Howard Clark L6 Bainite Daito in a very elaborate Dragon Themed Koshirae.
All antique shakudo with fittings, gold antique menuki, and a very intricately painted saya.
Some of you may remember this sword -- I did it for a customer of mine last year. It started off when I received a really lovely L6 daito by Howard Clark. The sword had a wonderful feel and flow to it with a consistent 3/4 sori. I decided to find some really nice, tradtiional fittings to go along with the sword. If memory serves I started off finding a really nice stylized Namban dragon tsuba. Notice the fine sukashi and detail of this piece.
Next I was able to find a *really* nice dragon themed fuchi kashira that was the perfect size for both the sword and the tsuba.
Finally I was able to find antique gold dragon menuki that were simply gorgeous in detail and tone.
The final touch was creating a saya to go with this sword. I thought long and hard and finally decided to do something really elaborate. The goal was to do a really interesting bit of art in the saya, but to not be to gaudy or "in your face". So I hit upon the idea of trying to paint a dragon reaching up towards the tsuka from the depths of the black saya. So the saya starts off as black at the kojiri. As you look up closer to mid-saya you begin to see the blue tone appearing and start to notice a dragon is coming up out of the black. By the time you read the kurikata the dragon is fully visible in the blue. It seemed like a good idea until it was time to actually do it. It turned out to be a huge investment getting that done the way I wanted it to look. I've not done another one since although I've been asked a number of times. It was just too much work and too time consumning to pull off.
One interesting fact is that under most lights the dragon is just "hinted" at in the finish. But if you shine light directly on it and look, the dragon "appears" out of the blue.
The idea was to keep the saya understated but to also have some of the best artwork possible on the saya. It is "off the beaten track" a bit but it is a sword I'm quite proud of.
Anyway, the sword is back on the market. The owner had trained with the sword for a while including tameshigiri practice. I was told it cut like a dream. When I received it in for going up on consignment I decided to take the time to get it back to virtually brand new condition. First I had the tsuka completely rewrapped in brand new black doeskin by Jesse Pelayo.
Next I replated the habaki and seppa in a thick 24k gold plate to make them as good as new. I repaired one ding in the saya and then reworked the blade a bit in finish polishing to get it back to looking virtually as good as new. When the light is *juuuust* right you can make out a fine scuff here and there, but the blade is virtually as good as new. Both the following photos were taken after my touchup.
This sword was done to be both a work of art and a viable weapon. It is by far the nicest saya I've done to date and I am very glad to see the sword back again just to see how she's doing. It is available on consignment for $12,500. USD. Shipping in the US is included, of course. And it will come with a sword bag as well as a Fujishiro Uchiko ball and a small Fujishiro Sword Oil for maintenance.
If you would like to see all my original photos of this piece from a year ago, click here.
Yes, the blade is sharp, the rig is tight, and the sword is ready to use. Or to display. Or both.
Copyright © 2007 by Keith Larman. Duplication or Copying prohibited without permission.