Found the Tachi Pics – Blacksmithing

This is just after the differential clay hardening. The hamon is visible in some of the bottom pics.

Build Log – Hira Zukuri Tachi


Authentic tachi were forged during the Kotō period, before 1596. With a few exceptions katana and tachi can be distinguished from each other if signed, by the location of the signature (mei) on the tang (nakago). In general themei should be carved into the side of the nakago that would face outward when the sword was worn. Since a tachi was worn cutting edge down, and the katana was worn cutting edge up the mei would be in opposite locations on the nakago of both types of swords.

An authentic tachi that was manufactured in the correct time period averaged 70–80 centimeters (27 9/16 – 31 1/2 inches)in cutting edge length (nagasa) and compared to a katana was generally lighter in weight in proportion to its length, had a greater taper from hilt to point, was more curved with a smaller point area.

Unlike the traditional manner of wearing the katana, the tachi was worn hung from the belt with the cutting-edge down, and was most effective when used by cavalry.Deviations from the average length of tachi have the prefixesko- for “short” and ō- for “great or large” attached. For instance, tachi that were shōtō and closer in size to a wakizashi were called kodachi. The longest tachi (considered a 15th century ōdachi) in existence is more than 3.7 meters in total length (2.2m blade) but believed to be ceremonial. In the late 1500s and early 1600s many old surviving tachi blades were converted into katana by having their original tangs cut (o-suriage), the signature (mei) would be lost in this process.


Hira Zukuri

Basically a bevel which slopes from the cutting edge of the blade all the way to the back. Rarely seen on full length swords, usually used when making tanto and wakizashi. It forms a lighter and much sharper blade with greatly enhanced cutting ability at the cost of durability. You wouldn’t want to go up against a sword wielding opponent with one of these if you find yourself having to block and parry often. If however one wanted a very light weight but very effective offensive-only sword this is the way to go. In the world of competitive tameshigiri cutting these are often referred to as ‘cheater blades’ due to their cutting effectiveness.

Here is an example of a Hira Zukuri style blade. Note the complete lack of a flat deflecting side edge.





This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Dagger WIP

Cedar heartwood handle, so pretty.





Smithing Work Pics

very good pic of a syngas burn, smothered the charcoal with wood chips

Little Smithing Writeup

I’ve been working with hot metal for about a year now. Here’s a little writeup of things I’ve learned along the way.

First some basic one liners of wisdom. All of these have been learned the hard way.

  • Don’t work hot metal while wearing tennis shoes. Use steel toe leather work boots. You will learn new levels of speedy footwork if you ignore this.
  • Always make sure the metal stock is even with the face of the anvil before hitting it. You will save a lot of finger injuries if you keep this in mind.
  • Wood as a fuel source doesn’t work very well, but it works. Chop it up into small chunks or you’ll be waiting for ever for a hot spot.
  • Cold weather can rupture metal slack tubs when the water turns to ice.
  • Yellow/White hot steel is much, much, much easier to work than red. Be patient let the metal heat.
  • 6” wide pipe does not work as a chimney. Order the big stuff the first time (12” works good).
  • Too much air blowing into the forge is bad. If you’re throwing sparks you’re loosing heat.
  • Drill your holes BEFORE you quench… /facepalm
  • Take care not to accidentally bend your blades in the fire when heating to quench, this is especially true for thin blades.
  • Don’t smith without a slack tub nearby. If it breaks go ahead and rig up another one instead of just smithing without it.
  • When in doubt, don’t just take another swing of the hammer. Instead take a closer look and another heat.
  • Fast dry 2 part epoxy is horrible. Don’t use it. Ever. For anything. Use normal slow dry 2 part epoxy. It is crazy awesome.

A little about my shop:

My “anvil” was made pretty cheaply but has been very effective. I used a section from a very large forklift tine cut to size. Four 2′ long sections of rebar are welded to the bottom of it about 8” apart

Blacksmithing: Finished: English Scalping Knife

English Scalping Knife Replica 1750-1790


Remade the handle, the lanyard tube didn’t fit with the historical accuracy of the peice.eskfinal

This piece was my very first commissioned work, as such I tried my best adhere to the dimensions, look and function of the item.
It’s a very hard blade with great flexibility, and it is very sharp.
This is also the first sheath I’ve ever attempted but I think it turned out ok.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Steel: 9260
Length, Overall: 11.5”
Length, Blade: 7.5”
Length, Handle:4”
Width, Blade Edge: 1/8”
Width, Blade Max Width: 1.25”
Width, Handle: 1”

Taper, Distal: None, until the last .25”
Blade Edge: Taper Grind
Handle Material: Walnut, brass rod/tubing
Finish, Blade: Smithed look(unpolished very light sanding), boiling vinegar bath.
Finish, Handle: Walnut Danish oil
Quench: Vegetable oil full length of the blade and halfway up the handle
Temper: 45mins at 500F, dark yellow and light purple hues visible.
Sheath: Cow leather, black polish, wet soaked to knife shape, cooked in dehydrator.