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Peter Boylan 10-30-2013 07:24 AM

Visiting a swordsmith
 
The sword is a critical part of what we train, but it's also an incredibly beautiful work of craftsmanship and art. I was able to visit a friend of mine who is a sword smith while I was in Japan recently. I thought people might enjoy this look at Japanese sword craft up close.
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2013/10/...ese-sword.html

lbb 10-30-2013 08:22 AM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
You are one lucky guy, Peter.

Peter Boylan 10-30-2013 04:45 PM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
Mary, it just takes some effort. OK, a lot of effort, but it is doable. I'm happy to help people who want to go to Japan and see some of these things.

lbb 10-30-2013 08:17 PM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
Quote:

Peter Boylan wrote: (Post 331822)
Mary, it just takes some effort. OK, a lot of effort, but it is doable. I'm happy to help people who want to go to Japan and see some of these things.

When I inherit a bunch of money to throw at that particular problem, I'll be in that line.

aikidark 10-30-2013 08:46 PM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
Pretty awesome article, photos and video clips. I can see what you mean about working that hammer. So when the smith taps twice is he saying "hit between here and here?"

Peter Boylan 10-31-2013 09:24 AM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
Quote:

Alex Fitzgerald wrote: (Post 331830)
Pretty awesome article, photos and video clips. I can see what you mean about working that hammer. So when the smith taps twice is he saying "hit between here and here?"

Thanks! The first tap tells you were to hit, and the second tap is on the anvil and means "go". If he taps the anvil twice, it means "stop"

Keith Larman 10-31-2013 10:11 AM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
There are a few smiths out there who don't mind having visitors while they work. If I remember right one of Ono Yoshimitsu's deshi would occasionally hold a class where the participants would forge out and heat treat their own kogatana (the small blade sometimes seen in the saya on the side of the sword). Very cool stuff for participants.

I've had the honor of hanging out watching a forging session (but no where near as involved as Peter was). Man, it is intense. I was standing close by and it wasn't until it was over that I realized I had multiple burn holes in my shirt and a few burns on my face. The smith later slapped me on the back saying I was a smith at heart the way I was standing in close without concern of the heat and sparks. He said I had that look in my eyes. Yeah, firebug I guess. It was truly fascinating. And I'm pretty sure I don't want to be the one swinging those hammers. One of these days I'm going to finish building my own forge here at home...

Keith Larman 10-31-2013 10:13 AM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
Let me add it is the same reason I love the polishing of swords. There's something very basic and primal about the whole thing. Very intimate. Very focused. We often talk about meditation in motion. Same basic thing here.

Great stuff Peter. Thanks for posting it.

Peter Boylan 10-31-2013 12:21 PM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 331842)

I've had the honor of hanging out watching a forging session (but no where near as involved as Peter was). Man, it is intense. I was standing close by and it wasn't until it was over that I realized I had multiple burn holes in my shirt and a few burns on my face. The smith later slapped me on the back saying I was a smith at heart the way I was standing in close without concern of the heat and sparks. He said I had that look in my eyes. Yeah, firebug I guess. It was truly fascinating. And I'm pretty sure I don't want to be the one swinging those hammers. One of these days I'm going to finish building my own forge here at home...

Keith, if you ever get so excited that you want to really jump in and do it, Kawahara Sensei has told me he would be happy to have someone who commissioned a sword come out and help him make it. I've done that with another dear friend who is a smith, and it is a blast. Figuratively and literally. You're right, that forge throws off an incredible amount of heat, and you don't want to wear anything that can't afford a few holes. Cover your head too, because getting any of those sparks in your hair is unpleasant ;)

Walter Martindale 11-05-2013 10:09 AM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
I know the answer is "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." and it's true, I can't, but… how much does one of these swords cost?

PeterR 11-05-2013 11:32 AM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
I remember Peter visiting one with you years ago. We went up to the little room and the piles of money started being passed over and if I remember correctly that was just for doing the fittings.

Peter Boylan 11-05-2013 12:01 PM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
Quote:

Walter Martindale wrote: (Post 331937)
I know the answer is "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." and it's true, I can't, butů how much does one of these swords cost?

The last time I talked pricing with Kawahara Sensei he was asking about $8,500, but the dollar/yen rate has change significantly since then, so I have sent him a note to get his current pricing.

Peter Boylan 11-05-2013 12:05 PM

Re: Visiting a swordsmith
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote: (Post 331942)
I remember Peter visiting one with you years ago. We went up to the little room and the piles of money started being passed over and if I remember correctly that was just for doing the fittings.

Peter, this is the same smith. I'm not sure if he ability to never age isn't even more impressive than his smithing. He doesn't do fittings, but I do remember talking about the prices for some of the lovely pieces he showed us, and yes, they are expensive works of art. I was looking at a couple of pieces that were given to me years ago, and was amazed again at their beauty and the incredible craftsmanship and artistry.


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