Japan Photo Essay: Chashitsu-goya

Building a small farm shed in an inaka area of Japan. The materials were mostly reclaimed and from what was on-hand on the farm. Incorporating elements of local architecture, the design allows farming tools and materials to stay on site at the field and provides workspace at a… Continue reading

Differential Hardening Sunnobi Tanto

Sunnobi tanto are larger than ordinary tanto (nagasa above 1 shaku) and may have sori similar to ko-wakizashi. Read more about the process of yaki-ire.

1. Using approximately a 1:1:1 mixture of natural clay, polishing stone powder and ground charcoal to mask the back of a hand forged blade about 1-1.5mm thick to slow down the cooling rate.
2. Brushing on a thin slip layer with extra charcoal added along the exposed edge to speed up the cooling rate and protect from carbon loss.
3. Carefully heating in a charcoal forge supplied by air from a fuigo box bellows until the edge reaches critical temperature.
4. Plunging edge-first into cold rainwater to cool the blade quickly and harden the edge while leaving the rest tough and resilient.
5. Testing for successful hardening with a file and then removing the clay with a mild steel scraper.
6. Slightly reheating the blade over the flames to temper the edge.
7. Test polishing on a coarse Japanese waterstone to check the hamon.

Pacific Yew Forest Kotanto

This custom kotanto finds a balance between the humble satoyama style and a classical tanto with a striking combination of forged copper, natural orange hardwood, and black urushi lacquer. The blade began as a reclaimed harrow tooth and was hand forged in a charcoal fire, differentially hardened using… Continue reading