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A small scale high-furnace is operated at Les Forges de Montréal. It is supplied with charcoal and iron ore. In order to improve the furnace’s efficiency, the ore is prepared into pellets. This ingenious tool facilitates the making of those pellets.

Iron smelting pellet maker


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A small scale high-furnace is operated at Les Forges de Montréal. It… Continue reading


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The teko is the tool — a plain bar — that is used to hold the steel block to be forged. The said block is welded onto one end of the teko. This video shows Manabe Sumihira performing such a forge weld.

Teko-zuke


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The teko is the tool — a plain bar — that is… Continue reading


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In early April 2011 I had the opportunity to visit a traditional village blacksmith while in the Fikkhal area, Eastern Nepal.

In both India and Nepal craftsmen are still considered as the lowest cast and I could see this man lives simply. He was extremely peaceful and very pleasant to be around.

He produces mostly tools and farm implements for locals, but when I asked him to make something for me, he obviously suggested the Gurkha’s khukri. The order is placed…

Nepalese village blacksmith


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In early April 2011 I had the opportunity to visit a traditional… Continue reading


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Aku, or charred straw, is used as a coating when forging traditional steels at very high temperatures in the processes of japanese swordsmithing. The charred straw is both a light source of carbon for the steel, as well as an anti-oxidizing coating when it liquifies near welding temperature.

Making aku – Fabrication d’aku


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Aku, or charred straw, is used as a coating when forging traditional… Continue reading


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Sumi-kiri, the cutting of the charcoal by japanese swordsmith apprentices, as poorly performed by me. In this video, one strike out of ten is ok, while all others made me frown… size wrong.. size wrong.. swing wrong.. size wrong.. strength wrong.. size wrong.. wrong angle.. and so on.

It is said it takes three years to learn this properly. I think they’re being optimistic.

Sumi-kiri – Charcoal cutting


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Sumi-kiri, the cutting of the charcoal by japanese swordsmith apprentices, as poorly… Continue reading


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There are several ways to wrap a tool handle, usually with plain rope. I’m presenting one here, used on the teko, the bar used for tanren.

Tool handle wrap


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There are several ways to wrap a tool handle, usually with plain… Continue reading


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This is a tour of my smithy here in Shimizu, Japan. The smithy has over a century of recorded history as the workplace of a village blacksmith. Only the forge itself has been refitted for sword making.

Katana-kaji – Forge


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This is a tour of my smithy here in Shimizu, Japan. The… Continue reading


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The forge used by swordsmiths in Japan is inconvenient for delicate work because it is deep and remote from the smith (it’s made for long things) Some smiths therefore design a miniature forge they can put away and take out as they need. I checked several designs and built this one on wheels, with its own blower, making it thus «plug-and-play»!

Japanese style miniature forge – Mini-hodo


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The forge used by swordsmiths in Japan is inconvenient for delicate work… Continue reading