Finn's Vermillion Bird Katana

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Project by Ronbrush posted 11-19-2013 04:12 PM 2635 views 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is not the kind of project that I normally work on but I have a grandson who seems to enjoy getting me to think “outside the box”. This summer, he asked me to make a Japanese Katana for him. Everything is basswood, except for the wound fabrics on the handle (tsuka)and on the scabbard (saya). Finn’s mother is Chinese and Finn was born in the year of the monkey. This Katana is an attempt to celebrate Finn’s Oriental heritage by including a relief carving of two monkeys on one side of the tsuba (guard) and one of the the vermillion bird – oriental symbol for the southern cardinal direction – on the other side. Naturally, the sword had to be red.

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

13 comments so far

View hoss12992's profile


4180 posts in 2954 days

#1 posted 11-19-2013 04:27 PM

This is really cool and Im sure your grandson will treasure it for many years to come. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 4087 days

#2 posted 11-19-2013 04:34 PM

Looks great! I am sure he will love it

-- Dreaming patterns

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3546 days

#3 posted 11-19-2013 04:36 PM

As a sword enthusiast, I have to say you did a hell of a job on that. Great work!

-- Brian Timmons -

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3354 days

#4 posted 11-19-2013 05:15 PM

Cool, interesting project! Enjoyed your identification of the parts by their oriental names—good job.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4094 days

#5 posted 11-20-2013 12:56 AM

Very Nice Work! Thanks For Sharing.


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 3498 days

#6 posted 11-20-2013 02:03 AM

Incredible looking piece. I’d swear it was the real thing.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 4044 days

#7 posted 11-20-2013 03:50 AM

great looking piece. how did you carve the monkey?

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3600 days

#8 posted 11-20-2013 04:08 AM

That is amazing. Heirloom piece for sure!

-- I never finish anyth

View Ronbrush's profile


29 posts in 2712 days

#9 posted 11-20-2013 04:51 AM

”great looking piece. how did you carve the monkey?”

Thanks to everyone for the kind words!
The monkeys (and also the bird and the Chinese/Japanese symbol for south) were carved using a micro motor and micro carbide grinding tips – like a Dremel only smaller, finer and faster. The black texture was then added using a wood burning tool. I’m sure that many wood-carver members on this site are much more experienced with this equipment than I am!

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

View YoungWilly's profile


101 posts in 3130 days

#10 posted 11-20-2013 01:18 PM

Hi Ron, very nice katana, great job on the carving! I’m curious, where did you get the blade?

-- -- Measure twice, cut once; why, did the wood grow?

View Ronbrush's profile


29 posts in 2712 days

#11 posted 11-20-2013 01:28 PM

”where did you get the blade?”

Hi YoungWilly – the bade is made of basswood like the other parts (safer that way!!).

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

View Bluepine38's profile


3391 posts in 4147 days

#12 posted 11-20-2013 03:46 PM

Excellent looking Katana and very realistic. If/when the grandson wants and is ready for a real Katana he
will have an excellent pattern for his own. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View TysonK's profile


154 posts in 2864 days

#13 posted 11-21-2013 04:29 AM

The carving is wonderful, love the texture that is created. Very nice work.

-- -- Tyson

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