Sharing the warmth of the forge...
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Hand forged traditional knives from reclaimed materials.

Island Blacksmith - Winter 2016

News from the Forge

Looking forward to the coming year, there are some exciting projects and perhaps even collaborations in the works as well as some new organization for the online shop. More details will follow on the new Tools for Satoyama project as it unfolds.

The most noticeable change to the website is the centralized Prototype Lab category which serves as a gathering place for place for experimental projects, firsts, and one-off designs listed well below the current pricing schedule in order to move out quickly and make room for more. Note also that the prices will be listed in USD for awhile as we explore ways to make purchasing easier for our southern neighbours.

Please visit the website at and follow us over on Instagram to see photos of work in progress, life on the island, and things that inspire.

Sounds of the Workshop: Tanto Overview
Sounds of the Workshop: tanto overview

Sounds of the Workshop

A collection of clips documenting the steps and sounds involved at many stages of the hundred-plus hour process of crafting charcoal forged classical tanto and mountings from reclaimed materials.

Footage from several recent projects is included, some extended and some previously unreleased, some from Japan and some from Canada, and photos of the finished works appear at the end of the video.

Watch the video here:

Learn something new everyday!
Copper sekigane in a wrought iron guard

Japanese Vocabulary

Sekigane (責金) are copper inserts in a steel or wrought iron tsuba or guard. Originally designed to retrofit old guards to new blades, they also serve the purpose preventing contact between the tang and the tsuba.

Guards for classical Japanese style takedown knives are generally formed as variations of flat discs that slide over the tang. Sekigane allow for finer adjustment and fitting and add a hidden touch of class to a simple iron guard. Gane means metal and seki is related to "role or responsibility".

See the process of making a guard:

See finished photos of the tanto:

Touzai Tanto: East Meets West
Touzai Tanto: east meets west

Touzai Tanto

The seed that began this project was the question of what would result if a historical Japanese knife maker working at a time when exposure to the west was very limited was asked to create a “western” style knife based only on a description.

The resulting piece retains the lines and techniques that would have been familiar to the maker, but incorporates the more obvious elements of the foreign style.

See the finished work here:

Making Valves for Fuigo Box Bellows
Making valves for fuigo box bellows

'Smithing Secret

A woodworking post for blacksmiths? An antique or homemade fuigo (box bellows) may have valve issues and it can be difficult to find details on making and installing a new set.

Fuigo are among the most compact and efficient hand-powered bellows for forging work. Among the more technical points of construction are the four wooden flap valves which control the direction and location of the airflow on each stroke.

This article focuses on some of the more intricate and obscure details of their construction, based on research of antique fuigo.

Read more about making traditional valves for fuigo:

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 © 2016 Crossed Heart Forge, All rights reserved.

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