Identifying blacksmith stamp

Like Japanese chisel and plane blades, Japanese hammer heads are forge-welded laminates comprising a soft iron core and hard steel end caps.
Mathieu
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Identifying blacksmith stamp

Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:03 pm

We already have a section for chisels, planes and saws but not one for genno or any other tools.
Anyway, today I was preparing a handle for one of my tools a yarikanna that is obviously very well made judging the black oxide ura, very neath filing work and beautiful jigane. I bought it from a Japanese friend of mine knowing it was a top quality tool but unaware of the blacksmith.

Looking at the stamp I was sure that I recognized the kanji from one of my other tools. My favorite hammer, made by Kozaburo, shows, or at least it seems, the same kanji. Although a different stamp it really made me wonder. As for as I knew Kozaburo only made hammers and nothing else but I might be wrong.
I also know other top quality modern blacksmiths who are known to only make chisels but occasionally make a very small amount of kanna for customers they know well and therefore never hit the usual market. Could this be a similar situation, just wild guessing here?

Can't wait to put the tool to use and it would be nice to know who made it. Any help is surely appreciated.

Stamp on the yariganna
IMG_2993.jpg
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Stamp on Kozaburo genno
IMG_2996.jpg
IMG_2996.jpg (543.55 KiB) Viewed 9173 times
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Yxoc
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Re: Identifying blacksmith stamp

Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:51 pm

Interesting Mathieu,
Tell me, how do you personally employ the Yariganna? Is it basically to achieve a particular surface texture? My limited understanding is it was a precursor to 'modern' planes which effectively jigs a blade to achieve a controlled depth of cut.

Regards

Derek
Mathieu
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Re: Identifying blacksmith stamp

Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:23 am

Derek,

I haven't used a yariganna too often so far. I have tried them out a couple of times and really enjoyed using this tool and the particular finish it renders. Therefore I always wanted one myself and now that I have one I can see some applications for it.
At the moment I will use it on two places on a large hewn trunk I will use in a barn. There is a minimal amount of tear out because of the hewing but it is too deep to plane it out. The yariganna can create a smooth finish there without leaving the work too look sloppy.

Besides that I can see myself using it for it's distinctive finished texture it leaves. For example on a decorative board or even a tabletop. The tool is also handy on curved or compound curved surfaces.

It is not a tool I see myself using everyday like nomi, kanna or a ryoba but now I have one in my arsenal I am sure to pick it up now and then.

Regarding the technique to use it I have quite a way to go. I have seen daiku using it and as you mentioned controlling the depth of the cut by the angle of both the tool in relation to the wood and the edge in relation to the board. One tool can create a variety of surface finishes I suppose. It is the goal to create a texture that is even and looks regular, regularity in the depth of the cut, the direction of the texture and the length of the removed material. Of what I understand the longer the shaving the better. It is a tool that for me falls in the category of the chona and masakari, they all require great skill and a lot of practice, many many hours of practice and logs before you become any good at it. Of course you can hew a log and just remove large chunks of wood but can you create a very even pattern that requires no other finish? Something like that I suppose.

So far no luck on the identification..
The kanji remains similar to me but the more I look at it the more I see differences.
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Chris Hall
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Re: Identifying blacksmith stamp

Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:32 pm

Mathieu,

the rendering of the name Kōzaburo is as follows:

幸三郎

His family name is Hasegawa (長谷川)

One of those images shows a mei made with a worn-out stamp perhaps?

Not sure as to the answer to your other questions and speculation - a knowledgeable tool seller would be of help here.

Here's a pair of high end hammer heads, showing Kōzaburo's mark when it is chiseled in, rather than stamped:
127786222422616103334_20106301.JPG
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Quite a variance there in terms of how cleanly the name has been carved.

Another carved mei - this hammer head retails for over $1100:
長谷川.jpg
長谷川.jpg (60.82 KiB) Viewed 9163 times
Another stamped mei:
kousaburou40mon2.JPG
kousaburou40mon2.JPG (72.28 KiB) Viewed 9163 times
I could start a new category on this portion of the forum for hammers, if there is sufficient interest....
Matt J
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Re: Identifying blacksmith stamp

Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:59 pm

Here's + one for interest in hammers.
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Chris Hall
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Re: Identifying blacksmith stamp

Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:26 pm

Matt J wrote:Here's + one for interest in hammers.
Voila!
Mathieu
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Re: Identifying blacksmith stamp

Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:38 pm

Thank you for the input Chris.
Doing some research myself I found tons of pictures of hammers forged by Kozaburo. I even found a chisel that was forged by him. I didn't find any yariganna though and recently I think the kanji on the stamp is slightly different. So far the maker remains unknown.
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Chris Hall
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Re: Identifying blacksmith stamp

Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:29 pm

Not sure i can be of much help here, but there is one thing: The kanji on the yariganna read the same - they're the same characters.

That doesn't mean though the same smith made it. I have come across another blacksmith, Shimamura Kōzaburo (嶋村幸三郎) who makes, or made, chisels and is based in Tōkyō. They are usually sold under the brand name Kiyotada "清忠" though, and not with Kōzaburo chiseled or stamped in. Here's an example:
kiyotadaou25.JPG
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It also seems that Hasegawa Kōzaburo did make chisels and knives from time to time. Here's one of his marking knives, kogatana:
01kogatana.jpg
01kogatana.jpg (323.79 KiB) Viewed 9147 times
Here's another one - looks beautifully made:
6de35248d98bdf55fd21dd8e63ddefef.jpg
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I might suggest sending pictures of your yariganna to a knowledgeable tool seller in Japan to see if they can tell you more about it.

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