Category Archives: News

New regarding Dragonfly Forge’s swordsmithing school, Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo (Dragonfly Mountain Japanese Sword Forging School)

Japanese Metalwork Technique by Ford Hallam

This past October, Gabriel Bell of Dragonfly Forge, had the distinct honor of attending Ford Hallam’s Immersive Iron Brush workshop. Mr. Hallam is the world’s foremost artist and authority of Japan’s ancient decorative metalworking tradition, kinko, having received top awards and recognition in Japan.

During the intensive four-week workshop, Gabriel was introduced firsthand into the techniques of line engraving, relief carving, true inlay and wire inlay, overlay (nunome), as well as tool-making, alloy composition, and patination. It was an enlightening and transformative experience for Gabriel, having found a wise and inspiring teacher in Mr. Hallam, as well as making great friends with other classmates.

Ford hopes to continue sharing his knowledge, experience, and passion of kinko to others. Towards this end, he began a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of the first volume of a series of 7 books that will present for the first time in any language, even Japanese, a comprehensive introduction to Japanese decorative metalwork techniques, materials and processes. This will be the seminal work on the subject and one that Ford hopes will be of use to craftspeople, collectors, academics and curators.

Only two weeks remain on the campaign, and we respectfully ask that anyone who can join us in supporting Ford Hallam’s Kickstarter to please do so.

2014 Swordsmithing School Course Schedule

2014 School Year

March 2014
Monday March 24 – Friday, March 28 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, March 29 – Sunday, March 30 – Kajioshi Course

April 2014
Friday, April 11 – Sunday, April 13: Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Knife Show in Eugene, Oregon

Monday, April 21 – Friday, April 25 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, April 26 – Sunday, April 27 – Habaki Course

May 2014
Monday, May 5 – Friday, May 9 – Kajioshi-Habaki Combo-Course

Monday, May 12 – Friday, May 16 – Koshirae Course

June 2014
Monday, June 16 – Friday, June 20 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, June 21 – Sunday, June 22 – Kajioshi Course

July 2014
Saturday, July 5 – Sunday, July 6 – Tsuka-maki Course

Monday, July 14 – Friday, July 18 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, July 19 – Sunday, July 20 – Habaki Course

August 2014
Monday, August 25 – Friday, August 29 – Intermediate Forging Course

Saturday, August 30 – Sunday, August 31 – Kajioshi Course

September 2014
Monday, September 8 – Friday, September 12 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, September 13 – Sunday, September 14 – Habaki Course

October 2014
Monday, October 6 – Friday, October 10 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, October 11 – Sunday, October 12 – Kajioshi Course

2013 Swordsmithing School Course Schedule

2013 School Year

March 2013
Monday March 25 – Friday, March 29 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, March 30 – Sunday, March 31 – Kajioshi Course

April 2013
Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14: Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Knife Show in Eugene, Oregon

Monday, April 22 – Friday, April 26 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, April 27 – Sunday, April 28 – Habaki Course

May 2013
Monday, May 6 – Friday, May 10 – Basic Forging Course

Monday, May 13 – Friday, May 17 – Kajioshi-Habaki Combo-Course

June 2013
Monday, June 17 – Friday, June 21 – Koshirae Course

Saturday, June 22 – Sunday, June 23 – Tsuka-maki (Handle-wrapping) Course

July 2013
Monday, July 15 – Friday, July 19 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, July 20 – Sunday, July 21 – Kajioshi Course

August 2013
Friday, August 2 – Sunday, August 4 – San Francisco Token Kai *Unfortunately, we were not able to attend this year.

Monday, August 26 – Friday, August 30 – Intermediate Forging Course

September 2013
Saturday, August 31 – Sunday, September 1 – Habaki Course

Monday, September 23 – Friday, September 27 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, August 28 – Sunday, September 29 – Kajioshi Course

October 2013

Monday, October 7 – Friday, October 11 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, October 12 – Sunday, October 13 – Habaki Course

2012 Swordsmithing School Course Schedule


We are proud to announce the 2012 class and event schedule for our Japanese sword-making courses here at Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo. The school year is scheduled to begin the last week of March, during many schools’ spring break, with a Basic Forging Course.

