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Day And Night- Custom 1 Of 1 Menuki


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Hi Everyone,  

 

Mario here... I wanted to share something with you all because I don't know who else might appreciate it like I do.  I purchased my first Nihonto, a couple years ago, and slowly have been working on collecting the fittings to complete the koshirae I plan to build.  

 

I found a tsuba that I like, and I also found a quality fuchi kashira set that I really, really like... But I've been struggling  to find Menuki to bring it all together.  Long story short, I gave up searching and I hired my wife to make some for me.  Attached you'll see the wax carvings that will be used for the mold. Once received, we'll go ahead and complete this using mostly silver, and some gold to finish both pieces.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to share, I'll also post pics once they are all done.  If anyone else out there was having trouble finding specific fittings, making your own is always an option!

 

-Mario

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone,

 

Here are some updates on the progress!!

 

Attached you'll find some pictures of the molds as well as the raw silver and gold pieces... They'll obviously need to be polished and filed a bit more, but so far I'm really pleased with the look.  They're quite heavy!

 

-Mario 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 years later...

 

 

So this thread, is quite old, but just for consistency and for the 4 or 5 people that happen to remember... It's all finally finished...  It's not perfect, and surprisingly enough, my tastes have changed a bit from when I first started this project. I also feel like I should have had the ray skin lacquered, but overall I'm happy with it... In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, this should serve me well. I saw a thread previously that talked about people's feelings regarding their first sword... Well, this is mine, it's not a masterpiece by any stretch but, I definitely think I could have done way worse...

 

I have a Shodai Tadakuni that I've been training with, but considering the sentimental value here, I think this will become my main trainer moving forward... Anyway, just wanted to share!

 

 

-Mario

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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.

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That is way cool hat's off to you, "training" on some wrapping/Menuki I would think to be acceptable. Nothing major is being altered not training on the blade or anything that is costly to change back. Now if your training to polish we will find you hahaha.

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20 minutes ago, PietroParis said:

If I have understood correctly what you write, I'm afraid that "training" with an antique sword will not get a sympathetic reception in this forum...

luckily (and I mean this with all due respect), I kinda don't care... Life is too short for the opinions of others to prevent me from doing what I want to do in life.  I practice my kata with live blades when I can, I respect them, and I manage my money well enough to do whatever I want. It's actually pretty common for serious martial artists here in Japan to train with antique Katana and alternate using iaito. I wasn't looking for sympathy as much as I wanted to share how my wife contributes to a hobby of mine. 

 

31 minutes ago, 1kinko said:

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.

 

1Kinko, I was about to say something really snarky to you, but after reading your comment a couple times I'm concerned... Did someone hurt your feelings about a Chinese sword you bought? If they did I'm sorry man... Really, I am... (I genuinely mean that). You don't have to be upset because someone else doesn't appreciate your interests. Unless they pay your bills you can file the opinions away wherever you want.

 

For additional context my wife is a jeweler, and that's why I had her make them for me... Even though they aren't uchidashi (which is something we researched prior to taking the approach we did) They are special to me because these are not made by any jeweler, they're made by my wife.  It was a happy medium where I could support her business, and she could engage with my hobbies. 

 

Man to man, and I'm trying to say this as nicely as I can... If someone said something here that bothered me, I wouldn't use a random post to vent my frustration about it passive aggressively. I would tell them, like I'm telling you, you're welcome to make a thread about it go there and be salty... It's highly likely that some people don't accept these menuki, it's possible someone thinks the project is stupid, I think they're probably just being respectful and giving me the space and grace to engage with others on the forum, because it's kind of a nice thing to do.  I have no problem with your Chinese Swords. Neither does my wife. If you're looking for people to follow you, you should consider leading differently. I mean this as respectfully as I can, human to human.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Nevermind the naysayers job well done,

only change I would have done would had the Moon sitting like a boat peak on each side coming out not hidden.

Good show.

PS your sword do as you like with it.

