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Brian Nelson




Location: Houghton, MI
Joined: 17 Mar 2012

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2014 10:12 pm    Post subject: First Attempt at Katana         Reply with quote

Hello. I would like to share my first attempt at a katana. I created all parts excepting the blade which was a bare blade purchased and polished by me. This was also my first attempt at cutouts in steel, which I did with a jeweler's saw (maybe not the best way?). I need to work on my tsuka wrapping skills, I am very bad at it and have too clunky and uneven wrappings but hope to update you all on my next wrap attempt. I have done a seax and hilted a european sword but this is my first attempt at a katana, which I made to use in a medieval sound library project.

The tsuka design is a flower motif and based on a piece I favoured from the Edo period. On the right side is a five-petal with heart-shaped petals blossom and the left side has a five-petal and a three-petal blossom which are smoothly rounded petals. I maybe can find a better pictures showing the tsuba, this was the part I was most proud of as it was my first time using a jewelers saw and I was very pleased with the end result. I hope you find something to like in these two pictures. Please offer advice on wrapping if you are knowledgeable, also I have no special tools really, just a benchvise, could that aid me somehow in wrapping, or is it just a matter of practice, practice, practice, and more practice? I am working on the saya right now and hope to finish that in the next month or so. Thank you for looking.



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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2014 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would highly suggest looking at Thomas Buck's website where he has a tutorial and his book is an exceptionally well written work. http://www.tsukamaki.net/tsuka/

If you are interested in Japanese metalwork I would also suggest Ford Hallam's www.followtheironbrush.com forum. He is also currently working on a book and both Patrick Hastings and Ford Hallam are offering classes in the US and Europe.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,248

PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2014 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks nice! Especially for a first try!
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2014 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You have a very nicely done tsuba and seppa. I can't see much of other parts such as the fuchi and kashira, so I cannot comment upon those, but if they are done to the same quality I expect they are very nice as well.

As far as the tsuka goes: Your wrap would benefit immensely from some hishigami (the little paper triangles). Those do a lot to help keep things straight.

Josh Marlan of Cottontail Customs used to have several excellent tutorials online, but he had to pull them due to plagiarism. They're available on his website for a very reasonable price though, and I will note from personal experience that they're extremely detailed and very good. Highly suitable for beginners or amateurs.

http://cottontailcustoms.com/tutorials-2/

This is also an extremely useful website for general katana information:
http://www.ksky.ne.jp/~sumie99/information.html

Good luck! Keep the good work up!

Edit to add: The Sword Buyer's Guide forum has a highly active customization section that has a LOT of extremely helpful members. Josh Marlan is also a member there (in fact, that's where I first read his tutorials). I also recommend looking up their Facebook group, which is also fairly active in customization. They're not as 'serious' as this forum, but they're still good people and will be happy to offer advice in whatever you might like to ask them.
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Likes: 32 pages

Posts: 731

PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2014 4:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tsuba looks pretty darn nice! Can't see the fuchi and kashira, would be nice to see a shot of those, as well as a head on shot of the tsuba, mounted or from before. Where're the menuki? They can help create tension on the wrap. Keep going, keep this thread active by showing your progress. Tsukamaki is tough, I would have not gotten this far. I'm glad you went the whole way.

Your photo skills are good too by the way.
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Brian Nelson




Location: Houghton, MI
Joined: 17 Mar 2012

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2014 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for advice and compliments. I do not know what I will do for menuki, if I will make them from copper or what and how I will do that, maybe with saw again? I am prevented from working on this for now as I have to build roundshields for the project as well and that takes precedence over prettying up the katana. I hope to get some work done in a week or two, though.
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Tyler Jordan





Joined: 15 Mar 2004

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Fri 29 Aug, 2014 5:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks nice! And yeah the lack of menuki is pretty glaring. The right design would add quite a bit to an already attractive sword. Maybe fish?
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X Zhang





Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 40

PostPosted: Tue 02 Sep, 2014 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps you can refer to these
http://www.e-sword.jp/nihontou.htm
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Jussi Ekholm




Location: Tampere, Finland
Joined: 16 Jun 2004
Reading list: 38 books

Posts: 95

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2014 5:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you did great job for the first try.

Like Christopher said you might want to take a look of this article by Thomas Buck: http://www.tsukamaki.net/PDF/ArtTsukamaki.pdf

His book is also pretty awesome. And if you have intrest towards tsukamaki you might consider getting it. The more you wrap the easier it gets and the results get slightly better over time and also good materials help. Happy

Jussi Ekholm
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