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Tsukamaki stand

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#1 Kevin

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 06:41 PM

I don’t know if this is the right place, but here goes.

 

As I recall, some fair while ago someone on here was looking for a tsukamaki stand. Unfortunately there were none available at the time, not even in Japan (I asked). You had to build your own.

 

Well now there is one available. I’ve just spent the last 2-3 months researching, experimenting, designing, and woodworking to create a prototype, then getting the prototype to production. Not content with that, I observed that tsukamaki was a rather under-resourced art. People had to hunt all over the web for what was available, then hunt around for plans for what wasn’t in order to build it. This seemed a bit silly and incredibly time wasting to me so, so I asked a number of tsukamaki-shi what they used and what they needed, and have pulled a load of stuff together into one section.

I haven’t quite finished yet. There’s a few other items needed, particularly clamps. I’ve had a look at a few commercial items but it mostly looks like I’ve got to fire up the forge and make a prototype. I’ll do what I can to keep the price down – it all depends on how long it takes to make, though I may be able to shorten the time with a jig for making the overall shape for the two halves.

 

https://www.ryujinswords.com/tsukamaki


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#2 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 08:42 PM

This store is all yours, Chris?


Ken Goldstein

 

Anyone can be tough for a season,

but it takes a special kind of human to rise to life's challenges for a lifetime.


#3 Kevin

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 08:48 PM

No, it is mine. Nothing to do with Chris.



#4 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 03:09 AM

Typo - sorry, Kevin.  :doh:


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Ken Goldstein

 

Anyone can be tough for a season,

but it takes a special kind of human to rise to life's challenges for a lifetime.


#5 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 12:16 PM

Congratulations Kevin, very impressive and useful.

 

On an unrelated note since your hosting has changed alot of the valuable articles and resources from your old website are no longer available, will they be reactivated eventually?


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John


#6 Kevin

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 08:22 PM

"Congratulations Kevin, very impressive and useful."

 

Thanks. :-) I always wanted to offer one, but no one appeared to be doing any. :sad: Eventually I made some enquiries in Japan, and found that no one made them there either, leastways not for sale, and if I wanted to offer one I'd have to make it myself. Cue a few very late nights playing with bits of wood in the forge/workshop and at one point ponging the house out making the spar varnish with which to finish it (my partner had some pointed remarks about that).

On further digging it seemed to be that tsukamaki was a rather neglected art. Togishi can get hold of the stones and equipment easily enough. Saya and tsuka makers can get hold of their tools and materials without too much trouble, as can lacquerers. By contrast, tsukamaki-shi can get hold of the ito easily enough, but the actual tools that they need? Until now they had to go searching round the net for the things that they could get - which invariably meant ordering from several different sites - and then go hunting for the plans for the things that they couldn't get, and either make them themselves or get someone else to make them. If they can find someone to make them that is. It took me two weeks of trudging round the local cabinet makers to find one who could and would make the dai, and even then finding him was due to a chance remark of mine to the guy in our local ironmongers who did the engraving. That’s also assuming that they don’t get bad advice from other sites. :-/

 

Anyway, this is part of an an effort on my part to put the situation right – my piddling contribution to trying to get folks involved in the arts of the Japanese sword so that there are future craftsmen and women. Along the way I’ve had a chat to a few tsukamaki-shi and asked “What do you want? What do you need?”

 

The *principles* were based on Buck's traditional stand. However his design is big and couldn't go through the post except as a flat pack - and even then it would be too heavy. I also wasn't convinced of the sturdiness of a flat pack version. Additionally I'm not going to make the assumption that everyone has a workshop. Some may have to do it on the dining table, and put the dai away afterwards. So it needed to be smaller than Buck’s design (that way it also didn’t attract huge postal costs), but sturdy. I didn’t like the idea of an unbraced back plate. Having considered that, I didn’t like the empty space of just having a socket there – it looked like a waste - so the top bit of the socket evolved into a shelf that not only strengthened the braces, but provided useful storage space under it for the tsukamaki-shi, plus somewhere to put things out of the way on top of it whilst working. The bolts for the sashigane are more for stopping it coming out unexpectedly; actually it probably won’t even without the bolts, but I wanted to make sure that it couldn’t ever do that. I know – over-designing. :-) The idea of clamps came about from a consideration of the turning forces on the dai in use, and the principle was nicked from a table loom my wife has. The coach bolts are in case someone has a workroom, and wants it fixed permanently.

Oh, since I was just this minute asked, it comes with the sashigane, the clamps, the coach bolt assemblies, and the bolt assemblies for the sashigane. Spare sashigane are available and if someone loses a clamp I can replace those. I don’t see any point in offering M8 coachbolt assemblies and M6 bolts, wingnuts and washers because you can get those down the ironmongers though if anyone has difficulties I’ll help out. If someone buggers one I’ll have a look at fixing it unless its obviously totalled. I don’t know how anyone would total one (or even damage one to the point that it needed repairing), short of setting about it with a lump hammer, but I long ago stopped underestimating people or the accidents that can happen.

