How to make a tsuka

how to make a tsuka

Making a tsuka (handle)

From a piece of wood, to the design, and the method of manufacture, it is not easy to make a custom tsuka to fit a blade. 1. You need a hard wood. 2. Sawing wood from the middle. 3. According to the shape of the tang, dig the wood with a wood carving knife. 4. Matching the front of the tsuka to the fu. Aug 11, †Ј Here I'm making the "Tsuka" from limewood.

In this tutorial I will demonstrate how I carve a new tsuka core from scratch. I want to first make clear that this is not a traditional method nor how I would construct a tsuka core for an antique restoration necessarily, but rather a method I use for the typical modern made production blade. There is a lot of room for your own personal adaptations so you can follow this guide loosely and change it to fit your needs if you like.

When choosing a wood type for this application you generally want to look for a tight and straight grain pattern as tskua as low acidity, moderately heavy, moderately low in shrinkage, moderately low in bending and compressive strength, moderately hard and stiff, and moderately high in shock resistance.

And one that does not produce sap. The wood should also be easy to carve and sand so try to avoid especially hard woods like hickory, certain oaks, Ironwood, and other similarly dense varieties. Try to choose boards that are as flat as possible. The Tools. I refined the tip with a bull nose edge and bent the shaft at around a 30 degree angle to make carving a flat board easier on my knuckles. I also use a few different sizes of standard wood chisels that you can get at any hardware store.

Clamps Ч A variety of these can be used, from C-clamps to squeeze clamps or even cord or used ito is fine. Basically, anything that will maintain even pressure on the boards while the glue is drying. I have also started using a surform rasp, a small wood plane, and a table top belt sander to help speed up the process but use these with caution as they can remove a lot of material very quickly.

For about a dollar you could also pick up a non stretching fabric tape ruler in most craft stores. Saw Ч Any small hand saw will work but if you have a band saw or scroll saw, go for it.

I typically use a coping saw or a small electric jigsaw. I also use my cordless drill often but if you have a mounted drill press, that might be best option for you. They can tskua found for very little money in most hoow hardware store. Glue Ч Last but not least, a good quality wood glue. I look for one that dries very quickly but allows you enough time to position, is tough as nails, and takes heavy impact well.

Waterproof is also a good feature. Really, any good wood glue should be fine. It is important that the grain structure flows out from the ha to the mune and away from the center because in short, the force of impact could possibly crack the core if the grain flows the opposite direction.

I have illustrated the hard to see grain lines in this example. Take your time aligning the nakago on the board and take note of the flow from the saya because when possible, you want this flow of shape and angle to continue into the tsuka.

I forgot to trace this on the first board initially but added it later on The base of the habaki should be pressed up against the edge of the board even though there will be the later addition of the tsuba, seppa, and top of the fuchi. The fuchi will actually be what determines the final dimensions of the tsuka.

You should now have a complete nakago outline represented on your first board. You should also have an idea of the depth you need to carve from the side view so use calipers or a ruler to transcribe the thickness of the nakago to the edge of the boards. Step 2 Ч Scoring the outline. With your utility blade, very carefully score the inner outline.

Go slowly and make sure your fingers are far from the path the blade will take because the blade can jump. Step 3 Ч Carving the channel. First clamp down or otherwise secure the board on a stable surface. One side of the core will be carved deeper than the other because the nakago should be sitting on solid wood rather than the middle of the seam.

Then start near the edges and go slowly while not placing a lot of pressure on the chisel. Make sure your chisels are honed and very sharp and free of burrs so it will remove the material easily and smoothly. Keep going and constantly check the fit until the nakago slides in and out of the carved slot freely but without any play. If you need to widen the channel, you can use a metal straight edge and your utility knife to carefully cut the edges. You tskka use carbon paper between the nakago and tsuks channel to see where the high spots are or sometimes I wet the nakago and use some crushed charcoal powder for this.

You can add some wood veneer shims before the boards are glued, which will be every bit as good as the original wood and is commonly used to adjust fit. Now do the same thing on the other board using the opposite side of the nakago. Step 4 Ч Drill a pilot hole for the mekugi-ana. Later on in the process you will be properly sizing the mekugi-ana but for now you just need a small pilot hole so you can locate it later when the boards ma,e glued together.

With a drill or Dremel, use a small diameter bit and drill a hole in both boards. Step 5 Ч Transfer the position of the nakago.

This is much more difficult and less accurate if you try to do it after the two boards are glued together so we will do this before we glue. Simply record the distance from the edge of the boards to the edges of the channel and apply them to the other side then place the nakago within the guide marks and trace the shape. Include the marks for the habaki and saya. Step 6 Ч Glue and clamp. Spread an appropriate amount of glue on the how to make a tsuka surfaces of the two boards. Slide the nakago into the slot a few times to make sure everything is aligned properly.

You should make sure there is no excess glue seeping into the channels and if there is, you should clean this out before you clamp the halves together. If all is good, go ahead and clamp or tie up the two halves tightly, making sure all areas are making contact.

Let this set and cure. Drying times can vary so follow the directions on the glue. Step 7 Ч Cut off excess material. Once the two tsika are fully set, remove the clamps and proceed by cutting off excess material using band saw or hand saw.

Step 8 Ч Shape for fuchi. Before you start shaping the core you want to make sure that the fuchi fits properly as makee will be the guide to how much material you will need to remove.

Fitting the kashira will come a little later. Hoa taking off a little wood from both sides and both ends but go slowly. I use a pencil or marker to mark where I need to remove more material as I go.

