Videos

  • NikkeiTV Interview

    NikkeiTV Interview

    Vancouver-based Japanese NikkeiTV stopped in at the museum forge on their central Vancouver Island tour. Thank you to Kaeko~san and Tag~san for your visit and interest in traditional swordsmithing! Original airing date was June 5, 2022. See more photos of the finished knives here. Watch more forge visits and interviews here.

  • Film: The Blacksmith – Tools for Satoyama

    Film: The Blacksmith – Tools for Satoyama

    The forging of this blade was documented both in photography and video by Jordan Wende. The wakishinobe stage of lengthening and preparing the sunobe were done on the last day of forging at the island kajiba, and the hizukuri was finished and yaki-ire performed at the museum forge. See the photo essay of the wakashinobe…

  • Preparing and Loading the Charcoal Kiln

    Preparing and Loading the Charcoal Kiln

    The first fire is relatively small and is intended to dry out some of the moisture in the clay/earth around the kiln remaining after construction and before winter. After cooling and cleaning it out, a “floor” is created above the steel floor slats using thin boards and brown charcoal from previous charcoal runs. Then the…

  • TLDW #27 – Forging a Saya Nomi (鞘鑿)

    TLDW #27 – Forging a Saya Nomi (鞘鑿)

    Saya-nomi (鞘鑿) are a type of Japanese chisel with several unique features designed for carving the inside of a wooden scabbard or handle. Hand forged from a reclaimed harrow tooth, the elongated neck is slightly curved for clearance and the bottom and side corners are slightly rounded and the tip is slightly bull-nosed to facilitate…

  • 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…

  • SOTW #21 – First Lighting of the Forge

    SOTW #21 – First Lighting of the Forge

    First lighting of the newly rebuilt charcoal forge in the island kajiba. The first operation was to heat a tanto tang for stamping. Because it had already undergone yaki-ire, the blade had to be kept cool during heating to protect the temper. watch extended version | island forge kajiba project

  • SOTW #20 – Assembling the Furusato Tanto

    SOTW #20 – Assembling the Furusato Tanto

    This discarded block of wood from the Congo/Zaire sat for several years waiting for the right blade to make the best use of it. This precious dark chocolate coloured hardwood is locally called Tshikalakala or Dikela, meaning turn around or circle back, and this particular piece has a slightly curving grain that follows the line…

  • 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…

  • SOTW #19 – Assembling the Inome Tanto

    SOTW #19 – Assembling the 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 on either side of the tsuba. This lovely motif is ubiquitous in Japan, seen often in architecture, furniture, and sword mountings. This is the first of my blades to incorporate antique sword parts as part…

  • Precision cut tanto kata

    Precision cut tanto kata

    A look at some precision cut steel tanto kata based on historical japanese swords from 1200s-1500s…order a set of kata here: soulsmithing.com/product-category/kata/ A kata is a pattern or form used for appreciation, study, or for reference. The exercise of accurately making kata based on the work of historical smiths is an excellent way to train…

  • Installing the Higuchi (tuyere)

    Installing the Higuchi (tuyere)

    Installing/repairing the higuchi (tuyere), the point where the air enters the forge and temperatures are very high. In this case the fire clay to form the tuyere and fit it to the brick construction Japanese swordsmith forge is a traditional brasque recipe consisting of 6:2 charcoal powder/fines to natural clay, mixed with just enough water…

  • Can we just take a moment?

    Can we just take a moment?

    Let’s just take a moment, shall we? Take it. Taken. Done. Sights and sounds featuring stones, moss, rain, bamboo, birds, cypress, and a frog. This area was a muddy thistle patch three days ago. more of the island forge kajiba project

  • Repair broken Natural Waterstone with Urushi

    Repair broken Natural Waterstone with Urushi

    Repairing a broken natural Japanese waterstone using urushi lacquer. Natural urushi lacquer is strong enough to repair the stone but will not interfere with sharpening and polishing as some glues may. Carving a cypress base to hold the stone together as well as using urushi lacquer to reattach the halves provides a double solution. The…

  • Building Simple Charcoal Forges

    Building Simple Charcoal Forges

    Building two examples of quick and simple sideblast charcoal forges with found and reclaimed materials to demonstrate that lack of equipment and materials should not be a major obstacle. Ways to improve and expand on these concepts include: mixing copious amounts of chopped straw or charcoal powder (6:2) into the clay to make it refractory,…