View Full Version : Finished at last! 18 months in the making

23rd July 2009, 21:16

It's been a while since I visited as I have been out in the studio working and finally, after 18 months of experimenting I have finally finished my own sword...

So here it is...

Warning..this is NOT in any way a "traditional" sword..rather it is a modern interpetation of various blade features and styles...the faint of heart should turn away...

The blade... Nagasa: 34" done in kobuse construction using 1095 mixed with laminated refined meteorite and wrought iron. I did 4 triple forging courses and resulting in approx 1215 "layers".. The laminate is then wrapped around a wrought iron core and then finished forged. (what I did was basically make very expensive 1060)

The blade sugata is a cross between Unokubi Zukuri and a Nagimaki. The two Bo-Hi are hand scraped with the Naginata Hi being the biggest PITA .

Straight Hamon, as this was the most "effective" on a "working blade" and besides...a hard edge it all that's really needed. Yaki-ire was done in hot caustic soda (bluing salts) brine at a temp of 260 F. I used AP green high aluminia refractory for the clay.

The hada is very jumbled but that what I was hoping for during forging. I called this sword "Drunken Bat", due to the erratic hada resemblng the flight of a bat...Hence the "bat" theme...

Tsuka is in "bat" themed motiff. Blued steel tsuba, fuchi and kashira. Tsuka length is 15"..

The Tsuka is covered with tiger ray Samegawa and black and gold cheveron pattern silk ito. A silver and blued steel twin bat menuki is under the ito.

Overall length is 50"

The Siya is covered on the top third by matching tiger ray samegawa with a horn Koiguchi and a horn "ferrule" that makes the transition from the ray skin to the black lacquer over 22K gold leaf. The gold leaf process I finally figured out after numerous failures (Was that ever a mess and quite heart reaking until I figured it out) A horn kojiri brings it all to an end...

Hope these photos work... I got a new "state of the art" Sony camera and I dunno...still they have to be better than my old one...

I'd say it's not too bad a job for an old, bald barbarian....

Cuts wonderfully well...

Hope ya all like it..


Jose Garrido
24th July 2009, 03:02
You should be proud of yourself. This is a gorgeous blade.


24th July 2009, 05:07
Thanks for sharing! Looks wonderful!

25th July 2009, 21:37

Thank you for the kind words..this sword cuts wonderfully well...even though I have been told that my cutting style is more along the lines of a peasant swinging a sledge hammer...Which figures given what I do for a living.. Muscle memory can be hard to overcome sometimes...


25th July 2009, 21:55
Nice job indeed. I have made a wooden bokken a few times but a full on katana wow - hats off.

26th July 2009, 00:45
Mr Cotter:

It wasn't the metal working/welding/construction part that was the biggest PITA..well, at least not for me..it was all the "other stuff"..especially the gold leaf and lacquer that was a real nightmare.

I made some serious mistakes on that, and thanks to Mr. Randy Black down in Phoenix, he helped me solve this problem...I actually had the siya's lacquer and gold leaf actually slide off ine one piece into my hand...Boy what a mess that was...

After speaking with Mr. Black I found out what I did wrong and that was as simple as using a primer under the sizing for the gold leaf. I should of applied the sizing onto bare wood, allowing it to penetrate into the wodd's sruface instead of "laying on top" of the primer... Small things can make big problems sometimes.

My next project is a Dai-Sho done in a nagimaki-nagimaki naoshi style....Got the blades already welded and started on the way to yaki-ire...These Japanese style blades are being done for my 4th book...

I will post photos once these are done..hopefully they won't take another 18 months to do like this one....this one did serve as a learning experience...


28th July 2009, 19:34
Wow Jim, that came out really nice!
All that PITA stuff is why the Japanese style swords are so darned expensive. :)
It's been quite a while since I've wandered around on your site. I'm going to have to remedy that when I get home tonight! Glad to hear that you're still at it!