Howard Clark's 12 inches sanmai tanto as posted in his site when I purchased it.
This picture was taken days after I have received the tanto from Fred Lohman. At 12 inches long, the tanto surely is impressive in size as much as in the scan above.
If I were to position the tanto's tip on my left shoulder, the kashira would reach the right side of my belt.
I must stress that Fred Lohman did a simply superb job in following the
renditions that I provided him.
I is always a pleasure for me to work with Fred Lohman, because we do get along quite well, specially since we met in person. Fred has always been very professional and careful in his work for me.
This tanto, after some problems it faced due to circumstances now irrelevant, came to be polished by me.
It still is quite a challenge. But I like taking them.
I have seen Rick Barrett polish while visiting and I had the stones from his Seminar in Macau.He has thaught me how to do it, but it was quite a responsability. It was pretty scary for me to start with the stones on a sanmai, and I have been corresponding for sometime with Brian Van Speyebroek who has achieved extremely nice hybrid polishes and Brian has always been very friendly and helpful to the point of taking the trouble to send me things for polishing that I could not find here.
So I have great pleasure not only to thank Rick Barrett but also to publically thank Brian Van Speyebroek for his lenghty emails full of important information that I have used for the polishing of this tanto.

It is interesting to note that once the tsuba is mounted it is just slightly decorated by the silver seppa

These pictures are by Fred Lohman.

Note the luxurious horn mekugi and the seamless samé.

Wave habaki detail by Fred Lohman. Superb work Wave fuchi in silver by Fred Lohman

In this picture, taken without much set up while it was getting dark, the polishing is almost finished.

I then procceeded to etch the blade with a mixture of vinegar, water and dish detergent heated in the microwave. I clamped the blade's nakago to the edge of the table and heated the blade's surface with the torch that Brian has so kindly bought for me. It is obvious that I took all care not to place the vise directly in contact with the nakago. Then I used the cotton swab to place the hot etching solution on the blade's surface, making sure it was permanently covered with it.
After 4 to 5 etches, I achieved the results below.

Here you can see the kissaki and the activity of the sanmai. I took these pictures with very simple lighting equipment.

Here is a close-up which shows different activities of the blade's surface. I will be taking more pictures with time.

I took another tray and placed the etched blade and removed some unevened background on the photograph.
he entire process of hybrid polishing starting at 220 grit is indeed a very tiresome one, yet one gets to feel the blade and uncover its intricacies since the begining and witness the transformations occuring during etching.

These are new pictures, I took, yet not with the proper set-up of lighting. But they seem to be a little better. However I still think they do reflect the activity that can be seen at Howard's 220 grit scan at the top of the page.

Here is the blade. The lighting is not the best and I have yet to clean it better and get more natural contrast.
It is possible to view a close up of the very good seam of the samé as well as the horn mekugi. This is a indeed a very good workmanship.
My Chinese sideboard table with, from top to bottom: my Howard Clark L6 ATZILUTH , my Howard Clark SHIBUMI and the SanMai Tanto.

Not being a handyman, I was actually amazed at what I was able to accomplish. It is far from perfect, but for me it means a big step.
t is time to thank Howard for his dedication, as well as Fred Lohman's care taken in reproducing my design, and Brian Van Speybroek for all the time he took in sending me invaluable information. Knowledge
of any kind is to be passed on.


After my experience with the hybrid polish, I decided to have Don Myra do a final polish for me.

 The hada being worked with ji-zuia fingerstones
the almost finished blade with the half-finished mune
Different stages and views of final polish by Don Myra. Pictures by Don Myra.

FastCounter by bCentral