Sumi-kiri – chopping charcoal for bladesmithing

Charcoal is chopped and then processed through four sizes of screen, the largest is for tanren, the second for hizukuri (I tend to use the largest for hizukuri as well and keep the second size mainly for yaki-ire), the third size isn’t useful in daily forging activity but… Continue reading

Making 篩 for charcoal screening

Traditional Japanese swordsmithing forges are fueled by softwood charcoal which is first chopped, screened, and sorted into several sizes for different stages of the forging process. The “furui” (篩) or sieve is used to separate different sizes of charcoal during the sumi-kiri process. This one is the smallest mesh of the four, made from window screen, and saves the fines for the charcoal bed and allows the powder to fall through. See the whole museum forge project here.

Making 箕 for charcoal sorting

Traditional Japanese swordsmithing forges are fueled by softwood charcoal which is first chopped, screened, and sorted into several sizes for different stages of the forging process. The winnowing basket shaped “mi” (箕) is used to store and move charcoal between screens during the sumi-kiri process. See the whole museum forge project here.

Soulsmithing part 6

Pierre Nadeau of soulsmithing.com lights his new forge in Canada for the first time. I was honoured to be there for the inaugural firing, it felt like a graduation, a major milestone. Pierre will now resume his work and research in the area of traditional Japanese sword craft.… Continue reading

Soulsmithing part 5

Pierre Nadeau of soulsmithing.com prepares to light his new forge in Canada. The focus of this video is sumi-kiri, charcoal chopping, screening, and sorting techniques, and will offer some valuable details for astute observers. Read more about the project, or watch the whole soulsmithing series. The charcoal is… Continue reading

A Tour of Mr. Schrock’s Workshop, c. 1992

Twenty-five years ago today marks my first day working under Mr. Emmanuel A. Schrock in a former livery stable in Ohio’s Amish country and embarking into the world of traditional blacksmithing. The front entrance to the Village Blacksmith Shop. Emmanuel A. Schrock, Blacksmith. The forge and anvil on… Continue reading

Building a Charcoal Tanto Forge

This forge is a scaled down version specifically geared for tanto and smaller knives but has a removable spacer to allow for a larger fire when needed. Details about traditional measurements and clay mixtures here.

Making a Swordsmith Anvil from Scrap

A Japanese swordsmith style anvil made from junkyard scrap. The two side pieces are cast steel or iron John Deere 8255C rear counterweights from a shovel dozer. They weigh about 200-240lbs each and measure about 2 1/8″ x 14 3/4″ x 25″. There is a ‘T’ shaped face and stem that extends to the ground between the plates made from welded spring or tool steel and weighs about 70lbs.

The face is about 1 3/8″ x 6″ x 15 1/4″ and has a pritchel hole in it and a sharp edge for cutting on one corner. The combined weight of the plates bolted onto the face and stem should be between 475 and 520lbs. The finished anvil should sit 7-7.5 sun from the ground or from the seat height. See the whole forge building process here.