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Old 03-10-2018, 05:21 PM   #1
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Japanese Togishi interviewed on TV

My favorite Japanese Togishi has been made a 'National Treasure' for his skill in polishing. The show was divided into three segments, and I showed one to Chuck. I find this stuff interesting, and if enough care to watch the interview, I'll post the other two segments.

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Old 03-10-2018, 05:36 PM   #2
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One thing I noticed right away the first time I saw the show was that his methods mirror my own. In the corner of his shop is a lot of clean rags. There is water everywhere. He's always flattening his stones. He soaks several stones ahead of time.

And of course, there is swarf all over everything...
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:26 PM   #3
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He's working with long blades and I have a hard time understanding how he can keep the edge even from the tip to the hilt or what ever the other end of the blade is called.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:35 PM   #4
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Oh, I understand. There is a scene early where the camera angle is aimed at the tip. The entire expanse of the sword, perhaps 36 inches, is one flawless strip of chrome.

He figures a "tune up" takes four to eight days. Yikes, it takes me that long to do a knife!

I use the fanciest polishes I can buy. He digs through a box of mica, wets a piece, and rubs it on a board.

I do like his philosophy of polishing. Beauty is achieved by subtraction, and done too many times it destroys the sword. That is why I am careful with steel.

The thing that haunts me is the glazed, unblinking look he has where the stone meets the steel. Nothing escapes him.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:48 PM   #5
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You gotta have pretty good hip mobility to sit there on the floor and hold your stones with your feet. Part 3 was my favorite, but the video crashes for the last few minutes! That's the part I most needed to learn! It's like tearing the last page out of the book! Who did it? The butler? The jealous wife? Hillary's henchmen?
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Old 03-11-2018, 03:16 AM   #6
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That's why he's the 'National Treasure.'

(The ending is typical Japanese cinematography. He meets Beatrix Kiddo, tells he that her Hattori is dull, she cries, he embraces her and it snows.)

As I told Chuck, his tools and stance are the upside down version of an Edge Pro. He uses numerous wedges to get the waterstone he wants to the angle needed on the katana. Then he proceeds with long, even strokes with the blade while the stone is immobile.

I do the opposite. Instead of wedges underneath the stone, I raise and lower the stone arm. The blade stays immobile and the stone makes the strokes.

The outcome is the same, the angle of the bevel stays uniform.
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Tourist View Post
That's why he's the 'National Treasure.

I do the opposite. Instead of wedges underneath the stone, I raise and lower the stone arm. The blade stays immobile and the stone makes the strokes.

The outcome is the same, the angle of the bevel stays uniform.
I can attest to that.
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:08 AM   #8
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Very interesting to watch his process, and his body geometry. He establishes multiple 'pivot' points, which I have to believe, over time has become a matter of feel.
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:42 AM   #9
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This is where I lucked out. For a few years I worked as a mechanic for the old Decker's Harley-Davidson. There are torque specs for every bolt, and I had a torque wrench. After a few weeks you can do it by "feel."

I can find a rough spot, no matter the size, by the slight tremor I feel on the stone handle. You can also tell by the way the polish looks on the paper by how smooth the edge is. If there's a line in the polish, there's a flaw in the edge.
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