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I read this and thought it was interesting so here it is.  I would love to attend a class, just to see basics would be amazing

Michael Bell Japanese Swordsmith and Artisan

January 6, 2014 Area AttractionsThe Arts

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Michael Bell Japanese Swordsmith and Artisan

Hidden on a hillside along the Coquille River, not far from Bandon, world renowned craftsman and Dragonfly Forge founder Michael Bell practices an art more than a thousand years old: Japanese sword making.

Bell began a five year apprenticeship under Japanese Master Swordsmith Nakajima Muneyoshi. Unique among swordsmiths, Nakajima had learned all Japanese sword making arts. It is not unusual for a Japanese sword to have passed through the hands of several craftsmen during production. One craftsman forges the blade, while another polishes the blade and yet another custom makes the scabbard. In 1963 the Japanese Sword Society of the United States brought Nakajima to Oakland, California, where Bell met him and began his apprenticeship in 1970. Like Nakajima, Bell is a master of all aspects of Japanese sword making.

swordsmith-michael-bellIn 1987 Bell established Dragonfly Forge and works to pass on the knowledge taught to him by Nakajima Muneyoshi and his own 40 years of experience. In 2006, Bell began formally taking students and in 2008 established Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo, where he and students forge blades made of handmade oroshigane steel. The blades exhibit all of the color and characteristics of the traditional swords of Japan.

Traditional blades, made of billets of iron and steel, are repeatedly folded and welded using clay and straw ash for a flux, according to Bell. Depending on size, two, three, or four billets are folded and then combined to make the blade. A large or complex blade may require as many as thirty welding cycles.

In addition, Bell specializes in forged steel cable blades that have been developed primarily for serious swordsmen.

“They have remarkable strength and aggressive cutting ability,” according to Bell.

During the two decades since Bell began Dragonfly Forge, he has had many students, but only a handful of apprentices. The distinction between students and apprentices is important. Students only spend a few days, a week or two, while an apprenticeship is a long term commitment. The commitment from both apprentice and teacher are critically important and both must have personalities that are compatible, given that the relationship will often last many years.

Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo (Dragonfly Mountain Japanese Sword Forging School) is the only swordsmithing school of it’s kind in the world, offering a formal curriculum in all parts of the Japanese sword.

They offer a variety of classes for those interested in hands-on learning of the Japanese sword arts.

Those interested in more information regarding upcomng classes, Japanese swordsmithing or Dragonfly Forge may visit http://dragonflyforge.com/

more athttp://bayareablaster.com/2014/01/06/michael-bell-japanese-swordsmi...

Tags: Dragonfly, Forge, making, sword

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Thanks, very interesting.

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