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Thread: usable "shirasaya?"

  1. #1
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    usable "shirasaya?"

    I'm considering a fan project of the sword Goemon uses in Lupin the Third, but I can't figure out how to make a shirasaya that wouldn't break at all... anyone have any thoughts? Fibreglass is an option, but I'd still want to be able to remove the tsuka for cleaning...

    Perhaps a wooden core inside the fibreglass?

    I've seen "usable" "clandestine" shirasaya made before, but never understood how they were done, as the look and feel of wood would be the ideal outcome...
    I like swords.

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  2. #2
    Hmmmm....seems to me that without same or maki to bind the two tsuka halves together you only have a couple options for a safe non-wrapped tsuka. As you suggested, a one-piece, molded handle (maybe a fiberglass/g10 sleeve) with some kind of bedding or epoxy to conform to the nakago. You could coat the nakago in petroleum jelly and insert it into the epoxy-filled handle until its completely set. Maybe a fuchi and kashira of some sort would also help to bind the handle together, but still allow for the bare grip. Or perhaps wooden slabs attached to the nakago via removeable fasteners (doesn't sound like to good an idea). Just some thoughts...

  3. #3
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    Does the jelly actually prevent the resin from attaching itself to the nakago?
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  4. #4
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    I don't know if you will be painting it or not. But if you will be, why don't you fit binding rings of some sort, then making sure that they are flush with the body paint over them.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Ellis View Post
    Does the jelly actually prevent the resin from attaching itself to the nakago?
    I've only heard tale...never actually tried it. A single layer of tightly wrapped celophane may be a better option.

  6. #6
    Why not go for the full same wrap then sand the nodes completely flat, just leaving the rawhide and stain it with a wood stain? Then you have a usable tsuka with a wood colour.

  7. #7
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    Keep in mind my next would be my first as JAFO.... but.....

    When a tsuka is carved, is it not a good idea to make the "halves" different? That is, the seam twixt the two is not centerline on the nakago?


    I would think good sturdy wood as opposed to just what is commonly used for traditional tsuka builds but maybe a chunk/slab of lignum vitae from Amazon? Scrounging some micarta might be a useful use but some dust and working issues might trump interest. As I mention, my next would be my first but what I have read (in some depth) concerning making knife handle in general but tsuka particularly has in the past related to me that two halves need not be equal.

    Kinda crappy both the picture and my work (1982ish) but the top one is a piece of oak flooring I had cut and glued, it then had an instant receptacle for the stick tang and glue. The problem there was drilling through instead of one "halve" at a time. The other monster there was just a chunk of A2 someone had ground and slapped slab handles on. Anyway, the oak has never managed to rot the tang off but that was epoxied.

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    Cheers

    Hotspur; good wood and an offset approach with good glue should do just fine for a removable handle

  8. #8
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    Bokken

    Jeff , I went to Dachs and found a bokken of appropriate sori. took that to a local carpenter store/shop. and he split the bokken on a vertical ban saw. Inlet the blade and tang while it was in 2 halves, drilled thru the tang while it lay in one half, clamped it and drilled the other ana. Cut the handle from the saya at the back of habaki line. Epoxied the halves together and clamped. What little glue moved to the inside, was easily removed with a coat hanger scrapper. then file the best fit for the habaki. I wraped said home made with rayskin, but the epoxy I used would hold up to impact without it. I also did one using Gorrila Glue. I am not scared to use either for stiking use.
    Long Life

  9. #9
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    Don't bother with petroleum jelly, it's got too much body and could create gaps. Cooking spray works quite well actually, and it does prevent the epoxy from sticking to the steel. If there is an existing mekugi ana, fill it with modellers clay to prevent it being filled with epoxy and becoming a mechanical lock in itself. These are proven gunsmithing techniques for bedding rifle actions to a stock. They work and work well. Consider getting a kit from Brownells they have various bedding compounds available including bedding compounds reinforced with steel or titanium powders (and this does make a difference.)

    I would consider using a fuchi and kashira of some sort to create a strong mechanical lock holding the halves together. As someone else mentioned, you can always paint it into the background.

    Use a HARD wood. Lignum vitae is not the best option. Most of the tropical hardwoods are loaded with natural oils and resins and don't take glue very well. You can force it by cleaning the surfaces to be glued very, very well with either denatured alcohol or some stronger solvent such as acetone. You must then glue up quickly with an epoxy or the natural oils and resins in the wood will quickly wick into the dried out wood and inhibit bonding.

    Most bedding epoxies don't get along with oil at all, at least not petroleum based solvents. They tend to break down over time and get a bit mushy. I got a bit sloppy with the lubrication of one my rifles and now need to re-bed it.

    Recommended woods would include a very high grade of Appalachian sourced hickory such as is used by Kingfisher Woodworks. Sugar Maple is a nice option as would be Japanese White Oak (Shiro Kashi) (Quercus mongolica) or even American white oak (Quercus alba). All of these woods have a very high specific gravity, tight grain and good shock resistance. Another option would be an old tight grained piece of American Elm (Ulmus americanus) ro even some fruitwood such as apple or pear. These woods are pretty well known for tightly interlocked grain and high wear resistance. Elm was used until quite recently as a bearing material for ships propellers, because it is self lubricating and highly wear resistant. Sort of like natural teflon. These woods are seriously difficult to work because of their tight grain, hardness, and in the case of the elm and fruitwoods, their interlocked grain. Tools must be VERY sharp to cut across the grain going every which way. American White Oak is very abrasive as well due to the tendancy of the wood to soak a lot of minerals up into the fibers and pores. This tendancy is what makes it such a great wood for barrels that will hold liquids, because the filling of the spaces in the fibers with mineral solids also tends to limit the capillary action from wicking moisture through the wood. Red Oak doesn't do this, thus water can wick right up through the grain of red oak. In fact, dry white oak is so porous to water and air, that you can blow bubbles through the length of the wood like a straw.

    American Red Oak also contains a lot of tannic acid, which probably would not be good for the steel.

    I had another thought about mechanical reinforcement of the tsuka joint/halves. You could embed a steel ring in the end grain of the tsuka core at both ends, maybe 1-2mm under the surface of the wood. You would effectively have a veneer of wood over a fuchi and kashira, hiding them from sight without paint. This would take extreme precision of fitment and good epoxy bedding, but it would allow you to use a good clear wood finish as well.
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