A modern bladesmith rooted in the old traditions

Shikomizue

This project took a long time to complete for one reason or the other. Like most of my projects I had thought of making a sword cane a long time ago. The concept and the ideas floating in my head and slowly turning into reality with many “corrections” along the way to achieve in practice what my mind had seen a long time ago.

I attended school in the University of Salamanca in Spain. The original building founded in 1094 is the second oldest university still functioning in the world and its façade is a complex stone carving in a unique style called plateresque. The name of the style comes from the fact that it imitates the look of the work of a silversmith. In Spanish silver is plata.
Here is a picture of the entrance wall to illustrate this:

Legend says a freshman student would have to endeavor locating the carving of a skull in that façade with the unusual feature of having a frog on top without help from anyone in order to graduate. It is not known what was in the head of the stone mason who committed such an irreverent act of which the meaning and symbolism remains unknown.
Here is the amphibian in question:

And my poor rendition of the same:

All put together the sword cane or walking stick looks like this:

And unsheathed like this:

The blade profile was based on the most common shape of Japanese sword canes: for most of the blade length is the typical profile of a Japanese katana in its hira-zukuri configuration and with a roof-peak mune except that it is skinnier and very straight. Zero sori. When I finished grinding the blade to shape and held it in my hand so used to holding full-length katana, I was shocked at how light it was. 400 grams. The point ends in a double edge both sides sharp. It seems to me that rather than cutting this profile is meant for thrusting. It will poke into things rather easily.

One difference compared to other Japanese sword canes is its length. This blade is unusually long at 29″ of cutting edge and and additional 7″ for the nakago.
The blade is a sanmai construction using 1050 steel for the core and folded cable for the jacket steel.




The stick is made of ash wood wrapped in tree bark and lacquered.


There is a latching mechanism to secure the two halfs.

And it fits comfortably in the hand.

A few more views: