Louie Mills (1944-2018)

I just received word that Louie Mills (Yasutomo – 康友) has moved on to the next stage of life, passing peacefully in his sleep this morning. A friend to many and generous with his knowledge and craft. He will be missed on… Continue reading

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.

Louie Mills – Full Process: Forging a Tanto

Louie Mills began creating traditional Japanese swords in the early 1980’s. Working with top Japanese swordsmiths to refine his techniques, he became known for the finest traditionally crafted Japanese swords made in North America. This project is the first after his recovery from a heart attack three years earlier.

oroshigane – 0:33 (making steel from pure iron and charcoal)
tanren – 1:35 (folding and welding the steel)
sunobe – 16:37 (blade pre-form)
hizukuri – 23:35 (hammer shaping)
ara-shiage – 42:07 (rough shaping with files)
tsuchioki – 45:07 (applying the clay)
yaki-ire – 46:30 (hardening)
finished blade – 50:37 (after inspection polish)

Filmed by Tony Mann, edited by davej. Watch the shorter overview and read more about the project here.