BTW I checked the prototype sashigane with a katana, wakizashi and tanto tsuka to make sure they’d fit. I figured it more efficient and cost effective for customers if I adjusted the dimensions so that one did all of them, rather than make several different sizes. Less bits to lose as well. :-)

 

The next challenge is a tsukamaki clamp. I’ve been looking at some commercial clamps intended for other uses to see what could be usefully modified to serve as a tsukamaki clamp. Not everyone has lots of money. However at some point in the near future I’ll fire up the forge and bash out a prototype of a more professional clamp out of mild steel, hot black and card it if need be, and maybe put on some plastic grips such as you get on some pliers. Getting a tool company to reproduce the design may however be a problem; speciality tools are expensive and I’d rather keep the price down. It depends on quantities needed; it may be that I’ll just have to make them myself. I’ve been mentally designing it in my head (that’s where I design everything) and visualising going through the steps.

 

“On an unrelated note since your hosting has changed alot of the valuable articles and resources from your old website are no longer available, will they be reactivated eventually?”

I honestly don’t know. I had to go with a shop template because the latest sort of bells and whistles needed, such as being mobile compatible, were a bit beyond me. I’m not yet sure quite how to get non-selling, information only, things up there. I will no doubt find out eventually. In the meantime I’ve still got the files on my computer so if anyone wants anything I can email it to them.

Kevin


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#7 Blazeaglory

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 04:58 AM

Little pricey but looks really good!

 

 

I could definitely use one. I have the plans/dimensions to make one but Ive been procrastinating !

 

Anyways, nice job :)


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#8 Kevin

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 01:24 PM

"Little pricey but looks really good!"

I could do them cheaper, but then I'd have to make them all myself and that would have a knock-on effect on the rest of the business, not to mention home life, plus the lack of space to do more than 2-3 at a time. By the time you've figured in the time for the woodworking, wood finishing (and actually making the finish, which I did), and metalwork (and most people forget the cost of their own time if they're not making a living from it, £20-£30 an hour being what the average craftsman charges), cost of materials, cost of ancillaries, cost of packaging and so on, you find out that costs mount up. If you then get an engineer and a cabinet maker to do the work for you (leaving you free to do other essential business things), you then have to figure in their costs and still make a profit because unless you do so you're out of business, and no one has a tsukamaki-dai to purchase. You've also got to work on the basis that you'll probably only get 1-2 orders at a time because they're a highly specialised tool, so you can't assume that you'll benefit of economies of scale of getting orders for 5-10+ simultaneously, and thus you have to price accordingly.

It's something that my wife met several times when she used to do the fairs. At one fair, in Masham, North Yorks, members of the local Women's Institute came round, looked at her stuff, and loudly and disparagingly proclaimed to all within hearing range that they could make the quilts that she'd spent days working on for less - and believe me, making and backing a large, double-bed sized quilt takes ages. Well yes, they could make it cheaper because they weren't trying to make a living at it, so they didn't have to figure in time and costs. Neither had they got up at ungodly o'clock to drive several hundred miles with stock (figure in the costs of van and petrol, and a couple of days of a room at the pub, plus the cost of the stall). I got a bit politely acerbic with them and they went away. :-) Said women then went round the rest of the fair upsetting all the other craftspeople with similar remarks (the guy who did pyrography was livid when we compared notes in the pub that night), and left without buying anything from anyone.

You can only compare it with what people could do non-commercially - which isn't really a comparison for reasons given above - because no one else is offering one commercially. In actual fact when I was enquiring about sources for dai I constantly met the remark from companies that no one was making one because, having looked at it in the past, they concluded that it would be too expensive to sell, and no one would buy one. I imagine that they were visualising the eventual price as rather higher than this and having considered what they were thinking of, I concur. The postage costs alone would be prohibitive and the total cost would, I think, be the thick end of £1,000. I would however observe that, in the case of my dai, maybe 2-3 wrapping jobs would pay for it.

The other alternative to making them cheaper would be to come up with a less durable design, and that I'm not going to do. I am hoping that these things last a tsukamaki-shi's working life, and several generations beyond that. If I'm lucky they may even become antiques. :-D I can hope that I've done my designing well enough for that to happen. :-D I like to take pride in my work. :-)

I'm currently working on a modified clamp for tsukamaki. It will be a cheap one - £10 at the most. I'm hoping to make a more professional version for under £100, though that depends on how long making it and finishing it takes, plus cost of materials etc etc. I may when done have a look at seeing how much a tool-making company would charge to make limited runs, and whether it is worth it.

Kevin



#9 Jason N

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 10:06 PM

I have no need of a Tsukamaki stand.

That said, I’d consider buying yours as a piece of art. 👍
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-Jason


#10 Kevin

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 10:50 PM

I did my best to make it look good. :-) A sense of aesthetics went into it when I was designing and making the prototype. Even the varnish was handmade - though my girlfriend asked me to do it outside next time, due to the pong. :-) She had a point. :-)

 

In any case, a well-made tool is a pleasure to work with. I've got a load of my grandfather's tools (mostly 1900-1920, but some of the planes go back much earlier), and they're a delight to handle and work with, in a way that a lot of modern tools aren't. I also like to take pride in my work. :-)







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