Steve Shackleford Blog

Learn Japanese Swords at BLADE University

BLADE University/Wally Hostetter

Learn all about Japanese swords from Wally Hostetter at BLADE University. Wally made the mounts for Steve Schwarzer’s Nagmaki, a repro of a pole arm with a sword-like blade used by 14th-17th-century Japanese warriors to cut the legs of the horses of enemy cavalry.

Japanese swords combine the elements that make everything about the world of blades fascinating—history, mystery, outstanding cutting performance, beautiful craftsmanship, collectibility and more—and Wally Hostetter will school you on it all at the 2nd Annual BLADE University.

Hostetter’s class will be one of many at BLADE University, which will be held the day before (June 4) through show Saturday (June 6) of the 2015 BLADE Show June 5-7 at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta.

In his class entitled “Collecting & Maintaining Japanese Swords,” Hostetter will explain what to look for when you buy a Japanese sword—including different patterns/designs and genres, the proper fittings and more—and how to maintain and care for it once you’ve bought it.

Hostetter is a long-time swordsmith who also is known for making sword mounts for such world-renowned swordsmiths as Steve Schwarzer. From the tsuba (guard), habaki (collar), fuchi (pommel or metal hilt sleeve) and other mounts, Hostetter makes and knows them all quite well. No matter what question you have concerning the proper construction, sword terms, traditional Japanese handle wraps, menuki and more, Wally’s your man. He will bring examples of Japanese swords and encourages students to bring cameras and photograph them for future reference.

Wally has collected Japanese swords for 18 years and does his own restoration work on them. He also has done restoration work for others over the past eight years. They include Troy Baxley, president of the Florida Token Kia; Bob Elder, owner of East Coast Martial Arts Supplies Inc., and his students of Toyama Batto Jutsu/US Batto Federation; ABS master smith Don Fogg; and martial arts practitioners throughout the USA.

Hostetter forges katanas, wakizashis, tantos and Naginata blades, including all the fittings and poles for the latter. “I have wrapped many tsuka [sword handles] and done some intricate patterns not seen everyday,” he noted. “On sayas [scabbards] I have reproduced a lot of the old finishes and techniques. I also practice Toyama Batto Jutsu. We have cut many rolled tatami/wara [rolled straw mats] with the swords, wakizashis and tantos I make.”

For more information on Wally’s class and others, how to entroll, etc., visit BLADE University.


Also Check Out:

Sword Making Secrets.Sword Making Secrets (Download)
Author Don Fogg is here to help you build one of the big blades, the lengthy lopper — the sword! His step-by-step sword-making process resonates well with your fellow knife enthusiasts who can’t get enough of the romance, history, look, feel, usefulness, ethnic heritage and physical impressiveness of swords. Download here

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