...upon which histories and possibilities hang...
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Film: Study the Old to Know the New
Traditionally crafted knives for folks who wish they could take things home from museums.

Island Blacksmith - Winter 2019

"The swordsmith was not a mere artizan, but an inspired artist, and his workshop a sanctuary. Daily he commenced his craft with prayer and purification...Every swing of the sledge, every plunge into water, every friction on the stone was a spiritual act of no slight import...Perfect as a work of art, there was more than art could impart. Its cold blade collecting on its surface, the moment it is drawn, the vapours of the atmosphere; its immaculate texture flashing light of a blueish hue, its matchless edge upon which histories and possibilities hang; the curve of its back uniting exquisite grace with utmost strength; all these fill us with mixed feelings of power and beauty, of awe and terror."

~Inazo Nitobe, Bushido, The Soul of Japan
Yoroidoshi in Shirasaya

Yoroidoshi in Shirasaya

Hand forged from a segment of reclaimed horse-drawn carriage spring, the slender blade profile and thick spine are based on a classical yoroidoshi (armour piercing) tanto design.

The shirasaya (storage scabbard) was carved from a piece of figured Japanese hounoki wood and finished with tokusa grass polishing and natural ibota wax.

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Building Simple Charcoal Forges

Building Simple Forges

Most of history was forged with very simple equipment made from found and natural materials. A basic charcoal forge can be made with clay, brick, or even mud and stone.

This video provides two examples of quick and simple sideblast charcoal forges to demonstrate that lack of equipment should not be an obstacle to craft.

Watch the video

Eyes on the Spine: say No to the kink, and Yes to the flow
Eyes on the Spine: say No to the kink, and Yes to the flow

Eyes on the Spine: principles of classical tanto design

One of the most common mistakes when attempting to recreate a Japanese classical style tanto is to caricature or over exaggerate certain design elements while entirely missing others. The Japanese aesthetic is subtle and nuanced, millimeter differences can make or break the lines of a blade or koshirae.

A subtle curve is almost always more pleasing than a straight line and the eye should always trump the hard math when it comes to aesthetics, but the math is an important starting point and sticking close to it is the fastest way to the aesthetic. The illustrations and notes in this article should provide some checkpoints for the design process and work flow, as well as some elements to observe when studying antiques.

(spoiler alert: there is no kink between handle and blade, and tanto spines are straight)

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In the shadow of Mt. Arrowsmith,
deep in a forest clearing,
away from the things of man,
there is a place where blades are born
of earth, and air, and fire, and water.

Copyright © 2019 Crossed Heart Forge, All rights reserved.

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