Inspired by another of Hyourinsama's videos on YouTube I have decided to have a go at making my own Tsuka (hilt) for a Japanese blade. I have purchased a tanto blade that I am going to use to carve a wooden handle, wrap with ray skin and bind with a cotton ito (cord).
This is not a how to guide! This is a documentation of my efforts as I learn more about Japanese swords.
In the first video about tsuka construction, Kevin describes the choice of wood and the basics of how to carve out the shape of the tang. Because I have not done any woodwork for at least 10 years I have just got some cheap redwood to practice on. Once I have mastered the woodcarving I will progress to the proper wood. Like Kevin I have gone for two thin pieces instead of splitting a larger piece.
In the pictures shown below you can see the tanto blade with my hand for scale, an assorted collection of sword parts I have been collecting, including a few seppa (washers), Fuchi-Kashira, some ito cord, a nice tsuba (it may be a little large for the tanto, but I have plenty more). The habaki came with the blade and was made for this blade to ensure a snug fit. The final picture shows what a completed tsuka should look like.
Over the next few weeks, I will be updating with my progress. Wish me luck!