The Basic Forging Course has proved to be our most popular course over these years, so we have decided to schedule five sessions next year to hopeful best accommodate our students schedules.

We have also scheduled another session of our Intermediate Forging Course returning/advanced students. Sessions of Koshirae, Tsuka-maki, Kajioshi, Habaki, and Habaki-Kajioshi-Combo Courses have also been scheduled.

Classes are limited to four students per session, unless otherwise stated. Generally, a deposit is required to reserve one’s place in a class. Reservations are made on a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis and can be made on this site with payment via PayPal.

Please visit the FAQ section for more information on our classes.

We would love to have you attend a class at the dojo next year!


2012 School Year

March 2012

Monday, March 26 – Friday, March 30 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, March 31 – Sunday, April 1 – Kajioshi Course

April 2012

Friday, April 13 – Sunday, April 15: Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Knife Show in Eugene, Oregon

Monday, April 23 – Friday, April 27 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, April 28 – Sunday, April 29 – Kajioshi Course
May 2012

Monday, May 28 – Friday, June 1 – Koshirae Course

June 2012

Monday, June 25 – Friday, June 29 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, June 30 – Sunday, July 1 – Tsuka-maki (Handle-wrapping) Course

July 2012
Monday, July 16 – Friday, July 20 – Basic Forging Course

Saturday, July 21 – Sunday, July 22 – Habaki Course

August 2012
Friday, August 3 – Sunday, August 5 – San Francisco Token Kai

August 27-31 – Intermediate Forging Course

September 2012
Saturday, September 1 – Sunday, September 2 – Oroshigane (Steel-making) Seminar

Monday, September 10 – Friday, September 14 – Kajioshi-Habaki Combo-Course

October 2012
Monday, October 1 – Friday, October 5 – Basic Forging Course

Monday, October 22 – Friday, October 26 – Basic Forging Course

Tomboyama 2011 School Year in Review

Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo is proud to complete another school year. 2011 marked the year fourth since the construction and foundation of the dojo, and the sixth year that Michael Bell has offered scheduled swordsmithing classes here at Dragonfly Forge.
June was a busy month for a school, as we hosted two five-day classes within two weeks. First, we held a Basic Forging Course, which was attend by two students, Charles and returning alumnus Aaron. Aaron would also returned the following week to take our Kajioshi-Habaki Combo-Course.


Completing nearly our entire current curriculum, Aaron returned to the dojo in the month of July for two more weeks of classes. Continuing to learn, while bringing the katana forged in class further along towards completion, Aaron took our Koshirae Course followed by a five-day Tsuka Course.


The next class of the year would be our August Basic Forging Course. This class was attend by two students, Emerald and Fred. Emerald’s father is a knifemaker and wrote a short entry on his blog regarding his daughters experience at the dojo.


Our final class of the year was our September Intermediate Forging Course. The Intermediate Forging Course was a new additional to the school’s curriculum which explores the myriad shapes of tanto, as well as forge-folded steel. Dean was fascinated with the blade geometry of the kanmuri-otoshi style and choose it as his class project. His blade was forged from forge-weld and folded cable steel. Dean was able to stay for the weekend to attend a two-day Kajioshi, further refining his kanmuri-otoshi o-tanto/wakizashi.

May Basic Forging Course Fully Booked

Let this serve as an update for the 2011 School Year. The May 9-13 Basic Forging Course has now been fully booked. The other scheduled classes of 2011 are also beginning to fill up.

A reservation deposit is required to reserves one’s place in a scheduled session. Reservations are ‘first-come, first serve’, and may be made through our school’s website and PayPal, or by telephone.