"Nine Bells"

The sword "Nine Bells"
Made by swordmaker Mr MacKinnon for me as a gift.
Sometimes I think I'm the most fortunate person in the world.

sword

The name of this sword arose because the last bell of nine o'clock was striking on New Plymouth's town clock just as it was "born" - i.e. just as the steel, red hot from forging, was quenched in cold water.

sword


The scabbard (saya) is made of kauri, highly polished with black lacquer.

sword

The hilt is covered with the traditional fish skin and knotted tape.
The fish skin is called SAME or in English Rayskin

sword     sword

He made the hand guard to suit me with the image of a woman sitting by the edge of the sea gazing up at the phases of the moon, which is tipped with silver.
The guard was pierced with a saw, chip carved with a hammer and small flat blade chisel then given the traditional finish which covers up irregularities etc. by literally burning the steel at around 1150 deg in the fire.
The pine trees are an old Japanese motif.

sword In reference to my age he made the fittings
of Shibuishi, a japanese alloy of silver and copper in a
pattern he calls "Ena Sharples' hairnet"!
The dots are Fine Silver.
I wish you could see this in reality
- it's exquisite.


sword

The sideblock (kurikata) on the scabbard has ferrules called Shitodomi.
They're covered in gold foil using the technique called iroye in Japanese but more commonly in the west called keumbo , from the Korean where is is still a common technique.
It is an interesting technique which uses the fact that 24 kt gold starts to absorb its own oxide at about 400 deg C. If the foil is less than 0.005mm thick it acts as an oxygen filter, absorbing the oxide from the base metal and if burnished quickly will form a metallic bond.
Mr MacKinnon says "Things can be a little hard to hold and burnish at the same time when they're stinking hot!"


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or email Mr MacKinnon

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