Making a Tanto Style Takedown Handle

The tang and handle of a classical tanto are constructed in a manner that requires only a single bamboo peg to hold the entire knife assembly together. In addition to the sense of beautiful simplicity, this design allows the knife to be… Continue reading

Mountain Kotanto

A clay tempered blade hand forged in a charcoal fire, water quenched with clay, sharpened with waterstones, and finished simply and humbly in the age-old style of farming and foresting tools traditionally used in managing satoyama lands. Satoyama are the managed forest… Continue reading

MadeFor: Into the fire

Though the countries sit on opposite sides of the Pacific, this blacksmith in Canada has been honouring a sacred Japanese tradition for more than half of his life. In Canada, through Vancouver and over the Salish Sea, on Vancouver Island, there’s a… Continue reading

MadeFor: Creating Off The Grid

See the full feature on Crossed Heart Forge – Off The Grid

We come into this world with an innate yearning to discover. The belief that there is something out there bigger than us, beyond our own frontier, constantly compels us to make more with what we’ve got, for the time we have here.

Sounds of the Workshop: Tanto Overview

The tools are simple and few, but the work is long and hard. A collection of clips documenting the steps and sounds involved at many stages of the process of crafting charcoal forged classical tanto and mountings from reclaimed materials. Footage from several recent projects is included, some extended and some previously unreleased, some from Japan and some from Canada, photos of the finished aikuchi tanto appears at the end of the video.

Touzai Tanto

Touzai (東西) can be literally translated “East West” and carries the idea of spanning across distance or covering and including everywhere. There is also a saying, “kokontouzai” (古今東西) which means for all time and all places, literally “old, now, East, West”. This… Continue reading

Making Sekigane for a Wrought Iron Tsuba

Guards for classical Japanese style takedown knives are generally formed as variations of flat discs that slide over the tang. When working with wrought iron or steel, small copper inserts called sekigane (責金) are often used to prevent contact between the blade… Continue reading

From the Garden to the Forest

A pair of outdoor knives forged from a single reclaimed hedge shear blade and finished simply and humbly in the age-old style of farming and foresting tools traditionally used in managing satoyama lands. Satoyama are the managed forest areas that border the… Continue reading

Soul of Steel Documentary

Here are some excerpts of my segment from Soul of Steel which includes footage from the forge as well as an interview. Thanks to Rolfe and the Todd who came all the way out to the forest and did a great job of sharing the process and vibe of the workshop with folks in Calgary.

Read more about the visit here: A Calgary Media Visit to the Forge

Making Valves for Fuigo Box Bellows

Fuigo (鞴, Japanese box bellows) are among the most compact and efficient hand-powered bellows for forging work. With few complex or moving parts, they are easy to maintain and will provide years of service. Among the more technical points of construction are… Continue reading

Making Sokui (Rice Paste Glue)

Sokui (続飯) is a simple starch-based wood glue that is traditionally used for joining wood to wood or paper to wood. Its uses span from tsuka making to sliding panel shoji and it particularly shines in joinery where it serves as a… Continue reading