Japanese sword maker.


Satisfied that the metal is at the right temperature, the rough block of raw iron chips is taken to the anvil.



And then the apprentices continue with their educational improvement...
No words are spoken. The sword maker taps his small hammer on the anvil, and varies the tapping pattern to control the apprentices.



Note the steel-toed flame-proof work boots. I wonder how many of these guys never need to trim their toenails ever again.



The metal cools quickly, and is placed once more in the hottest part of the coals. His left hand is pumping the bellows.



The iron that he is using needs to have carbon added to it to help make it more rigid, and capable of holding a sharper edge.



So this time he rolls the hot metal in a pile of very fine powdered charcoal, which sticks to the iron.



He then wetted the surface right before it got pounded. I assume this helps to further stick the carbon particles to the iron surface.



The pounding will then mix the carbon into the surface of the iron. Note the full length of the hammer's swing.



As the hammer is powered downwards, he also lowers his body to add further power, and to keep the hammer head flush with the anvil.



...next page.