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I Forge Iron

Forging a Ichikagi (aka single point grapple hook)

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I use kagiwara (grapple hooks) in Ninpo taijutsu training and teach all my students how to use them appropriately. 

This particular 1 was made for a student where it was time for him to own his own.. 

Bunch of fun to forge well..  I made this back in August and just had a chance now to edit the footage and get it into a decent form. 

Also this is the first time I use a AI camera.. Obsbot camera is fully automatic..  4K.. 



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Great video, as usual.  Your forging is so clean and precise.  I do have two suggestions regarding the video, which hopefully will be taken as constructive criticism.  First, if there is some way to add some kind of IR filter to your video camera to cut back on the glare from the hot steel it would really improve the viewing of select portions of the video where you are working the yellow hot steel.  Currently it is washing out a little and it makes it difficult to be sure of a couple of the steps.  The other is that I was really hoping that you would give a short demo on how the hook is used for those of us who aren't as familiar with taijutsu as you are.  The information on the balance point was fascinating, but a practical demo would be a real eye opener I expect.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

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Latticino I agree with the filter..  I have not found anyway of correcting the (star burst) even with brighter filming lights on the less expensive cameras I use. 

I'm hoping that once I am in the big shop this can be addressed more clearly/cleanly as then I can attach filters and such to the camera lenses.  As it stands now the cameras are in direct spatter distance so lenses and cameras take a beating of which I won't be putting a 3000.00 camera into the line of fire. 

Yes, I know I can setup a camera box with filter on the box..  :)  LOL..  If someone wants to send me a couple of boxes with filters I'd use them.. :)

it is something that has been a problem from day 1..    I still prefer 3D videos..   Just throwing this fact in there as I would film in 3D all day everyday and watch them this way too.    I tried to edit some of the burst out but it did not correct enough.  

So, not received as criticism at all.. :)  Again it's a struggle with both the POV and 3D cameras..  The drift innovation cameras are great because they work off a remote synced..  1 button up to 6 cameras.. 

Sadlly while i wanted to add footage and had the opportunity to film a throw yesterday I just wasn't into it.   Just let me say it's really cool to see in person especially because it happens almost instantly.  Throw, hook, climb.   at least at the mastery level.  the beginning steps while cool as a new skill set is slower but one must learn to walk before they can run. 

I might have some footage of a throw on the computer somewhere but will have to look.  So I looked and not a drop of footage.  Often times I film the training sessions and upload for the guys to watch for self study then delete them a week or 2 later. 

Here is a video of catwalking.. this is a primary movement skill. 

The other problem is with any kind of demonstration video of this nature when shown at full speed.. There is a lot of information related to safety that is not covered and someone could end up dead if done without proper instruction. 

I will shoot some footage in the future and post it here or in a PM kind of deal..  

HojPoj   You are in luck.. I found the photos of this exact hook made in the video.  The first few with the black strand rope was the last hook I made before I retired.. This hook went to a student as well. 

The photos of the one on the table are of the hook in the video. 

And 1 of my personal ichikagiwara and sankagiwara which is my action rope or one I use out in the field vs training. 

Bluerooster..  thanks and yes, yes it does..  I never realized I rock so much when I crank the blower.. :)











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A little back story too. 

So the hook started out as a huge 1/2" treble hook.. As my forging got better I made a hook out of some 7/8" round..  It had a straight point and it worked ok. 

It fell on a rock and bent the tip inwards some at and angle.. It worked 100% better after this so it prompted me to change the designs as I went along. 

In Japan the buildings and trees and such are different than in the USA or other parts of the world so their hooks were designed for that environment. 

I adapted the hooks to suit my terrain better..  This forked hook is an example. 

I was using my single hook on some concrete and stone walls about 30ft tall..  I had thrown the hook up and as I was climbing I noticed the hook had a tendency to wiggle back and forth as it was climbed.  I got about 15ft up when the hook let go (walked off the top 90ledge) and I broke both funny bones as they smacked off the stones. 

I then developed this snake tongue hook which completely eliminated the problem and works flawlessly. 

20201025_122241 - Copy (2).jpg


20201025_122247 - Copy (2).jpg

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I was the guy a while back that made the grappling hook thread on here. Now that I've seen your video on making one, I might give it a try, find some good rope, and just work on climbing the rope while it's not more than ten feet up. Hearing that bit about breaking both your arms made me realize how dangerous climbing like this can be. Would 3/4" round work as starting stock for the hook, or do I need to get some 5/8" round?

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The starting stock is 3/4" round..  Ideally you want to keep the full mass of the 3/4" so not thinning it at all. Just reshaping it to the correct profile. 

For rope Electric linesmans ropes work well in the 3/4" size.. I don't use manilla or hemp any more.  I haven't for years..  I once was climbing up about 40ft and about 30ft up I noticed the sharp edge of the rock cut 2 strands of the rope.. At this point up was closer to down so finished the climb but when I got up to the top there was nearly nothing left to the rope.  

Today there are so many better options.  

An arborist shop is a good place to find ropes..   Ropes should not be cheapened out on.  They are your lifeline. 

Also not both arms..  Just the funny bones on both (tip of elbows when arms are bent).. Which turns out can lead to nerve damage because the nerve runs directly in the channel under it.. Thats why its so painful when you smack the funny bone. 

Hook material is based on your weight and how you use it.  Also design of hook has a lot to do with it..  Long shank, short shanks, hook ID etc, etc. 

Also notice that the rope is not directly fed thru the eye.  It is held together with 2 wraps each of 550 cord which is then knotted with an overhand knot and melted back to itself.   There are 3 separate full wraps of 550cord. 

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I don't know.. The information there is pretty much the same discussions people are having today in different threads with no clear cut winner. 

Ergonomically its all bad for a person.. But so is running, walking, eating and breathing depending on location, age and other health concerns.. 

Over the years I have found everytime I am told by someone who thinks they have an "Idea" about something this is good and this is bad is usually quite far from the mark. 

You figure with 44 years of smithing and all the hard work that I have done that I would have limbs falling off..  Truth is, the more I smith the better everything feels. 

Maybe not at that moment after I finished forging a 4lbs axe but over the next few days and after a week of forging I feel amazing.  :)

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On 10/25/2020 at 2:02 PM, jlpservicesinc said:

HojPoj you are welcome.. Did you find what you were looking for in the photos? 

Sure did, thanks.  Wanted to see how you handled the blending of the weld of the eye and what it looked like in the end.  Makes sense that such a big weld close to the eye will be visible, but that doesn't matter one whit when it comes to structural integrity in the chosen application (shouldn't ever be any peeling stress, only shear)

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You bet..

I thought it was the weld seam you wanted to see.. I'm the same way..  Don't really care how the good sides look.. Show me the parts that are the hard parts to get welded well. 

In the old days I would drift the eyes from a smaller size up to the size I wanted and this would create a really nice profile like in the first photo with the black strand in it. 

As I have moved along I now don't drift the size open as much but still love a fully finished eye with a weld seam in the middle. 

Of note.. If the weld is bad when drifted to size they will open right up..  it's also how I test the weld.  :) 

In 30+ years I have never had an eye open on a hook..   I have had a few of the sharp points get dinged in and need to be resharpened. 

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