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  • Tsukimizu Tanto

    Tsukimizu Tanto

    Tsukimizu (月水, “tsu-key-me-zoo”) literally translates “moon-water” and carries the idea of the reflection of the moonlight in the ripples of a pond or stream. The name is drawn from the layered steel ripples along the edge of the hamon and also ties into the motifs of the fittings. This is a unique combination of a…


  • Asagiri Tanto

    Asagiri Tanto

    Asagiri (朝霧, pronounced “ah-sah-gi-ri”, gi and ri rhyme with key) translates literally as “morning mist”. Spoken it could also be a word play on “morning cut”, slicing the dawn, or perhaps “shallow morning”. The idea is related to the interesting “rolling mist” artifact resulting from interaction between the hamon and the hada on the blade…


  • Forging a Sunnobi Tanto

    Forging a Sunnobi Tanto

    Sunnobi tanto (寸延び短刀) are larger than ordinary tanto, with nagasa (blade length) a sun or two above 1 shaku (sun nobi, “a sun longer”, from nobiru, to stretch or lengthen). Though there is some area of crossover with hira-zukuri ko-wakizashi and they may have sori similar to ko-wakizashi, the simplified difference would be that they…


  • Tombo Mountain Kotanto

    Tombo Mountain Kotanto

    The core of this project is a high carbon blade, charcoal-forged from reclaimed steel, water quenched with clay and sharpened with waterstones, an outdoor knife that has the foundation of the Japanese sword but is finished in the simple and humble style of farming and foresting tools of centuries ago. Satoyama are the managed forest…


  • Photo Essay: Antique Koto Tanto in Edo Mountings

    Photo Essay: Antique Koto Tanto in Edo Mountings

    This tanto appears to be koto and may be around 450-550 years old (Warring States Era). Though this blade has some battle damage and is somewhat worn (“tired”) due to many polishes over the centuries, it can still be enjoyed as an interesting and very old sword. The tang is signed Kane_ (兼_) in an…


  • Photo Essay: Museum Forge Visit

    Photo Essay: Museum Forge Visit

    Talented LA-based photographer and aspiring bladesmith Jourdan Causey made a detour up to the Museum Forge on a very cool April morning to document the atmosphere as the first blade of the season was forged from century-old mining car rail in a fire fueled by charcoal made with brush cleared homestead branches. Photographed and graded…


  • Forge Visit: Making Habaki for an Antique Sword

    Forge Visit: Making Habaki for an Antique Sword

    The Shibata family returned to the island this spring with some antiques freshly sourced from Japan. The boys spent a day in the forge assisting the preparation of the forge and charcoal, watching the forging of a habaki for an antique sword, and even helping run the fuigo bellows and striking for certain tasks. Careful…


  • Ashinoho Tanto

    Ashinoho Tanto

    Ashinoho (ashi-no-ho, 葦の穂 pronounced “ah-shi-no-ho”) refers to the water reed, specifically the top of the plant curving over as it is loaded with seeds. The idea is associated with the fullness of season nearing and the realization of potential in the right time, but also carries with it the concept of humility and restraint in…


  • Museum Forge Shiageba

    Museum Forge Shiageba

    As part of the 2022 artist in residence project a temporary shiageba (finishing area) was set up for carving handles and scabbards for the knives forged earlier in the year. This was the first time that the finishing stages of traditional knifemaking were demonstrated at the museum. Later in the season a full-sized traditional togi-dai…


  • Artist in Residence: Museum Forge

    Artist in Residence: Museum Forge

    Although temporary demonstrations and events have been held at the museum since early 2012, the blacksmith-in-residence project at the museum forge was officially launched in 2015 by Red Cod Forge. Building and installing the traditional swordsmith forge was started in 2016, the first lighting in 2017, and since then bladesmithing has been a regular part…


  • Railway Days at the Museum

    Railway Days at the Museum

    A yearly event around the theme of railways hosted by the Vancouver Island Garden Railway Club, The Oceanside Model Railroaders, and the E&N Division of the Canadian Railway Historical Association. Around four hundred people attended this year and enjoyed the many special exhibits on the grounds. The museum forge was open for viewing, though the…


  • Sunagawa Field Kotanto

    Sunagawa Field Kotanto

    Sunagawa (砂川, sand river) was chosen because the texture of the blade and the flowing edge of the hamon are reminiscent of the bank of a calm river. The core of this project is a charcoal-forged blade, water quenched with clay and sharpened with waterstones, an outdoor knife that has the foundation of the Japanese…


  • Process: Forging a Field Kotanto

    Process: Forging a Field Kotanto

    This blade was named Sunagawa (砂川, sand river) because the texture of the blade and the flowing edge of the hamon are reminiscent of the bank of a calm river. It was hand forged in a charcoal swordsmith style forge powered by fuigo box bellows and water quenched with clay, an outdoor knife that has…


  • Pear Mountain Kotanto

    Pear Mountain Kotanto

    This knife was forged from a piece of very special old steel and has been paired with part of a seventy year old pear tree and an existing leather sheath. The custom leather sheath was part of an estate sale and was hand crafted on Vancouver Island. Satoyama are the managed forest areas that border…


  • Forge Visit: Shibata Family

    Forge Visit: Shibata Family

    The museum forge had a visit from a unique and talented family this summer. The Shibata family makes artisan foods on Saltspring, and the two boys, aged 10 and 12 are highly self-motivated creative students of craft who are interested in learning about traditional knife and sword making. They traveled to the island and spent…


Traditionally crafted knives for people who wish
they could take things home from museums.

Crossed Heart Forge

Historical Techniques

Hand forged with handmade charcoal, constructed and finished with historical methods and natural materials.
see the process

Traditional Tools

Human powered hand tools are used from the time the steel is first put in the fire through to the final assembly.
tour the forge

Reclaimed Materials

Steel, iron, copper, and brass are sourced from salvage and scrap wood for charcoal comes from local sources.
watch a tanto being made