Thank you Stephen! LOL That was the ONE thing my wife was upset about when we got it back from the crafters yesterday! LOL

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Mario,
I get what Darrel is saying. Don't hold it against him.
He's simply saying that on a forum that despises Chinese "fakes" as we study and conserve real Japanese swords, it is bizarre to accept or praise home-made non traditional menuki.
That's not to say they aren't nice...just that they are out of place. It's like posting a well done paint by numbers drawing on a Picasso forum.
It's all good. They have special meaning to you. But you have to expect some critique based on what we solely stand for here. No worries. Just that he may not have intended it so harshly as you see it.

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Never received flack for the navy submarine emblems are used on my son's tanto thanking him for his service not a word about non-traditional I wonder if we would complain if Ford made his own Menuki....ther made by his wife for his sword!

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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.

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3 hours ago, Brian said:

Mario,
I get what Darrel is saying. Don't hold it against him.
He's simply saying that on a forum that despises Chinese "fakes" as we study and conserve real Japanese swords, it is bizarre to accept or praise home-made non traditional menuki.
That's not to say they aren't nice...just that they are out of place. It's like posting a well done paint by numbers drawing on a Picasso forum.
It's all good. They have special meaning to you. But you have to expect some critique based on what we solely stand for here. No worries. Just that he may not have intended it so harshly as you see it.

 

Oh, I got what he said, and I promise, I'm not holding it against him. In the same manner, I'm I'm not holding it against you comparing the menuki (I imagine I shouldn't call them that anymore here) to paint by numbers even though one can be performed by a preschooler with ease. I've been ghosting this forum for a couple years since I made the original post, not only was I prepared for critique and for someone to say something wild, I waited for it. In the future though, since it's clear what "we stand for," I will certainly think twice. I don't have a scale to measure, but I didn't read the comment as harshly as I saw it "out of place..." That's my fault though I shouldn't have assumed that I could treat this like it was instagram, and I should have realized that this isn't the place to share any of this, I also should have realized (sooner) that it's not only these sword grips that are out of place,  but it's likely me as well. Absolutely no worries at all!

 

 

3 hours ago, 1kinko said:

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.

 

In closing I'll say that in Japan (and I assume everyone knows this), making something using a traditional method doesn't auto-equate to "authenticity" of the items produced if that's your concern...Especially if we're talking about nihontou... I'm not going to break this down though because then it just takes away from the point of having collective interests and it takes away from someone else's work.  I get what you're saying,  I understand, I understood... and I also think you're being judgey, and making allowances for what you want to make allowances for nearly in the same way you called it out.  There's no beef, it just seems a little hypocritical...  Regardless, this was all my bad... I should have known... Sorry!

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11 hours ago, Stephen said:

Appalled at the pettiness!

What's petty? The aims of this forum and the rules are clear.
We don't allow self polishing. We discourage people doing their own work like making habaki and saya. Why is it petty when people want to stick with traditional aesthetics on a 1000 year old tradition?
So it would be just peachy if someone wanted to wrap their tsuka in pink, stick anime stickers all over their saya and name the sword Ballbuster?

C'mon...no-one showed outrage here. Just a desire to stick to traditional. If this was posted in the Izakaya, it would be more appropriate. Who here wants to rewrite the rules. We DON'T allow polishing. We DON'T allow habaki. We DO allow menuki. We DO allow saya decoration.....etc etc etc.
Ford has an entire forum dedicated to this sort of stuff. Why must be also open ourselves wide to non traditional customization?
Mario's reply seems to dig his heels in and criticize the forum..instead of just saying "I get it..point taken"  Mario, you refer to Japan as though you would get any different reaction among Japanese collectors or dealers. Really?
As though we are at fault for not "moving with the times"
This isn't Facebook...sorry. I like the menuki. Most of us do. And you can do as you like on your own sword. But don't expect collectors to treat them as though you have put together a traditional koshirae.

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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.:glee:

 

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. 

