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  • Location:
    Williamsburg VA
  • Interests
    tosogu, metallurgy, Japanese alloys, kinko techniques, patinas

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    Darrel Lauren

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  1. Dale- just a thought- you might want Markus’ e- books so you can expand the font size.
  2. Stephen- Ford does make his own menuki, the traditional Japanese way, uchidashi. That’s how I learned to make menuki. In fact, it’s because I was so appalled at the tosogu on my first katana, that I learned how to make them. Brian got my point perfectly.
  3. Well, for a group that criticizes Chinese katanas, I’m appalled at the acceptance of lost wax menuki. Menuki were/are made using the uchidashi technique to raise the design from sheet metal. Any jeweler could make lost wax menuki, kashira, fuchi, tsuba, etc.
  4. Franco- Not every piece can be restored as completely as shown in Ford’s work and Ford would be unlikely to even accept the initial pieces for restoration. "Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Pretty damn good, I’d say.
  5. 1kinko

    Tsuba Material

    I mis-spoke earlier and said I thought it was likely 5% silver shibuichi. I should have said something more like 20% silver and I’ve worked with 20% silver shibuichi that patinates to dark grey with rokusho, but without the shine of shakudo. But there are also variations of shakudo both with the amount of gold and the amount of arsenic (and probably everything else).
  6. The Tomei millet seed heads I’ve seen are composed of 7 individual seeds within each seed and they are deeply carved, much deeper than nanako. I don’t see that here, but that may be a function of the photo quality. I was also surprised by the relative lack of solder around the neashi on the back of the quail, but that was pretty common on Tomei work. I’m sure Ford will chime in soon, seeing as he has produced millet in gold himself.
  7. Who paid for the shipping and handling? Over here I suspect it’s a way to secretly add profit.
  8. That’s what I thought- uttori or fukuro-kise of gold foil. As Markus Sesko summarized, “Here, the element which should be decorated is covered with a thin hold or silver foil which is hammered into slots prepared in advance on the lateral ground”, “Sword fittings decorated via uttori are found from the Kamakura period onwards, and at last during the time of Yujo (1440-1513) the first generation of the Goto family- these techniques were standard among kinko metalworkers who decorated sword fittings.” Ford’s your man for restoration but many seem to like the wabi-sabi look of well worn high quality fittings. Please keep us up to date if you press ahead with restoration.
  9. FYI Dispatches from the Field Article "The Armor Masks of Myochin Muneakira" with illustrations just posted. armsandarmor@metmuseum.org Post 2021#17
  10. 1kinko

    Tsuba Material

    I think the initial information is correct, a relatively low silver shibuichi, maybe 5%.
  11. 1kinko

    Tsuba Material

    Where to begin? There are several statements presented here as fact that are simply wrong. Ford is obviously the best person to make corrections but I’ll give it a try. 1) While there are chemical treatments that can turn copper black, they are not Japanese patina treatments. 2) Shakudo color depends on the gold content of the alloy and this changed over time. Older shakudo contains between about 1 and 10% gold, a trace of silver, and a trace of arsenic, the Ag and As being impurities. Some lead and iron are sometimes found. The shakudo I’m most familiar with is about 5 to 7% gold and is basically copper color but with a tinge of pink before it’s patinated. I’ve never seen brass or gold colored shakudo. 3) Shakudo does not have a high content of silver. Copper and silver make shibuichi and the color varies with the concentration of silver only after patinization. 4) Kuromido is an alloy of copper and arsenic that also starts out copper colored but turns dark brown to black when patinated. However, kuromido does not acquire the “crow feather” black of shakudo. Hope this helps.
  12. Brian- Mercury gilding is fire gilding and heating to around 1000F to drive off the mercury would destroy any patina. The patina could be re-done, depending on the base metal/alloy. There could also be roughening if the base metal/alloy that would require polishing.
  13. Neither the composition, background nor detail is up to Natsuo standards.
  14. The proper term for gold overlay material is gold foil, not leaf. Brian T is the only person I know of who may be able to do this kind of repair. However, if it’s just worn through to a silver backing, electroplating is a simple option. Electroplating was pretty common on the 1800s on. Ford is very good at evaluating and repairing such work.
  15. Only use rice glue. You can order Nori brand rice glue very cheaply. It is uniform and very easy to use. Make sure you poplar is bone dry. Namikawa Hibei honoki is dried for 10 years as I recall.
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