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Daniel Cauble

Some of the best footage of a Japanese swordsmith I have ever seen.

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Extremely candid. No hiding behind edits like seen. Also wish I could read Japanese, and know the ceremony taking place.

 

Edited by Daniel Cauble
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I saw this too! Absolutely great footage and great to see how the different techniques are approached.

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The hammer pinging at 13:00 is really mesmerizing

 

Also what is the charred straw for? A sort of flux?

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Rice straw ashes is 90% silica. they add it to the billet to prevent carbon loss i believe. And the clay slurry is to prevent the outside from heating too fast.... again... i think

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Rice straw ashes is 90% silica. they add it to the billet to prevent carbon loss i believe. And the clay slurry is to prevent the outside from heating too fast.... again... i think

Oh I see. Interesting.

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Daniel,

This video is precious , thank you very much for posting it. I have a hunch this smith did a demo, but does not usually do this work.

 

I cannot understand how the Japanese smiths are able tolerate that ringing noise of the sledge hammer .......maybe they are deaf also.

 

Jan

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I cannot understand how the Japanese smiths are able tolerate that ringing noise of the sledge hammer .......maybe they are deaf also.

 

Jan

That ringing Sir, is the sweet sweet song of the smithy... ^_^

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Great video Daniel.

As outsiders we can appreciate the technical difficulties and skills displayed.

But we cannot feel the depth of emotion attached to this work.

 

The juxtaposition of suits and ties against the elaborate but incomprehensible to us traditional dress and ceremony is lost on all but a few of us.

What is clear (to me anyway) is that it is the process that is the focus. The blade is just a magnificent by product.

 

Regarding the straw and clay. Life has kind of gotten in the way lately but what I do know is that if you apply the clay slurry to bare hot metal it just slides right off. The straw kind of fuses to the hot metal and allows the clay to stay put. The tamahagane or any primitively made steel is is more or less self fluxing. The rice straw/clay combo is more about excluding oxygen than anything else. I think. Excluding oxygen reduces material loss and helps the welding process.

 

Wheat straw or even Johnson grass char may serve the same purpose. The jury is still out if the higher silica of rice straw is a factor. Note in the video that the straw is not burned to ash but to more of a char. I find this to be a common factor. This is facilitated by the high silica content.

 

Rice straw is hard to come by here in the US. There is almost no commercial value, so farmers (here in Texas and Louisiana anyway) just plow it under or burn it off. Rice hulls however, have a much higher silica content than the straw and can be readily available if you find the right rice mill (Bagged up and cheap). Testing is underway.

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It is self fluxing to a point. After a couple folds, bloom iron and steels do not have enough slags to become molten and protect the billet. Driving the slag away is one of the reasons for all of the folding.

 

I have done some testing with my own slurry and rice straw ash. The mud will roll off some, but I found consistency to help it stick on too.

 

Please feel free to post your testing and observations. I am always wanting to consume more knowledge.

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That was just sublime. Thank you for the link.

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this longer format video is useful for the observant student as it retains some of the more futsu operations that generally get left in the editing room...cleaning the surfaces with water and te-boki, allowing the aku and clay to evaporate while resting on the anvil, etc...

 

you won't find a japanese swordsmith that has anything to hide in terms of process, though certain subtleties of technique sometimes remain hidden in each school...the edits are for the viewer (for example, between 11min and 11m 30s was a couple of hours of slowly operating the fuigo!) as the whole video spans 3 long days of work in only an hour...

 

it is nice to watch Masahira~san at work in this pace, it is a lot of pressure of working out in public on such a high profile project but he keeps his calm! this was in 2008, june 7-9 and the formal dedication at the end is september 1, at kashima shrine (note the cicada of late summer japan in the background)...

here's a .pdf with plenty of photos from the set up and alternate angles of the event: http://www.taiiku.tsukuba.ac.jp/~sakai/Kashima.PDF.pdf

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Thank you so much Dave.

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for posterity, here is the original video:

and on a playlist of traditional swordsmiths:

 

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This was a incredibly riveting video to watch. Thanks for posting guys.

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Posted (edited)

My original video is no longer up. I guess they took it down. Now it displays my fav list.

Edited by Daniel Cauble

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