View Full Version : Custom made live naginata / spears

30th October 2009, 05:15

Well I got busy the last few days out in the studio and finished up my "Mongo Humongous Naginata"...Here it is in all of its 22K gold leafed glory. Oly took me a little over a year...

The blade is 28" long,(a bit on the large side for these...actually it's the length of a sword to be honest but what the heck..see what happens when a swordsmith makes a spear??) with two short bo-hi (Naginata-Hi) on each side of the lower third of the blade that I hand scraped in..Boy hand scraping can be a very boring thing to do but it does work pretty good.....why they weren't forged in is beyond me but....oh well...hand scraping it is...The blade is San Mai construction (three piece) with the sides laminated from 1050 and L-6 and shows the center plate of 1060 on the Ha and the Mune in the blade's Hada. Still need to do the final polish after I get the siya done.

The habaki is forged solid copper (I had to forge the copper down cause all I had was some 3/8" thick bar..but it worked out OK in the end) as are the hand hammered finished mounts. I used the "age old copper pipe technique" (also cause I didn't want to spend my filthy lucre on more copper sheet..Ok I am cheap...) for the copper sheet source. You can get some decent sized pieces using copper pipe and the thickness is just about perfect for fittings like these...I tell ya hand peining all that copper sheet took a while...all those little tappity tap taps with a 32 oz ball pein hammer really gets old real quick. I did get a good fore-arm workout though...You have to anneal repeatedly cause it work hardens like crazy and then it starts to crack..NOT a good thing, so you get it red hot and dunk it in water and it softens up real nice..

Now the shafting is covered by white samegawa (ray skin) for the first 15" or so and wrapped in my favourite chevron patterned black/gold silk ito in what I call a "modified battle wrap". There are three mekugi (pins) holding the blade into the shafting. There are two gold guilded swan menuki under the tsuka maki, one on each end of the grip on opposite sides.

The shafting is laminated from some 3/16"ish thick oak door skins that I glommed onto from a friend of mine who owns a furniture/cabinet making business. These were his "rejects" due to grain problems that I sliced into strips and then laminated up using that "Gorilla Glue" stuff..Boy that was a mess..gets all foamy and gooey but is worked great (even though if you get it on your skin it really turns your skin black and well, you have to let it wear off...) and the shaft has a good deal of flex on it but not too much to be a problem...

The shafting cross section is a "tear drop" shape so I can tell which way the edge is oriented in my hand (wider at the back..narrower on the front) so you know which "side" to cut with. Comes in handy whan you use it...Moves nice in the hand and once it is polished out...gonna do me some test cuts...on what I dunno yet....maybe on one of those guys from www.becomeabladesmith.com ?? (Therein lies a tale for sure...)

The butt spike on the opposite end is not all that "correct" as far as "tradition" goes but what the heck..I am not exactly all that "traditional" myself....I hammered that out of some 1060 and left it "forge finished"..no sense in polishing a butt spike that is going to be the "down side end" on a pole weapon...it is held in place by one mekugi. All the copper fittings except for the fuchi are pinned in place with german silver studs just to make sure they stay where they are suppose to...

The finish on the wood is gold leaf under clear lac under cracked black lac and then sealed in all nice and shiney with a couple more coats of clear lacquer.

The overall length is just a smidge over 93".. Now I have to figure out how to make the siya for this little guy.. I will be finishing it the same as the shafting so it all matches. All in all I think it came out pretty good for a bald, educated barbarian like myself...The wood work was more of a pain to do than the blade!

Hope the pics work...

JPH (Wondering why they call it "IRONwood" when you can't forge it???)

31st October 2009, 01:23

just.... wow.

Beautiful Dr Hrisoulas - really beautiful

Not sure the ishizuki is too far from traditional - i think Ive seen several different styles, from simple caps to more elaborate spikes like yours

31st October 2009, 01:59
Mr. Finn:

Most of the ishizuki I have seen were either capped ended, "balled" or "Spade" shaped.. Haven't seen too many real "spike" ones but I say why not? I mean have it useable from either end.

Nasty little weapons these are...can really make you have a lousey afternoon if you go up against someone who knows how to use one. It was a lot of fun to make but I have a strange definition of what "fun" is sometimes....