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Ginkgo Koshirae for Tanto

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I've been working on the fittings for a tanto knife, and I thought I would post my progress.

These are very simple carvings and more of an excuse to practice inlays. My focus is on reducing the need for cleanup after the inlay work by doing cleaner work in the first place ;)

Ura side:


Omote side:


The fittings are copper and the inlays are shibuichi (40/60). Looking at these now, they're a little bit more proud than I'd like (again... though better than in the past 😉). I'm quite happy with the inlay work itself, it's probably the least amount of cleanup I've ever had to do on a piece, and it went a lot faster.

Still looking at the design for the kashira but I'll post back here once it's done.

Cheers, and have a wonderful week!

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You make me smile with this: "My focus is on reducing the need for cleanup after the inlay work by doing cleaner work in the first place."  It makes so much sense and has yielded a lovely result!


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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/30/2021 at 5:02 PM, Janel said:

It is good to see it all together!  There is strength in its quietness.

Is there a tiny insert under the cord lashing?  



Thank you Janel! There is a little silver insert on each side, they are "menuki" in the shape of Japanese war arrows. The menuki are little ornaments that are traditionally attached to this style of handles either through or behind the cord/ito (same as on katana handles for instance). They are supposed to improve the grip somehow, but they often tend to be a bit bulky for my taste, which can become awkward to hold. For this reason I always try to make a fairly narrow and thin set of menuki, which still fulfills the aesthetic function but doesn't bulk up the handle too much.

I originally struggled to pick a theme for them. I chose war arrows because the ginkgo leaf is (among other things) a symbol of peace. I liked the balance this brought since after all, the price of peace is often and unfortunately war.

On 8/3/2021 at 12:03 PM, Jim Kelso said:

Lovely clean work Francis. 👏

Thank you Jim 🙏 This felt like progress :) 

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