Tomboyama is offering for the 2016 school year something old and something new.
We’ve had many requests to do another Oroshigane Seminar, having not done so for several years. This is a weekend event on converting pure iron into high quality sword steel.
Oroshigane is the process by which carbon content is adjusted; It can be iron to which carbon is added or steel of too high a carbon content needing a reduction in carbon. Once adjusted this steel is termed Tamahagane, “jewel blade metal”.
We will be adding carbon to electrolytic sponge iron (denkaitetsu in Japanese), thus making Tamahagane.
This steel and the steel smelted from high quality sand ore are the only materials allowed in modern Japanese swords, as the two are chemically nearly identical.
The new part is this year we will follow up the weekend seminar with a five day course using the steel just made, which we are calling our Advanced Forging Course. This will include assembling a billet of steel and folding the metal for the required number of folds. When the folding is done a bar will be drawn out and cut to make blanks that will be forged to shape. Each student will have enough material to forge a tanto.
This promises to be an interesting and challenging course and will aid in the understanding of the Japanese sword.