Tomboyama 2015 Class Schedule

March 2015
Monday March 23 – Friday, March 27 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, March 28 – Sunday, March 29 – Kajioshi Course

April 2015
Monday, April 20 – Friday, April 24 – Introduction to Forging Laminate Woodworking Tools

May 2015
Monday, May 18 – Friday, May 22 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, May 23 – Sunday, May 24 – Habaki Course

June 2015
Monday, June 15 – Friday, June 19 – Kajioshi-Habaki Combo Course

Monday, June 29 – Friday, July 3 – Koshirae Course

July 2015
Saturday, July 4 – Sunday, July 5 – Tsuka-maki Course

Monday, July 27 – Friday, July 31 – Basic Forging Course

August 2015
Saturday, August 1 – Sunday, August 2 – Kajioshi Course

Monday, August 24 – Friday, August 28 – Intermediate Forging Course

Saturday, August 29 – Sunday, August 30 – Habaki Course

September 2015
Monday, September 7 – Friday, September 11 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, September 12 – Sunday, September 13 – Kajioshi Course

October 2015
Monday, October 5 – Friday, October 9 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, October 10 – Sunday, October 11 – Habaki Course

Notice regarding new sword commissions

As of this date, June 12, 2014, I will no longer be accepting new orders for swords. Excepted are those swords already commissioned and those under negotiation.

Gabriel, our next generation partner at Dragonfly Forge, is still inviting new orders. The quality of the work will be of the same high standards expected from Dragonfly Forge. To get in touch with Gabriel about commissions please email

My object in declining further orders is to finish existing commissions, and when these are completed, to undertake some new projects of great interest to me.

I will still be making swords for sale, but these will reflect my own ideas as to what a great sword can be. Among these swords will be a greater emphasis on tamahagane type steel, although I will continue work with forge-welded cable as well. And of course, will remain fully engaged as the head instructor at Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo.

Michael Bell, Master Swordsmith

Japanese Metalwork Technique by Ford Hallam

This past October, Gabriel Bell of Dragonfly Forge, had the distinct honor of attending Ford Hallam’s Immersive Iron Brush workshop. Mr. Hallam is the world’s foremost artist and authority of Japan’s ancient decorative metalworking tradition, kinko, having received top awards and recognition in Japan.

During the intensive four-week workshop, Gabriel was introduced firsthand into the techniques of line engraving, relief carving, true inlay and wire inlay, overlay (nunome), as well as tool-making, alloy composition, and patination. It was an enlightening and transformative experience for Gabriel, having found a wise and inspiring teacher in Mr. Hallam, as well as making great friends with other classmates.

Ford hopes to continue sharing his knowledge, experience, and passion of kinko to others. Towards this end, he began a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of the first volume of a series of 7 books that will present for the first time in any language, even Japanese, a comprehensive introduction to Japanese decorative metalwork techniques, materials and processes. This will be the seminal work on the subject and one that Ford hopes will be of use to craftspeople, collectors, academics and curators.

Only two weeks remain on the campaign, and we respectfully ask that anyone who can join us in supporting Ford Hallam’s Kickstarter to please do so.

Tomboyama 2014 Class Schedule

2014 School Year

March 2014
Monday March 24 – Friday, March 28 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, March 29 – Sunday, March 30 – Kajioshi Course

April 2014
Friday, April 11 – Sunday, April 13: Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Knife Show in Eugene, Oregon

Monday, April 21 – Friday, April 25 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, April 26 – Sunday, April 27 – Habaki Course

May 2014
Monday, May 5 – Friday, May 9 – Kajioshi-Habaki Combo-Course

Monday, May 12 – Friday, May 16 – Koshirae Course

June 2014
Monday, June 16 – Friday, June 20 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, June 21 – Sunday, June 22 – Kajioshi Course

July 2014
Saturday, July 5 – Sunday, July 6 – Tsuka-maki Course

Monday, July 14 – Friday, July 18 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, July 19 – Sunday, July 20 – Habaki Course

August 2014
Monday, August 25 – Friday, August 29 – Intermediate Forging Course

Saturday, August 30 – Sunday, August 31 – Kajioshi Course

September 2014
Monday, September 8 – Friday, September 12 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, September 13 – Sunday, September 14 – Habaki Course

October 2014
Monday, October 6 – Friday, October 10 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, October 11 – Sunday, October 12 – Kajioshi Course

Tomboyama 2013 Class Schedule

2013 School Year

March 2013
Monday March 25 – Friday, March 29 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, March 30 – Sunday, March 31 – Kajioshi Course

April 2013
Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14: Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Knife Show in Eugene, Oregon

Monday, April 22 – Friday, April 26 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, April 27 – Sunday, April 28 – Habaki Course

May 2013
Monday, May 6 – Friday, May 10 – Basic Forging Course

Monday, May 13 – Friday, May 17 – Kajioshi-Habaki Combo-Course

June 2013
Monday, June 17 – Friday, June 21 – Koshirae Course

Saturday, June 22 – Sunday, June 23 – Tsuka-maki (Handle-wrapping) Course

July 2013
Monday, July 15 – Friday, July 19 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, July 20 – Sunday, July 21 – Kajioshi Course

August 2013
Friday, August 2 – Sunday, August 4 – San Francisco Token Kai *Unfortunately, we were not able to attend this year.

Monday, August 26 – Friday, August 30 – Intermediate Forging Course

Saturday, August 31 – Sunday, September 1 – Habaki Course

September 2013
Monday, September 23 – Friday, September 27 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, September 28 – Sunday, September 29 – Kajioshi Course

October 2013
Monday, October 7 – Friday, October 11 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, October 12 – Sunday, October 13 – Habaki Course

Recommended Reading List

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”.

Continue reading “Recommended Reading List”

Sword and Smith Forged, by Joe Pierre

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.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3