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...upon which histories and possibilities hang...
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First Lighting of the Forge
Traditionally crafted knives for folks who wish they could take things home from museums.

Island Blacksmith - Autumn 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
Inome Tanto

Inome Tanto

The inome (pronounced “ee-no-may”, 猪の目, eye of the boar) name comes from the pierced heart-shape designs of the decorative o-seppa (washers) on either side of the 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 focused, forward-moving wild boar of Japan’s forests and mountains, never giving up or retreating.

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Making Tanto Kata

A kata is a pattern or form used for study or for reference when creating an utsushi blade. The exercise of accurately making kata based on the work of historical smiths is an excellent way to train the eyes, mind, and body to create proper tanto forms. The most important aspect of making kata is to work carefully to be as true to the original lines as possible.

This series of photos documents the creation of steel kata based on a famous antique tanto.

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Making an Ireko Saya: Furusato Tanto

Aikuchi Mounting with Ireko Saya – Furusato Tanto

This tanto was forged from a reclaimed plowshare found on a homestead. 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 hardwood. A refined detail that is normally hidden from view, the ireko saya protects the blade from the hardwood.

"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

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.

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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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