Although we are always quick to acknowledge that there is no replacement for hands-on experience, there is also a great deal of knowledge to be gained from books. Due to popular request, we have complied this list of books we highly recommend for reading on the subjects of Japanese swordsmithing, swordsmithing in general, as well as bladesmithing and knife-making in general.
The Art of the Japanese Sword: The Craft and Its Appreciation by Yoshindo Yoshihara, and Leon and Hiroko Kapp (September 10, 2012)
It’s with great pleasure that we recommend a new book on the history and craft of the Japanese sword.
The Art of the Japanese Sword, the Craft and Its Appreciation by Leon and Hiroko Kapp and Yoshindo Yoshihara [Tuttle]covers much of the same ground as The Craft of the Japanese Sword, their first book. The new book goes into far greater detail in all areas and is accompanied by excellent illustrations and clear and concise text. It is also in a larger format than the earlier books and this makes for better reading and more detail in the illustrations.
I believe this book will have broad appeal to collectors and sword enthusiasts while also providing what can almost be termed a “shop manual” for those of us who practice the craft.
We recommend this book highly and salute the authors for their efforts.
The Craft of the Japanese Sword by Yoshindo Yoshihara and Leon & Hiroko Kapp (Jun 15, 1987)
If you can buy only one book on Japanese sword crafts, this is the one. There is an introduction to the history and development of the sword and a clear description of the physics and chemistry of steel. This book details the efforts of the swordsmith, habaki maker, polisher and scabbard maker and provides a clear overview of the courses taught at Dragonfly Forge.
The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way To Perfection by Jim Hirsoulas
This is an informative and entertaining book by my friend and colleague. While not specifically about Japanese swords it is loaded with information and tips of use to all who work at the forge, including data on steel and forge welding techniques. I highly recommend this one.
50 Dollar Knife Shop by Wayne Goddard
Wayne’s book shows how it’s possible to build a simple forge and shop without breaking the bank. Wayne is the grand old man of the hand forged blade and most of us “younger” smiths have sat at his feet to benefit from his experience and generosity. The important lesson of this book is “get started”.
An alumnus of our swordsmithing School Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo, Joe Pierre, has put together a three part documentary about our work, our swordsmithing school and classes, entitled Sword and Smith Forged, and shared it on YouTube. Joe attended our swordsmithing school in 2007, taking our Basic Forging Course under the instruction of Michael Bell, and returned again in 2008 for another session. The video footage he used was shot at our dojo on the southern Oregon coast, with some shot in our old smithy and some in our newer larger and better equipped shop. The film also includes photos of our work, and is narrated by Joe.
Thank you Joe for your diligent efforts producing this great documentary.
A “gentleman’s tantō” of 6 and 1/8 inch nagasa, cable construction, hira-zukuri, with silver habaki.
Overall length of 10 and 3/4 inches.
In a simple koshirae, in a style similar to most kwaiken, only slightly larger, with black and red lacquer-work. Fuchigashira of buffalo horn. Silver mekugi-ana fittings with buffalo horn mekugi. Silver ring for sageo on saya in flower design. Comes with black silk sageo and handmade sword bag.
Dragonfly Forge’s swordsmithing school, Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo, is proud to announce it’s schedule of classes for 2012, taught by Michael Bell, swordsmith in the Japanese tradition with over 40 years of experience in the sword arts.
Student’s may reserve a place in the class of their choice online through our school website, tomboyama.com with deposit payment via PayPal. The deposit is refundable up to 60 days before the scheduled session. Space in our classes is limited, and reservations are made on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis.
We are eagerly awaiting another enjoyable year of sword-making classes.
Dragonfly Forge will soon be attending the Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) annual knife show in Eugene, Oregon.
The show, held at the convention center at the Lane County Fairgrounds, will be held April 8-10, 2011. Friday admission is open to club members only, but Saturday and Sunday the show is open to any who enjoy “things that go cut.”
A large variety of lectures and live demonstrations will be held throughout the weekend, including a presentation by Michael Bell, master swordsmith of Dragonfly Forge, scheduled on Sunday of the show at noon. Entitled “Origins: The Evolution of Blade Technology”, the talk will focus on the metallurgical development of blades worldwide, from around 1000 BC to present day.