Swordsmithing – an ancient art

From The World Newspaper, Coos Bay, Oregon

By Jo Rafferty

Michael Bell started up the electric motor on a gigantic press he uses to shape the blades of Japanese swords.

“Bam! Bam!” The dies clanked together on the approximately 3-foot-long flat piece of steel, turned red from the heat of the forge fire.

“It’s 1,500 degrees, but it will go all the way up past 2,000 as it warms up,” Bell, 61, said loudly over the hissing of the forge, which sounded like a heavy wind storm.

The warmth of the fire quickly spread throughout the cold workshop.

The press is one way of shaping the hot metal. The other is by hand, using a hammer on an anvil.

Read the rest of the article online at The World Link.

Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Show, April 11-13

Once again, Dragonfly Forge will be attending the annual OKCA show in Eugene, Oregon. More information on the show can be found here.

Michael Bell will be giving a one hour presentation at 1 PM on Saturday of the show. It is entitled “The Japanese Sword: A Social and Technological History”.

One the Monday and Tuesday to follow the show, April 14-15, we will be hosting an open house here at Dragonfly Forge. Please contact us if you are interested in attending.

“Big Move” Completed

Last week, all of us here at Dragonfly Forge completed the most important step in our move to our new upgraded facility. We moved our 100lb Little Giant Trip Hammer, which weights about 4,000 lbs! The move went according to plan, with no problems. The Little Giant nows sits in its new home, ready to pound hot steel. The new building of the Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo (Dragonfly Mountain Sword Forging School) is now covered in red cedar siding. A mahogany hardwood floor has also been constructed for what will serve as the metal studio area of the school.

Setting the hammer in place.

Swordsmithing School

Online Deposit Payment now available.

We have been working to add an online shopping cart that will work with PayPal to make reservations and deposit payment for our Swordsmithing School courses easier. Using PayPal will allow customers to pay online with a credit card or bank account. This can all be done online at our new catalog.

Solution Graphics

“Michael Bell, Dragonfly Forge” by Dennis Ellingson – Knife World

This article is also available in PDF format with photographs.

I met Michael Bell on August 26, 1984 at a knife show in San Jose, California. It was a momentous meeting which I recall vividly. There were some star players at this show. Of special import was Bernard Levine who introduced me to Michael Bell and, in turn, also introduced Michael to Bob Loveless. Michael lived in San Francisco and was the owner of Mission Cutlery; and in addition to selling, sharpening and repairing cutlery, he also was making and repairing Japanese swords.

Continue reading ““Michael Bell, Dragonfly Forge” by Dennis Ellingson – Knife World”

Website Update

Much more progress has been made on the website. The Photo Gallery should be working now, but it will still be tweaked a bit. We are still working on putting more pages and information up.

There may have been some problems posting comments in the past. With the new website there should be no more spam and posting problems. Unfortunately, we lost comments previously had from visitors.

Website Changes

As you can see by the drastic change in style to the website, we’re making some major updates to the site. Hopefully it will allow us to keep the site up-to-date easily and provide more information.

As of now several features from our old site are still being transfered over: the photo galleries, the calender, and the “Ask Sensei” page. We hope to have them online soon. Don’t be surprised by more changes visually too.

Those of you interested in the dates for our 2008 swordsmithing course, they are available in the Swordsmithing School section. We hope to have the calender up soon.

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 Continue reading “2008 Dragonfly Forge Swordsmithing School Course Schedule”