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As I look at this piece there is always some variation of a narrative floating around in my head. It reminds me of some of the shops in Kathmandu, the sellers trying to peddle their tourist items, but you as peer into the corners and crevices you see the old dust, the old grime of the hundreds of years the building has stood. For me this feels like a piece that was pulled off one of the old shelves, the stuff that had been forgotten as generations passed.

There are other dreams that float in my head.. I enjoy this tanto for it's stories..

10 1/2" W2 machi to tip

15 7/16" OAL

Aged white oak, wrought iron, copper and hemp.









Edited by SBranson
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That is beautiful! You hit the theme spot-on. My only critique is that I would want the habaki to have a dark patina to bring it together.


I have since done a patina with liver of sulphur.. spot on my friend! ;)

Edited by SBranson
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I honestly don't know what to say that would do this work justice. Honestly Stuart, this is an heirloom piece, something that will be listed specifically in someone's last will and testament. Breath taking work my friend. I only wish the pictures were much larger.

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SOBU as a maker's name?


Here's the story... When I first started making Japanese inspired pieces, I couldn't stand the idea of putting my name on the shinogi. The maker's mark I was using "S.BRANSON" just seemed so distracting to put big blocky letters. (as you can see it is full of wide letters.) So I had this idea "Bu-ra-n-so-n" but that got too long so I shortened it to my initials So-Bu. Since it doesn't actually mean anything I thought it appropriate and much less a distracting feature. Perhaps to someone who reads Japanese it might be as bad as just the letters SB. Anyway, later on I just added the Saku and decided to go with it. It's purely an aesthetic thing and I mean no disrespect. I'm not sure how others come up with their Mei, except perhaps O-Mimi. I put it on the box primarily to orient the lid so that it would be put back on correctly but many of the kiribako had writing on them so I liked the idea. Sadly my calligraphy is pretty rotten as I don't have the brushes any more and I haven't practiced for about 25 years.

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