I asked Iwasaki san about "Tamahagane".
He came back with 2 chunks of raw "Tamahagane".
|Ancient and New Tamahagane|
He said:"The bigger one is Tamahagane made now by The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords ." "It is made every year by Hitachi Metals by old methods."
"The small one is an ancient Tamahagane made by a Tatara master. Not all ancient Tamahagane are top class. Before modern steel came to Japan in Meiji period (1868-1912) there have been many ancient Tatara places. These Tatara places has been named by the masters who made the Tamahagane. I have a stock of excellent and famous masters and I use these for my razors."
I had a chance to make photos of his very special ancient Tamahagane:
|Ancient Tamahagene Stock|
Near to this stock I saw some other steel:
I asked what it is.
The answer was it is Hocho Tetsu and it is the mild or soft steel made by the Tatara method. It has been used to make latticework in a window of an old storehouse. The name of these storehouse is "Kura" and you can see it at google picture. Storehouses which have been build before the Meiji period have these Hocho Tetsu.
These can be used as Jigane (clad) or you can enrich it with carbon to make carbon steel and it will be the same as Tamahagane.
I found also a box with the letters The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords Tatara Tamahagane:
|The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords Tatara Tamahagane Box|
When I made the tour of his workshop I found a bigger charcoal furnace; far to big for razors.
It was a furnace to make a Tamahagane bar from the chunk of raw Tamahagane by hammering and folding to get rid of the non melting impurities.
|Charcoal Furnace to Purify Tamahagane|
The answer was yes!
They make few Tamahagane kamisori (Japanese razors) but not western razors.
I asked if they are for sale?
The answer was no!
I did not ask further.
I do not know where the new made Tamahagane razors go.
Maybe to museum or to inner circle.
I got a look at old Tamahagane western razors too:
|Old Tmahagane Western Razors with Defects|
I hope my readers have enjoyed to see Tamahagane.