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Katana Display Stand

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Project by jsheaney posted 12-26-2010 09:39 PM 4406 views 7 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this stand so that I would have an appropriate home for my katana (samurai sword). My main goal in the design was to highlight an interesting piece of wood underneath in the panel that forms the stretcher, since that is the most prominent part of it. I have a habit of buying planks of interesting wood without any thought of a particular project, so I got the rough dimensions and looked though my stock to find a section I thought looked interesting. I came up with this piece of Canarywood. The bulls-eye pattern is roughly centered and I really liked the reddish streaks across the top.

The Canarywood planed well and I had no trouble shaping the top to match the curve of the katana. The width of the board is significant, so I figured I needed to account for wood movement. I decided it should be a panel that floats in a frame of some sort. I’ve never used Mahogany before, so that was the main reason why I chose it for the frame. Over time, maybe it will turn more red and bring out the red in the Canarywood. The Mahogany is like balsa wood compared to the hardwoods I’ve used until now. I can see why it is so popular for furniture making. It was very easy to plane, shape and cut the joinery. The only downside was that it is very easy to dent.

There’s a groove in the rail and the two uprights that the panel fits in. The only shoulder on the panel is a small notch at the very top because the curve and roundover. I only glued the top half inch or so of the panel; the rest floats and can expand vertically. The Canarywood is oily, so I used epoxy instead of wood glue. Also, I pre-finished before assembly. I used shellac on the Canarywood because it didn’t seem to take an oil based finish very well. I used Bush Oil on the Mahogany.

The small V-groove in the bottom of the U-shaped openings allows me to display the naked blade without it flopping over.

Now, you can see this project sitting on top of my previous project and why I made the top of the bookcase like that. It’s funny, though, because I didn’t actually have this katana in mind when I started the bookcase. Otherwise, would have made it a bit longer. As it is, the katana extends over the sides, which certainly isn’t ideal.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.





13 comments so far

View DonH's profile

DonH

489 posts in 1484 days


#1 posted 12-26-2010 09:42 PM

Nice job – the bookcase looks great too!

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2315 days


#2 posted 12-26-2010 09:47 PM

nice design!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View 76winger's profile

76winger

151 posts in 1784 days


#3 posted 12-27-2010 04:08 AM

Very well done!

-- Dave, See some of my creations at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/76Winger

View Bryan_M's profile

Bryan_M

45 posts in 1710 days


#4 posted 12-27-2010 05:55 AM

Who made that sword? Is that a true hamon or simulated?

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1517 days


#5 posted 12-27-2010 06:16 AM

This is an exquisitely proportioned and beautifully executed piece. My commendations. Unique wood, thoughtful design considerations, well-pondered finishing.

That it seems overlong to the bookcase is irrelevant. It is one compelling object on a likely pedestal. No apology accepted for that!

This is the most emotionally charged piece I have seen on LJ. Wow.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View jsheaney's profile

jsheaney

141 posts in 2655 days


#6 posted 12-27-2010 08:25 AM

Thank you all for the kind remarks.

Bryan_M: The sword is the real deal. It took me 8+ months to get it after I ordered it. It is made in Japan in the traditional way. It’s not super expensive, but it’s not cheap either.

Lee: I do think alot about my projects; I’m glad that you were able to see that. It’s a good affirmation that it matters. I was surprised by your comment about it being “emotional charged.” It is a dramatic piece of wood. I bought an 8’ plank awhile back just because I thought the wood was just outrageous and that’s probably what you’re responding to. I honestly don’t know, yet, how to work wood like this into a design for a piece of furniture. This was one of the few items where I could see it.

I’m actually working on another katana stand now; not because I need one, but simply because I have these pieces of walnut that are perfect for it. If it works out, it will be much more dramatic than this one. And here’s a funny tidbit: these pieces of walnut are from Tommy MacDonald’s scrap bin. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get it done before too long and I’ll tell the story in that project.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1517 days


#7 posted 12-27-2010 05:17 PM

I beg to differ—you do know how to work wood like this into a design. You are just finding ways to access that. If I were to mentor you, my only input would be to not try too hard to impose your will on the wood. You might enjoy reading about George Nakashima.

