tsukimi-tanto-121

Tsukimi Tanto

$7000

Full sized tanto in full koshirae mount, crafted entirely with hand tools from a reclaimed Caterpillar tractor engine part, silver spoons, copper water pipe, and steel salvaged from the bottom of the sea.

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Product Description

The bright orange moon of late Summer and early Autumn is the inspiration for this work. Tsukimi means moon watching, and brings to mind the lovely harvest moon and the rustling sounds of the dry, frost coloured susuki grass as the evening breeze blows across the plateau. The unusual ring and plate style kurikata is hammer textured, patinated, and set into the dark sky of the lacquered saya, among the innumerable stars of the Milky Way.

This tanto consists of twelve individual parts that began as twenty one pieces, crafted entirely with hand tools from a reclaimed Caterpillar tractor engine part, silver spoons, copper water pipe, and steel salvaged from the bottom of the sea.

Materials for the koshirae include copper bus bar and water pipe for the fuchi, kashira, habaki, and kurikata, silver and nickel-silver spoons for the hammer-textured seppa, and a steel spike salvaged from thirty feet under the Pacific for the heat-blued tsuba. The construction method of the fuchi is based on a higo style that uses internal tapers and mechanical joints rather than solder for locking the parts together. The saya is finished with an ishime-ji (stone surface) made from natural urushi lacquer and steel filings from the blade and hari bori style susuki grass design. The koiguchi is carved from reclaimed buffalo horn Canadian tourist trinkets from the 1980’s. The handle is a beautiful dark chocolate colour natural urushi lacquer over a sanded samegawa wrap.

The blade was hand forged in a charcoal fire from a large Caterpillar tractor pushrod, shaped with files, differentially hardened using traditional water quench yaki-ire, and polished by hand with water stones. Blade construction is muku with a hira-zukuri profile and an iori mune. The blade is just under 11.5″ long, overall length is just under 17″, and the overall length when sheathed is just over 18.5″. The handle dimensions are quite generous for a traditional piece and are suited to a western grip.

Specifications

長さ/刃長 Nagasa: 9 sun 6 bu 5 rin (292mm)
元幅 Motohaba: 9 bu 2 rin (28mm)
重ね/元重 Motokasane: 2 bu 4 rin (7.2mm)
反り Sori: 5 rin (1.6mm)
中心/茎 Nakago: 3 sun 7 bu (112mm)
柄長 Tsuka: 4 sun 1 bu 5 rin (123mm)
拵全長 Koshirae: 15 sun 6 bu 2 rin (473mm)

形 Katachi: hira-zukuri, iori-mune
刃文 Hamon: suguha, mizukage, utsuri, yakiotoshi
帽子/鋩子 Boshi: yakitsume
中心/茎 Nakago: futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana, signed near the tip
銘 Mei: hot stamped katabami-ken kamon
拵 Koshirae: chisagatana (with hybrid wakizashi saya-jiri), hamidashi tsuba, issaku

Material: Reclaimed Caterpillar pushrod steel, copper bus bar, copper water pipe, copper wire, salvaged steel spike, silver and nickel-silver spoons, Nootka Cypress, samegawa, red Bamboo chopstick, reclaimed buffalo horn, urushi

This piece is in a private collection in Texas.

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

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

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


Process

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Handmade softwood charcoal fueling the forge as the blade is formed and shaped with a hand hammer.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Before and after, blade forged from a Caterpillar tractor engine part. Elements of its form are based on the Aizu Shintogo Tanto.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The blade before hardening, after rough shaping with files and smoothing by drawfiling.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Clay layers dried and ready for yaki-ire.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Habaki formed, filed, and soldered.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Tsuba from steel salvaged from 30 feet under the Pacific Ocean. Forged copper sekigane keep the steel from contacting the blade.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Silver and nickel-silver spoons are cold forged, cold chiseled, hammer textured, and filed to make seppa.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Carving the split Nootka Cypress tsuka core to fit the tang.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Carving the handle to fit the fuchi and kashira.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Carving inside the split and hand planed Nootka Cypress saya.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Fitting the hand carved buffalo horn koiguchi onto the shoulder on the saya.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Creating the ring and plate style kurikata from reclaimed copper water pipe and wire.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Heat bluing the tsuba over the charcoal forge after polishing the rim and creating yasurime on the faces.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Steel powder from the rough polish of the blade along with a few of copper from the habaki are repurposed to create the ishime-ji (stone-face texture) by sprinkling into the third layer of natural urushi lacquer while wet.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Polishing the blade on natural Japanese waterstones to reveal the suguha hamon, utsuri, yakiotoshi, and mizukage.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The final step, koshirae parts waiting for assembly.

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

Detailed accounts of various stages of the process are documented here:
Making the Tsukimi Tanto

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