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I Forge Iron

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Im finally nearly done this wakizashi which has been a personal project of mine since last fall, when I forged the blade out and did all the grinding and polishing. At the time I then had a bit of a break from the sword as I wasn't sure how to make a couple of the handle pieces with the tools I have. Currently it is technically done with the exception of the tsuba engraving and inlay work, which is requiring me to make some new tools and learn engraving. 

The blade was forge welded san-mai using hitachi white #2, nickel sheet, and wrought iron. At the time I didn't have a heat treatment oven (now I do), so it was heat treated in the forge, and water quenched. 

I did most of the grinding on a 4x36 belt grinder, and then moved to diamond plates, and then water stones to finish polishing. The final finish was then buffed with a fine purple compound and etched. I realize this is not traditional, but I kinda liked the look a bit more personally.

The Tsuba is forged from wrought iron, and I filed the profile as well as the fit-up holes.

The habaki was forged from a copper bar which was bent around the tang of the sword, and then forge welded together at the bottom. Since I don't have high enough power torches and my soldering skills are severely lacking, and I didn't want to do stock removal to make the fit-up of the habaki, I chose to do this. ( I did try soldering a couple times but i couldnt get it seemless enough.)

The handle is yellow tarara which was rip-cut and then carved out to fit the tang. 

The copper spacer for keeping the handle tight was adjusted by hammering the thickness where needed. 

The koshirae was the piece that I had dreaded making for a long time, but I finally decided to forge it from wrought iron, and use stock removal to fit it.

The menuki are bronze that I forged, filed, and (rather terribly) engraved into a wolf, and an owl. 

Since I got the taste for engraving, now Im going to inlay and engrave the tsuba, Ill update this post once thats done. 


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Edited by Andrew Golabek
Fixed photo formating
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Ah whoops sorry I just fixed it

I just wanted to add on, this was my first completed steel sword, I have forged one prior, but I never finished it because the steel was unknown and I didnt want to spend that much time and effort on it. 

I used to do mostly casting, and have made two large bronze swords prior to this. In total my experience has been about 3 years, and I've made probably about 60-100 knives, 2 completed swords, and 2 hammers as well as some other small work. I may not have been doing this for very long, and its proof that it is possible. However, the difficulty should not be underestimated, and For the last 3 years aside from my university work this has been almost my entire spare time (bladesmithing not this sword)

One other note; forging and forge welding high carbon steel to wrought iron is a tricky dance with the proper working temperature.


The dimensions are approximately as follows, 780grams total, and the blade including tang is somewhere in the range of 19-21 inches. 

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