On the practical side, I think each of us has an internal number of how many stunning boards we can buy and set aside before they become too frustrating to store and too difficult to sort and the sheer quantity makes it impossible for us to respond to that emotional tug which translates to “choose me, choose me.”

I wondered this morning as I walked in the cold air and fresh snow if you had, consciously or not, included the Golden Mean into the proportions, but I think not as I look at the pictures.

I stand by my “emotionally charged” comment. I think that is not just from the wood panel, but also from the balance, from the contrast of the black of the sword to the color of the woods, and from the way the line flows upward and outward.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1664 posts in 1555 days


#8 posted 12-27-2010 05:42 PM

Okay, you got a great Katana and a gorgeous stand to display it, but where’s the other half of the daisho, the Wakazashi? How about a Tanto to match?

Ichi-ban job on the stand, but traditionally it should be displayed in a niche instead of a book case top.

Interesting Tsuba from what I can see of it. Did it come with the sword, or was it a separate purchase? Also, I can’t tell from the photos, but are there any Minuki decorations in the wrap on the hilt? I’ve never been much of a fan of them, but they are traditional…

If you want to really drool, my Sensei had a Masamune Katana. Was a war souvenir of his dad’s and was appraised in the mid seven figure range. Had the priviledge of weilding it once. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life. That thing felt like it grew out of the end of my wrist! It was a part of me as long as I held it.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View jsheaney's profile

jsheaney

141 posts in 2655 days


#9 posted 12-27-2010 08:03 PM

Lee: The proportions were dictated by the required length and by the width of the board. I’m still a beginner, so most of my projects are centered around needs that I have and by joinery that I want to try. OK, and tools that I want to buy. :) I’m finding myself getting more into curves in my work. I hope you notice my next katana stand; you will see quite a difference from this one. If you’re pointing me at Nakashima for his natural edge style, I’m not there yet. I’ve got several projects already in mind before I can drift into that territory.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

View jsheaney's profile

jsheaney

141 posts in 2655 days


#10 posted 12-27-2010 08:43 PM

BigTiny: Although my katana needed a proper stand, it is not simply for display. I train with it and happen to have a place with an open floor plan. It’s a mill conversion with high ceilings. The pictures were arranged to display the stand, but that’s not actually where the bookcase resides. It’s behind the sofa, which is in the middle of the room. The other side of the room is completely open and is where I swing my katana around, so the bookcase and the katana are actually central to my living space The katana is always just a few steps away. Its presentation reflects its status.

I just might get a matching Wakizashi at some point, although I doubt I would get a tanto. I buy things that I use. I would train with a Wakizashi, but I would not train with a real tanto.

There are a pair of menuki in the tsuka wrap. I prefer them because it adds some girth to the tsuka. Otherwise, it’s very flat and awkward to hold. The motif for this katana is the dragonfly. They appear in the tsuba, the menuki and in the various fittings. If you go to the Bugei Trading Co. website, you can see stock pictures of it. It is one of their production swords.

I don’t really want to drool, but it does sound like an awesome experience; getting to hold that katana. I would certainly appreciate that.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1517 days


#11 posted 12-27-2010 10:31 PM

I was just thinking of Nakashima regarding his way of letting the wood communicate with him. It seemed to me the canary got on your wavelength somehow!

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View TheGravedigger's profile

TheGravedigger

963 posts in 2691 days


#12 posted 12-28-2010 03:34 AM

Very nicely done – a good combination of wood and shape, and it harmonizes beautifully with the katana. Bugei makes fine swords. The powdered steel composition has gotten very good reviews.

Big Tiny: A Masamune? Incredible. I’ve only seen one once, in the Met in Boston. I’m truly jealous.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog: http://littlegoodpieces.wordpress.com

View flux's profile

flux

1 post in 5 days


#13 posted 09-26-2014 10:14 PM

jsheaney, came out very nice. Would it be possible to commission something similar?

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