2008 Dragonfly Forge Swordsmithing School Course Schedule

Basic Forging Course

This is a hands-on course designed to give the student a working familiarity with the tools and metals utilized in the forging of a sword blade. Each student will forge his own blade of at least wakizashi length from forge-welded steel cable.

Skills learned will include forging, grinding, filing and heat-treating, with attendant emphasis on metallurgy and proper shaping and aesthetics. All tools, fuel, and material included.

The price of the course is $1100 and is limited to four students per session. A deposit of $200 is requested, refundable up to 30 days before session begins.

April 21-25
June 9-13
July 7-11
Sept 8-12
August 25-29


Habaki Course

A two day hands-on weekend course where the student will make a copper habaki. Skills learned will include forging and annealing the metal, hard-soldering, filing, shaping, polishing and decoration. All tools and materials required are provided. The student should provide his own blade.The price of the course is $300 and is limited to four students per session.

A deposit of $50 is requested, refundable up to 30 days before session begins.

June 14-15
Septemeber 13-14


Koshirae Course – Carving and Shaping a Sword Mounting

Students will learn how to carve handles (tsuka) and scabbards(saya), as well as fitting tsuba, making seppa and fitting fuchigashira to the tsuka. Included in the course is the making of mortise and tenon kojiri and koiguchi, and kurigata made from buffalo horn.  Tools used are traditional saws, chisels, knives, and planes and will be on hand. Alder wood will be provided, although students may bring their own.  Tools and materials will be provided, but students should have their own sword blades with a well-fitted habaki, plus tsuba and fuchigashira.

The price of the course is $1100 and is limited to four students per session. A deposit of $200 is requested, refundable up to 30 days before session begins.

May 19-23


Tsuka-maki Course – Handle wrapping

A two day session covering the silk wrapping on a Japanese sword handle. The course will cover preparation of the handle before wrapping, folding the papers, measuring the tape, wrapping and tying the knot. Students should bring their own handles with ray skin. Silk for the wrap can be purchased from the school at $2.50 per foot. All tools are included.

The price of the course is $300 and is limited to four students per session. A deposit of $50 is requested, refundable up to 30 days before session begins.

May 24-25


Kajioshi CourseKajioshi means “smith shaped” and is the grinding of the blade prior to its being sent to a polisher. It has been observed that Western craftsmen, although comfortable with the technology, have a difficult time shaping the blade into a harmonious form. This course is designed to teach how to see and correct deficiencies in shape and geometry. Students should bring a sword blade where the shape is “just not right”. These will be studied and corrected, either by grinder or by water stone. Tools will be provided.

The price of the course is $300 and is limited to four students per session.  A deposit of $50 is requested, refundable up to 30 days before session begins.

July 12-13
August 30-31

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6 Responses to 2008 Dragonfly Forge Swordsmithing School Course Schedule

  1. Rick Lundell says:

    What a wonderfull dream vacation! will have to same my pennies. like the new site. Please stop by the dojo sometime sensei we would love to see you there!

  2. Seth Borland says:

    Very nice collection of courses. I would LOVE to take these one day (once get the needed money that is =\).

  3. Caleb Hinton says:

    I am a young man of 19 years. There is nothing that I would love more than to learn to forge a blade from my own hands. For me, saving up that amount of money to learn seems unlikely at best, but just know that if I had it, I would give it in a heartbeat in order to aquire this nearly-forgotten skill. Makes me wish I had some rich family…

  4. Zack Christopherson says:

    This is a course I would love so much to take, but, as with Caleb’s problem, I’m only eightteen at present, so money of that level would be nigh-on-impossible to get ahold of.

    But, Maybe sometime in the future I will have enough, then I can finally experience the satisfaction of creating a blade with my own hands.

  5. Dean Fisher says:

    Sounds amazing, but the it said that the classes are about four days long(the basic class), and that makes me wonder, is that lond enough to learn it and learn it well. And for the Habaki course same question(and some of the others), but I’m probably just reading to far into it maybe I’m not I don’t reall know.

    • Gabriel Bell says:

      Our Basic Forging Course and Koshirae Course are both week-long 5-day courses. Our Habaki, Kajioshi, and Tsuka-maki courses are all 2-day weekend courses.

      You are certainly correct that 5 days is a very short amount of time to begin to learn swordsmithing, and our students are generally inundated with a great deal sword knowledge. We are conscience to try to keep of the classes moving in order to cover the entire curriculum appropriately. Our classes are scheduled to allow students to cover as much as possible, as well as minimize travel expenses. Students would have to attend all of our courses to learn all of the crafts to complete a mounted sword, with plenty of additional work required outside of class a well. Japanese swordsmithing is just an incredible demanding and difficult art.

      However, we strongly believe that our classes are a great introduction in their respective areas of study. Without the commitment of an apprenticeship, our school gives students a chance the learn firsthand with an experienced teacher, with a thorough introduction into each aspect of the technology, as well as the overall art of the sword as a whole.

      Apprenticeship is an entirely more complicated matter, only for those truly seeking to dedicate their lives fully to the art. There is a brief article regarding apprenticeship on our website, in case you have not already read it.

      A blade must be properly prepped before a habaki can be forged and soldered for it. In order to achieve this, the blade must be final shaped on water stones. It is critical that this be done before students attend the habaki course, as there will not be enough time in class to do this AND make a habaki. This is discussed briefly on our school’s website, in regards to our newly scheduled Kajioshi-Habaki Course, which seeks to combine both together.

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