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Mounting Japanese Swords with Walter Sorrells (2 DVDs)



2 Universal DVDs, 2 hours and 30 minutes

6 in stock


In this two and a half hour DVD set, bladesmith Walter Sorrells shows you the A-to-Z of sword mounting.  The DVD starts with basic woodworking then moves on to more complex projects and techniques.  Handle wrapping, saya lacquering, saya construction, and tsuka construction are all covered.  Whether you’re just getting started with mounting or you’re looking for a few advanced tips, this video will have plenty of information for you.

We’ll expose you to various Japanese tools including saya chisels and Japanese planes.  But this is not just about traditional techniques.  We’ll cover the use of modern tools and materials, too.  Walter’s approach is not to say, “This is how it must be done.”   Rather, he offers choices — from the modern to the traditional, from the simple to the complex — giving you the tools to decide how and what you want to make.

Three full projects are documented.  First a shirasaya for a tanto is demonstrated, showing each step from wood choice, to chiseling the blade channel, to glue-up, planing and finishing.

The second project is a basic black mount using production fittings.  This project is intended to give you the tools to fully mount a Japanese style blade without using a great deal of equipment or unusual materials.  The project will show you how to carve the tsuka (handle) core, as well as teaching the ins and outs of handling manta ray skin, and the fundamentals of tsuka-ito (handle braid) wrapping.  The saya is painted with spray enamel, showing how to achieve a surprisingly high quality finish with off-the-shelf products.

The final project is a fairly customized koshirae, including a rattan wrapped saya.  We’ll also show a useful fixture for handle-wrapping that can be made by anyone with welding equipment.  All the knots used in handle wrapping are charted out and then filmed in extreme close-up.   The saya is lacquered and finished using more of a “custom shop” approach than the first project, taking you through the steps necessary for the highest quality nitro-cellulose lacquering.

Finally, the second DVD also includes a set of bonus lacquering techniques for creating high-end one-of-a-kind sayas.  Multi-colored and multi-layered lacquering is demonstrated using a variety of thought-provoking techniques.

The video includes useful information on:

  • Shirasaya carving;
  • How to properly fit up and adjust a Japanese sword mount;
  • Building a tsuka core (including all the steps in fully wrapping it with manta ray skin);
  • Handle wrapping (tsuka-maki);
  • Making and mounting kojiris, koiguchis and kurigatas from both buffalo horn and exotic woods;
  • Lacquering techniques — from the simple to the advanced;
  • Wood choice;
  • Tools and Materials;
  • Where to buy materials.

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.   Five months of work, hundreds of hours and nearly a thousand separate shots were invested in bringing this video to you.

LENGTH:  2:30 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 30 minutes