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DaveJ

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Everything posted by DaveJ

  1. @Dan Rice that's all you will find, this is not a historical style but is my own project based on historical forms, materials, and techniques from other "genres", and the difference is mainly in the surface finishes...you can read most of the origins of the style and project in the first post or follow the links for the whole story...then you would research both classical tanto, their older counterparts in koshigatana, etc, (markus sesko's koshirae book has some good examples) as well as japanese farming tools for more information on the components...there are plenty of historical alternatives to the ubiquitous silk wrapped handles for antique tanto, but habaki is definitely not a frill and really should be part of any nihonto-style mounting system larger than a few inches, keeping the scabbard secure long-term is quite difficult without the geometry they provide and they also stabilize and strengthen the whole system... http://islandblacksmith.ca/tag/tanto-geometry/
  2. ..another area to work on is improving the charcoal making/handling methods so there is less loss...you can be sure they were dialing in the quality on all parts of this intensive process...
  3. much appreciated, Gary...and there are a few more photos and details on the website: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2019/08/furusato-tanto/
  4. Forging the Blade The raw material for this blade spent most of the last century on a former homestead. A large portion of the steel was used for another blade, this was the piece cut from half of the left side. Slowly drying the clay for yaki-ire over the embers in the charcoal forge. After yaki-ire, an #80 grit Sun Tiger stone reveals the approximate hamon as the geometry is set. Habaki Habaki forged to shape in preparation for silver soldering in the charcoal forge. The habaki is textured with files and patinated using a blend of copper salts similar to rokusho. Ireko Saya A two part black buffalo horn (ura) and blond cow horn (omote) lock keeps the two halves aligned when joined. The omote half contains the edge entirely and has an oil collecting reservoir at the tip. The ura half does not contain the edge, keeping it entirely in the omote half. Kataki Tsuka & Saya The hardwood block is split and carved out to fit the ireko saya and the tang and then rejoined using sokui (rice paste glue). This wood is very hard on tools and they require frequent sharpening. Nori-urushi, a mixture of natural urushi lacquer and sokui is used to reinforce certain areas, particularly the koiguchi where the wood is thinner. Mixing the urushi and sokui along with a bit of extra water to help it cure inside the joint. It can take at least a month to fully cure nori-urushi inside a wood joint, more time is better for strength. After the nori-urushi is fully cured the tsuka and saya are shaped with kanna and smoothed with fine rasps and the horn mekugi peg is fitted. An antler crown and tip are used to form a very organic kurikata (栗形, a cord loop) and obidome (帯留, “belt stop”), usually called kaerizuno (返角, “turn-back horn”). The antler kurikata is fit to the saya using a carved sliding dovetail, with no room to spare! The kurikata slides in from one side and then tightens as it reaches the final position. The obidome has a tenon that fits into a mortise carved in the saya, again carved right to the ireko saya. The obidome/kaerizuno will be attached with sokui after the saya is lacquered. In preparation for lacquering, the open grain is cleared of dust using a stiff brush. Ready for fukiurushi, the thin layer of wiped on urushi will preserve the interesting surface texture of the wood. After the lacquer has cured the surface has become a rich, glossy dark chocolate colour. Polishing Once all the parts are made and fitted the blade can be taken through the final polishing stages using Japanese waterstones. The natural #700 used to remove the last of the arato/kongo-do stone scratches. Several stones later, hazuya and jizuya fingerstones made from flakes of uchigumori-do and narutaki-do koppa attached to washi paper with natural urushi are used to even the surface and add depth. This stage is very time consuming as is the uchigumori-do before it. The fine surface grain of the steel brought out by the uchigumori stone throws multiple colours in sunlight. Final Assembly A look at all the koshirae parts before assembly Antler kurikata and obidome attached using sokui and tapped into place with a small mallet. Inserting the ireko saya into the koshirae. Completed aikuchi koshirae. Furusato tanto forged from reclaimed antique steel. View of the spine with peaked iori mune. Macro detail of the interesting texture of the Tshikalakala wood pores.
