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Shigefusa's Workshop

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DrNaka

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May 7, 2011
Shigefusa's Workshop
Continued from Shigefusa and his Whetstones.

After Iizuka san let me look at his Whetstones his two sons Masayuki Iizuka san and Yoshihide Iizuka san guided me to the workshop. The workshop is in a separate building from where we had tea and the whetstone workbench was.
The reason why the whetstone workbench is in a separate building you can read here:
Iwasaki and Jnats (part one).

Now let me guide how a kitchen knife is made at Shigefusa.

This is the charcoal furnace for free forging and forge welding. Only few blacksmiths use charcoal furnace now. You will see too that the work is done sitting on the ground and not standing like at Yoshikane Hamono.
Here the hammer and in front you see the cutter.


Now after the rough forming of shape by forging comes the next step which is unique to Shigefusa knives.



Younger brother Yoshihide san showed me how to grind the back side (Ura) of an Usuba with "Sen". The careful work with "Sen" makes the backside very flat and superior to other makers. Here again you see the work is done by sitting.


Here is the furnace for heat treatment and you ca see the round cover of the water container for water quenching.

After heat treatment and before the final polish with natural whetstones the knife is sharpened with a big water wheel.




Here again you see that work is done by sitting. You can see how a Yanagiba is set and Yoshide san bows over the big wheel.

Before we went back to the whetstone workbench house I asked the sons how many kitchen knives they make per batch and how long it takes to make one batch.

The answer was they do in batch of about 30 knives depending how difficult the knives are to make. They need 2 weeks or a bit more to finish a batch.
It is now simple math how many knives they make per year. A year has 52 weeks so Shigefusa makes about 780 kitchen knives per year. And they do it in batch so you can say every knife is done by Tokifusa Iizuka san and every knife is done by his sons.

It is also clear that you must wait at least 2 weeks till a custom knife is made. But Shigefusa has many back orders and the batch is not mixed with single bevel and double bevel knives.
So I indicate a waiting time of 3 months at What you can order and how .

to be continued....

The pictures are at my blog.
http://hides-export.blogspot.com/
 

rockbox

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Very cool. I got to spend a day with Hoss and got bang my own damascus and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life.
 

oivind_dahle

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Thanks for the blog DrNaka.

I love my shigs, however you should show Tokifusa Iizuka and his sons the work of Marko. Im sure they will be impressed :)
 

DrNaka

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Thanks for the blog DrNaka.

I love my shigs, however you should show Tokifusa Iizuka and his sons the work of Marko. Im sure they will be impressed :)
I did.
It was one of the purpose to show it to Iizuka san because I help Marko to get Shigefusa knives.
 

maxim

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You make me buy to many Shigefusas :angry1:
 

Noodle Soup

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780 handforged knives per year. If you asked the average ABS mastersmith to make that many he would tell you it was impossible. I once spent a few hours in a well-known ABS mastersmith's shop and watched him handforge two very nice blades in about 30 minutes. Handles would have taken a little longer but it taught me a lot about how much time it really takes to produce one of these knives.
 

Eamon Burke

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I'm not seeing pics in the post!
*doy* just found the link. /tiredbrain.
 

DrNaka

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780 handforged knives per year. If you asked the average ABS mastersmith to make that many he would tell you it was impossible. I once spent a few hours in a well-known ABS mastersmith's shop and watched him handforge two very nice blades in about 30 minutes. Handles would have taken a little longer but it taught me a lot about how much time it really takes to produce one of these knives.
I think you did not read my post exactly.
Iizuka san's sons are master smiths too. So 3 master smiths making 760 knives per year. Not one.
 

DrNaka

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I'm not seeing pics in the post!
*doy* just found the link. /tiredbrain.
The pictured disappeared when I cut and paste to forum from my blog.
I think forum and blog uses different HTLM or so.
 

Eamon Burke

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Yeah, I didn't realize that until I found the link. I'm overworked and tired!

This is really great! I am so happy to have you around to show us this kind of thing, it is both informative and deeply inspiring.
 

Noodle Soup

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DrNaka,

You are right, I wasn't factoring in three smiths. 780 divided by 3 is 260 per smith per year. As in one per day for every 5 day week of the year. Sorry about my original math error.
 

Potato42

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Wow thanks for the detailed walkthrough. I always enjoy seeing behind the scenes and into the techniques that are used to create something great. Thank you for posting.
 

oivind_dahle

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I did.
It was one of the purpose to show it to Iizuka san because I help Marko to get Shigefusa knives.
Nice
Im impressed by the shigs cutting abilities, and the way they are made. Ill talk to Marko about more shigs :)
 

Marko Tsourkan

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It's great to have a glimpse into a craftsman's shop and techniques.
Fantastic blog, DrNaka. I really enjoy reading it. Perhaps, a book down the road?

M
 

DrNaka

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It's great to have a glimpse into a craftsman's shop and techniques.
Fantastic blog, DrNaka. I really enjoy reading it. Perhaps, a book down the road?

M
I do not think a book will sell because you can read it free at my blog.

And the editor has much to do because my English is my 3rd language.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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A blog is a blog and a book is a book. They are not the same. For instance, you can't have a blog on your coffee table for others to see.

M
 

Lefty

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Never been to an Internet cafe, Marko? :p
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Never been to an Internet cafe, Marko? :p
Not in US. But I do enjoy drinking coffee in my living room with a pile of books on my coffee table that I periodically flip through to look at the pictures (I have read them). My friends love to look through them too.

That and newspapers I enjoy reading on paper. I read plenty online, but reading on paper is a different game. And no, I don't own an Ipad (and don't plan on owning one).

M
 

Noodle Soup

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I'm with Marko. When it comes to reference material I find it a lot easier to turn back and forth on the pages of a book when I need to reread something than work my way through a website. For one thing, it always seems like there are parts of the website I miss because I don't understand each ones individual layout. There is no standard plan or format for them.
 

DrNaka

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I see.
Maybe in future I will think of it to make a book.
 
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