Habaki Replacement and Tsuba Repair by Tomboyama Alumnus

A critical failure

An esteemed alumnus of Tomboyama, Jeff Adachi, recently performed an emergency repair for a fellow iaido classmate. The owner noticed a rattle and it turned out the habaki had almost completely split. Somewhat surprisingly, the failure to occurred down the mune side rather than at the solder seam. It was probably the worst condition habaki Jeff had ever seen. Continue reading Habaki Replacement and Tsuba Repair by Tomboyama Alumnus

May Basic Forging Course Fully Booked

Let this serve as an update for the 2011 School Year. The May 9-13 Basic Forging Course has now been fully booked. The other scheduled classes of 2011 are also beginning to fill up.

A reservation deposit is required to reserves one’s place in a scheduled session. Reservations are ‘first-come, first serve’, and may be made through our school’s website and PayPal, or by telephone.

Annual Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Knife Show

Dragonfly Forge will soon be attending the Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) annual knife show in Eugene, Oregon.

The show, held at the convention center at the Lane County Fairgrounds, will be held April 8-10, 2011.  Friday admission is open to club members only, but Saturday and Sunday the show is open to any who enjoy “things that go cut.”

A large variety of lectures and live demonstrations will be held throughout the weekend, including a presentation by Michael Bell, master swordsmith of Dragonfly Forge, scheduled on Sunday of the show at noon.  Entitled “Origins: The Evolution of Blade Technology”, the talk will focus on the metallurgical development of blades worldwide, from around 1000 BC to present day.

For more information on the annual show, please visit the OKCA website.

2011 School Year Begins

Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo concluded the first two classes of the 2011 school year last week. The dojo hosted a Basic Forging Course last week, as well as a 2-day session of our Kajioshi Course over the weekend.

We are proud to announce that the March Basic Forging Course was a great success. It was a pleasure working with the three students of the class, Aaron, Jesus, and Justin.

One student, Aaron, stayed over the weekend to continue his studies further with the Kajioshi Course taught over the weekend. Although the first day of class was largely still spent on the grinder refining shape, by the second day Aaron moved to water-stones and learn the basic technique used with them.

2011 Swordsmithing School Course Schedule

11nov2010basicforging7 300x200 2011 Swordsmithing School Course Schedule 

2011 School Year

Dragonfly Forge is happy to announce the schedule of classes for the 2011 school year of Tomboyama Nihontō Tanren Dōjō (Dragonfly Mountain Japanese Sword Forging School).

We will be beginning the school year the last week of March and we are looking forward to another great year!

For the coming year we are offering a couple new classes, as well as offering a new schedule with two pairs of successive five-day classes over a two week period. These were added due to interest by students wanting to be able to cover a broader curriculum in one visit.

In May 2011 we will be holding a five-day Basic Forging Course the week of May 9-13, and the following week we will hosting a five-day Kajioshi-Habaki Combo Course.

Then in July, we have scheduled a 5-day Koshirae Course, followed the next week by a five-day session of our new Tsuka Course. which not only covers the art of tsukamaki, but also the carving, proper shaping, and laying of same, in order to make a complete handle. By offering this extanded two week curriculum students may have an opportunity to more thoroughly study the making of a complete koshirae.

Although students may take any of these classes individually, if they register for both classes in a two week session, we will be offering a discount of 15% from the tuition due at attendance.

Our other new class for the 2011 year is our Intermediate Forging Course, which is intended for students who have already taken our Basic Forging Course, or otherwise already have some experience bladesmithing. Details of the course can be read below.

All of our classes run from 9 AM to 5 PM on the dates of the session. Lunch is provided.

Space in our school is limited per class, and a deposit is required to secure a seat, which can be paid through our site which links to a secure PayPal site. The remaining tuition is due on the first day of the course.

For information on experience necessary, accommodations, travel directions, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions Category.

