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[TV] Swordsmithing on nova


#1

to all - PBS in my area of ohio has planned to broadcast a NOVA
special on japanese swordsmithing and other stuff set to air 8:00 pm
EST on WOSU television,perhaps it will air nationwide across the USA
thought it may be of intrest to some

goo


#2

I made a point to watch the Samuri swordmaking show on Nova last
night. I know something of the tool making process, and wanted to see
how the damascene steel was made. It was incredible that the whole
process can take 3 days just to melt the steel alloy in a huge clay
furnace, and that different grades of steel are separated out of the
resulting ingot. Chunks of the various grades are then formed and
forged through a folding process to achieve uniformity, and combined
to create the sword’s form.

I use carbon steel rods to make punches and gravers, so I am
familiar with the processes involved in hardening and tempering
carbon steel, but by no means any kind of metallurgist, so it was
fascinating to see the process from beginning to end. I have
tremendous respect for the Japanese system that tries to preserve
traditional ways of working materials, be it steel, paper, or
fabrics. The master steel maker knew by eye and experience when his
steel was right. The sword was months in the making, with much
tradition binding the steps that brought it to fruition. The finished
sword was magnificent.

I walk in the steps of tradition, keeping up skills that have been
handed down for centuries. New techniques have changed my work
tremendously, but its an inspiration to see that the roots of
traditional skills are still alive, and not lost (yet.)

Melissa Veres, engraver


#3
I walk in the steps of tradition, keeping up skills that have been
handed down for centuries. New techniques have changed my work
tremendously, but its an inspiration to see that the roots of
traditional skills are still alive, and not lost (yet.) 

Very nicely put, Melissa. I saw that show too (PBS), and saw another
one about ten years ago, too. And some think the old timers couldn’t
make a cup of tea…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#4

did you notice how clean everything was ? at the swordsmith how do
they get away with wearing those white suits in a smithy ? if i get
within 3 feet of a white garment it gets dirt on it. and how do they
have time to keep thier surroundings so artisticly arranged and still
get any work done ?

goo


#5

One word: APPRENTICES :slight_smile:

Apprenti to chop the charcoal, to prep the fire, to clean the
smithy, etc…

A great book for an intro to this very fascinating tradition, from
the smelting of the tamahagane out of black sand, to forging,
polishing, making of the fittings, and even carving the sheath, is
"The Craft of the Japanese Sword" by Kapp and Yoshihara.


#6

I’ve seen this NOVA special and it is indeed fascinating. But let us
not forget about all the other cultures and countless "old timers"
out there who knew a lot of shop secrets which they took to their
graves. I try to make a practice of collecting old technical books
with their archaic content within which are buried a few diamonds. We
should all learn a lesson from this show - don’t be afraid to
experiment, and keep good notes to preserve your knowledge for the
future. And don’t forgot to save other’s old works even if you will
never use it, as it will be of use to someone someday.

I have solved many problems by using unique solutions from old
books, or by applying the old knowledge and sound chemistry or
physics principles to solve the problem and create my own piece of
past (yet to be discovered in the future).

Jim DeRosa


#7
I have solved many problems by using unique solutions from old
books, or by applying the old knowledge and sound chemistry or
physics principles to solve the problem and create my own piece of
past (yet to be discovered in the future). 

Not “olde timers” but lets call them,…“Very Mature
Specialists”…this is just why I’ve been writing well over 135 essays
during the past 4 years…not too see my name in print, trust me.

The reason is that once ‘we’ leave this temporary abode and pass on
the torch someday, one of those few folks will read some of our notes
and say…“hey, this is a great way in doing this kind of setting or
jewellery work,etc’s.” This alone will be our living testament…our
names will never be forgotten.what a waste to have that persons name
written on a granite slab and never know what they have done in their
lives.

I am off to Ventura California tomorrow to upgrade a fine person in
the skill of setting…(name withheld for anonimity). I am at present
arranging in making 2 fine “Gift Certificate Vouchers” for the
Orchid dinner. You will never see me keeping any of my setting
private or secretive…even my graver sets have more thean
175 pages and reams of printed setting notes…those who have these
’5 items of joy’ are using them religiously and getting fine results
because of my desire to keep my Orchid friends ‘in the information
and education loop’!..

gerry!