Swordsmithing School

Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo (Dragonfly Mountain Japanese Sword Forging School) is the only swordsmithing school of it’s kind in the world, offering a formal curriculum in all parts of the Japanese sword.

All of our classes are taught by head instructor Michael Bell, master swordsmith in the Japanese tradition. Michael is known worldwide for his finely crafted swords. His work has won numerous awards and has been displayed internationally in museums.

Michael began his career as a swordsmith in 1970 when he undertook an apprenticeship with Nakajima Muneyoshi. Nakajima sensei was unique in that he learned all of the Japanese sword arts: swordsmithing, polishing, habaki-making, and saya-making. Usually, each of these arts were practiced by a specialist. A Japanese sword can often pass through the hands of four or five artists before being fully completed. Thanks to his teacher, Michael became world renowned for his entirely individually crafted Japanese swords.

In 1987, Michael Bell established Dragonfly Forge on a timber covered hillside overlooking the Coquille valley on the southern Oregon coast. Over the years, Michael passed on the various sword arts to many students on an individual basis at Dragonfly Forge, and by teaching at various “hammer-ins”, shows, and symposiums throughout the nation.

In 2006 Michael began offering basic forging classes in a formal, scheduled manner.

2007 marked the foundation of Dragonfly Forge LLC, a family owned company, as Michael’s son and apprentice, Gabriel Bell, joined him as business partner and assistant instructor for Dragonfly Forge’s swordsmithing school. Dragonfly Forge also began offering an expanded curriculum to cover the making of habaki, and koshirae as well as classes in handle-wrapping and kajioshi.

In 2008, Dragonfly Forge unveiled a new, larger, better equipped shop and announced the creation of Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo (Dragonfly Mountain Japanese Sword Forging School).

We offer a variety of classes for those interested in hands-on learning of the Japanese sword arts. Classes offered include: Basic Forging, Intermediate Forging, Habaki, Koshirae, Tsuka-maki, Kajioshi, and Oroshigane.

Scheduled Classes


September 2018
Monday, September 3 – Friday, September 7 – Forging the Working Knife

October 2018
Monday, October 1 – Friday, October 5 – Basic Japanese Sword Forging Course


March 2019
Monday March 25 – Friday, March 29 – Basic Japanese Sword Forging Course