Photo Essay: Views of the Kajiba

Talented Vancouver Island photographer Jordan Wende stopped in at the Island Forge in mid-July to document the atmosphere and some of the work going on. In this installment of the series, several views of the forge, tools, and building. Photographed and edited… Continue reading

Photo Essay: Views of the Shiageba

Talented Vancouver Island photographer Jordan Wende stopped in at the Island Forge in mid-July to document the atmosphere and some of the work going on. In this installment of the series, several views of the shiageba at rest. Photographed and edited by… Continue reading

Kominka Forest Kotanto

The core of this project is a charcoal-forged blade, water quenched with clay and sharpened with waterstones, an outdoor knife that has the foundation of the Japanese sword but is finished in the simple and humble style of farming and foresting tools… Continue reading

Kominka Field Kotanto

The core of this project is a charcoal-forged blade, water quenched with clay and sharpened with waterstones, an outdoor knife that has the foundation of the Japanese sword but is finished in the simple and humble style of farming and foresting tools… Continue reading

Kominka Stream Kotanto

The core of this project is a charcoal-forged blade, water quenched with clay and sharpened with waterstones, an outdoor knife that has the foundation of the Japanese sword but is finished in the simple and humble style of farming and foresting tools… Continue reading

Natural Earth Plaster Walls

In contrast to the rough walls of the kajiba, which are arakabetsuchi (荒壁土), the traditional infill technique using a rough mixture of natural clay, sand, and straw applied over lath (komai/kabekomai 壁小舞), the interior walls of the shiageba are finished with a… Continue reading

Island Forge: Kajiba Kanagu

An overview of kanagu (hardware), both made and found, to add to the island kajiba series of photo essays, 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… Continue reading

Building a Togi-Dai for Polishing

Togi (研ぎ) is the process of using several stages of abrasive stones to refine, smooth, and sharpen a blade. The word togi does not differentiate between the action of polishing and the action of sharpening, in the Japanese concept the operations are… Continue reading

Preparing the Shiage-ba (finishing shed)

Traditional knifemaking is generally divided into rough work and clean work. Forging, shaping, and kaji-togi polishing can be done in the kajiba, but finishing work must be done in a cleaner area. This small shiageba will provide work areas for carving saya… Continue reading

Preparing and Loading the Charcoal Kiln

The first fire is relatively small and is intended to dry out some of the moisture in the clay/earth around the kiln remaining after construction and before winter. After cooling and cleaning it out, a “floor” is created above the steel floor slats using thin boards and brown charcoal from previous charcoal runs. Then the wood (mostly Pine) is split and stacked vertically from back to front leaving only a small airspace at the top. The front will be filled with kindling and bark and then the opening closed up and mostly sealed before lighting. Controlling the air intake slows down the burn and prevents loss/crumbling/cracking of charcoal wood. read more about the kiln and making charcoal.

Charcoal Kiln V.4.0

As part of the island kajiba project, reclaimed and natural materials were used to construct a larger traditional style charcoal making kiln. The basic concept is a simple chamber with a door on one end and a chimney on the other, insulated… Continue reading