...upon which histories and possibilities hang...
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Historical Knifemaking: keep it simple, do it the hard way
Traditionally crafted knives for folks who wish they could take things home from museums.

Island Blacksmith - Autumn 2017

"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
Bladesmithing at the Museum Forge

Forging at the Museum

The dry season came early this year so there is not much footage from the museum forge. This custom forest kotanto started as a reclaimed harrow tooth.

The surface finish is tsuchime (hammer texture) so there was no filing or polishing before yaki-ire, which was done at my forge for more consistent light conditions.

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Process: Carving the Tsuka & Saya – Aikuchi Tanto Koshirae

Carving a Tsuka and Saya

In this video the tsuka (handle) is shaped first, carving the profile of each end and then removing the material in between before sculpting the details.

The saya (scabbard) is next, reducing the hounoki wood blank to approximate size before profiling each end and carving to the final shape.

Watch the video

Process: Making an Aikuchi Tanto Koshirae
See the steps of making the fittings for an Aikuchi Tanto Koshirae.

Process: Making an Aikuchi Tanto Koshirae

After carving the handle and scabbard, the next stages involve making the fittings and then finishing with several thin layers of natural urushi lacquer made from the sap of a certain tree. Some of the materials used are reclaimed buffalo horn, rawhide ray skin, silver, and copper.

All of the horn parts are first shaped and fit, then the samegawa is wet formed to the handle contours, dried, and then attached with sokui (rice paste glue). After the scabbard and handle are lacquered, the horn parts are polished, wiped with fukiurushi, and attached with sokui.

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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 © 2017 Crossed Heart Forge, All rights reserved.

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