  5. 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. "When difficulties come, I remember my home place…Someday I shall fulfill my task. And, then, return to my home place. To the green mountains and clear rivers of my home." Takano Tatsuyuki, Furusato Materials for the wabisabi aikuchi style koshirae mounting include Tshikalakala (Wenge) wood for the kataki tsuka and saya, Hounoki (Japanese Magnolia) wood and cow horn for the ireko saya, copper bus bar for the habaki, buffalo horn for the mekugi, and pieces of shed antler for the kurikata and tsunakuchi. The tsuka and saya are finished in a thin layer of kijiro fukiurushi (wiped lacquer) made from natural source urushi lacquer. One of the most technical challenges of this project was creating the ireko saya (入れ子鞘, nesting scabbard) lining within the tight constraints offered by the original block of wood. A refined detail that is normally hidden from view, the ireko saya protects the blade from the hardwood. A focal point for the koshirae is the unique antler crown kurikata which is reminiscent of a mushroom contrasting against the dark wood of a tree. Specifications 長さ/刃長 Nagasa: 7 sun 3 bu 5 rin (227mm) 元幅 Motohaba: 7 bu (21.25mm) 重ね/元重 Motokasane: 2 bu (6mm) 反り Sori: uchizori 中心/茎 Nakago: 3 sun 2 bu 3 rin (98mm) 柄長 Tsuka: 3 sun 7 rin (93mm) 拵全長 Koshirae: 12 sun 9 bu 5 rin (392mm) 形 Katachi: hira-zukuri, iori-mune 刃文 Hamon: suguha 帽子/鋩子 Boshi: ko-maru 中心/茎 Nakago: futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana, signed near the tip 銘 Mei: hot stamped katabami-ken kamon 拵 Koshirae: aikuchi, issaku more photos and info here: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2019/08/furusato-tanto/
  6. specs above, more info and photos on the website: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2019/07/inome-tanto/ yoroshiku!
  7. Back to some projects that were on pause for a few months while I relocated my workshop...here's the first: The inome (pronounced “ee-no-may”, 猪の目, eye of the boar) name comes from the pierced heart-shape designs on 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 always forward-moving wild boar of Japan’s forests and mountains, never giving up or retreating. This tanto was forged from an antique horse-drawn carriage spring in 2016, was used at several demos as an example of the forged surface as it comes out of the fire, made a cameo in a short film in 2017 as one of the filing stages, was finished with geometry inspired by a visit to Japan in 2018, and is the first of my blades to incorporate antique sword parts in its mounting. Here's where we are headed... Materials for the chisagatana style koshirae mounting include Japanese hounoki wood for the handle and scabbard, copper bus bar for the habaki, reclaimed brass doorplate for a seppa, buffalo horn for the mekugi and kurikata, and an iron spike salvaged from thirty feet under the Pacific for the tsuba. The centerpiece of the mounting comes from an outdoor antique market in Kyoto, a gold-accented Edo-era fuchi made from nanako-ji (魚子地, fish roe) textured shakudo (a traditional alloy of gold, silver, and copper). The tsuba sits between two Showa-era zouheitou (officer’s sword) o-seppa with pierced inome (猪の目, eye of the boar) motifs. The saya is finished in black sabi-nuri (rust texture) style ishime-ji (stone surface) made from natural source urushi lacquer and ground tea leaves, and the koiguchi band is also antique. The blade is 8.75″ long, overall length is just under 13.5″, and the overall length of the koshirae is just over 15″. Specifications 長さ/刃長 Nagasa: 7 sun 3 bu 5 rin (222mm) 元幅 Motohaba: 9 bu (27mm) 重ね/元重 Motokasane: 2 bu 3 rin (7mm) 反り Sori: uchizori 中心/茎 Nakago: 3 sun 6 bu (109mm) 柄長 Tsuka: 3 sun 2 bu 5 rin (98mm) 拵全長 Koshirae: 12 sun 6 bu (382mm) 形 Katachi: hira-zukuri, iori-mune 刃文 Hamon: suguha, with ubuha 帽子/鋩子 Boshi: ko-maru 中心/茎 Nakago: futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana, signed near the tip 銘 Mei: hot stamped katabami-ken kamon 拵 Koshirae: chisagatana, issaku (with the addition of four antique parts) Material: Reclaimed carriage spring steel, Edo-period gold and shakudo nanako fuchi, antique brass koiguchi and Showa-era zouheitou o-seppa, ocean-salvaged iron spike, copper bus bar, brass doorplate, buffalo horn, Hounoki, leather, natural urushi and tea leaves ...and here's where we started... Forged to within ~1mm of the final shape (including bevels) and filed only around the profile. This tanto was used at several demos as an example of the surface as it comes out of the fire. Using water on the anvil during the final stages of forging keeps the surface clean and smooth. Smoothing the surface with sen (scraper), files, and draw-filing in preparation for application of clay for yaki-ire. Habaki forged to shape, fire soldered, fit and cold hardened by hammering, and finished using hand files. ...on to the koshirae (mounting) next... A custom made tang shaped punch is used to create the opening in the iron tsuba and it is shaped, textured, and rust patinated before carefully hammering in copper sekigane (責金) to protect the blade. The rust patina is polished using an antler