Category: Blacksmith Shop

  • Island Forge: Kajiba Kanagu

    Island Forge: Kajiba Kanagu

    An overview of kanagu (hardware), both made and found, to add to the island kajiba series of photo essays, documenting the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble utilitarian Japanese inaka naya (納屋)…

  • Building a Togi-Dai for Polishing

    Building a Togi-Dai for Polishing

    Togi (研ぎ) is the process of using several stages of abrasive stones to refine, smooth, and sharpen a blade. The word togi does not differentiate between the action of polishing and the action of sharpening, in the Japanese concept the operations are one and the same –an integral process. A togi-dai (研ぎ台) polishing platform is…

  • Preparing the Shiage-ba (finishing shed)

    Preparing the Shiage-ba (finishing shed)

    Traditional knifemaking is generally divided into rough work and clean work. Forging, shaping, and kaji-togi polishing can be done in the kajiba, but finishing work must be done in a cleaner area. This small shiageba will provide work areas for carving saya (scabbards) and tsuka (handles), polishing blades, and other finishing work such as lacquering…

  • Preparing and Loading the Charcoal Kiln

    Preparing and Loading the Charcoal Kiln

    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…

  • Charcoal Kiln V.4.0

    Charcoal Kiln V.4.0

    As part of the island kajiba project, reclaimed and natural materials were used to construct a larger traditional style charcoal making kiln. The basic concept is a simple chamber with a door on one end and a chimney on the other, insulated and sealed by being buried in clay/soil, and roofed to keep off the…

  • TLDW #27 – Forging a Saya Nomi (鞘鑿)

    TLDW #27 – Forging a Saya Nomi (鞘鑿)

    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…

  • SOTW #21 – First Lighting of the Forge

    SOTW #21 – First Lighting of the Forge

    First lighting of the newly rebuilt charcoal forge in the island kajiba. The first operation was to heat a tanto tang for stamping. Because it had already undergone yaki-ire, the blade had to be kept cool during heating to protect the temper. watch extended version | island forge kajiba project

  • Making Tanto Kata

    Making Tanto Kata

    A kata is a pattern or form used for study or for reference when creating an utsushi blade. 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. The most important aspect of making kata is…

  • Island Forge: Part 7 – Kajiba Tour

    Island Forge: Part 7 – Kajiba Tour

    This series of photo essays will document the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style of a century ago. Swordsmith Forge The centerpiece of the kajiba is the…

  • Installing the Higuchi (tuyere)

    Installing the Higuchi (tuyere)

    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…

  • Island Forge: Part 6 – Interior Walls & Shutters

    Island Forge: Part 6 – Interior Walls & Shutters

    This series of photo essays will document the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style of a century ago. Earthen Walls The interior walls are arakabe (荒壁), a…

  • Can we just take a moment?

    Can we just take a moment?

    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

  • Island Forge: Part 5 – Tsuchikabe

    Island Forge: Part 5 – Tsuchikabe

    This series of photo essays will document the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style of a century ago. Earthen Plaster The upper sections of the walls are…

  • Island Forge: Part 4 – Yakisugi

    Island Forge: Part 4 – Yakisugi

    This series of photo essays will document the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style of a century ago. Sorting & Charring The siding for the walls is…

  • Island Forge: Part 3 – Roof

    Island Forge: Part 3 – Roof

    This series of photo essays will document the preparation, construction, and set up of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) from the ground up. The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique is the humble Japanese inaka farm building style of a century ago. Framing & Sheeting The roof was assembled on the…