TimeWarp – Forging a Carriage Spring Tanto

Charcoal forging a traditional tanto style blade from half of a reclaimed horse carriage leaf spring at 4x speed (total actual forging time including heating was about 2 hours). Serious students of the forge can watch the full process version here: https://youtu.be/y7fROs7i8-U

The two distinct stages are sunobe and hizukuri…sunobe establishes the geometry and proportions, and hizukuri is putting in the bevels and creating the final shape. The final dimensions take a little extra care as this blade is being forged very closely to a traditional kata.

The finished forging has a subtle recurve and a slightly dropping spine compared to the kata as the process of yaki-ire will cause the spine to curve upwards.

Shear steel is a very old and somewhat rare form of steel produced by increasing the carbon content of wrought iron using heat and charcoal to create a reduction atmosphere and then forge welding and folding layers together to homogenize the billet. The finished blade has distinct visible layers telling the story of its history.

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.

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

Japanese TV Profile

Thanks very much to the guys who came all the way to the workshop to film for TV Tokyo. Here is most of my segment which includes footage from the visit as well as some of our own footage shot of charcoal making. Editing 5 hours of footage down to a few minutes is no easy task but they did a great job of telling the story of the workshop and the basic forging process.

Though it was an entertaining point that I had gleaned some of my specialized information by watching Japanese swordsmiths at work on Youtube, I would like to include some additional credits from the interview that did not make the final cut…Emmanuel Schrock for my blacksmithing foundation at age 14, Pierre Nadeau for clarifying and explaining techniques I had seen in practice, Yoshihara~san for his excellent books printed in english, and Louie Mills for inspiration and advice.

Read more about the Japanese media visit to the forge.

Sounds of the Workshop: Night Session

Though it is a wonderful and peaceful time to be in the workshop enjoying the cool night air as well as a good time for doing yaki-ire, I don’t often forge at night. This night I had the camera on a tripod whilst working on the beginnings of a small shear steel bushcraft knife in classical tanto style when a friend came by and offered to take some other angles. Please enjoy a few minutes of the the night session vibe, listening to the rhythm of the fuigo and the breathing of the fire. (additional footage by 309, cameo by owl the cat)

A tour of the forge: islandblacksmith.ca/forge/