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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

 

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

 

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.

 

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

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/

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Forging the Blade

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The raw material for this blade spent most of the last century on a former homestead.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
A large portion of the steel was used for another blade, this was the piece cut from half of the left side.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Slowly drying the clay for yaki-ire over the embers in the charcoal forge.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
After yaki-ire, an #80 grit Sun Tiger stone reveals the approximate hamon as the geometry is set.

 


Habaki

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Habaki forged to shape in preparation for silver soldering in the charcoal forge.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The habaki is textured with files and patinated using a blend of copper salts similar to rokusho.

Ireko Saya

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
A two part black buffalo horn (ura) and blond cow horn (omote) lock keeps the two halves aligned when joined.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The omote half contains the edge entirely and has an oil collecting reservoir at the tip.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The ura half does not contain the edge, keeping it entirely in the omote half.

Kataki Tsuka & Saya

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
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.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Nori-urushi, a mixture of natural urushi lacquer and sokui is used to reinforce certain areas, particularly the koiguchi where the wood is thinner.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Mixing the urushi and sokui along with a bit of extra water to help it cure inside the joint.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
It can take at least a month to fully cure nori-urushi inside a wood joint, more time is better for strength.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
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.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
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”).
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The antler kurikata is fit to the saya using a carved sliding dovetail, with no room to spare!
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The kurikata slides in from one side and then tightens as it reaches the final position.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The obidome has a tenon that fits into a mortise carved in the saya, again carved right to the ireko saya.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The obidome/kaerizuno will be attached with sokui after the saya is lacquered.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
In preparation for lacquering, the open grain is cleared of dust using a stiff brush.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Ready for fukiurushi, the thin layer of wiped on urushi will preserve the interesting surface texture of the wood.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
After the lacquer has cured the surface has become a rich, glossy dark chocolate colour.

Polishing

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
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.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
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.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
The fine surface grain of the steel brought out by the uchigumori stone throws multiple colours in sunlight.

Final Assembly

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
A look at all the koshirae parts before assembly
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Antler kurikata and obidome attached using sokui and tapped into place with a small mallet.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Inserting the ireko saya into the koshirae.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Completed aikuchi koshirae.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Furusato tanto forged from reclaimed antique steel.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
View of the spine with peaked iori mune.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques
Macro detail of the interesting texture of the Tshikalakala wood pores.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto made from reclaimed and natural materials using traditional techniques

 


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Dave.....For myself, and many others I am sure, are always grateful to see your work. This project is so well put together to view and learn, that I wanted to say thank you for sharing. Jaw dropping excellence, I will be watching this post and all videos over and over many times.

Thank you again, 

 

Gary LT

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1 hour ago, Gary LT said:

Dave.....For myself, and many others I am sure, are always grateful to see your work. This project is so well put together to view and learn, that I wanted to say thank you for sharing. Jaw dropping excellence, I will be watching this post and all videos over and over many times.

Thank you again, 

 

Gary LT

 

much appreciated, Gary...and there are a few more photos and details on the website: http://islandblacksmith.ca/2019/08/furusato-tanto/

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Breathtaking.......

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The meticulous attention to every detail widens the void between journeyman and master in the craft. 

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And that is why I refer all questions on things Japanese to your site.  Bravo!

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Wow, most impressive!

 

Can this one get pinned?

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5 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

Can this one get pinned?

 

Yep.  You should really subscribe to Dave's quarterly newsletter.  I knew about this one a while ago. Plus there's all kinds of other nifty stuff going on up there on the island. B)

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Well, I fell down the rabbit hole at http://islandblacksmith.ca/forge/.....

Now where was I? Oh yeah.

Amazing work Dave thanks for making me feel completely inadequate.....It makes me push a little more.

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