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.
Saya-nomi (鞘鑿) are a type of Japanese chisel with several unique features designed for carving the inside of a wooden scabbard or handle. Hand forged from a reclaimed harrow tooth, the elongated neck is slightly curved for clearance and the bottom and side corners are slightly rounded and the tip is slightly bull-nosed to facilitate cutting inside a concave surface without leaving corner marks. A scrap of magnolia makes a clean, simple handle for use as a push chisel. more about the process of carving saya (scabbards)
During the hardening process the clay layer causes a split second difference in cooling time which creates two different hardness areas in the same piece of steel. The edge cools faster and forms a very hard steel structure called martensite while the body cools slower and forms a very tough steel structure made of ferrite and pearlite. The boundary between these two areas is called hamon and is commonly seen as a frosted line down the length of a polished sword blade.
more about the process of yaki-ire
First lighting of the newly rebuilt charcoal forge in the island kajiba followed by stamping the tang and then hand forging and filing a classical tanto style habaki, silver soldered in the charcoal forge and closely based on an antique Edo period habaki. An utsushi (写) is a closely based study of another work for the purposes of professional development. Polishing and patinating will be done after the saya has been carved. information about the machigane | habaki making process
This discarded block of wood from the Congo/Zaire sat for several years waiting for the right blade to make the best use of it. This precious dark chocolate coloured hardwood is locally called Tshikalakala or Dikela, meaning turn around or circle back, and this particular piece has a slightly curving grain that follows the line of the saya. The name Furusato (故郷) means home place or hometown and contains the ideas of being rooted or grounded wherever one may sojourn, and a confidence and longing for return. more about this project
An ireko saya (入れ子鞘, nesting scabbard) is a lining inside the saya which protects the blade from the hardwood. Furusato (故郷) means home place or hometown and contains the ideas of being rooted or grounded wherever one may sojourn, and a confidence and longing for return. This tanto has a simple and elegant form with a natural and humble mounting that reflects the rustic satoyama lifestyle and suits the aesthetics of the way of tea. more about this project
The inome (pronounced “ee-no-may”, 猪の目, eye of the boar) name comes from the pierced heart-shape designs of the decorative o-seppa on either side of the tsuba. This lovely motif is ubiquitous in Japan, seen often in architecture, furniture, and sword mountings. This is the first of my blades to incorporate antique sword parts as part of its mounting. Process of making the Inome Tanto.
A look at some precision cut steel tanto kata based on historical japanese swords from 1200s-1500s…order a set of kata here: soulsmithing.com/product-category/kata/
A kata is a pattern or form used for appreciation, study, or for reference. The exercise of accurately making kata based on the work of historical smiths is an excellent way to train the eyes, mind, and body to create proper tanto forms. Learn about making your own kata.
Installing/repairing the higuchi (tuyere), the point where the air enters the forge and temperatures are very high. In this case the fire clay to form the tuyere and fit it to the brick construction Japanese swordsmith forge is a traditional brasque recipe consisting of 6:2 charcoal powder/fines to natural clay, mixed with just enough water to stick together well. The forge must be allowed to dry fully before lighting or steam will crack the clay. see more of the island forge kajiba project
Let’s just take a moment, shall we? Take it. Taken. Done. Sights and sounds featuring stones, moss, rain, bamboo, birds, cypress, and a frog. This area was a muddy thistle patch three days ago.
more of the island forge kajiba project
Repairing a broken natural Japanese waterstone using urushi lacquer. Natural urushi lacquer is strong enough to repair the stone but will not interfere with sharpening and polishing as some glues may. Carving a cypress base to hold the stone together as well as using urushi lacquer to reattach the halves provides a double solution. The stone is a Kumamoto binsui-do, approximately #700, from Monotaro in Japan. Urushi is from Watanabe~san.