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Online Japanese-style sword forging and mounting tutorials—helpful for beginners


L.S. Lawrence
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Hi everyone. This is my first post here. I considered posting this over in the Beginner’s Forum, but that seemed more geared towards asking questions, and this one towards mentioning/ sharing resources. (Mods, please move if necessary.)

 

As a brief word of intro, I’m a beginner/ hobbyist, new to bladesmithing in general, and Japanese-style bladesmithing in particular, so most of the time just I stick to lurking and learning what I can when I can. This is, after all, pretty accomplished company. Recently though, in my quest for basic know-how, I put together a list of online introductory tutorials covering many aspects of creating the Japanese-style sword. So far, I’ve found much of this really helpful, and I thought it might be worth posting it here in the hopes others new to the craft may benefit as well.

 

(One word of caution. The old saying that there’s more than one way to skin a cat seems particularly true for bladesmithing. I showed some of this material to an extremely experienced bladesmith, and he thought some of it very useful, and some of it just a recipe for “doing things the hard way.” So, caveat emptor, and 'your mileage may vary.')

 

For my own part, I’ll leave off with a public “Thank You” to the many people who took the time and care to put this stuff together and posted it on their personal sites. Anyone trying to get started today owes you a huge debt!

 

 

 

 

Introductory Material/ Background to the American-made Japanese-Style Sword

 

Great article on Michael Bell, one of the first American Japanese-style smiths (scroll to p.12 of the pdf)

 

https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/dspace/bit...08/1/Tanuki.pdf

 

Francis Boyd writing on Bell's and Boyd’s teacher, Mr. Nakajima Muneyoshi

 

http://www.francisboyd.com/monogatari.htm

 

 

Jumping Off Points with A LOT of Material

 

Don Fogg’s Craft of Bladesmithing (already well known to anyone coming here)

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/craftof.htm

 

the late Bob Engnath’s online Manual on many many topics.

 

http://www.engnath.com/public/manframe.htm

 

 

Setting Up Shop / Building Equipment

 

Jesus Hernandez on Setting Up Shop

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/garage.htm

 

Don Fogg on Making a Propane Forge

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/forge.htm

 

Fritz Ferris on Making a Base for an Anvil

 

http://www.ArtisanHandmade.com/

 

Another source

 

http://www.metalsmithinghowto.com/content/...anvilstump.html

 

A Homemade Hydraulic Press on Don Fogg’s site

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/hydralic.htm

 

Ron Claiborne’s Hydraulic Press

 

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/eellis2/Elli...aulicpress.html

 

 

Steel Basics

 

Kevin Cashen on Basic Metallurgy

 

http://swordforum.com/metallurgy/ites.html

 

SFI Primer on Typical (Modern) Katana Steels

 

http://swordforum.com/sfu/japanese/modern-steels.html

 

Admiral Steel (source for the above)

 

http://www.admiralsteel.com/shop/

 

Tatara Project with Jesus Hernandez

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/tatara.htm

 

Forging Tamahagane with Jesus Hernandez

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/forging.htm

 

Don Fogg on Making Orishigane with Louis Mills

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/Making%20Steel.htm

 

 

Forge Welding for Folded Blades

 

Shoji Yoshihara Photo Essay of the Folding Process

 

http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sword-master/page007.html

 

Ono Yoshimitsu on the same

 

http://www.samuraispirit.org/Ono-Yoshimits...kutouKoutei.pdf

 

Welding and Folding Orishigane with Jesus Hernandez

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/folding.htm

 

Kevin Cashen on Pattern Welding

 

http://www.cashenblades.com/Info/Pattern%20welding.html

 

Another Piece on Pattern Welding

 

http://www.jordanknives.com/patternwelding.htm

 

Forge Welding with Jesus Hernandez

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/welding.htm

 

Don Fogg on Forge Welding

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/forgeweld.htm

 

Forge Welding Japanese Style Blades with Walter Sorrells

 

http://www.waltersorrells.com/blades/forge%20welding.htm

 

 

Forging To Shape

 

Don Fogg’s Sword Class (an excellent section on the process of forging to shape)

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/sword.htm

 

SFI article on Basic Forging (a cartoon review/ summary of forging to shape)

 

http://swordforum.com/forge/js-basicforging.html

 

Forging the Sunobe into a Blade with Jesus Hernandez

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/sunobe.htm

 

