the anvil, allowing strikers to develop a consistent location and foot placement by feel.
Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
All three types of flooring meet and interact.

Island Blacksmith - Crossed Heart Forge
The number one helper on the scene, who was instrumental in keeping this project going during its most difficult days, here removing some of grandpa’s vintage lampblack and other last items from the cupboard.

Special thanks also to James, Luke, Tim, Steve, and Josh for generously helping with the clean up process, and providing good homes for tools and materials, along with several other smiths. Thanks to the many who offered encouragement, support, and help along the way.

see the whole process of construction in the island kajiba series

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