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.
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… Continue reading
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… Continue reading
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,… Continue reading
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.
Building western Canada’s only full-sized traditional Japanese style swordsmith forge. See the whole process and more video here.
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.
Traditional Japanese swordsmithing forges are purpose-built with certain design elements specific to the tasks involved in tanren and hizukuri. This article will discuss several of the features that are common to this type of construction and follow the process of crafting a… Continue reading
Most of history was forged with steel that had no designated number or specified ingredient list. Historical smiths would interpret the quality and properties of steel based solely on careful observation and simple testing procedures. To this day, Japanese swordsmiths work exclusively… Continue reading
A look inside the carving of a small kaiken tanto mounting (futokoro-gatana) with additional examples from an Edo period tsuka and an even older shirasaya.
The omote is the “public side” of a tanto or sword, the side that faces outwards both when being worn and when on display. The edge faces upwards and the handle is on the left when displaying nihonto. The ura is the “private side” and faces away from the viewer when on display and towards the body when worn.
A demonstration on the takedown and assembly of classical tanto style knives. Also some views of the finished work and a second/third time around with some additional information for clients. Properly cared for and maintained, a classical tanto will last for a… Continue reading