ANTHONY WOO'S KOGARASU MARU
 

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The design of an existing sword should aim at creating a unique version for the benefit of the owner of the sword and for the uniqueness of the design.
The Kogarasu-Maru can lend itself for a little innovation, which appears on the second half of the central original groove or bo-hi.
Compare the traditional design below, and note that there is a groove going from the habaki all the way to the point.

What I did was to prolongue the oblique line until it meets the lower line that defines the groove or bo-hi so that the groove is only on the front half, while the second part is totally flat and is played with the interplay of more polished and more of a buffered surface. It is but a little invention destined to make the blade more unique.

The darkened area in the front of the blade is the groove while its continuation is a flat surface, good for parrying if need be and corresponding to a centered shinoji. The habaki has been rendered in silver and the tsuka is in samegawa with blued tachi mountings with a small sori. The traditional end curved nakago was removed.
I suggested that a middle-dark blue tsunami ito should be used. I will somehow convoque the memory of a later tachi mountings sageo which was partially made of velvet. I did not use tachi mountings for the blade as while it was rendered, it was to be a 25 inches lenght blade. I searched for some uniqueness, and the use of sapphires seemed to be very much a unique touch in the menuki and the saya fittings.

 
FINAL DESIGN

Here is a large thumbnail in which every detail has been considered.
1. The first drawing shows all the details of the blade seen sideways, including a hole with the size of the center flat area. It will not weaken the blade at all. However it is just an alternative which can be ignored.

2. In this second drawing the blade has been colored with shades of gray. Some of them display a grain, which is a way to signal the surfaces that are to be polished in a less than mirror finish. The areas where the gray is plain, the surface is to be polished to a mirror like finish. So by clicking the thumbnail the more and less shinny surfaces are easily identifiable. This brings again a new interplay between different finishes to the steel. Gloss and buffered, resulting in an unconventional approach.

3. The fittings are to be custom made , but are to be plain, except for the tsuba which contains a parallel to the edge groove shown in lighter color as well as the kashira. They are to be chemically blued into a dark shinny blue. The kurikata should also be of blued metal, mild steel or other item.
There is also a ring in the saya which is to carry a semi circular sapphire stone. This piece will have to be made with a soft metal ring that will then receive the semi circular stone and its own metal ring.

4. Habaki is silver.

5. The tsuka is presented here just in plain samegawa but is to be wrapped in dark blue tsunami ito.
The menuki should remain the same circular button with a sapphire shown bellow.

The sapphire should be around 8mm maximum diameter, with the rounded shape like this one since there are others more oval.

The one for the saya medallion spoken in 3. should be larger, about 1.2 cm maximum.


6. The blade should have a consistent 3 cm width and the groove should be 8 mm wide.

7. The saya is to be covered by snake skin dyed blue. The color shown here is not to my satisfaction because it is not of the same family of blue from the fittings. It is now up to Eric to resize the saphires in so as to keep them in proportion. The snake skin will be clear lacquered so as to protect from any scratch on the scales or the entire snake's skin.

8. The blade sections are shown and the same 8 mm groove will be transformed in the first half of the blade as a flat shinning surface similar to the shinoji.
Actually, as it can be perceived by the right blade section, there are two mune, the upper one being oblique and the transition to the mune is to be rounded so as to keep in tune with the double edged front section of the blade.

This sword was conceived both as a weapon and a modified unique style of kogarasu-maru, and bears all the qualities of an art piece in 5160 steel through the way the steel is treated, polished and the fittings conceived. It does not bear tachi mountings as I think that such a small sword would look ridiculous in the complicated tachi sageo that would overwhelm the entire piece.

See the evolution of Eric Littons great renderings in this team work result.

First rendition
Corrections to first rendition - FINAL RESULTS
28 inches tachi as requested by Anthony on September 12, 2002

CLIENT'S COMMENTS ON GUESTBOOK:
Hi Antonio
Just need to mention you have done a great work with the design of my Kogarasu Maru Zukuri. Very good service ! You are very kind and communicative. It was fun to look how you work.
To everyone else, a more detailed comment is in Sword Forum International in this
thread

 
 
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