2011 School Year

March 2011
Monday, March 21 – Friday, March 25 – Basic Forging Course
Saturday, March 26 – Sunday, March 27 – Kajioshi Course

April 2011

Friday, April 8 – Sunday, April 10 – Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Knife Show
Saturday, April – Sunday, April – Tsukamaki Course

May 2011
Monday, May 9 – Friday, May 13 – Basic Forging Course
Monday, May 16 – Friday, May 20 – KajioshiHabaki Combo Course

June 2011
Monday, June 13 – Friday, June 17 – Basic Forging Course
Saturday, June 18 – Sunday, June 19 – Kajioshi Course

July 2011
Monday, July 11 – Friday, July 15 – Koshirae Course
Monday, July 18 – Friday, July 22 – Tsuka Course

August 2011
Saturday, August 7 – Sunday, August 8 – San Francisco Token Kai
Monday, August 15 – Friday, August 19 – Basic Forging Course
Saturday, August 20 – Sunday, August 21 – Habaki Course

September 2011
Monday, September 5 – Friday, September 9 – Intermediate Forging Course
Saturday, September 10 – Sunday, September 11 – Kajioshi Course

Basic Forging Course

This is a hands-on course designed to give the student a working familiarity with the tools and metals utilized in the forging of a sword blade. Each student will forge his own blade of at least wakizashi length from forge-welded steel cable. Skills learned will include forging, grinding, filing and heat-treating, with attendant emphasis on metallurgy and proper shaping and aesthetics. All tools, fuel, and material included.

The price of the course is $1300 and is limited to four students per session. A deposit of $300 is requested, refundable up to 60 days before the session begins.

Sessions scheduled:
Monday, March 21 – Friday, March 25
Monday, May 9 – Friday, May 13
Monday, June 13 – Friday, June 17
Monday, August 15 – Friday, August 19

Intermediate Forging Course New for 2011!

In this course, intended for experienced students who either taken our Basic Forging Course already, or have other experience bladesmithing first-hand.

In this class students will participate in the first the forge-welding of wire rope, cable, and then forge-fold the cable billets multiple times.  Students will then hand forge tanto from the folded steel.  The blade will then be shaped with grinders and files, and prepared for heat-treatment.  Hopefully, after a successful yaki-ire, we will continue to refine and sharpen the blades, as time allows.

Tanto, having the greatest variety of different styles of blade shape will be the focus of the class. Students will forge a blade of shobu-zukuri, hira-zukuri, osuraku-zukuri, moroha-zukuri, or of another shape and are encouraged to explore a geometry besides the typical shinogi-zukuri.

All tools, fuel, and material included.

The price of the course is $1300 and is limited to four students per session. A deposit of $300 is requested, refundable up to 60 days before the session begins.

Sessions scheduled:
Monday, September 5 – Friday, September 9

Habaki Course

A two day hands-on weekend course where the student will make a copper habaki. Skills learned will include forging and annealing the metal, hard-soldering, filing, shaping, polishing and decoration. All tools and materials required are provided.
The student should provide his own blade, properly shaped on water-stones in preparation, to ensure a well-fitted habaki.

The price of the course is $520 and is limited to four students per session. A deposit of $120 is requested, refundable up to 60 days before the session begins.

Sessions scheduled:
Saturday, August 20 – Sunday, August 21

Koshirae Course

Students will learn how to carve handles (tsuka) and scabbards (saya), as well as fitting tsuba, fitting seppa and fitting fuchigashira to the tsuka. Included in the course is the making of mortise and tenon kojiri and koiguchi, and kurigata made from buffalo horn. Tools used are traditional saws, chisels, knives, and planes and will be on hand for students. Alder wood will be provided, although students may bring their own.

Tools and materials will be provided, but students should have their own sword blades with a well-fitted habaki, plus tsuba and fuchigashira.

The price of the course is $1300 and is limited to four students. A deposit of $300 is requested, refundable up to 60 days before session begins.

Sessions scheduled:
Monday, July 11 – Friday, July 15

Tsuka Course     New for 2011!

This is a new five day class for 2011 which was added due to interest by students wanting to make a complete handle.

