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Hey all,,, I am working on a proposal to a local Japanese cultural center and have found it difficult to find more than a few pictures of traditional (historical or contemporary) Japanese smithys. Do you all (or you any) know of any web references, books, videos, which show how Japanese blacksmith/bladesmiths work? This is not specific to swordsmithing, but would include it of course. Tool makers, utility knife makers etc. can be referenced. Thanks in advance,

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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There are several videos on you tube.I dont remember what search entry I used.They show them in use but dont discuss construction.

Edited by McAhron

N'T McAhron Sqwaukin Vulture Verrinder

"to create is to make art"

TREMBLING EARTH KNIFE WORKS (website coming soon)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey all,,, I am working on a proposal to a local Japanese cultural center and have found it difficult to find more than a few pictures of traditional (historical or contemporary) Japanese smithys. Do you all (or you any) know of any web references, books, videos, which show how Japanese blacksmith/bladesmiths work? This is not specific to swordsmithing, but would include it of course. Tool makers, utility knife makers etc. can be referenced. Thanks in advance,

JM

 

Look at Japanese wood block prints..I think Hiroshige did a seties on craft.

 

Ric

Richard Furrer

Door County Forgeworks

Sturgeon Bay, WI

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Thanks for the input fellas,

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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In terms of photos, here are some books worth checking out:

 

Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths by Yoshindo Yoshihara and the Kapps

 

The New Generation of Japanese Smiths by Tamio Tsuchiko

 

The Yasukuni Swords by Tom Kishida. This one's got plans of some of the wartime forge set-up at the Yasukuni Shrine during WWII.

 

If you have the budget, try to track down Tom Kishida. I don't know anything about him personally, other than the fact that he's probably photographed every smith in Japan. If you can't find him online, you should be able to contact him through Kodansha, the publisher of the Yasukuni book.

 

 

 

As far as films go, a Public Television station in Texas did a piece about Yoshindo Yoshihara at work. The shinkendo video "Naked Blade" (lots of luck finding this one) has a bunch of nice B&W footage of Miyairi Akihira back in the '50s. There's also a recent British TV show which can be found in web form at this link:

http://www.spikedhumor.com/articles/101393...ord_Katana.html.

Check out Walter's instructional videos:

Forging Japanese Style Blades

Making Hamons

Japanese Sword Mounting

Polishing

Making Japanese Sword Fittings

www.waltersorrellsblades.com
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Awesome Walter! Thanks a bunch, wish me luck in locating some of this. Of course, if anyone reading this can point me I'd be forever grateful. BTW, Walter, every time I see your work I am inspired. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to meeting you one day. Perhaps we can compare our budo techniques,,,

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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  • 6 months later...

I'm watching these videos, and thinking about what Walter, and Jesus, and Mike, and Randall do... is anyone actually doing the jacket thing, choosing lower carbon steel for the core, and wrapping it with the "better" stuff for their tamahagane? Or are people here just forging out tamahagane as-is, and calling it good? I'm curious what people think... is it more tradition, or does the jacketing/core really make for a better blade?

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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I personally feel the jacket/core routine was a method to save material, good stuff for the outside, filler on the inside.

IF you make a blade out of all higher-carbon bloomery steel, or hagane, after heat-treat it has pretty much identical characteristics anyway. It's all shallow-hardening steel.

Randal

www.rhgraham.simpl.com

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OK, I know I've asked this question before but now I have a new take. Since it is takes so long and so much materials(and also much experimentation) to make your own steel would it make sense to use a lower carbon/inexpensive mill steel core to save the"tamahagane"? Is this the reason the Japanese are still doing it this way? Or does this just add unnecessary complexity?

 

Matt

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Hey all,,, I am working on a proposal to a local Japanese cultural center and have found it difficult to find more than a few pictures of traditional (historical or contemporary) Japanese smithys. Do you all (or you any) know of any web references, books, videos, which show how Japanese blacksmith/bladesmiths work? This is not specific to swordsmithing, but would include it of course. Tool makers, utility knife makers etc. can be referenced. Thanks in advance,

JM

 

I feel like I got things thrown off track with my comments about tamahagane, I apologize.

 

JM, I wonder if you are thinking about building an actuall working shop? ...or rather a collection of photos, printed work, or mock-ups, etc.

Randal

www.rhgraham.simpl.com

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No worries Randal. I practice Aikido at a dojo that also has a very highly regarded Japanese resturant and Japanese cultural center. There is a "museum" and gardens with a huge statue of Buddhas mother and a Mongolian Ger. My Sensei has cordial relationships with the local Mongolian community, even hosting high level Mogolian politicians. We also have an outreach program to many developing countries. We often host the Japanese counsel. I would like to adds a Japanese, tradition smithy to our grounds. I just have to know that I can pull it off, and that I can make it look real to those who would know what one looks like. My hope is to then do demos occasionally and maybe sell a blade or two. It would certainly "go with" the rest of the center. Check it out, Nippon Kan,. Anyhow, thanks for bumping my post.

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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  • 3 months later...

Greetings JM,very interesting work.Construction and operation of a tatara is the basic unit where it all starts whether it is for very high carbon steel for small tools and sword jacket material or for spring steel and low quality "mild steel" for other implements.Actually operating one would be expensive in terms of materials needed to produce any substantial quantities but a smaller demonstration unit could be modeled easily.The books suggested earlier are full of relevant material.Good luck

Alan M

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