Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Traditional Japanese swordsmithing forges are purpose-built with certain design elements specific to the tasks involved in tanren and hizukuri. Finishing workshops require certain configurations and equipping for the tasks of carving, finishing, and polishing. Outside of Japan, there are very few resources for learning and implementing these techniques.

Most of history was forged with very simple equipment made from found and natural materials. There are subtle details that are important to traditional design, and many of the techniques are difficult to research or implement outside of Japan. From time to time these services are made available in person or in the form of consulting depending on the project and location.

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Creating a space that not only is functional for the craft but puts you in a creative mind set is an endeavor of the highest order. Once again your email is sending me on a week long study. I really enjoy our conversations. I was inspired and kicked my project into overdrive. Thank you again for your time and knowledge.Jason Hawk, USA

Everything you do you put so much time and forethought and attention to detail into it, as well as honoring tradition. Love it. Inspired. E, Hawaii

Putting years of experience and study to work, Dave has instructed, assisted, and collaborated with others in Canada, Japan, and USA to create inspiring workspaces, forges, tools, and structures. Past or current clients include Jason Hawk (Mountain Men), Mr. Chickadee, the Parksville Museum, Craig Heritage Park and Museum, Reforged Ironworks, and several other blacksmiths, bladesmiths, and craftspeople.

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Just like Edo period Japan, and it even smells right! This is a huge achievement, and with timeless style and simplicity. Canada

You’ve built a phenomenal atmosphere and such a pleasant work place, just beautiful. USA

I am so impressed by the shed. I never thought a simple structure could be a work of art but you have opened my eyes. The world is a better place with your creations in it and God has really blessed you with an artist’s eye and a carpenter’s skill, strength and patience. Canada

Awesome! Your work is always perfect! S, Japan

The main inspiration for aesthetic, form, and technique of a simple swordsmith style kajiba (鍛冶場, forge building) is the humble Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style of a century ago, with techniques drawn from the Edo period and earlier. The structure is timberframe and the walls are arakabetsuchi (荒壁土), the traditional infill technique using a rough mixture of natural clay, sand, and straw applied over lath (komai/kabekomai 壁小舞).

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

I must admit I don’t know if I should love or curse your sharing of information, I spend about three hours a night doing homework now. In all seriousness thank you for playing a part in my journey. USA

It has been so fun/challenging playing with the hodo. I revamped the tuyere to a 30 degree angle and put in the appropriate taper. Wow what a difference. It is such a great feeling to feel like a newbie back at the forge, learning and seeing every day. Will send some pics when I get them. As always thank you for the time. J, USA

Consulting rates are $80/hr plus applicable taxes, physical projects begin around $10,000 but vary depending on size, materials, and location. Services may include project consulting, layout design, forge building, workshop structure, demonstration or exhibition spaces, bladesmith mentoring, knifemaking critique, toolmaking information, instruction on traditional materials and techniques. Contact for more information on feasibility of a specific idea.

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

It’s been great corresponding with an experienced blacksmith who’s supportive of this project of mine. Thank you again for all your advice and help this year. I consider you a sagacious mentor and friend. I am forever in your debt. Now that I have some serious time invested at the forge myself, I’m seeing things that can improve in my process. That’s awesome! I also wanted to send you my sincere thanks for all the advice you’ve given me thus far.Canada

I was reading through our past email correspondence and picking out some real gems of advice. It’s funny what a second and third read through will pick up. Having some experience under my belt now after a year of blacksmithing has highlighted the wisdom in your advice. Finally, I want to thank you again for all the help and guidance you’ve given me. I can’t thank you enough, but your willingness to take time out of your day to help me is very much appreciated! T, Canada

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Island Blacksmith: Forge Design, Construction, & Consulting

Dave, thank you so much that was so much more than anyone could have expected! The details, tips, and the subtle differences in the sketch really help and will continue to help in the future! Thanks for the good information! I’m going to put that “math equation” to the test when forging my next one. After forging this one I definitely see the sunobe is important.USA

Wow thank you! That made things so much smoother and resulted in the best fitting habaki to date! Thanks so much again and I hope that you would be willing to critique my work in the future! I am forever in debt to you! J, USA

Without these videos and articles, I would very likely not be…anything I am today. The knowledge and inspiration you provided helped set my course, not sure how far I can go or how long for but I do not regret spending the time and learning the old ways. J, Germany

Island Blacksmith: Hand crafted tools made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand crafted tools made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand crafted tools made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand crafted tools made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand crafted tools made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand crafted tools made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand crafted tools made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Your pictures are amazing. I have to say I can only think that you’re in Kochi prefecture, not on the island!! I have been to the home of the Toskei brothers of Kochi, the forge in the backyard has been there for four generations. I’ve watched their son in law, learning the craft from the wife’s family so he can carry on. All the equipment is old, worn down and, seemingly, barely functional. Cobbled together and repeatedly repaired..the wonderful part is the beautiful knives that come out of that old shack in the back yard. Would love to see your work in person one day. M, Canada