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Forging a Wakizashi

WakizashiI just finished taking the 5-day basic forging class taught by Michael Bell at Dragonfly Forge. The wakizashi in the picture is the result of it. The blade is about 18in long and was forged from forge-welded cable. The forge welding of the cable conducted by Michael and his son Gabriel took the better half of the first day. Afterward, the steel was forged into a sunobe which has the basic taper for the tang and point of the sword. We then forged in the ji and the shinogi ji. The remainder of the time was spent grinding in preparation for heat treatment. Before the clay was applied, we draw filed the blade so that all file marks were parallel with the edge rather than the perpendicular marks left by the belt grinder. Applying the clay was a three step process; a light coating of the whole blade, applying the ashi lines, and then coating everything that should remain soft. You can see the ashi and where the clay was applied on the middle picture. After heat treating, the blade took on a nice curve and it was back to the grinder. During the last day there was a little bit of time to polish on stones which showed hints of some very wild hamon as well as some mune yaki. The whole class was a great experience.
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