...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 - Summer 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
Building a Charcoal Tanto Forge

Building a Tanto Forge

This forge is a scaled down version specifically geared for tanto and smaller knives but has a removable spacer to allow for a larger fire when needed. Now for some serious charcoal chopping.

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

Watch the video

Making a Handle for a Japanese Swordsmithing Hammer

Making a Hammer Handle

Traditional Japanese smithing hammers have rectangular eyes with no taper. The handles are not wedged but are held in place by a compression fit involving careful shaping, hand forged wood, and soaking in water.

The handle in the video is made from a piece of a branch from one of the Green Ash trees that grew through my first blacksmith shop lean-to in the early 1990's.

Read the article

Aikuchi Tanto Koshirae - Carving the Inside
See the steps of carving the inside of an Aikuchi Tanto Koshirae.

Process: Carving the Inside of an Aikuchi Tanto Koshirae

Following past issues' look at how the inside parts of a traditional tanto mounting fit together, this video is aimed at those who want to study the steps and workflow of carving the inside in further detail.

In this video the tsuka is carved first, starting with the omote side and then the ura, carving each half from the mune to the ha. The saya is next, starting with the omote and then the ura, each half beginning with the fitting of the blade (mune to ha) and then the fitting of the habaki area (koiguchi). Finally the halves are glued together with rice paste glue, wrapped with leather cord, and wedged tightly to dry overnight.

Watch the video

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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