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  1. (*opens workshop door, blinking and wondering where the summer went...*) Just wrapped this one, thought it would be a good walk through for those interested in hand tools and classical methods...the inspiration is a night out enjoying the bright orange moon of late Summer and early Autumn. Tsukimi means moon watching, and brings to mind a lovely harvest moon and the rustling sounds of the dry, frost coloured susuki grass as the evening breeze blows across the plateau. The blade is just under 11.5″ long, overall length is just under 17″, and the overall length when sheathed is just over 18.5″...no epoxy, no powertools, all hand tools start to finish. Materials: Reclaimed Caterpillar tractor pushrod steel, ocean-salvaged steel spike, silver and nickel-silver spoons, reclaimed souvenir buffalo horn, copper bus bar, copper water pipe, copper wire, Nootka Cypress, samegawa, red Bamboo chopstick, natural urushi first of all (for a change), this is where it is all headed: https://vimeo.com/107195848 Finished work: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2014/09/tsukimi-tanto/ Complete process photo essay: http://islandblacksmith.ca/process/making-the-tsukimi-tanto/ Nagasa: 9 sun 6 bu 5 rin (292mm) Motohaba: 9 bu 2 rin (28mm) Motokasane: 2 bu 4 rin (7.2mm) Nakago: 3 sun 7 bu (112mm) Sori: 5 rin (1.6mm) Construction: hira-zukuri, iori-mune Hamon: suguha hotsure, mizukage, utsuri Boshi: yakitsume Nakago: futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana, signed near the tip Mei: hot stamped katabami-ken logo
  2. Its been awhile so its time to pull back the curtain again...i am adding these photos to the "process" section of my website as well... The blade in question is the last of my "new old stock" from a couple of years back, forged at an outdoor demo, originally as a scaled down piece but I decided to mount it as a regular kotanto. Unusual geometry for tanto, shobu-zukuri is generally reserved for larger blades but it seemed to be where the steel wanted to go. This thread will document the mounting, working from the habaki, then back through fuchi/kashira/tsuba/seppa/tsuka/gangimaki, etc...I will try to add a couple more technical notes here. A scrap of copper bus bar hot and cold forged into a butterfly, this will be the outside, note the step down from the mune and that the front is much narrower than the back all the way along each "wing". This will be the inside, note the mune has a concave distally to prevent high centering when bent, and a smaller radius concave laterally. As much shaping as can be done before bending is good, but too much is trouble! The "wings" are far too long, but the scrap was already cut off from another project. Annealed and bent in several stages, then trimmed closer to final size. The machigane is cut and forged from one of the scraps. Machigane more or less in place, fluxed with borax and a strip of hard silver solder set on top of it. The rusty/oxidized steel wire provides pressure when heating but is less likely to stick to any escaping solder. The habaki is formed and soldered slightly undersized (just a little ways back on the tang) so it can be hammered to the finished dimensions later. Heating in the charcoal forge, surrounding it with charcoal away from the air blast provides a nice carbon-rich reducing atmosphere. As soon as the solder flows well, it is removed to cool slowly, this avoids unnecessary stress on the joint. Hammering stretches out the habaki to its final size while hardening the copper. The goal is to arrive at both at the same time. Files and water stones refine the exterior geometry polished the surface, then it is frosted with a stream of poured stone chips about the size of large cat litter...half masked with my thumb to create a transition zone. My thumbnail has a similar frosted pattern...the habaki will be given a final polish and patina after all the saya work is finished.
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