tip, boiled in water to convert red iron oxide to stable black iron oxide, then given a thin layer of natural fukiurushi lacquer and baked to cure. The weathering process used during forging, called yakite or yakinamashi, involves oxidizing the surface using high heat and an oxygen-rich charcoal forge blast, periodically dipping quickly into water and wire brushing to reveal naturally occurring hard and soft areas of the iron. The exposed high areas of harder iron that remain after wear and weathering are known as tekkotsu (鉄骨, iron bones) and compliment the hammer textured (槌目地, tsuchimei-ji) surface. The habaki is patinated using a blend of copper salts similar to rokusho. When just the right shade is reached, old and newly crafted parts begin to work together as a team. After carving, the leather wrapping is secured to the tsuka using nori-urushi, a mixture of natural urushi lacquer and sokui (rice paste glue). The wrapping is fit between an Edo-period fuchi in shakudo and gold and a newly carved and lacquered horn kashira. The horn kashira has a tenon made from horn that fits into the wood core of the tsuka and is attached with sokui. After carving the inside to fit the blade the halves are rejoined with sokui and the scabbard is shaped with kanna and smoothed with fine rasps. An antique koiguchi band is fit while carefully preserving the natural patina of the centuries. A horn kurikata is shaped and fit to the saya using a carved sliding dovetail. The joint between the halves is reinforced with washi paper and sokui along both sides. The first layer of natural fukiurushi seals the wood and prepares the surface for the following layers. A second layer is used to adhere finely screened ground tea leaves and allowed to cure. A third layer saturates and seals the tea and is filed down to create the desired surface texture. After wiping clean (shown above), the rough filed lacquer with tea showing through the surface resembles a true sabi-nuri (rusted steel surface), similar to an old cast iron tetsubin tea kettle. A fourth and final layer of very thin black urushi is wiped over to seal and darken the surface. The black fukiurushi highlights the combination of smooth peaks and pitted valleys and turns the look to ishime-ji (stone surface). A look at all the koshirae parts before assembly (with the exception of the kashira already glued in place). Once all the parts are made and fitted the blade can be taken through the final polishing stages using Japanese waterstones. Several fine natural stones make up the last steps, right down to small fingertip-sized stone flakes with washi paper lacquered to the back for strength. ...on to assembly next...
  8. a lovely film made by some talented folks... 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
  9. 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
  10. a collage of some old photos via tony... more info and additional video: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2018/07/passing-of-louie-mills-yasutomo-康友/
  11. nice work, great use of a barrel...looked plenty enough carbon by the break test, and fairly low manganese by the hamon placement too...i have a real old one sitting in the shop waiting for the day...the proportion of mild to higher carbon looked pretty similar to kōa-issin-tou in the etch...some informative info and details on construction for those wanting to research, great steel and great swords: http://ohmura-study.net/998.html https://www.japaneseswordindex.com/koa.htm
  12. fairly old low alloy carriage spring...traditional clay and water quench using a charcoal forge...~1mm thick layer of roughly 1:1:1 natural clay, charcoal powder, and polishing stone powder...blade is about 29cm long (nagasa), 2.3cm wide (motohaba) and 6mm thick (motokasane)...close up of the rough kajitogi polish done with very coarse waterstones (torajirushi 80#, lobstercarbon 120#) to check the hamon placement... watch it happen below (more info here: http://islandblacksmith.ca/process/)... yoroshiku!
  13. for posterity, here is the original video: and on a playlist of traditional swordsmiths:
  14. here is a (slowly) ongoing series with some info on the classical approach: http://islandblacksmith.ca/tag/tanto-geometry/ in particular the tang/machi geometry: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2014/06/classical-tanto-geometry-nakago-tang/ and the habaki 's machigane: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2014/10/classical-tanto-construction-habaki-の-machigane/ i always recommend studying antiques and making kata to get a feel for the finer points of tanto geometry: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2014/04/aizu-shintogo-kunimitsu-tanto-kata/ from here it looks like there is still plenty of room inside your hardened area to create a classical tanto kissaki/tip if you decide to: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2014/06/classical-tanto-geometry-blade-kissaki-tip/ that is a lovely piece of cedar but might be a bit soft for tanto, nootka cypress/alaskan yellow "cedar" is a bit closer to the hardness and workability of hounoki... keep up the journey towards excellence!
