Jump to content
DaveJ

Inome Tanto - Crossed Heart Forge

Recommended Posts

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...
[IMG]

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

[IMG]
[IMG]
[IMG]
[IMG]

 

...and here's where we started...
[IMG]


[IMG]
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.

[IMG]
Smoothing the surface with sen (scraper), files, and draw-filing in preparation for application of clay for yaki-ire.

[IMG]
Habaki forged to shape, fire soldered, fit and cold hardened by hammering, and finished using hand files.

...on to the koshirae (mounting) next...

[IMG]
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.

[IMG]
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.

[IMG]
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.

[IMG]
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.

[IMG]
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.

[IMG]
A horn kurikata is shaped and fit to the saya using a carved sliding dovetail.

[IMG]
The joint between the halves is reinforced with washi paper and sokui along both sides.

[IMG]
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.

[IMG]
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).

[IMG]
A look at all the koshirae parts before assembly (with the exception of the kashira already glued in place).

[IMG]
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...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Simply stunning....wonderful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave, I am so glad you choose to drop in from time to time with your exquisite creations AND links to how you do it!  That's a wonderful piece, thanks for sharing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Amazing work! the detail and texture of everything work so well together.

Edited by Conner Michaux

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crazy good as always!

I love how well the antique and new parts blend together.

I also want to praise your photography, it really sets the tone while still being very clear on the subject matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your posts are always my favorite Dave.  Gorgeous work, and thank you for detailing what you do.  Always a pleasure to see.

I love the filed texture on the saya.  It goes so well with the patina'd iron for the tsuba.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave, 

 

Your work is amazing and so inspirational. I wish you were able to make more videos. I love watching them on youtube. Hand made from start to finish, truly special. 

 

Thanks for sharing your work with us. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...