On Ko Chi Shin

$9000

A large tanto in chisagatana mountings, forged from part of a reclaimed antique sword.

In stock

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Description

A true and accurate understanding of the past is an important step towards a good future. 温胡知新 (on ko chi shin) is an expression that most directly translates to, “study the old to know the new”. This one-of-a-kind project represents the current progression of my work based on the study and practice of historical techniques, materials, and aesthetic while preserving a piece of the past.

The blade began as a reclaimed piece of a damaged antique sword and was carefully hand forged in a charcoal fire, smoothed with files and a sen scraper, differentially hardened using traditional water quench yaki-ire, and polished by hand with natural Japanese water stones.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

This large tanto consists of nine separate components that began as twenty one individual pieces, crafted and finished entirely with hand tools and traditional techniques.

Materials for the chisagatana style koshirae mounting include Japanese hounoki wood for the handle and scabbard, copper bus bar for the habaki, reclaimed brass from the original mount for the fuchi and kojiri, forged brass kick plate for the kashira and seppa, black lacquered samegawa and kangaroo leather for the tsuka, lacquered steel for the mekugi, buffalo horn for the koiguchi and kurikata, and an iron spike salvaged from thirty feet under the Pacific for the tsuba. The saya is finished with ishime-ji (stone surface) made from natural urushi lacquer and tea leaves, the kurikata was carved from reclaimed horn button rescued from a vintage coat, and the sageo cord comes from an outdoor antique market in Kyoto.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Blade construction is muku with a hira-zukuri profile, hoso suguha hamon, and an iori mune. Because the steel is unknown and appears to be quite old, mat cutting is not recommended with this unique collector’s item. The blade is just under 13.5″ long, overall length is just under 19.5″, and the overall length when sheathed is just about 21.5″. Accompanied by a hand stitched reclaimed silk obi storage bag and antique silk sageo cord.

Specifications

長さ/刃長 Nagasa: 11 sun 3 bu (341mm)
元幅 Motohaba: 8 bu 5 rin (25.5mm)
重ね/元重 Motokasane: 1 bu 5 rin (4.2mm)
反り Sori: uchizori
中心/茎 Nakago: 3 sun 6 bu (109mm)
柄長 Tsuka: 4 sun 5 rin (123mm)
拵全長 Koshirae: 18 sun (545mm)

形 Katachi: hira-zukuri, iori-mune
刃文 Hamon: hoso suguha
帽子/鋩子 Boshi: yakitsume
中心/茎 Nakago: futsu, suriage, one mekugi-ana, mumei
銘 Mei: mumei
拵 Koshirae: chisagatana, issaku

Material: Reclaimed antique sword steel, ocean-salvaged iron spike, reclaimed buffalo horn button, copper bus bar, copper wire, reclaimed brass fittings and doorplate, Hounoki, samegawa, kangaroo leather, natural urushi and tea leaves, antique silk cord


This piece is available.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques


Process Highlights

scroll down or jump to the sections below:

Blade
Fittings
Tsuka
Tsukamaki
Assembly


Forging the Blade

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The antique blade had lost its hamon (likely damaged by fire) and then was abused, bent, poorly reshaped, and severely damaged above the hamachi. This tanto is made from the front half and was forged from shinogi-zukuri to hira-zukuri.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Handmade softwood charcoal fueling the forge as the blade is heated for the hardening process of yaki-ire.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Subtle patterns in the hada of the steel are revealed as polishing progresses with natural Japanese waterstones.

Making the Fittings

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Forged and silver soldered fittings begin to take shape.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
A custom made tang shaped punch is used to create the opening in the iron tsuba.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Habaki filed to final shape.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Hardwood punch and die used to form the brass kashira similar to the original size and shape.

Carving the Tsuka & Saya

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Buffalo horn is carved and shaped to reinforce the scabbard and form the kurikata to hold the cord.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The tsuka is shaped and inlet for the samegawa panels.

Urushi & Tsukamaki

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The tsuka is ready for lacquering and the fittings are polished and patinated.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Wrapping the black lacquered samegawa in tomaki nihon kumiage zuka style.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Natural kangaroo leather is quite strong even when thinly sliced.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The horn parts are polished and sealed with fukiurushi and then installed on the ishimeji lacquered saya.

Final Assembly

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Komori~san and his crew filming the final assembly process.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
That’s a wrap!

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques


3.03022 cm
= 0.1 shaku(尺)
= 1 sun(寸)
= 10 bu(分)
= 100 rin(厘)