FAQ - Frequently asked questions

What does the Japanese calligraphy on the contact page mean?

It reads 'zuiteppitsu' following the iron brush and is a combination of a very old literary term 'zuihitsu', following, or led by the brush, and 'teppitsu', a poetic term for a metalworkers chisel.

I want to learn this craft can you help me?

I am available to teach a variety of courses and am happy to travel to an institution near you if are able to gather sufficient interest. Send me an email through the contact page and we'll see what we can work out.

I'm having difficulty getting reliable information on a technique I'm trying to teach myself. Can you offer some advice?

I'm afraid I can't personally deal with all of these types of inquiries so I would direct you to my forum, www.followingtheironbrush.org

By using the search function you'll unearth a wealth of useful material and If you'd care to join the forum you can send the admin an email and we'll get you set up.

I'm looking for a book on Japanese metalwork, can you give me the titles of some?

There's nothing that I could recommend as being of any real practical use, I'm afraid. You'll find more useful and clearer material on my forum.

Are you looking for an apprentice?

Yes. Having said that training for 7 years in my studio is not something to embark on lightly. we'd need a trial period to discover if we could cope with each other for that long. I wouldn't be offering any wages for at least the first year, either.


I'm interested in buying a tsuba I saw on another website. Could you advise me if it's a 'good deal' or if it's genuine, please?

In the past I've happily given my opinion on this sort of thing but I'm afraid that it's starting to take up too much time for me to offer this as a 'free service' any longer. If you're interested in engaging my services as a consultant please contact me to discuss my fees.

What would it cost to have some fittings made for my sword?

The most simple set of fuchi/kashira starts at around $700. A 'top end' art tsuba, at the other extreme, may cost in excess of $7000 while a relatively simple, abstract type, tsuba would be around $1200. The average price for a complete set of fittings (tsuba, fuchi/kashira, seppa and menuki) would start at about $6000.


Do you take on commissions?

Yes. Write to me with an outline of what you're interested in having made and I'll be able to give you a rough idea of what it might cost. If your project seems viable to you I'll be happy to discuss possibilities and ideas further.


If you're interested to get an idea of how I go about meeting the needs of my clients you might find parts of this interview helpful.

Here's a link to the interview.