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Ford Hallam

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Ford Hallam last won the day on March 3 2020

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    In a barn just outside of Dartmouth....

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    Ford Hallam

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  1. It's amazing! After looking at tsuba, somewhat obsessively, for going on 40 years now I was beginning to think perhaps I'd seen most types and designs....and then this pops up And like buses, not just one. It's a brilliant concept, I can just imagine a Samurai putting on his 'drinking tsuba' before going out on the lash on a well earned night off. I need one now, myself. And how about a matching pair of menuki? https://www.aoijapan.com/menuki-mumei-sake-bottle/
  2. The book appears to be volume one of the two part Tsuba Kansho Jiten by Sato and Wakayama. I have the 1977 edition and the upper tsuba is shown on page 173, alone. I imagine there's another edition that included this design tsuba.
  3. Thank you Roger, it's always heartening to hear that one's efforts are appreciated.
  4. Hi Roger, thank you for asking. I'm doing better but the nasty little bout of covid I had in January continues to hobble me. But I've recently had a fair bit of medical support and am looking forward to a somewhat easier lung function and I'm learning to pace my efforts more sensibly so that I can stay the race, so to speak. And thanks Dale, I certainly do intend to stick around, lots of work yet to do and things to learn.
  5. I suppose the question for you, Dale, is are you retro, vintage or authentically antique? Personally I feel somewhat vintage in need of restoration
  6. Not give give anyone pointers on faking great age on a tosho tsuba but the most efficient way is to start with already severely corroded 2 or 3mm mild steel plate. This sort of material is readily available from scrap yards or in old abandoned farm buildings and doesn't really take many years of exposure to the elements to create. The 'appearance of age' is a great deceiver. Strip all the rust off in a dilute bath of hydrochloric acid, cut out your patterns and with the judicial use of a jeweller pendant-drill hand piece or dremmel tool and suitable ball burs the freshly cut edges can be quite quickly and effectively shaped to simulated the corrosion pattern of the rest of the plate. And finish by applying a new patina. I actually made two this way in a day many years ago when living on a farm in Cornwall. I added sekigane, beat them about a bit and left them in a stone wall for a year. Then I recovered them and 'restored' them. They fooled two prominent London dealers at the time, when friend of mine presented them for appraisal. My point is, it's really not difficult or time consuming to create this sort of object, and in some parts of the world even $50 a week might keep a family fed. So it's absolutely worth doing if the internet makes their sale a possibility. Obviously the papered Higo fakes I make are more time consuming and require a bit more expertise but I manage to get really good money for them....so Maybe I should diversify and do Umetada now, probably better money.
  7. Hi John Your second piece is quite different. I can discern traces of irregular dendritic structure (modern material would be pretty uniform) in the breakdown of the surface due to corrosion. The surface corrosion is reasonably varied, I see one or two fissure like folds just visible, again due to corrosion. One such fold is to be seen trailing off the bottom outer edge of the kogai hitsi in the top image. Another at 10:30 on the same image near the mimi. And the wear around the kogai hitsu and nakago-ana is a bit like broken off stone, again exactly what I'd expect from corroding and friable old metal. Compared to modern iron/steel, which is quite pliable when in an unhardened state, old forge weld consolidated sponge iron (tatara material etc.) is somewhat crumbly. I use, almost exclusively now, old mid 19th century finely wrought iron in my own work, and even the best material, which looks flawless to the naked eye, has a grainy structure under the chisel and can tear and break in ways that are simply not the same as homogeneous steel. Actually this is a good example to contrast with the first piece to illustrate those subtleties that distinguish modern from pre-industrial iron. I've attached a microphotograph of some dendritic structure in a modern steel as a guid to what can be seen on this old tsuba. Uniformity is of course the aim in modern metallurgy whereas pre-industrial stuff is inevitably much less ordered, even when relatively well processed.
