Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Long time no post.

Hi Eveyrone (ha ha - everyone....I think there are only two people in this whole world that know about my blog, thanks though for your support). It's bee a while since my last post, and now that I'm back, I'm not even posting about food. This post is going to give you a little peak into other aspects of my life, other than food.

I have other intestests believe it or not, and one of them is budo, but I'll leave that for another post. This post is about a small project I started when I used to work for Stilewood International MFG. Stilewood manufactures high-end custom wood doors and I worked there for just a few months. I started staying after hours to work on personal projects, and while everyone else made cabinets, tables, chairs....doors, I had limited skills and experience so I started with a sword stand. I had no idea how to make one, so I copied this cheap $10 POS that was made with MDF. It wasn't very strong and not long after I got it, fell apart. I made mine out of African Mahogany. I don't have an image of my first stand, but it looked terrible, much worse than the examples I made below:

Eventually, I decided to see what I could do and experimented a bit with various machines and equipment, different types of wood, and tried to make a bokken. People in class complained about my bokken because it was painted black (got it for 1,000 yen from a souvenir shop at a shrine in Matsushima, Japan) and left black marks on everyone elses' bokken. I needed something light, but strong enough to withstand tachiuchi excercises. I ended up making about half a dozen or so, all of varying sizes and shapes - no consistency whatsoever. I decided that these things were frackin hard to make and besides that, I stopped working at Stilewood.

My lame attempt to put my signature on my products....Ha ha, you know, just in case I become famous one day, this might make some of the bokken I made worth something?

The one on the left is strictly a show-piece made of African Mahogany, the dark one is made of Ipe, or Brazilian Ironwood, and so far, has not failed me yet.
So, a short while later, I found some really long strips of wood that had been binned and idea popped into my head. I remembered a few years ago, I went to a museum in Niigata, Japan, and saw the two longest katana ever made in Japan (or so the museum claimed).

It's hard to tell the scale in the picture below, but if you look carefully, you can see a couple of standard size swords to the left of this monster.So, I had to make one. I took those strips, cut them down to a uniform size and thickness, then lamenated them together on this really Micky Mouse rig I built. I let it cure over the weekend and began to shape this monster bokken. My coworkers thought I was nuts, and even I had to laugh when the thing started to take shape. It turned out pretty nice if I do say so myself. The layers of lamenate almost give it a faux hamon line. Anyways, I ended up donating the thing to our dojo summer party, it was auctioned off to one my classmates and the funds were used for future dojo events. The scale is hard to see in this picture, but Richard here is the tallest member of our dojo....

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