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Forging Japanese Style Blades with Walter Sorrells (2 DVDs)


Universal DVD, 2 hours and 50 minutes (2 DVDs)

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Have you ever wanted to forge a functional Japanese sword?  In this nearly three hour DVD set, bladesmith Walter Sorrells shows you how.

Sorrells shows you everything you need to know in order to get started forging — from tools and forging basics, to the ins and outs of correct Japanese sword geometry.

The emphasis here is on practical modern methods.  Widely available modern steels are used exclusively.  Whether you’re an experienced smith who just wants to know more about Japanese blades, or whether you’ve never picked up a hammer — Forging Japanese Style Blades has everything you need to learn the ins and outs of forging Japanese style blades.

Three projects are shown in detail on this video.  In the first project you’ll make a tanto from a scrap file using stock removal methods.  From there on out, it’s all forging!  You’ll forge a short unbeveled sword (a hira zukuri wakizashi), and then finally you’ll see how Walter forges a shinogi-zukuri katana.

As with all the videos in the series, Walter takes a modern approach to bladesmithing.  He believes that you should understand the traditions of Japanese swordsmithing…but that you needn’t be limited by them.

The video includes useful information on:

  • Heat treating differentially hardened blades;
  • Correct traditional Japanese blade geometry;
  • How to lay out clay to make hamons;
  • Basic hammer techniques for forging blades;
  • Grinder basics;
  • Techniques for hand production of blades;
  • Where to purchase supplies like steel, anvils and blacksmithing supplies;
  • Basic metallurgy.

NOTE:  A couple of notes about what this video doesn’t cover…   This DVD is the first in a set of five videos about the craft of Japanese sword making.  The emphasis in this video is exclusively on blade forging.  My other videos cover the polishing and mounting of blades, as well as the making of hamons and fittings such as habakis, fuchis and kashiras.   Forging Japanese Style Blades focuses on learning to forge and heat treat traditionally-shaped differentially hardened Japanese swords using modern techniques.  The video does not cover forge-welding and folding of steel, nor does it have information about using traditionally smelted steel (tamahagane).

Shot in Hi-Def for crystal clear image clarity, this DVD has production values unmatched by any knife-making video you’ve ever seen.  The audio voice-over is digitally recorded on high quality equipment.  Care has been taken to shoot most techniques from a variety of angles, including extreme close-ups.   A year of work, hundreds of hours and well over a thousand separate shots were invested in bringing this video to you.

LENGTH:  2:50 minutes (2 DVDs)


The Japanese sword is the pinnacle of the blademaker’s art.  It encompasses a variety of widely disparate crafts from smithing, to polishing, to woodwork.  Taken as a group, Walter Sorrell’s five-DVD series will show everything you need to know – from selecting your tools, steel and supplies…to forging, polishing and mounting your blade.

Walter Sorrells’ first DVD, Forging Japanese Style Blades, shows how to forge functional Japanese style swords using modern steels and techniques, married to traditional geometry and heat treating methods.  Mounting Japanese Swords, Making Hamons, Polishing Modern Japanese Style Blades and Making Japanese Sword Fittings round out the series.

Unlike many bladesmithing videos, every attempt has been made to use high production values so as to maximize your opportunity for learning.  If you’ve bought knife-making videos before, you’ve probably seen plenty where somebody just set up a wobbly camera in the back of a dimly lit shed and rolled tape.  Not these.  This series is thoughtfully scripted, narrated in crisp digital audio, well lit and shot, and carefully edited.  The Forging, Mounting and Fittings videos are shot in Hi-Def for crystal clear image quality.  Details of every operation are shown in close-up so you can actually see what’s going on.

Walter’s approach is to incorporate as wide a range of techniques as possible in these videos.  He’s not Japanese trained and doesn’t believe there’s a single “correct” way to make, polish or mount a blade.  He stresses starting with a thorough understanding of the function, use and construction of the traditional blade.  From there, both traditional and modern tools and techniques are freely incorporated.

Additional information

Weight 0.5 lbs



2 hours and 50 minutes (2 DVDs)