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Kozuka- basic contsruction

Guest ford hallam

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Remo,


that is excellent, congratulations. :D


I have to go out now but will write a few comments later which might be helpful.


very best regards, Ford

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...



Im new to this forum so please forgive me if this has been covered elsewhere.

In kozuka like:


where the detail is very embossed, is this:

a separate piece attached to the main body of the kozuka

the top and sides made from much thicker plate to allow for more material to be removed

or some other method?

I was thinking it could be ~1mm plate if the inside was beaten out a bit before the back was put on but this might cause problems for fixing the blade inside afterwards.


Any advice woild be great!



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Hi Paul,


Yes, the gold piece is an inlay in the takazogan(high inlay) mode. This appears to be a fairly typical piece from the Goto line

and shows very fine technique, if lacking somewhat in imagination(IMO) :D The Goto line existed over several centuries and thus developed a very high degree of technical refinement.


You can find my basic high inlay tutorial HERE


I've never dismantled a kozuka with takazogan, but I suspect that there could be a significant difference from my approach in the tutorial because of the thinness of the top plate of the kozuka. Instead of totally chiseling out the cavity for the inlay to fit in, it may be that this cavity was punched down, making a cavity on the top, but also a depression on the underneath of the plate. Or, the cavity may be a combination of chiseling and punching. That would be the approach I would take to balance out the thinness requirements for construction, with the depth of the inlay cavity requirements. As mentioned, the Goto had generations to refine the technical requirements.


In any event, the basic idea of creating a cavity, punching a burr around the edge, and punching that burr back against the inlay to hold it in place is the basic process as outlined in my tutorial.


Hope this is helpful.

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Thanks Paul. Glad it was helpful.

Here's a brilliant kozuka by the master Natsuo in the MFA Boston collection, in shakudo with gold inlay with katakiri bori engraving.

One might think that flat inlay(hirazogan) would somehow be easier than the high inlay, but I've found that in order for the inlay to really hold securely, there needs to be just as much material below surface as in the high inlay.


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I had my doubts about the hon taka zogan, given the fact that the nanako seems to be present in spaces under the dragon, given a sense of its continuity so I passed the question onto Ford, to which he responded along the lines of...


"It is actually sue-mon, that is; the dragon is a seperate piece which is attached by means of pins soldered to the back of the raised "inlay" bit which pass through the ground and are simply bent over to hold it in place. The give-away is the fact that the nanako ground can be seen to continue under the raised gold piece. The nanako panel that it is attached to would then be fitted into the prepared framework. You sometimes come across items like this which have lost the sue-mon bit. This is not an uncommon technique on Mino-Goto work which is what it is".

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