 

 

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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:laughing:. If that's not a thing I reckon it jolly well ought to be. 8)

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The part of being appalled was what i was pointing out. Thought it a bit harsh, agreed with the point hes making but found the word a bit humorous.

So i thought id make a funny, didn't even hit the outer ring just fell ten from the target.

Sad ol man left to his most dangerous tool, what he calls a mind.

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15 hours ago, Brian said:

What's petty? The aims of this forum and the rules are clear.
We don't allow self polishing. We discourage people doing their own work like making habaki and saya. Why is it petty when people want to stick with traditional aesthetics on a 1000 year old tradition?
So it would be just peachy if someone wanted to wrap their tsuka in pink, stick anime stickers all over their saya and name the sword Ballbuster?

C'mon...no-one showed outrage here. Just a desire to stick to traditional. If this was posted in the Izakaya, it would be more appropriate. Who here wants to rewrite the rules. We DON'T allow polishing. We DON'T allow habaki. We DO allow menuki. We DO allow saya decoration.....etc etc etc.
Ford has an entire forum dedicated to this sort of stuff. Why must be also open ourselves wide to non traditional customization?
Mario's reply seems to dig his heels in and criticize the forum..instead of just saying "I get it..point taken"  Mario, you refer to Japan as though you would get any different reaction among Japanese collectors or dealers. Really?
As though we are at fault for not "moving with the times"
This isn't Facebook...sorry. I like the menuki. Most of us do. And you can do as you like on your own sword. But don't expect collectors to treat them as though you have put together a traditional koshirae.

This is the last thing I'm going to say, and then I'm moving on from my mistake here... If you feel like I'm criticizing the entire forum because I responded to 4-5 comments from individuals that was not my intent.  You made the point that I should have expected the criticism (I did), now, I should have said: "I get it, point taken..." "Really Brian?" Shut up and color in a sense...Or in this case... Paint by numbers... LOL I got the point, and it's cool. I can apply the same logic, to anyone that said something off kilter here (y'all got the point, my wife made some ornaments)...Maybe I should have not called them menuki because they weren't made traditionally... but I'm sure you all got the point of what was going on from the original post 2 whole damn years ago. This s**t is mad contradictory... because under the same logic what I'm to understand is that if someone uses tamahagane, folds steel, says a prayer, makes a blade and passes it off as a Japanese katana then that should be good enough right? You can accept it?  This is a "pot calling the kettle black argument" because we all know that it's not that simple.  That is my point... It's the "that's not real" with a justification for something that's also "not real," and the hypocrisy that comes with it that comes off as some elitist attempt of "this is better," that's pointless. It's bias... People used COINS as menuki in the past.     

 

In reference to how I talk about Japan and whether I would get a different reaction from Japanese collectors... Brian, really, not only do I believe I would... but I imagine that you would be shocked to know that I have gotten different reactions.  But it's not because they accept the ornaments as traditional, its because "culturally," people don't normally talk so harshly here. This is largely a homogenous society, and I know I don't need to tell you how deeply rooted manners are in how people conduct themselves.  Tell me I'm wrong. There is etiquette for holding swords, unsheathing them, putting them away...And there is etiquette for speaking to people in this country. The Japanese largely use keigo/honorific speech when talking to people they don't know. So YES I do believe that I would get a different reaction, and I have. I wasn't expecting people to accept this as a traditional koshirae because it's not, I didn't even think of it from that lens (I was just sharing something I was doing, with a community of people that I thought might get it, some seem see it for what it was, others seem to think I was passing it off as something it's not, some seem to think I wanted sympathy). I made the mistake of referring to these works as "menuki," and I shouldn't have (here)... I thought with photos and the explanation there might be some details that were either implied or inferred based on the information, but it's my fault for calling them "menuki" amongst you all... 

