Meditations in Metalwork – AKA Follow Your Bliss(es)

For those who don’t know, the closest thing to a hobby I have is repairing the mountings or fabricating new ones for old Japanese swords. One thing about those swords was that they were hand-forged by different smiths following different schools and traditions, and using a special form of iron created in batches that also varied from year to year. In short, you’d be hard pressed to find two blades exactly alike, even though they both might be made by the same smith. As a result, blade collars (habaki), scabbards (saya), hilts(tsuka), etc, were all custom made to fit the blade they were to be used on. Traditionally, each was created by a specialist (and sub-specialist. The person who created the scabbard was probably not the same person who did the  lacquer finish. Different specialty). In practice, I don’t have access to any of those specialists, so anything I need that requires a precise fit I will have to make myself. If I don’t have the skill, I have to acquire it.

 For anyone still reading this (whose eyes haven’t glazed over), there’s actually a connection between this wild hare of mine and the writing.  In fact, to call it a connection is to understate the case. They’re part of the same thing and there’s really no separating them.

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