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Japanese sword scabbard fittings set

Luca Gallo

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Hi everybody,

I just finished today the complete set of fittings for a tachi saya (scabbard for a japanese long sword). They are all made of copper graved with floral motifs and finished with a deep grey patina. Hope you all enjoy this


when I'll finish the laquering process on the scabbard I'll pot a pic with these fittings on

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Can't wait to see the finished product. How did you get that grey patina on copper?


Hi Mike,

I used a commercial product that I found in a arts and crafts shop in Italy and which name is "Patina Nera" (Black patina). It is a light blue liquid so I guess it contains copper sulfate but no composition is marked on. If used dirctly on hot copper, it develops a brown/black patina but if used diluted in warm water in a bath contained in a steel pot, in 4~5 mns. it develops a lead grey finish that can be enhanced by burnishing. For this set I preferred, once achieved the desired color, just to remove the excess patina with a soft cloth then I covered the pieces with wax so to have a stin finish.

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those look pretty nice, did you start from "sheet" or cast ingots and form them from there? also its hard to tell, is that hammer and chisel engraving? great work and I will be looking for completed project pictures.



Hi Samuel,

everything has been made starting from sheet (I have no means to cast and in general I don't like cast pieces). All the gravings have been made with a thin round push graver and the details of the leaves with a thin onglette push graver. All the pieces except the kojiri (scabbard point) have been graved before chasing/deforming the sheet, actually it is much easier to grave on a flat piece. The kojiri has been graved after chasing because the heavy deformation of the sheet didn't allowed me to preview if the graved motifs would be resulted in the right places, here's how I made it:

first I cut the sheet in the "exploded" shape of the kojiri


then I deformed the sheet with a wood tablet with a hole of the dimensions of the section of the scabbard and a wooden "pusher"


finally I adjusted the shape with a nylon hammer mantining the piece direclty on the "pusher"


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Great fittings, Luca. And thanks for the pics and explanation on the fabrication of the kojiri.


Will you be making the sword yourself, or do these fittings go so another artisan? I'd sure like to see the finished sword.




Hi David,

the scabbard will host a 17th century japanese sword; when the laquering process on the scabbard will be finished I will place the fittings on, gluing them with raw laquer and I will cover the upper part of the scabbard with a silk cloth that will be covered with silk braid with the tipical crossings you can see on many japanese sword hilts. Then I will make in the same way the hilt and once completed I will post all the pics of the sword in its new mountings, including the blade.

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I completed the scabbard with its kin nashiji laquering (gold powder glued on a black laquer foundation and covered with several layers of clear laquer) and its itomaki (braid work) and assembling on it all the fittings. The hilt will be completed as the upper part of the scabbard i.e. with blue silk braid crossed, here's the result:



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