It is with some hesitation and a great degree of uncertainty that I interrupt the usual flow of news to bring you this official announcement of the end of an era. While we were blessed to have a workspace on the same… Continue reading
Simple technology for pouring water on the anvil, takeno mizusashi (竹の水差し) made from a piece of bamboo.
Forging with a thin film of water on the anvil and hammer prevents forge scale or oxide from being hammered into the surface of the steel. The hot steel instantly vaporizes the water and the resulting steam explosion blows the scale off of the work, keeping it clean as it is worked. This type of bamboo scoop is a traditional style tool for evenly applying water to the surface of the anvil or the hot steel. Read more about the process of making one.
A photo essay depicting some elements of selective management of a Hinoki Cypress forest on a mountainside in rural Japan. The main idea is to reduce the density of the trees to promote healthy growth but there are several additional benefits as… Continue reading
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… Continue reading
Photographic inspiration from traditional Japanese countryside construction. Additional views here. View from the mountain across the valley of roof tops and rice fields. Backing right onto the steep mountain slope, water and soil control is very important. These buildings have stood here… Continue reading
Photographic inspiration from the edges of satoyama in a Japanese countryside orchard garden. The crops include yuzu (citrus), nashi (asian pear), kaki (persimmon), sudachi (citrus), ringo (apple), sumomo (plum), momo (peach), kuwa (mulberry), muscat (grape), satsuma imo (sweet potato), yama imo (mountain… Continue reading
This antique nata is in the permanent collection at Soulsmithing and is a lovely example of original handcraft from Japan. This photo essay will reveal some of the beautiful details of this tool for study and appreciation. Nata (屶, “mountain sword”, or… Continue reading
Satoyama are the managed forest areas that border the cultivated fields and the mountain wilds in Japan. Historically they provided fertilizer, firewood, edible plants, mushrooms, fish, and game, and supported local industries such as farming, construction, and charcoal making. Balancing the interaction… Continue reading
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.
We had a visit from a crew filming for TV Tokyo today. They were interested in some footage of the workshop and a brief interview. A great group of guys to meet and work with, we covered a lot of ground in… Continue reading
A traditional apprenticeship does not consist of asking someone to “teach” you, instead it is asking to sit in a corner doing mundane repetitive work to build discipline while carefully observing a master at work to glean as much information as possible.… Continue reading
See the finished Mikazuki Kotanto project: Mikazuki Kotanto