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Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba
Enameled and coppered tsuba for the Japanese San Mai Tanto.

Tsuba Details:
-Enameled and coppered tsuba for the tanto.

Tsuba making process
Piece of flat copper stock to make the tsuba. (Picture 1)

Placing the piece of copper on the oven til it gets hot, making it easier to punch (about 850C) (Picture 2)

Taking it off the oven and placing it on the anvil to punch a hole on it with a piece of steel mimicking the shape on the tang. (Picture 3)

Hammering the hole on the copper. (Pictures 4, 5 and 6)

Ending the hole punching process. (Pictures 7 and 8)

Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba
Picture 1   Picture 2   Picture 3   Picture 4   Picture 5   Picture 6   Picture 7   Picture 8

Fine adjustment of the hole shape with a small file. This piece won't be glued or welded to the blade in any way, so it has to have an exact fit. (Picture 9)

Marking the desired shape and cutting the rectangular piece of copper. (Pictures 10 and 11)

Using the bench band grinder to take the rectangular piece of copper to the proper oval tsuba shape. (Picture 12)

Copper tsuba ready to be enameled. (Picture 13)

Splashing the copper piece with an aerograph with destiled water so it retains the powdered enamel. (Picture 14)

Placing red powdered enamel on a regular coffee strainer. (Picture 15)

Powdering the red enamel on the copper piece, sifting it through the strainer. (Picture 16)

Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba
Picture 9   Picture 10   Picture 11   Picture 12   Picture 13   Picture 14   Picture 15   Picture 16

Splashing the enameled copper piece with an aerograph with destiled water one more time, so it retains the new layer of powdered enamel. (Picture 17)

Powdering yellow enamel on the copper piece, again sifting it through the strainer. (Picture 18)

Powdering translucid white enamel on the copper piece (I had to use the aerograph with destiled water one more time, just like described above). (Picture 19)

Placing the powdered tsuba on an electric over at 900C until the powder enamel aquires a liquid and shiny consistency. I use that inverted U shape piece to insert and retrieve the piece from the oven easily, with just a steel bar. I use a screw to hold the piece in the air because I need both sides of the copper to be enameled properly. (Pictures 20 and 21)

Tsuba just taken out of the oven. Proper colors will be achieved once cold. (Picture 22)

Carefully grinding the borders of the almost finished piece to get rid of displaced enamel and temperature oxidation spots. (Picture 23)

Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   Knifemaking - Japanese San Mai Tanto - Tsuba   blank image
Picture 17   Picture 18   Picture 19   Picture 20   Picture 21   Picture 22   Picture 23    
Finished Tsuba
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