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Mercer L. Blaire




Location: Ohio
Joined: 27 Sep 2013

Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2016 9:30 am    Post subject: Japanese Polearm Assembly         Reply with quote

Ok so im wanting to make a Naginata, and from what i have seen they have very long tangs in the same style as the katnana tang, but what im unsure of is how they were assembled to the "pole" would one buy 2 slabs of wood, carve a channel like making a tsuka and then just glue them together? and what supports the wood right at the juncture where the tang would end? want to keep it traditional as possible and im having trouble finding much info online about it.
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2016 10:35 am    Post subject: Re: Japanese Polearm Assembly         Reply with quote

Mercer L. Blaire wrote:
Ok so im wanting to make a Naginata, and from what i have seen they have very long tangs in the same style as the katnana tang, but what im unsure of is how they were assembled to the "pole" would one buy 2 slabs of wood, carve a channel like making a tsuka and then just glue them together? and what supports the wood right at the juncture where the tang would end? want to keep it traditional as possible and im having trouble finding much info online about it.


You don't need to use 2 slabs of wood, that's a strength issue (glue joint along the whole staff? nope). Find a pole of appropriate hardwood like a rather thick spear shaft, or if you're willing to accept a shorter tool a wheelbarrow handle from Home Depot. You don't want a perfect round, you want more of an oval. Align the grain lines on the end so they run parallel to the 'cutting edge' of the blade. Once you have it shaped appropriately, cut it down the middle for about one-third of its length. A perpendicular saw-cut, perhaps at a downward angle like so:
| | |
| | |
| | /|

Should free the bit you just cut. Carve groove like a katana tsuka, once it fits in tightly glue it up with a mekugi and everything.

How you keep it together is simple-- you don't rely on glue. You use metal rings around the shaft or wrap it in rattan, or both.

And for further reference, that's how you would do a naginata. A yari tends to have more of a 'stick' tang, where you drill a hole down lengthways, widen the top a bit, and jam the pointed tang in real good. Rattan wrap again helps prevent splitting.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 1:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The haft at the end of the tang is reinforced by a metal fitting.

Cutting a section from the side of the haft, from blade to just past where the tang will finish, as described above, is usual for both naginata and yari hafts. There are usually 3 metal reinforcements holding the cut section to the rest of the haft: one at the blade end, one at the end of the cut (at the end of the tang), and one in the middle of the cut section. Rattan (as described above) or silk thread is often used to wrap it as well. Sometimes there is a ball of wrapping just below the end-of-tang reinforcement.

There will be a similar reinforcing piece at the butt, which might be part of the metal butt piece, or separate.

However, while cutting a section off the side is traditional, a two piece haft should work very well. In particular, since the grain in the two pieces won't match, the haft will be more resistant to splitting. Even stronger would be if you made a laminate of 4 pieces.

The usual reinforcing rings and/or wrapping will keep the ends of the haft together, and a good modern glue will be very strong. You could even go overkill and fibreglass (or carbon fibre) wrap the whole haft (and then put the metal fittings on).

Fred Lohman's website has a nice clear picture of the metal fittings, and a photo of them on a pole: http://www.japanese-swords.com/pages/jutte.htm

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Mercer L. Blaire




Location: Ohio
Joined: 27 Sep 2013

Posts: 78

PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 9:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks! this has been extremely helpful. exactly what i needed to know!
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 803

PostPosted: Wed 03 Aug, 2016 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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