Saturday, July 28, 2012

Maskage Tour 2012

Masakage Blacksmiths in the House

OK, most days at the shop are pretty fun for us and our awesome customers, but every now and again some days are funner. 

August 4 and 5 are funner this year. Kato san, Yu Kurosaki san, Makato Kurosaki san, Tamura san and  Shibata san of Masakage knives are coming for a visit. Not only that, but they will be making knives in the street right in front of the shop with coal fire, sledge hammers, anvils, sparks, smoke and danger! How cool is that?

Kato san

"Making knives is delicate work with many considerations."

In 1935 Hiroshi Kato san's father became independent from his Sensei. After finishing high school Kato san began his apprenticeship under his father. It's amazing that after over 50 years as a knife maker he's still inspired by thinking of people cooking with his knives. He always considers balance when hammer the steel, keeping in mind where a knife needs to be thin and where it needs to be strong.
Kato san makes Masakage Hikari, Kiri, Yuki and Koishi. All available at the shop.

Shibata san

"I want to supply knives that touch people's hearts."
Traveling across America is when Shibata san realized his deep love for Japanese craftsmanship. After careful consideration he made the decision to start Masakage Knives and bring hand crafted Japanese knives to the world. Shibata san is seen as one of the top knife sharpeners in Japan and he takes pride in the fact that he hand sharpens each Masakage knife before it is sold.

Shibata san will be sharpening Masakage knives in the shop on Sunday Aug 5. He'll get to as many as he can.

Kurosaki san

"Temperature control is essential when hammering steel. Too cold or too hot will make a poor knife."
  Kurosaki san began his blacksmith work in 2002 when he started working in Kanehiro-uchi-hamono. He claims he was not a natural blacksmith from the beginning and wanted to quite many times. We are very pleased that he continued. He got a huge confidence boast when he sold his first knife and his customer loved it. Now, he always wants to make knives that make his customers as happy as she was.

Tamura san

Peach Legs Rock!!!

Toru Tamura san has left the building, but his bass guitar lives on in our shop! Tamura san was living in Canada to experience something new and to practice his English language skills. He was living in Vancouver, but moved to Calgary to take the job at our shop. We were super lucky to have him at the shop for almost a year. Sharpening knives every day, sometimes for hours a day, he realized that he wanted to become a professional knife sharpener and knife maker. Now apprenticing under Kato san in Takefu, Toru is living the dream. We will always miss his legendary mega sharp knives and strange humour. I hope he still plays with his band Peach Legs now and again.

Steel and coal and fire
So, Kato san and all will be making knives in front of the shop. When I say making knives I mean they will be using techniques from 200+ years ago. Currently they use spring hammers like the kind you find at Heritage Park in Calgary, but for this demo they will use the strength of the younger blacksmiths and their sledge hammers. As far as the Blacksmiths know and the Prefectural Government, this is the first demo of this kind outside of Japan. In fact their local Government has sponsored the trip as an important cultural exchange.

Knife evolution.
You can see a few of the steps to forging knives. The red steel is obviously hot like crazy, but don't fool  yourself, the black knives on the left are still crazy hot too. 

Insane temperature is key

SAIT Polytechnic will be supplying the equipment. Thanks to Andy Semak and Brian Dorn. These demos will be part of Inglewood Sunfest. 30,000 people in the streets and red hot steel, fire, sparks, sledge hammers....what could go wrong??
Masakage Koishi knives in the raw.

The demos will include constructing san-mai steel (3 layered steel for knife making), hand forging knives to completion, constructing the tang, thinning the blade and hand sharpening.
All in a days work for Kato san.

The demos will start around 11pm and go till 4pm. We will let Kato san dictate the speed and timing for the demos as he is in his seventies and it is hard work. We will have a schedule posted at the forge on the morning of the event.
Thanks to Joe Strummer for the great design!
As always we have a killer shirt to remember the day they will be for sale, $25. We've made a limited run of 25 so get 'em while they're hot. BTW all our shirts are made by Food On Your Shirt. Check them out for rad foodie shirts!! We'll also have stickers of the same design for $2 as usual.

Saturday August 4, 2012 


Knife making demonstrations 

Sunday August 5, 2012 

Meet the knife makers in the shop 
Shibata san will sharpen your Masakage knives

Knifewear, Inglewood
1316 9 Ave SE
Calgary, AB

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