All posts by gabriel@tomboyama

So you want to become an apprentice swordsmith…

An article regarding apprenticeships has been posted at our website,

“Michael Bell undertook a traditional five year apprenticeship to Japanese master swordsmith Nakajima Muneyoshi. Michael ‘s teacher, Mr. Nakajima, was unique in that he learned all of the Japanese sword arts: swordsmithing, polishing, habaki-making, as well as making koshirae. Usually each aspect of Japanese sword-making is preformed by a specialist; a sword can pass through the hands of four or more artists before being fully completed. It was for this reason that he was brought to Oakland, California in 1963 by the Japanese Sword Society of the United States; Mr. Nakajima could perform all the different jobs necessary to restore old swords. In 1970 Michael Bell was introduced to Mr. Nakajima and shortly thereafter became his apprentice.”

Continue reading here…

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What are students required to bring to class?

Students should wear work clothes that can be stained or damaged, with no synthetic fibers (cotton is best), and closed toe shoes. Safety glasses are available for use here at Dragonfly Forge, but students can bring their own if they would like.

Do I have to find my own accommodations? Do you have any suggestions?

Dragonfly Forge is not able to provide accommodations for our students ourselves. Many options are available, however, in the nearby towns of Coquille and Bandon, both of which are 20 minutes away. More possibilities are also available in the city of Coos Bay, 30 minutes away.

The town of Coquille is a sleepy little logging town slightly inland in the Coquille river valley. For accommodations there is only really one option, the Mrytle Lane Motel, which offers very reasonable rates, and has had nothing but good reviews from our students who have stayed there.

The town of Bandon is located at on the southern Oregon coast at the mouth of the Coquille River. The coastline offers wonderful scenic beaches and Bandon’s small “Historic Old Town” gives visitors a chance to stroll and shop. Bandon has also become known worldwide for its first-class golf experience, thanks to the famous Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. A list of accommodations in Bandon can be found here.

Other options for your accommodations during your visit to Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo can be found in Coos Bay. Coos Bay and its connected twin city of North Bend, form the largest city in the area. Students looking for a “larger” city can search for hotels there, but students who would prefer being 10-15 minutes closer to the school usually choose something in Coquille or Bandon.

What about campgrounds that are nearby the school?

Bullard’s Beach State Park is the campground closest to our school.  The beautiful park is located on the north side of the mouth of the Coquille River, across the river from the town of Bandon.  It is about 8 miles away from the dojo. Bullard’s Beach also offers yurts for reasonable rates, and the yurts are quite nice.  The park offers several different services, visit the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department’s Bullard’s Beach web page for more information and to make reservations online.

What is the airport nearest the dojo

Students who wish to fly to Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo can use the nearby Southwest Oregon Regional Airport, airport code OTH, located in North Bend. The Southwest Oregon Regional Airport has multiple daily flights to/from Portland, OR and San Francisco, CA, serviced by United Airlines. Students can book flights online at

What is the school’s address?

Dragonfly Forge
88321 North Bank Lane.
Coquille, OR 97423

We can also be contacted by telephone at: (541) 396-3605

How do I get to Dragonfly Forge?

From Coquille: Take Highway 42 heading West towards Coos Bay, turn left onto North Bank Lane. Dragonfly Forge is located between mile markers 7 and 8. Our driveway is marked with the sign that says “Japanese Swordsmith”. Follow the steep driveway to the top.

From Bandon: Take Highway 101 heading North, immediately after crossing the Coquille River turn right onto North Bank Lane. Dragonfly Forge is located between mile markers 7 and 8. Our driveway is marked with the sign that says “Japanese Swordsmith”, however this sign is difficult to see when coming from Bandon, so students should be on the look out for a large house with a white fenced field and pond with horses and a stable on the left; our driveway is around the next corner, also on the left. Follow the steep driveway to the top.

From Coos Bay/North Bend: Take Highway 101 heading South. Take Highway 42 heading towards Coquille/Roseburg. Turn right onto North Bank Lane. Dragonfly Forge is located between mile markers 7 and 8. Our driveway is marked with the sign that says “Japanese Swordsmith”. Follow the steep driveway to the top.

Note to students: The half mile driveway up the hill on which Dragonfly Forge is perched can be a little disconcerting to those unfamiliar with country roads.  If you would like to call us at (541) 396-3605 to make arrangements for you to park safely and we can shuttle you up the driveway.

When does class begin and end?

All of our classes run from 9 AM to 5 PM on the dates of the session. We will break for lunch, which is provided.