The class will cover the carving of the inside of the handle and achieving proper shaping of of the wooden core. Also covered will be the inlaying of same-kawa (ray skin) panels into the handle. There will not be time for students to do a full single-piece wrap of same on their own swords, but the technique for doing so will also be discussed. Once this has been completed, student’s will spend the last couple days learning the art of wrapping the handle cord, tsuka-maki.

Tools and materials will be provided, but students should have their own sword blades with a well-fitted habaki and saya, and tsuba (if not gaurdless, aikuchi), as well as fuchigashira, shitodome, and menuki. Tsuka will be carved of alder wood, which is provided, but students may bring their own if they so wish. We can provide pieces same for student’s tsuka, but student may bring their own skin if they would like.

This class can either be taken together with the Koshirae Course, or separately if student’s only wish to make only a tsuka. By taking both the Koshirae and Tsuka Courses, students may more thoroughly study making a complete koshirae.

Sessions scheduled:
Monday, July 18 – Friday, July 22

The price of the course is$130 0 and is limited to four students. A deposit of $300 is requested, refundable up to 60 days before session begins.

Although students may take any class individually, if they register for both classes in a two week session, we will discount 15% from the tuition due at attendance.

Continue reading 2011 Swordsmithing School Course Schedule

“Knifemaking Series Part Six: How to Make a Sword” by Don Fogg

Blade Magazine has posted an article “How to Make a Sword” online, as part six of their “Knifemaking Series”.

The article is authored by Don Fogg, an outstandingly talented bladesmith, and more importantly a true gentleman. It is a interesting and informative read for anyone fascinated with swords and their construction.

As acknowledged in the article, swordsmithing is quite different from knifemaking. Although forging a knife is an excellent way to learn hammering, forge-welding, and heat-treatment, a sword poses some additional difficulties.

Although the article does not focus specifically in the Japanese style, it is full of useful information for anyone looking to learn more about swordsmithing in general, and much does apply to Japanese style blades.

Surely students of the dōjō will notice several differences between the methods, tools, and techniques and those described in the article. Obviously, at our own swordsmithing school we instruct students in our own method of forging Japanese style swords. But we are also quick to emphasize that students should do what works best for them.

For those truly interested in learning swordsmithing firsthand, we would of course recommend taking a class at our swordsmithing school, Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dōjō, which, although not mentioned in the article, is the the only school of its kind in the world. We would suggest students begin with the Basic Forging Course.



Autumn 2010 Swordcrafting Classes at Tomboyama, 2010 School Year Concludes

As the leaves of the Japanese maples once again began change to bright red in the crisp fall air, Tomboyama Nihontō Tanren Dōjō began winding up the 2010 school year.

In September, we hosted a Basic Forging Course and Oroshigane Seminar. Athanasios, the student who attended both, traveled from Athens, Greece to participate in our classes here at Tomboyama. Because of the difficulty of making such long distance travel arrangements, we were happy to schedule a special session of our Oroshigane Seminar for our Greek pupil as well. After returning to Greece, Athanasios has been busy setting up his own shop and has begun a swordsmithing blog, “Gaijintō”.

A specially scheduled Tsuka-maki (Handle-wrapping) Course was added in October. Our student, Thomas, learned and practiced the art of tsuka-maki by rewrapping the handle of his “dōjō cutting sword” with nice black silk ito.

We finished up the school year with the final of Basic Forging Course last week, November 1-5. Two students, Chip and Fred, attended the class, which was a later addition to this years schedule.

And now as the weather becomes colder and the rain more constant, Tomboyama now closes its doors for 2010. Winter storms can make travel arrangements problematic for students, many of which travel in from out-of-state. The winter break from classes also allows us to catch up with our own demanding workload.

If prospective students would like to make recommendations as to preferred dates for next years courses , we will happily take them into consideration as we now prepare for the schedule for the 2011 school year. The schedule for 2011 school year classes should be posted here online within a month.

We are looking forward the 2011 school year!