  15. @Jan ...nice! next time let me know when you are in town! that was one approach i considered, but there was too much damage to the blade, particularly to the edge for several inches above the machi...so it would have been a suriage wakizashi at most, however there was some other major areas of damage to the shape so i chose the two tanto route to make the most use of the steel...i certainly could have made this tanto a very slender shinogi-zukuri if i had wanted to tackle a shinogi-zukuri polish this summer though... ^______^
  16. @Wes much appreciated...indeed, redemptive art... ^____^
  17. @Wes i just added a "before" photo to the page...the antique blade had lost its hamon (likely damaged by fire) and then was abused, poorly reshaped (polished with a belt sander?), bent, and severely damaged for several inches above the hamachi..this tanto is made from the front half, i may get another tanto out of the rest in the future... so i forged it from shinogi-zukuri to hira-zukuri and forged a tang to maximize use of the steel...delicate work but worth the effort...
  18. @ScottWright i needed to get it done with a deadline along with some other projects so no videos, only a few photos (more on the website)...but a professional crew came by for some footage of the forge and documented the final assembly so it should be part of a video in the future... islandblacksmith.ca/2017/08/komorisan-back-in-the-forge/
  19. Some photos from various stages of the process: More process photos and info: islandblacksmith.ca/2017/08/on-ko-chi-shin-tanto/
  20. A true and accurate understanding of the past is an important step towards a good future. 温故知新 (on ko chi shin) is an expression that most directly translates to, "study the old to know the new". This blade began as a reclaimed piece of a damaged antique sword and was carefully hand forged in a charcoal fire, smoothed with files and a sen scraper, differentially hardened using traditional water quench yaki-ire, and polished by hand with natural Japanese water stones. Materials for the chisagatana style koshirae mounting include Japanese hounoki wood for the handle and scabbard, copper bus bar for the habaki, reclaimed brass from the original mount for the fuchi and kojiri, forged brass kick plate for the kashira and seppa, black lacquered samegawa and kangaroo leather for the tsuka, lacquered steel for the mekugi, buffalo horn for the koiguchi and kurikata, and an iron spike salvaged from thirty feet under the Pacific for the tsuba. The saya is finished with ishime-ji (stone surface) made from natural urushi lacquer and tea leaves, the kurikata was carved from reclaimed horn button rescued from a vintage coat, and the sageo cord comes from an outdoor antique market in Kyoto. Specifications 長さ/刃長 Nagasa: 11 sun 3 bu (341mm) 元幅 Motohaba: 8 bu 5 rin (25.5mm) 重ね/元重 Motokasane: 1 bu 5 rin (4.2mm) 反り Sori: uchizori 中心/茎 Nakago: 3 sun 6 bu (109mm) 柄長 Tsuka: 4 sun 5 rin (123mm) 拵全長 Koshirae: 18 sun (545mm) 形 Katachi: hira-zukuri, iori-mune 刃文 Hamon: hoso suguha 帽子/鋩子 Boshi: yakitsume 中心/茎 Nakago: futsu, suriage, one mekugi-ana, mumei 銘 Mei: mumei 拵 Koshirae: chisagatana, issaku 3.03022 cm = 0.1 shaku(尺) = 1 sun(寸) = 10 bu(分) = 100 rin(厘) More photos and info: islandblacksmith.ca/2017/08/on-ko-chi-shin-tanto/
  21. @peter, i have seen similar methods of soldering used by traditional copper vessel makers in japan... thanks, @peter!
  22. @Wes, @pieter, so glad to be of some inspiration and assistance with the classical approach, makes it worth all the effort to document and publish it... (^____^) @Zeb, no, i am not releasing any photos or info on the blade as it is in a private collection, the best you can do is maybe get a glimpse of the tang once or twice in the videos...yes, when i carved the tsuka i just subtracted the thickness of the samegawa so it would look right next to the saya, you can see the difference in the 6th photo...
  23. and photos... more info here: islandblacksmith.ca/2017/08/aikuchi-tanto-koshirae/
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