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
Collecting and testing some local iron sand (magnetite/hematite) at the beach using a harddrive magnet. These samples were collected as west coast additions to soulsmith Pierre Nadeau’s satetsu archive. Bonus summer skimboard footage thanks to a couple of good friends who stopped by to enjoy the beach. Additional footage thanks to Dan King and Crow~san, watch Dan’s skimboard edit here: https://youtu.be/udAXDnRkfYI?t=2m54s
The wider profile of the mountain style kotanto is inspired by a kamakura sword and has a more deeply curved tip (fukura-tsuku) and shorter drop point. The simple and humble mounting style is inspired by the age-old style of farming and foresting tools traditionally used in managing satoyama… Continue reading
Tools for Satoyama project: Design your own knife.
A clip from yesterday’s work: silver soldering a habaki with the charcoal forge & fuigo box bellows. Watch the machigane area and you can see the solder begin to melt and flow around 0:40 until it is pulled out to stop the heating. The fuigo allows very precise… Continue reading
Hand forging a classical tanto style blade study from a reclaimed railroad spike and a tsuba from the spike head…a serious letter opener? The goal is to use all of the steel efficiently by moving it into place and end up with classical tanto proportions and form. Serious… Continue reading
This punch is specifically designed to create nakago-ana (tang opening) in iron or copper tsuba, saving time with a cold chisel and files. The concept is to forge something shaped similar to a tang but with an exaggerated taper for strength.
The tool could be hardened but will likely lose its heat treatment during the drifting stage so best to keep the neck sturdy and short enough to hold up either way.
Working at very high heat will help prevent splitting when punching wrought iron. The tsuba in this video is medium carbon steel.
As time allows, the plan is to forge a bottom die (rather than use the hardy hole) to reduce the amount of distortion at the edges of the nakago-ana and speed up the drifting process, reducing the required number of heats to drift.
Hand carving a classical tanto style mounting from reclaimed and local natural materials using traditional Japanese woodworking tools.
A note about the wooden koiguchi: I don’t recommend this method with any wood other than Oceanspray ironwood due to its peculiar strength in cross section…wood (or better, horn) grain should run vertically across the opening to add strength to the koiguchi in the correct areas.
The abrasive plant material used for fine sanding/polishing is dried tokusa (polishing grass), known as horsetail in english…the plant cells contain silica and it can be used dried as is or glued to wooden blocks with sokui.
Hand filing a classical tanto style blade forged from half of a reclaimed horse carriage leaf spring. (4x) Arashiage is the rough shaping stage that comes after hizukuri (fire shaping) and before yaki-ire (hardening). Serious students of the forge can watch the full process version here: https://youtu.be/m659YKUiu80