 

Grinding and Filing Before and After Heat Treat

 

Bob Engnath on Grinding (Burr King Tips)

 

http://www.engnath.com/public/grinder.htm

 

Michael Tinker Pierce on Stock Removal Methods/ Grinding Techniques

 

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=30323

 

 

Shaping Considerations

 

Gabriel Lebec on the O-kissaki

 

http://forums.swordforum.com/attachment.ph...mp;d=1113470936

 

Shaping the Kissaki and Understanding Fumbari at Usagiya

 

http://www.ksky.ne.jp./~sumie99/kissaki.html

 

Niku and Other Shaping Considerations at Usagiya

 

http://www.ksky.ne.jp./~sumie99/shaping.html

 

Keith Larman on Sword Blade Niku

 

http://www.bugei.com/niku.html

 

Henry . A on Proper Nakago Taper

 

http://forums.swordforum.com/attachment.ph...mp;d=1143833917

 

 

Clay Application and Heat Treat

 

SFI Primer on Heat Treat

 

http://swordforum.com/sfu/primer/heattreatment.html

 

Bob Engnath on Applying Clay and Heat Treat

 

http://www.engnath.com/public/claytemp.htm

 

Fogg on the Heat Treat Used in His Katana Class

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/sword_notes_page_2.htm

 

Joe Walters on a low cost home made Heat Treating rig for knives

 

http://www.moonlitforge.com/heattreat.html

 

Thermal Processing – Yaki Ire with Jesus Hernandez

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/yakiire.htm

 

RH Graham Offers a Few Thoughts on Water Quench

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/waterhardening.htm

 

More Thoughts from Fogg on High Temp Salt Pots

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/hightemp.htm

 

 

Post-Heat Treat Adjustments

 

Blade Straightening Jig (middle of the page)

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/shop_tips.htm

 

Another Jig

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/Shoptips5.htm

 

Joe Walters on Adjusting Sori

 

http://www.bladesignforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=352

 

 

Polishing – Traditional and Hybrid

 

Polishing Tutorial by Moses Becerra

 

http://www.nihontoantiques.com/polishing,%...20by%20step.htm

 

Usagiya’s Polishing Tutorial

 

http://www.ksky.ne.jp/~sumie99/togi,process.html

 

Bob Engnath on “Yakiba” Polishing

 

http://www.engnath.com/public/polish.htm

 

Bob Engnath on a Hand-Rubbed Finish

 

http://www.engnath.com/public/handrub.htm

 

Antonio Cejunior on Hybrid Polishing

 

http://www.arscives.com/bladesign/hybridpolish.htm

 

Brian VanSpeybroeck on Polishing with Papers and Etching

 

http://home.mchsi.com/~samonji/polishtutorial.html

 

http://home.mchsi.com/~samonji/etchingtutorial.html

 

Polishing with Jesus Hernandez

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/kenma.htm

 

Don Myra’s Gaijin Todai

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/SandingBlock.htm

 

 

Bohi

 

Don Fogg on (at least) One Way to Carve Bohi

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/fullers.htm

http://www.dfoggknives.com/cleaning_up_the_fuller.htm

 

 

Habaki

 

Habaki "Anatomy"

 

http://www.scnf.org/habaki.html#Cutting

 

Overview of Construction Process

 

http://www.knives.com/habaki.html

 

Habaki Construction with Jesus Hernandez

 

http://home.comcast.net/~jeshern/habakimaking.htm

 

Brian VanSpeybroeck on Multi-layered Habaki Construction

 

http://home.mchsi.com/~samonji/habakitutorial1.html

 

Patrick Hastings’ Posts and Diagrams Discussing the Finer Points of Habaki

 

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=1692

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?threadid=66259

http://forums.swordforum.com/attachment.ph...mp;d=1017478017

http://forums.swordforum.com/attachment.ph...mp;d=1017478217

 

 

Shirasaya

 

John Tirado on Shirasaya

 

http://sayashi.com/project%20pages/shirasaya.htm

 

 

Mounting A-Z

 

Erickur Nelson’s Mounting Tutorial

 

http://www.macabeeknives.com/articles/Bingo_Mihara_Eriku.pdf

 

John Tirado on Tsuka Construction

 

http://www.sayashi.com/articles/tsuka.htm

 

Brian VanSpeybroeck on Tsuka Construction

 

http://home.mchsi.com/~samonji/tsuka.html

 

