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...upon which histories and possibilities hang...
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Crossed Heart Forge
Traditionally crafted knives for people who wish they could take things home from museums.

Island Blacksmith - Winter 2020

"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

Antique Habaki Utsushi

A blade collar is made specifically for each blade and is as complex as making a custom fit piece of jewelery. The habaki is first hand forged and joined by silver soldering in the charcoal forge then filed to its final shape.

An utsushi is a closely based study of another work for the purposes of professional development. In this case an antique Edo period habaki serves as a model. After the scabbard has been carved the finished habaki will be polished and patinated.

Watch the video

Traditional Yaki-Ire, Hardening a Tanto

Hardening a Tanto

During the hardening process the clay layer causes a split second difference in cooling time which creates two different hardness areas in the same piece of steel.

The edge cools faster and forms a very hard steel structure called martensite while the body cools slower and forms a very tough steel structure made of ferrite and pearlite. The boundary between these two areas is called hamon and is commonly seen as a frosted line down the length of a polished sword blade.

Watch the process

building a charcoal kiln
Building a traditional charcoal making kiln

Building a Traditional Charcoal Making Kiln

As part of the island kajiba project, reclaimed and natural materials were used to construct a larger traditional style charcoal making kiln. The basic concept is a simple chamber with a door on one end and a chimney on the other, insulated and sealed by being buried in clay soil, and roofed to keep off the rain. Carefully controlling the airflow into and out of the kiln during operation is the key to making quality charcoal with efficiency.

Softwood charcoal made in the kiln (preferably from Red Pine) will be chopped and screened for use in the workshop. Its primary end will be as fuel for the forge, but smaller sizes right down to the dust are used for specific purposes at other stages in the sword making process. For example, wet charcoal fines make up the insulating forge bed and charcoal dust makes up about a third of the yaki-ire clay mixture.

See the kiln project

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 © 2020 Crossed Heart Forge, All rights reserved.


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