"Congratulations Kevin, very impressive and useful."
Thanks. :-) I always wanted to offer one, but no one appeared to be doing any. 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.