Tag: process

  • Nagatsuki Tanto

    Nagatsuki Tanto

    Nagatsuki (長月, pronounced “nah-gah-tsoo-key”) translates literally as “long moon”. In the ancient calendar it is a poetic name for the time around late September, possibly abbreviated from yonagatsuki meaning “night of the long moon”, or “month of the long night” depending on the reading. The idea is associated with the time of Autumn, seasonal change…

  • TLDW #26 – Traditional Yaki-Ire, Hardening a Tanto

    TLDW #26 – Traditional Yaki-Ire, Hardening a Tanto

    During the hardening process the clay layer causes a split second difference in cooling time which creates two different hardness areas in the same piece of steel. The edge cools faster and forms a very hard steel structure called martensite while the body cools slower and forms a very tough steel structure made of ferrite…

  • First Lighting of the Forge & Antique Habaki Utsushi (写)

    First Lighting of the Forge & Antique Habaki Utsushi (写)

    First lighting of the newly rebuilt charcoal forge in the island kajiba followed by stamping the tang and then hand forging and filing a classical tanto style habaki, silver soldered in the charcoal forge and closely based on an antique Edo period habaki. An utsushi (写) is a closely based study of another work for…

  • Furusato Tanto

    Furusato Tanto

    Furusato (故郷, pronounced “foo-roo-sah-toe”) means home place or hometown and contains the ideas of being rooted or grounded wherever one may sojourn, and a confidence and longing for return. This tanto has a simple and elegant form with a natural and humble mounting that reflects the rustic satoyama lifestyle and suits the aesthetics of the…

  • TLDW #24 – Making an Ireko (nesting) Saya

    TLDW #24 – Making an Ireko (nesting) Saya

    An ireko saya (入れ子鞘, nesting scabbard) is a lining inside the saya which protects the blade from the hardwood. Furusato (故郷) means home place or hometown and contains the ideas of being rooted or grounded wherever one may sojourn, and a confidence and longing for return. This tanto has a simple and elegant form with…

  • Inome Tanto

    Inome Tanto

    The inome (pronounced “ee-no-may”, 猪の目, eye of the boar) name comes from the pierced heart-shape designs of the decorative o-seppa (washers) on either side of the tsuba (handguard). This lovely motif is ubiquitous in Japan, seen often in architecture, furniture, and sword mountings. In this context, the inome symbol conveys the idea of the focused,…

  • Eyes on the Spine: say No to the kink, and Yes to the flow

    Eyes on the Spine: say No to the kink, and Yes to the flow

    One of the most common mistakes when attempting to recreate a Japanese classical style tanto is to caricature or over exaggerate certain design elements while entirely missing others. The Japanese aesthetic is subtle and nuanced, millimeter differences can make or break the lines of a blade or koshirae. A subtle curve is almost always more…

  • Yoroidoshi in Shirasaya

    Yoroidoshi in Shirasaya

    This blade began as a segment of reclaimed horse-drawn carriage spring and was hand forged in a charcoal fire, smoothed with files and a sen scraper, hardened using traditional water quench yaki-ire, and polished by hand with natural Japanese water stones. Crafted and finished entirely with hand tools and traditional techniques, the slender blade profile…

  • Film: Study the Old to Know the New

    Film: Study the Old to Know the New

    In a forge on Vancouver Island, reclaimed steel is turned into tanto. Directed, Photographed, and Edited by Trevor Komori Location Sound: Sean Brouwer B Camera Operator: Liam Leyland Music Composed by Kurtis So Production Assistants: Vivian Hu & Judy Zheng still images | behind the scenes | making this tanto | view on youtube

  • Making a Bamboo Scoop for Water Forging

    Making a Bamboo Scoop for Water Forging

    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…

  • Arashiage: Filing Order of Operations

    Arashiage: Filing Order of Operations

    Arashiage is the stage of rough shaping following hizukuri (forging) and in preparation for yaki-ire (hardening). Earlier posts have described tanto kata and the geometry of the tang, machi, blade, and kissaki. Familiarity with these geometry points is a prerequisite to success in this stage. This post will illustrate the proper order of operations for…

  • Utsushi Study of a Sunnobi Tanto

    Utsushi Study of a Sunnobi Tanto

    Sunnobi tanto (寸延び短刀) are larger than ordinary tanto, with nagasa 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 are still…

  • Differential Hardening Sunnobi Tanto

    Differential Hardening Sunnobi Tanto

    Sunnobi tanto are larger than ordinary tanto (nagasa above 1 shaku) and may have sori similar to ko-wakizashi. Read more about the process of yaki-ire. 1. Using approximately a 1:1:1 mixture of natural clay, polishing stone powder and ground charcoal to mask the back of a hand forged blade about 1-1.5mm thick to slow down…

  • Process – Making habaki with simple tools

    Process – Making habaki with simple tools

    Making a habaki from reclaimed copper. Material is scrap copper from an electrical bus bar, forged and bent to shape, silver brazed with hard silver solder in the charcoal forge with fuigo, finish work done with files and rasps. Watch the shorter overview edit here.

  • Yakiire – Traditional Clay & Water Quench

    Yakiire – Traditional Clay & Water Quench

    The immersive experience of being in the darkened workshop during a traditional clay and water quench using a charcoal forge. A hamon is created on a tanto using a 1mm thick layer of roughly 1:1:1 natural clay, charcoal powder, and polishing stone powder. The blade is about 29cm long (nagasa), 2.3cm wide (motohaba) and 6mm…