Blade Magazine has posted an article “How to Make a Sword” online, as part six of their “Knifemaking Series”.
The article is authored by Don Fogg, an outstandingly talented bladesmith, and more importantly a true gentleman. It is a interesting and informative read for anyone fascinated with swords and their construction.
As acknowledged in the article, swordsmithing is quite different from knifemaking. Although forging a knife is an excellent way to learn hammering, forge-welding, and heat-treatment, a sword poses some additional difficulties.
Although the article does not focus specifically in the Japanese style, it is full of useful information for anyone looking to learn more about swordsmithing in general, and much does apply to Japanese style blades.
Surely students of the dōjō will notice several differences between the methods, tools, and techniques and those described in the article. Obviously, at our own swordsmithing school we instruct students in our own method of forging Japanese style swords. But we are also quick to emphasize that students should do what works best for them.
For those truly interested in learning swordsmithing firsthand, we would of course recommend taking a class at our swordsmithing school, Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dōjō, which, although not mentioned in the article, is the the only school of its kind in the world. We would suggest students begin with the Basic Forging Course.