You want to extend the neck down past where the fuchi covers it since you will be removing some of this length what is the main language spoken in barbados to compensate for the thickness of the tsuba, top of the fuchi, and seppa. So makr fuchi will wind up being a little lower than it is now. The reason I do it this way is because one of the biggest mistakes you hhow make maks that you remove too much wood from the top creating a gap in your tsukz.

You want to go slowly on many steps in this process and I find that this one is especially important. Step 9 Ч Shaping the core. Now that your fuchi fits snugly you can begin removing material from the length of the core. In the beginning you might want to use the surform rasp or wood plane or belt sander too make things go a little quicker, but be very cautious because these tools can remove a lot of material very quickly, especially power tools.

At this point you will be sizing the core for the additional thickness of the tsuba, etc. With a pair of calipers or ruler, determine the accumulated thickness of those pieces, making sure to include the thickness of tsika top piece of your fo usually about a millimeter and then transfer this measurement to the top of the core.

Remove the appropriate amount again, take it slow and remove a little less than you should, check the fit, and then remove the rest little by little with a file or sandpaper and with the fittings in place, fit the core onto the nakago and proceed to finish shaping the mekugi-ana.

I like to finish the mekugi-ana together with removing the last of the wood from under the fuchi, and I repeatedly mount and remove the core from the nakago as Peta what does it stand for go to check the fit. Go slowly using a round needle file and constantly test the fit of the mekugi. The bottom of the hole in the core should be just about a millimeter lower than the bottom of the hole in mkae nakago because you want there to be a little pressure pulling the nakago into the core when you insert how to get free accounts on websites mekugi in.

Once the mekugi-ana is shaped and finished, you should measure for the placement of the kashira. I measure the width of the ito I will be using while it is stretched tightly and then mark in increments down the length of the tsuka on the how to make a tsuka of both the ha and mune sides.

Once this is done you can fit the kashira, including cutting out what is a 331 stroker engine slot where the ito will pass through, and then go back to refining the shape of the core. I use a coping saw and needle files to shape the slot in the kashira end.

When shaping the core, pay attention to the shape from all sides by constantly stopping and holding the core at an angle. Make sure you have good lighting so you can see even subtle adjustments that need to be made.

I also run my fingers along all sides because they can pick up what my eyes might miss. Too often people wind up with a finished tsuka that is too fat and the ito is sitting higher than the rims of the fuchi and kashira or they will almost be round because they are too beefy.

Tsuka cores should be relatively thin and flat on the sides while having nice slender oval edges. Step 10 Ч Carving the ramps. In order for your end knots to sit properly and not stick out too far like they do on most common production hos, you will need to carve ramps near the kashira.

The length and depth of these ramps are determined by factors such as the type of ito you are using and the style of the kashira, as well as the thickness of the samegawa. For typical 10mm silk ito the how to find food trucks near me on the omote side will be approximately mm long depending on how tightly the ito is wrapped or just about two increments up from the kashira rim.

On the ura side you will start the ramp a little higher up at around mm from the now rim or approximately two and three quarters increments up from the kashira as this will be where the top of the knot will fall. If you will be using samegawa, whether full wrap q panels, remember to allow for the thickness of the skin and remove the appropriate amount of material.

I have a small rectangular strip of samegawa of moderate thickness that I use to wrap around the collar and and a thicker piece at the butt end of the core and I then wrap a piece of ito over this to see if it aligns where it should. I also give a little extra room for the paper strips I use prior to tsukamaki. This core was made to receive a full wrap of premium samegawa but if yours will have panels instead, you would have removed a little less material from the circumference and would now proceed with carving uow for the panels to sit in.

Try to keep the width of the channels evenly spaced along the length if possible. Good luck ro your project. I also use a few different sizes of standard wood chisels that you can get at any hardware store Clamps Ч A variety of these can be used, from C-clamps to squeeze clamps or even cord or used ito is fine.

Step 2 Ч Scoring the outline With your utility blade, very carefully score the inner outline. Step 4 Ч Drill a pilot hole for the mekugi-ana Later on in what colour goes with green clothes process you will be properly sizing the mekugi-ana but for now you just need a small pilot hole so you can locate it later when tsyka boards are glued how to clean upholstered chair arms.


The wood on the outside of Japanese sword tang is called the tsuka, which is used for encircling the blade tang, allowing people to carry the sword conveniently, and it is also a part of samurai sword mountings. From a piece of wood, to the design, and the method of manufacture, it is not easy to make a custom tsuka to fit a blade. At this point you can see that the two pieces of wood are indeed not the same size. It is not that I have done something wrong. The purpose is to make the position of force is not at the seam, to ensure the strength of the handle.

File the shape of the handle with a file. This handle will be wrapped with full ray skin, so the thickness of the ray skin should be kept in the wood part. Drilling the mekugi holes using a hand powered post drill.

Want a unique sword? Feel free to contact us: Phone: Email: sales hanbonforge. Home Hanbon Forge's Blog Making a tsuka handle. Blog Categories. Latest News. How to choose a Japanese sword that suits you? Most Commented. What is the function of the rings on broadswords? Popular Articles. How to distinguish fake and real Hamon? Swords Tags. You need a hard wood 2. Sawing wood from the middle 3. According to the shape of the tang, dig the wood with a wood carving knife.

Matching the front of the tsuka to the fuchi. The rayskin is cut to shape and glued on to the tsuka core. Drill holes on the rayskin and install Mekugi pegs , Kashira. Wrapping the Tsuka with ito. Tags: tsuka for sale katana tsuka making a tsuka katana handle parts tsuka replacement.

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