 

For the record, I didn't think anyone is at fault for not moving with the times here, but I do feel that there isn't as much utility in the way information is conveyed (sometimes). I joined this forum when I was in my 20's 10 years ago, because I didn't have anywhere else to go and participate in some form of larger conversation that informs my understanding of Japanese Swords primarily using english.  I've worked in Academia for almost 20 years, and in that time I've gone back to school three times, gotten more degrees and become a University Professor. As a college instructor, I have opinions about the "holier than thou" attitudes when it comes to teaching, or learning for that matter. I have opinions about the ivory tower, and I also have opinions about assumptions, and as such, I'm not going to shut up and color, and if someone says something, or post's something it's fair game (just like my post is). If you're wondering why I'm saying this... This is me digging my heels in, it's still really difficult to criticize the entire forum though because blaming everyone for something that very few people do is simply wrong. ^ This has nothing to do with anything that has transpired here on this thread, lol but if I had anything to that could be construed as a criticism for a community space where the point is to build engagement... This would be it.  

 

No one can read my intent or my tone through any of these messages, lol but I promise none of this is that serious. I'm still going to take my Terushige to the dojo tomorrow, show my class mates and my instructor (who trains with a muramasa and an 2nd gen tadahiro - I don't think he needs anyone's sympathy either) I'm going to listen to them talk trash about how it's dumb to have more than one sword at a time, or how having more than one sword isn't going to make my cuts any cleaner, we'll laugh and I'll get better at what I'm trying to do and I'll come home and study. Rinse and repeat.

 

In closing, lol the really really shitty part of this entire ordeal is that I only shared this because people seemed to show interest 2 years ago and I remember it all as I finalized the (can I call it koshirae?) If it belonged in a different place, you or anyone else could have told me then...  

On 9/3/2018 at 10:12 PM, Brian said:

Looking forward to seeing the progress

 

 

This is YOU^ and I remembered it earlier this week so I took photos to share with everyone.

 

And today  you're all " Why must be also open ourselves wide to non traditional customization?" 

 

^ You don't have to, but I could have saved myself a lot of trouble had someone said this 2 years ago... 

 

Either way, lesson learned.  My mistake, I won't do it again. Keep the rules the way they are.

 

There is no animosity, I'm not mad at how any of this turned out, I'm not upset about people's opinions... I understand the comments were not outrageous (although they are hella silly and uppity) and I get that they weren't meant to offend anyone. I'm also personally not offended, I do think some of the comments were not warranted (because in my opinion the intent was clear), and I also think some of them are dense (that's my personal opinion). I stand by what I said though, it's honest from my perspective... I know this isn't facebook (and I would never insult the forum to that degree) but I did think it was a bit more similar to instagram if it could be compared to any SMS in the sense that people randomly post their stuff.. "Look at my new sword?"  or "look at my first Toukubetsu..." Again, my mistake... I would be the one to not care whether or not someone puts stickers on their saya, I also don't care if people name their swords, and, if someone wants to use pink suede as tsuka ito, more power to them -- This is stuff to which I don't understand why people care, I guess I also think it's judgey, I'll admit it's not my taste, but it also doesn't affect me so I don't care. Oh well! We're all clearly different here... I hope you all stand by your convictions and the lines you draw in the sand though.

 

Thanks to all of you that took a look at these things that are not menuki, that serve the purpose of menuki on my sword's non-traditional koshirae. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, ROKUJURO said:

Well, these are also 'MENUKI'....:)

SATSUMA 'MENUKI'.jpg

 

It was a sad thing that happened to this man... He was whisked away by the menukisengumi, for having fake menuki in the place of where his real menuki should have been. He was charged and convicted on 1 count of being wrong, 6 counts for lying to an officer for referring to the things in his tsuka ito as menuki, he was also charged 18 counts for his menuki not being made using skillful uchi-dashi techniques.  He never saw the light of day afterwards, and is survived by his menuki...I mean "menuki like objects" that are not "menuki" in the place of where they should have been.  In transit to the bighouse he was assured he would receive no sympathy finding utility in his antique sword.

 

Case closed...

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