Simple technology for pouring water on the anvil, takeno mizusashi (竹の水差し) made from a piece of bamboo.
Forging with a thin film of water on the anvil and hammer prevents forge scale or oxide from being hammered into the surface of the steel. The hot steel instantly vaporizes the water and the resulting steam explosion blows the scale off of the work, keeping it clean as it is worked. This type of bamboo scoop is a traditional style tool for evenly applying water to the surface of the anvil or the hot steel. Read more about the process of making one.
A photo essay depicting some elements of selective management of a Hinoki Cypress forest on a mountainside in rural Japan. The main idea is to reduce the density of the trees to promote healthy growth but there are several additional benefits as well. Secondary goals of management include… Continue reading
Building a small farm shed in an inaka area of Japan. The materials were mostly reclaimed and from what was on-hand on the farm. Incorporating elements of local architecture, the design allows farming tools and materials to stay on site at the field and provides workspace at a… Continue reading
Photographic inspiration from traditional Japanese countryside construction. Additional views here. View from the mountain across the valley of roof tops and rice fields. Backing right onto the steep mountain slope, water and soil control is very important. These buildings have stood here more than a century. Hundred year… Continue reading
Photographic inspiration from the edges of satoyama in a Japanese countryside orchard garden. The crops include yuzu (citrus), nashi (asian pear), kaki (persimmon), sudachi (citrus), ringo (apple), sumomo (plum), momo (peach), kuwa (mulberry), muscat (grape), satsuma imo (sweet potato), yama imo (mountain potato), tamanegi (onion), saya endou (peas),… Continue reading
This antique nata is in the permanent collection at Soulsmithing and is a lovely example of original handcraft from Japan. This photo essay will reveal some of the beautiful details of this tool for study and appreciation. Nata (屶, “mountain sword”) come in many sizes and shapes, but… Continue reading
Satoyama are the managed forest areas that border the cultivated fields and the mountain wilds in Japan. Historically they provided fertilizer, firewood, edible plants, mushrooms, fish, and game, and supported local industries such as farming, construction, and charcoal making. Balancing the interaction of wetlands, streams, forests, and fields… Continue reading
We had a visit from a crew filming for TV Tokyo today. They were interested in some footage of the workshop and a brief interview. A great group of guys to meet and work with, we covered a lot of ground in a few hours and they probably… Continue reading
Japanese style box bellows (fukisashi/吹差鞴) reached their current and finalized form by about the sixth century. They are constructed almost entirely of wood and allow a smith to supply a highly controlled air blast to the forge by pulling and pushing the handle slowly back and forth. Using… Continue reading