David McDonald on Tsukamaki

 

http://www.montanairon.com/tsukamaki.html#top

 

Thomas Buck on Tsukamaki

 

http://pages.prodigy.net/tlbuck/tsuka/tsuka.htm

 

A Tsukamaki Stand

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/wrapping.htm#Wrapping

 

David McDonald's Stand

 

http://www.montanairon.com/Stand%202.jpg

 

Brian Van Speybroeck on Blackening Fittings

 

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=34771

 

John Tirado on Saya Construction

 

http://sayashi.com/articles/saya.htm

 

Brian VanSpeybroeck on Saya Construction

 

http://home.mchsi.com/~samonji/saya.html

 

Thomas Buck on Saya Lacquering

 

http://pages.prodigy.net/tlbuck/lac.htm

 

Tying Sageo, at Usagiya

 

http://www.ksky.ne.jp./~sumie99/sageotying.html

 

Tying the Cord on a Sword Bag, also Usagiya

 

http://www.ksky.ne.jp./~sumie99/tyingcord.html

 

 

Classes

 

Michael Bell's classes

 

http://www.dragonflyforge.com/courses.php3

 

 

.

Edited by L.S. Lawrence
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Great collection of links, thanks for all the work. I have pinned it so it won't get lost. Much appreciated.

 

Much obliged Mr. Fogg, and a big thanks back-- first for writing so many of the articles referenced above, and then for maintaining and running this forum. It's pretty special what you guys have built here...

 

 

Anyway, back to lurking. :)

Edited by L.S. Lawrence
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LS,,, thanks a bunch for posting this info here. It sure represents a lot of work and a true attitude of sharing which is what this place is about. Thanks again,

JM

Blade

The blade, elegant
Slicing through the sweet, warm breeze
with a precise hit.


Sam Wands (10 years old)





Gold for the merchant, silver for the maid;
Copper for the craftsman, cunning at their trade.
Good! Laughed the baron, sitting in his hall;
But steel---cold steel---shall be master of them all!

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  • 1 year later...

A quick update, roughly a year later, to say that Brian Van S. has changed his site hosting, and the new URL for his tutorials on habaki making, polishing, and etching is here:

http://home.mchsi.com/~galloglas/tutorials.html

 

Also, Mike Pilo recently added a very helpful piece re his take on hybrid polishing. It can be found here: http://www.bladesignforum.com/viewtopic.ph...mp;p=7805#p7805

 

Thanks for the nice comments/ pm's. I'm glad this has been helpful.

 

--L.

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  • 5 years later...

Is it possible to update the links?

No one said this would be simple...

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

recently MEXT has added several english subtitled versions to their craftsman videos (look in the descriptions for links), lots to check out in this playlist:

forum-signature.jpg

Davej - Crossed Heart Forge * islandblacksmith.ca * instagram * youtube

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there may be a better place for this, but while i have it at hand...

the definitions are somewhat succinct and general at times but the list makes a good starting point as it has a lot of terms that are hard to find elsewhere in english:

http://www.samuraisword.com/glossary/index.htm

forum-signature.jpg

Davej - Crossed Heart Forge * islandblacksmith.ca * instagram * youtube

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  • 3 weeks later...

John Tirado's site is hard to access at the moment, but here are a few of the links to his photo essays and articles, it's nice to "watch" him work with traditional tools and methods...

project index: http://www.sayashi.com/main%20pages/projects.htm

24.jpg

shirasaya: http://sayashi.com/project pages/shirasaya.htm
copper koiguchi: http://www.sayashi.com/project pages/koiguchi.htm
tanto koshirae: http://www.sayashi.com/project pages/koshirae_saya1.htm
ireko saya: http://www.sayashi.com/project pages/ireko_saya.htm
reinforced saya: http://www.sayashi.com/images/project images/iaido saya/iaito_saya.htm

saya thoughts/details: http://sayashi.com/articles/saya.htm
habaki thoughts/details: http://sayashi.com/articles/habaki.htm
(the link from this article: http://www007.upp.so-net.ne.jp/m-kenji/habaki.html)

tsukamaki wrapping styles from toyama~san: http://www007.upp.so-net.ne.jp/m-kenji/tsukamaki.html

forum-signature.jpg

Davej - Crossed Heart Forge * islandblacksmith.ca * instagram * youtube

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