Tenold's Legacy Arts Swords - Ted Tenold is the polisher who
polishes and mounts the custom blades for Bugei
Trading (see below). Ted is a great polisher, a great guy,
and a really good friend. I steal whatever ideas I can from him whenever
my Jedi mind control tricks are working properly. Okay, to be honest
I try not to use my awesome Jedi powers on him, but we do talk very
often, get together often, and frequently compare notes and cuts.
I probably take ten times much from him as he takes from me. Ted's
a great guy and he reminds me of why I love this craft so much. His
site has some great
reading material on it (see the "thoughts on polishing" section in particular) and some incredible photos of his incredible
work. Worthy of a long visit. I'm proud to say Ted has been primarily responsible for me unlearning many bad habits. Which has had a profound impact on my work in the long run. Thanks, Ted.
Howard Clark's Morgan Valley Forge - Howard Clark is a custom smith in Iowa who forges a full range of Japanese style blades as well as some really great art folding knives. Howard never ceases to amaze me as to the incredible quality of his work. And he's a great guy that will not hesitate to tell you exactly what he thinks. A rare quality indeed. No BS, no hype, no pretense. Just quality. Integrity. And one heck of a sense of humor.
Masamune Sword Shop -- Mike Christianson's shop. The man owns one of the only full time sword shops in the US and is well known in the Japanese sword world. And he is a wealth of information. E-mail me if you need contact information.
I am a proud member of the NIPPON BIJUTSU TOKEN HOZON KYOKAI (NBTHK). If you are in the United States, the NBTHK now has a US Branch which is actively growing and a wonderful resource. Visit their website at: http://nbthkamericanbranch.com and consider joining this worthwhile organization. Not only do you dues go for supporting sword education, but you will gain free admission to the NBTHK museum in Japan, a wonderful monthly journal from Japan with marvelous sword photos and information, and an e-mailed translation of the journal from the US branch. The NBTHK has also been sponsoring displays of near priceless swords at the various Token Kai shows around the US year around. These displays allow you to not only see, but to pick up, hold and study swords that most of us can only dream about. You don't learn by looking at cheap swords. You learn by studying the best. And the NBTHK brings the best to each show.
I am also a member of the Northern California Japanese Sword Club, sponsors of the San Francisco Token Kai. They publish a very good monthly newsletter and also have some marvelous materials including the Nihonto Newsletter by Albert Yamanaka (which is over 1900 pages of fantastic information), and a really great "NTHK Novice Course" by Gordon Robson.
Trading Company - Bugei
trading sells a wide range of materials and swords. Their polisher, Ted Tenold, is
a friend of mine and does fabulous work. I will sometimes help out
with Bugei as an independent contractor. If you're interested in a production katana such as
the Paul Chen series of swords, Bugei is one of the best sources for
those blades. They also have a very nice discussion board linked via
I hate spam. I was on-line very early in the history of the internet and I have old e-mail addresses from many moons ago that are virtually useless. Various bots have grabbed my e-mail addy off of various sources and I now get something like 60 spam for every single valid e-mail. It is obscene. I've tried various spam products from the big guys but all of them were too slow and most certainly not all that effective. However, I found a piece of software that really appeals to me and has been working quite well for me. I have been using Cloudmark's safety bar now for about 6 months and it has been a godsend. It is a system that allows all the users of the software to flag any spam they get. And as the number of subscribers grow the odds that someone else has already received the spam you're getting and flagged it as such is *very* high. The system assigns increasing weight to the ratings of those who identify spam first with the fewest false positives. The end result is a system that for me, at least, has knocked out virtually all the spam I get on my summerchild accounts. Nothing is perfect but this one does really well. So I've got a link below for a free tryout of the software and if you get it via that link I get some credit for referrals. I figure that after having recommended this stuff to half the folk in the world of swords I know who have complained to me about the spam they get I should probably just put up a referral link on my site. I've been working with, building, and programming computers since the mid-70's. And unlike most of the utilities on the market that are bloated, ugly, and invasive, this one is a good use of technology. And might I add that spammers need to have their fingernails removed with rusty pliers... They clog up more systems than any virus. So with no further ado... Cloudmark Desktop is the proven solution that automatically fights spam, fraud and all email threats. Free 30-day trial.
Dogs for the Deaf. Yes, my favorite charity. For those who don't know me, my wife and I raise, train and show dogs. And we both do volunteer work in training other people how to train their own dogs. Service dogs are a god-send to many people out there in the world and there are precious few organizations getting the support they need. One in particular which is near to my heart is Dogs for the Deaf. I am somewhat "hearing impaired" to use the politically correct phrase. But I do fine with my hearing aids. But for some a well trained "hearing dog" can make a huge difference. Be it "hearing" the smoke alarm for the owner, or notifying the owner that someone is at the door, or warning the owner of oncoming sirens. It is a worthy cause. And this particular organization rescues it's dogs from humane societies. So they're working on two fronts to help with two different problems. And even if you don't want to send them a donation, go buy a mug or something.
Randal Graham. Randal has started up forging Japanese style blades again on his own. Take a look at his site and support a fellow craftsman. Take a look at this little tanto of his I polished. Very impressive activity in that piece.
Tagane Arts . Patrick Hastings makes custom fittings out of a variety of materials. Personally I think his work is if anything under-rated and under-priced. Always worth a look and a contact if you want custom fittings.
Benson - Mr. Benson is one of the best in the polishing business.
If you really want the highest quality, Mr. Benson is the man to see.
His prices aren't cheap and his waiting list is staggering. His also
sells really high quality uchiko and often has pieces for sale on
Stein's Japanese Sword Index - A fantastic site with more
information than anyone could ever digest on the Japanese Sword. He
has a great glossary, visual glossary, a wide variety of articles
on various topics, and a links page that I still browse through and
find things I never knew existed. A must visit site.
- Fred Weissberg -- Mr. Weissberg has a nice site with lots
of good information. He also sells some very nice pieces and is very
Bercerra's site -- Nihonto Antiques is the name of his site.
Mr. Bercerra is a well respected polisher on the East coast working
on antiques. He often has pieces for sale. He also has an interesting
page showing the process of polishing in the traditional manner. Worth
a long look.
Art Tokyo -- Aoi Art carries a lot of stock ranging from entry
level to high level. Good for browsing photographs and maybe finding
something you always wanted...
Art/San Mei Trading -- Another good on-line resource for swords,
fittings, etc. One of the sites I visit daily to admire.
-- the final site I visit on my daily run around the internet. Yet
another site with some fantastic swords and fittings. Good stuff.