Tomboyama is offering for the 2016 school year something old and something new.
We’ve had many requests to do another Oroshigane Seminar, having not done so for several years. This is a weekend event on converting pure iron into high quality sword steel.
Oroshigane is the process by which carbon content is adjusted; It can be iron to which carbon is added or steel of too high a carbon content needing a reduction in carbon. Once adjusted this steel is termed Tamahagane, “jewel blade metal”.
We will be adding carbon to electrolytic sponge iron (denkaitetsu in Japanese), thus making Tamahagane.
This steel and the steel smelted from high quality sand ore are the only materials allowed in modern Japanese swords, as the two are chemically nearly identical.
The new part is this year we will follow up the weekend seminar with a five day course using the steel just made, which we are calling our Advanced Forging Course. This will include assembling a billet of steel and folding the metal for the required number of folds. When the folding is done a bar will be drawn out and cut to make blanks that will be forged to shape. Each student will have enough material to forge a tanto.
This promises to be an interesting and challenging course and will aid in the understanding of the Japanese sword.
An alumnus of our dojo wrote about his experience here in 2015 during a Basic Forging Course.
“The course is not easy per se, but it’s deeply satisfying. I’d even say it was meditative. You’re able to comfortably lose yourself in the task at hand, while also earning a deeper appreciation of just how much time a steady hand takes to develop. At the end of the course, you have a living blade that you yourself have shaped and created, and a wealth of knowledge. It’s a beginner’s level course, but you leave empowered and equipped to return home and continue your education via honing your skills until you can return to Coos Bay for the next class.”
One can read the whole entry on his blog, The Parlous Professional
Friday, April 10 – Sunday, April 12: Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Knife Show in Eugene, Oregon
Monday March 23 – Friday, March 27 – Basic Forging Course
Saturday, March 28 – Sunday, March 29 – Kajioshi Course
Monday, April 20 – Friday, April 24 – Introduction to Forging Laminate Woodworking Tools
Monday, May 18 – Friday, May 22 – Basic Forging Course
Saturday, May 23 – Sunday, May 24 – Habaki Course
Monday, June 15 – Friday, June 19 – Kajioshi-Habaki Combo Course
Monday, June 29 – Friday, July 3 – Koshirae Course
Saturday, July 4 – Sunday, July 5 – Tsuka-maki Course
Monday, July 27 – Friday, July 31 – Basic Forging Course
Saturday, August 1 – Sunday, August 2 – Kajioshi Course
Monday, August 24 – Friday, August 28 – Intermediate Forging Course
Saturday, August 29 – Sunday, August 30 – Habaki Course
Monday, September 7 – Friday, September 11 – Basic Forging Course
Saturday, September 12 – Sunday, September 13 – Kajioshi Course
Monday, October 5 – Friday, October 9 – Basic Forging Course
Saturday, October 10 – Sunday, October 11 – Habaki Course
This past October, Gabriel Bell of Dragonfly Forge, had the distinct honor of attending Ford Hallam’s Immersive Iron Brush workshop. Mr. Hallam is the world’s foremost artist and authority of Japan’s ancient decorative metalworking tradition, kinko, having received top awards and recognition in Japan.
During the intensive four-week workshop, Gabriel was introduced firsthand into the techniques of line engraving, relief carving, true inlay and wire inlay, overlay (nunome), as well as tool-making, alloy composition, and patination. It was an enlightening and transformative experience for Gabriel, having found a wise and inspiring teacher in Mr. Hallam, as well as making great friends with other classmates.
Ford hopes to continue sharing his knowledge, experience, and passion of kinko to others. Towards this end, he began a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of the first volume of a series of 7 books that will present for the first time in any language, even Japanese, a comprehensive introduction to Japanese decorative metalwork techniques, materials and processes. This will be the seminal work on the subject and one that Ford hopes will be of use to craftspeople, collectors, academics and curators.
“Hidden on a hillside along the Coquille River, not far from Bandon, world renowned craftsman and Dragonfly Forge founder Michael Bell practices an art more than a thousand years old: Japanese sword making.”