Sweat beaded on his face, the clang of steel against steel ringing in his ears.
The hammer came down again and again, folding the hocho-tetsu to free it from impurities. The nabe-gane is heated, and quenched, broken and purified. Then the metals are combined: tamahagane, hocho-tetsu, and nabe-gane layered and folded together to form the blade. Folded together again and again, in more and more complex layers, extended and shaped until the lumps of metal resemble the blade they will become.
The yakiba-tsuchi has already been prepared, and the clay mixture is applied to the blade before it is heated and then quenched. The hot metal bends as it cools, taking on the signature shape as the yakiba-tsuchi leaves its pattern in the steel.
The blade is set aside while the second is forged, and the process begins anew.
With the blades forged, there is still much work to be done. Polishing and sharpening and polishing once more, taking several weeks before it is ready. The crafting of tsuba and koshirae take time as well, the complete process being more akin to art than Telmark smithing.
But finally, they are ready, new blades to suit the Empire he finds himself trapped in.
Photo by Jeff Kubina (CC By-SA 2.0)