Sunday 5 January 2014 at 10:00 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

It's been a while since my last update on the tsuka for my Hanwei raptor and the reason is that I've just had so much on I've had no real chance to think much about it. However, now that Christmas is done I decided to take a look at the next step in creating an elegant style tsuka for a sword that has been described as having a handle like a baseball bat.

I actually ended up painting the rayskin because I wanted it to look more unusual than what I'm usually accustomed to seeing. This may mean that it ends up looking a little bizarre. It wont be the first time I've made this sort of slip up and it more than likely wont be the last but there you go. This whole thing is a learning process for me and this is the first time I've gone from making and preparing a wooden core with a full rayskin wrap to actually doing the tsukamaki. apart from the fittings this is all me so hopefully it'll come out ok.

Being as I've only got _this_ to compete with, if it turns out worse then I may just cry.

(photo of a raptor tsuka taken randomly from the web)

I've carefully taken a file to the Ha and Mune sides of the tsuka to remove the bumpy nodes of the rayskin, leaving a nice flat surface with which to attach the veneer panels that my hishigami will butt up against. I've wanted to do this properly for a while now, I've never used veneer panels before and although it may actually end up making the finished product look worse (fingers crossed) because of my inexperience, I can hardly expect myself to progress if I don't push the boat out a little can I now?

I did however need the veneer and my stepdad came to the rescue and was nice enough to send me some mahogany veneer in the post. Thanks, Colin! Although mahogany is not traditionally used, neither are the modern glues I use, the acrylic paints I'm fond of, or the cast metal fittings I'll be using so..... I'm not bothered. ;) Besides it seems to work very well.

For those interested in the way I went about this, I used two sheets of veneer cut roughly to size. I soaked them in boiling water to soften them, put them one on top of the other and pushed them into position against the tsuka, wrapping them with left over ito until they dried. This allowed the basic shape to form and I then used glue between the sheets to allow them to hold each other in this shape.

As you can see, I simply used what I had to hand to create the basic shape. Once it was formed and dry, I more accurately trimmed it to size and affixed with glue. I did the same with the bottom piece and spent most of my time trying to get these to the right shape and size for what I'm attempting to do. Once again, I have a new found respect for people who do this. :)

Of course I realised at some point that I'd managed to cut the pieces too short.....

(pretty sure leaving out all my boo-boo's would make me seem much more professional ;)

so I used more veneer, cut to size applied and then sanded to match up with the existing effort. I had to remind myself on many occasions, exactly how invisible all this is going to be once it's wrapped in order to let all these imperfections slide. ah well.

I have added another piece of veneer at the top on the omote side, where the ito starts off to support it properly. There wont be a crossover here, just a flat piece and so this will make sure there aren't any bumps where the top and bottom veneer starts and stops.

And finally, I have a tsuka ready to wrap. I apologise for the stop and starting nature of this blog post. I didn't even remember I was going to put this up. *shrugs* I always end up halfway through before slapping myself for not taking pictures.

Next time I post, hopefully it'll be to show the finished work.

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