Knife-Making Videos

The Japanese sword is the pinnacle of the blademaker’s art.  It encompasses a variety of widely disparate crafts from smithing, to polishing, to woodwork.  Taken as a group, this five-video series will show everything you need to know — from selecting your tools, steel and supplies…to forging, polishing and mounting your blade.
The first  first video in the series, Forging Japanese Style Blades, shows how to forge functional Japanese style swords using modern steels and techniques, married to traditional geometry and heat treating methods.  Mounting Japanese Swords, Making Hamons, Polishing Modern Japanese Style Blades and Making Japanese Sword Fittings round out the series.
Unlike many bladesmithing videos, every attempt has been made to use high production values so as to maximize your opportunity for learning.  If you’ve bought knife-making videos before, you’ve probably seen plenty where somebody just set up a wobbly camera in the back of a dimly lit shed and rolled tape.  Not these.  This series is thoughtfully scripted, narrated in crisp digital audio, well lit and shot, and carefully edited.  The Forging, Mounting and Fittings videos are shot in Hi-Def for crystal clear image quality.  Details of every operation are shown in close-up so you can actually see what’s going on.
Walter’s approach is to incorporate as wide a range of techniques as possible in these videos.  He’s not Japanese trained and doesn’t believe there’s a single “correct” way to make, polish or mount a blade.  He stresses starting with a thorough understanding of the function, use and construction of the traditional blade.  From there, both traditional and modern tools and techniques are freely incorporated.

Forging Video




Ever wanted to forge a completely functional Japanese sword?  This 2-DVD set shows you how.  The video starts with blade-smithing fundamentals and moves to increasingly challenging projects as you learn how to make a tanto, a wakizashi and a shinogi-zukuri katana.   Whether you’re an experienced smith or you’ve never picked up a hammer before, there’s plenty here for you.  Heat treating, forging techniques, grinding and profiling, clay hardening, steel choice, tool & materials — it’s all covered here.  The emphasis is on using modern steels and techniques to forge functional blades which share many of the qualities of traditional blades.  2 DVDs, shot in High-Def for maximum clarity.  Nearly 3 hours.  $69 + shipping ($5 US or $10 international). 

 

Fittings Video

 This video covers the making of most Japanese sword fittings, including habakis, fuchis and kashiras, as well as more obscure fittings like seppas and shitodomes.  The making of these fittings is greatly aided by various small fixtures including tool-and-die sets, jigs, mandrels, etc.  The video will show how these fixtures are made so that you can equip your own shop with them.  The focus of the video is entirely on the construction of fittings, not on decorative aspects of their manufacture.  2 DVDs, shot in High-Def for maximum clarity. Approximately 2.5 hours.  $69 + shipping. 

Mounting Video




This brand new two-DVD set covers the basics of mounting of Japanese blades.  With well over two and a half hours of video (all shot in Hi-Definition so you can see everything with maximum clarity), this video set shows you everything you need to fully mount a Japanese style blade.  The video starts with woodworking fundamentals as you learn how to make a shirasaya (resting scabbard) using traditional and modern tools.   Then you’ll move on to two fully mounted katanas.  The video shows how to carve and lacquer scabbards.  Then you’ll wrap the handles using two different methods.  Rayskin, handle wrapping, chisels, planes, woods, lacquer — it’s all covered here.  2 DVDs.  2:30 minutes.  $69 + shipping ($5 US or $10)

 

Polishing Modern Japanese Style Blades

This DVD hows basic polishing methods for Japanese style blades, including final polishing methods to make the hamon really pop.  Several methods are shown including sandpaper, belt grinder and Japanese water stones.  Etching and final hybrid (i.e. non-traditional) polishing will also be covered.  It should be noted that this is not a “how to polish nihonto” video.  It’s aimed first and foremost at smiths who are making functional modern blades.  That said, if you’re looking to improve the polish or geometry on an imported tameshigiri blade, this video will have plenty of information for you.  In particular we’ve tried to demystify the subject of Japanese water stones.  Three blades are polished, including a shinogi zukuri blade, so you’ll see how to set the geometry of the shinogi and the kissaki — the two most difficult aspects of foundation polishing.    1:45 minutes.  $49 + shipping ($5 US or $10 international).

Making Hamons

The traditional Japanese method of heat treating swords yields a blade with a hard edge and a soft spine.  This method manifests itself in the form of the “hamon,” a visible line in the steel.  This line was traditionally used to ornament the blade.  On this video, three blades are “clay hardened”, leading you from simple heat treating and clay layout techniques, through more complex and challenging designs.  Includes information about various kinds of traditional hamons and how to make them, basic heat treating of carbon steel, and sources of tools and equipment.  1:15 minutes.  $40 + shipping ($5 US or $10 international).

Tools for the Knifemaker




The beginning knifemaker faces a bewildering array of choices when it comes to assembling the tools necessary for making knives.  Walter takes the guesswork out of tool buying in this detail-packed video.  Much of this video is available on Youtube, but some additional tools are included along with a lot of material not available on-line.  Carefully organized so that you can quickly figure out the tools you’ll need now…and the ones you might need later, this video offers a step up from the Youtube videos.  1:25 minutes.  $24.95 + shipping ($5 US or $10 international).

 

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