  8. I agree with Grey, I have my own suspicions about this piece. Despite it appearing to have suffered a fair amount of corrosion it reveals to signs we'd expect of a non-homogeneous piece of tatara produced iron. Just to clarify, pre-industrial iron in Japan that was forged etc. ( cast iron is a very different beast with it's own characteristics) was at no point a molten uniform mass, so it all looks a bit like filo pastry in terms of internal structure, of varying degrees of refinement, naturally. Here there are no signs of layering, inclusions and the like. In fact the basic material seems remarkably uniform....modern!, one might suggest.
  9. To my eyes it looks as though the rust was removed in a solution of dilute hydrochloric acid. That's apparently also the 'patina' you can see, a post acid bath dull grey. I hope it's been well and truly neutralised, which is quite difficult on fibrous wrought iron like this, or the corrosion will ramp up pretty soon on the inside and the whole thing will start to crumble in short order. I see the 'restorer' claims to have picked the rust off with a scalpel...I've seen quite a few bits of ancient metalwork done professionally in the V&A and British museum done this way, under a microscope, and the surface left is nothing like this dull grey. Sorry to be the 'bad cop' but this is acid stripping.
  10. If I were to saw this bolt in half lengthways and stick them on a tsuka under the wrap they'd serve as menuki, BUT would that make them actual menuki? And now we're falling into the deep hole that is the epistemology of tosogu. If that's not a thing I reckon it jolly well ought to be.
  11. Some interesting questions raised by these wax carved and cast menuki shaped objects... There, I've nailed my colours to the post Can we call a CGI designed and printed/cast object that has the outer form of a tsuba a real tsuba? I dont think so. A tsuba, like sushi, pizza, menuki and all sorts of culturally and creatively defined things are recognised as such by their conformity to accepted criteria. Toated dough, melted cheese and a tomato sauce doesn't automatically make the tasty treat a pizza....it may merely be a toasted cheese sandwich, even if you sneak in an anchovy. On a purely functional point menuki were made by means of skilfully manipulating sheet metal for a number of reasons, each significant in terms of what we understand a menuki to be. Sheet work means they're lighter and consume less material, so that choice reflects an awareness of the limits of material resources as well as the need to keep the overall weight of the sword to a minimum for its effective functioning. These are two important and defining aspects of what make menuki menuki. The skill needed to work sheet metal in this way, in such delicate and fine detail was one of the reasons menuki were in fact the most highly regarded of the tosogu when they originally came into use. We do actually value menuki in part because we recognise the remarkable effort their creation entails, finding a more efficient way of producing a similar looking outward appearance is missing a lot of where the value of menuki lies, I think. I don't want to criticise the objects Mario's wife made for him, they're perfectly nicely made objects, in their own right. But, as menuki I find the forms overly 'heavy/chunky'. So while I recognise they are intended to act as menuki, and of course that's Mario's prerogative, and that his wife made them makes them more meaningful to him no doubt, to my thinking they are 'menuki shaped objects, and not objects made to be menuki in the way menuki are and always have been made. I'm not trying to offend anyone's sensibilities by making this post, I'm merely attempting to clarify what I believe would be the reaction of most traditional artisans.
  12. ah, maybe a rare early example of a kinetic sculpture in tosogu. Take that Alexander Calder
  13. Same theme but just look at the two kashira, they're completely different designs. If you're unable to see the details in tosogu then what are you looking at, really?
  14. I would agree with Geraint and George with regard to leaving this piece as it is. However I can't imagine the Goto work ever incorporated any sort of worn look originally. The entire ethos of the Goto school, as part of the Shogunate's strategy of claiming and emphasising legitimacy, was one of dignity and unchanging perfection. It was very much a Confucian philosophy that informed the ruling structures, one of rectitude and order. Any suggestion of wear or decay in terms of court wear might even be seen as subversive I imagine.
  15. Hi Jeremiah, yes, shibuichi is the least poetic of the alloy's names, and actually inaccurate in most cases to boot. 朧 銀 can be read as either Oboro-gin or Rō-gin , hazy or misty silver.
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