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Thread: Seppa

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    California
    Posts
    62

    Seppa

    Curious, any of you guys even used or seen a seppa alone on shira saya? Or perhaps also a plate on the saya, over the koiguchi? In other words: fittings that include only shira saya, habaki and seppa?

    Just interested in trying it.
    Black Sheep Forge
    "To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to understand all things." - a great Zen master

  2. #2
    I've never seen Seppa on a Shirasaya - no Tsuba, no Seppa. However, very expensive Shirasaya sometimes have a horn Koiguchi and "Fuchi", much like an Aikuchi. Not unusual, too, are Hatome (pidgeon eyes) which are ivory or horn inserts in the Mekugi-ana of the Tsuka (and nowadays sometimes made of plastic, because Hatome look kind of classy ).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    365

    Like This one???

    Originally posted by Guido Schiller
    Not unusual, too, are Hatome (pidgeon eyes) which are ivory or horn inserts in the Mekugi-ana of the Tsuka (and nowadays sometimes made of plastic, because Hatome look kind of classy ).


    Was this a common practice to a particular style, time or period?

    Thanks Guido,

  4. #4
    More a common practice for a given price range. Nice piece, by the way. What is it, about 14?"

  5. #5
    Originally posted by D.A. Guertin
    More a common practice for a given price range.
    Exactly. The "deluxe Shirasaya", so to speak. But the determining factor of the price of the Shirasaya is usually the Honoki - I've seen some wondeful stuff with subtle "tiger stripes" a.s.o.

    Another reason for the Hatome is that the wood of the Shirasaya easily scratches when you slip with the Mekugi-nuki, something that wouldn't show on Same - unfortunately I know what I'm talking about ... . The Hatome help preventing this.

  6. #6
    Originally posted by Guido Schiller

    Exactly. The "deluxe Shirasaya", so to speak. But the determining factor of the price of the Shirasaya is usually the Honoki - I've seen some wondeful stuff with subtle "tiger stripes" a.s.o.

    Another reason for the Hatome is that the wood of the Shirasaya easily scratches when you slip with the Mekugi-nuki, something that wouldn't show on Same - unfortunately I know what I'm talking about ... . The Hatome help preventing this.
    Good, I'm not the only one who's scratched up a shirasaya that way...

    And on the wood... It was late last year I think I bought a very high grade piece of honoki from Japan for a special katana I had. Lord, the stuff carved beautifully with a clean, clear consistent grain. I kept a small bit just to have it to carve for fun because it was so nice to work with. The shirasaya ended up with that tiger striping and I spent half a day trying to get a photograph of the pattern. Argh. And I thought taking shots of blades was difficult. Never got a good photo. But it is really a neat thing to see. And it changes in the light depending on the angle. Neat stuff.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Florence AL
    Posts
    345

    Photographing grain

    Keith, I did a lot of pro work in the photographic field for years. I have tried every type of lighting, strobes. Hot lights. Polarized strobes....polarized hot lights...you name it...I have used it including view cameras up to 11X14. The best results I ever got came from one of the simplest techniques.

    I found a window that faced the early morning sun (afternoon would work as well also) put up a shade that is Opaque that can be lowered or raised. Then raise the shade just a few inches to allow in a slit of light. And have the subject close to the light. I used a shooting table right by the window. Do this in as dark a room as you can work in, then vary the opening of the light coming in the slit by varying the opening and by using a reflector to return some of the light back toward the source. This was always a method that gave me great control over the contrast in the grain structure in the photograph. Give it a try, the costs are nil. No other lights...except that big one that rises in the morning and sets in the evening....Use a gray card to establish the exposure index...or al least a starting point.

    Enjoy
    Dwight Pilkilton

  8. #8


    John

  9. #9
    Okay, fine, prove me an incompetant photographer...

    Nice shot. Nice shirasaya too. With all the trimmin's...

    That's the stuff!
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  10. #10
    Originally posted by John Tirado


    John
    Mr. Tirado:

    Hmmm, looking again... Is there a stylistic reason why some shirasaya have a more pronounced, um, curved kashira (I hope I'm being clear)? The one you posted has a lot more curve than I usually see but I have seen it before. I've been trying to understand the stylistic differences among various shirasaya shapes (oval, sided, "waisting" the tsuka portion, etc.). I've just been wondering if they followed particular regions and styles (somewhat like the domed kashira of higo mounting vs. tensho, etc.).

    Thanks in advance.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  11. #11
    I talked to my teacher about this and he said that there are styles of Shirasaya that are particular to specific regions. but, whether the ends are maru or kaku......the degree of waist, how pronounced the chamfer, how oval etc are a development of personal style. I have picked up saya that I had cut in the past and not immediately recognized them as mine. I noticed that the style of my teacher's shape had changed since the last time we had been together. The shape is always pleasing but still different......... We mature.............
    I think as you get comfortable with the technical of making, that the cookie cutter desire to make it the same every time is alleviated. It's tough in that we don't want to step outside the lines of "traditional" probably because we're afraid to venture on our own. Our knowledge base is small and we are accepted at a particular level. To change that, we feel that we might be doing "Non traditional" work or styles. "I don't want to stand out and say oooooooo look at me!" When we have someone to reference our shape or particular characteristics with and are told "sure" that's ok.......That is your style...... this is mine" then we realize that we are not overstepping the boundaries and I think there is a big improvement in workmanship. It's like a plateau has been exceeded. What happens at this point is that we see a need to improve the technical again and sometimes what was simple and never thought about becomes a new area of difficulty we see a need for improvement again and again.

    It's a vicious cycle...........if it's not.......... something is wrong

    I'm sure you understand what I'm saying Keith, I have read it in your writing. I hope that this in general will help others.

    Oh, and it's John...........Not Mr. Tirado ..........heheh

  12. #12
    John:

    Thanks for the reply. Whenever I see some new detail in something it always generates the "Hmmm, wonder what that's all about..." response in me. Bottom line is its all good.

    I was carving down a tsuka core late last night thinking about much of what you're talking about. With all the discussion/argument/ whatever that we see on forums about things like full wraps vs. panel same', shapes, curves, etc. I was sitting there just filing, looking, filing more, looking, putting it on the sword, looking some more, putting the sword in the saya, standing back... And all the time I was thinking the hardest part of all of this is having the confidence to say "yes, that's what I want it to look like" rather than "hmmm, I wonder if that's okay, what *look* am I going for." Its a sort of difference between trying to please others and trying to please yourself. Or letting your own vision come out within the parameters of what you're working on. The confidence to just go after that vision is the hardest part. The curse of the craftsman I guess.

    Nonetheless, love the shirasaya. The grain in the honoki is wonderful and I really like the shape. I asked about the kashira because I remember seeing one like that a while back and it impressed me that it was quite nice looking.

    The small things matter...

    Thanks again.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    California
    Posts
    62

    Cool Thanx

    Wow, got some real good reponse on this thread and then some. Mr. John Tirado posted essentially what I was thinking about. That is a really damn nice piece. Thanks for all the really great pics and info guys! I appreciate the feedback.
    Black Sheep Forge
    "To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to understand all things." - a great Zen master

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