Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Just finished my first inlayed tsuba!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    93

    Just finished my first inlayed tsuba!

    This tsuba is going to be a part of a full naginata-naoshi wak koshirae I am making, but I couldn't wait to share my excitement with fellow enthusiasts, so here it is posted by itself.
    This was my first try at making an inlayed tsuba using all traditional techniques, and I am rather surprized at how well it turned out (considering that I had no training and used simple home made chisels)! These are true inlays (NOT soldered, epoxied, or overlayed) - actual pieces of metal inlayed into base metal and polished flush with the surface. I believe the technique is called "hira zogan"?

    The motif is crossed brushes, I lifted the idea from this antique tsuba: http://ils.unc.edu/~allen/pen.jpg

    There are six different metals used in this tsuba:
    - the ground metal is copper, visible area finished as "ishime" (stone surface), seppa dai (center) left polished;
    - the "kozuka hitsu ana" (sp??) hole is plugged with lead, decorated with closely spaced diagonal cuts;
    - the brush handles are brass and nickel silver;
    - the brush points are shibuichi and shakudo respectively.

    I treated the tsuba "Baldwin's patina", and it looked like magic at work! Both shibuichi and shakudo practically blended in with copper when polished, but patina made them literally jump out in contrasting colors! The funny thing is that lead turned black after patination, I expected it will stay grey.

    BTW, the colors in the attached picture may be a bit off, depending on your monitor... Where I scanned it, it looked more or less correct if a bit lighter the real; but on my monitor the nickel silver looks almost black for some reason (supposed to be polished silver look) and shibuichi color is wrong (supposed to be dull silvery-grey).

    Anyway, how do you like it? Questions and comments welcome!

    Alex Indman.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    definately well done!

  3. #3
    looks great!
    it puts the lotion on the skin or else it gets the hose again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Bali, Indonesia
    Posts
    181

    After your footsteps ...

    Alex,

    I'm a complete beginner in metal working, and I'm also interested in doing the same project as you do.

    How do you create that ishime / stone surface texture on your tsuba?
    Also, what tool did you use for stock removal to shape the tsuba? Just home made chisels? C'mon!! .. Okay, but how do you do that? Just carve your way out?

    Leo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    W. PA
    Posts
    187

    Alright!

    Fabulous!



    -Will

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    93

    Re: After your footsteps ...

    Thanks guys!
    BTW, I forgot to mention dimensions: it's 2"x2 3/8"x3/16".

    Leo, as to your questions:

    Originally posted by Leo Song
    [How do you create that ishime / stone surface texture on your tsuba?
    Also, what tool did you use for stock removal to shape the tsuba? Just home made chisels? C'mon!! .. Okay, but how do you do that? Just carve your way out?
    [/B]
    - for ishime I used a punch made of a big nail with somewhat irregular/rough rounded point, applied liberally. Takes some experimentation to get the right punch shape.
    - to shape the tsuba (outside and holes) I used hacksaw, drill and files of course, not chisels. But for carving out indentations for inlays, I really used just two tiny chisels, one about as wide as the brushes, another 2-3 times narrower (made of old broken needle files, sharpened on a stone and set into simple wooden handles). Had to resharpen them quite often as the file steel was too brittle at the edge. The key is to work VERY slowly and carefully, and experiment on scrap pieces first!
    I'm sure professional metal carving tools would be much handier (especially with some training in their use), but they are rather expensive and I decided not to invest in them just to experiment with occasional hobby project. Besides, not knowing anything about carving, I wouldn't really know which ones to order (types, sizes, manufacturers, etc.)...

    Alex Indman.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Bali, Indonesia
    Posts
    181
    Thanks!
    Hmmm, it turns out that I don't have to wait until I buy that Foredom or Dremel to get started working on the project.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    17
    Just went upstairs to Alex's cubicle and examined the piece! It is fantastic! Much, much better than the pic. It's simply a great joy to have such a creative coworker!

    Sheng

  9. #9

    I love the stoney texture!

    Well done and very nice. Keep up the great work and post more pictures of the whole project.

    Brian

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    93

    Re: I love the stoney texture!

    Originally posted by Brian VanSpeybroeck
    post more pictures of the whole project.
    I will certainly post it when finished, as I really value the forumites approval of my work (and critical feedback too)!
    It will be a while though until I finish the whole project... but I may post menuki separately when done with them, if they turn out OK.

    Alex.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    2,545

    Re: Re: After your footsteps ...

    Alex..

    There is a pretty easy way to fix that..

    Toss 'em in the oven for about an hour at say 350-450 degrees, with the low end being a prefferable start point. If they are still too hard after you retemper them, try again at a slightly higher temp.

    Depending on the alloy composition, it might not work (I'm pretty sure that it will, but I don't want you to ruin your only set of tools.) I know it works okay on most normal files (a handful that I picked up from the pawnshop, so no qualitly control), having tempered a couple of them recently. Also, it just occured to me that they might be case hardened, in which case I don't know what the results would be.

    josh

    Originally posted by AlexI
    Had to resharpen them quite often as the file steel was too brittle at the edge. The key is to work VERY slowly and carefully, and experiment on scrap pieces first!
    The smith also sitteth by the anvil,
    And fighteth with the heat of the furnace,
    And the noise of the hammer and the anvil is ever in his ears,
    And his eyes look still upon the pattern of the thing that he maketh.
    He setteth his mind to finish his work,
    And waiteth to polish it perfectly.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    93
    Thanks for the advice Josh, I may try it eventually. I thought about tempering, but was afraid to get them too soft accidentally.
    And it doesn't look like they were case hardened (I ground the file surface away when forming the chisel edges, and they are still brittle), so tempering should work, in theory at least.

    Alex.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •