We are sorry to inform you that we can no longer supply <one of your most beautifully crafted tools> due to the retirement of the smith.
So goes the email that we receive at least twice a year. From single blacksmiths retiring to whole forges being unable to staff their furnaces and grinders, the Japanese tool industry, and our business, is constantly struggling with the departure of decades worth of wisdom and experience as smiths and other tool makers eventually must concede the fight against the years.
Over our many trips to Japan we have always enjoyed carving out time to hang out at the Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo. In a country where trade knowledge has traditionally been passed from master to apprentice, the Dojo is unique in it's approach to giving everyone, whether children or adults, Japanese or tourist, the chance to try their hand at the forge. We now have a handful of the letter openers that the smiths at the Dojo have helped us to forge, along with thousands of others, from nails.
The Dojo, though, goes beyond that. They have set up a longer form course, and one of their first students to graduate is Zero san. Imagine our joy to hear that new blood is entering the game, looking to build a reputation, make high quality tools and, ultimately, make a living from Japanese toolmaking.
This weekend we will be at the Sydney Knife Show. As we are looking for a way to support the Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo and Zero-san, we'll be putting a custom made wooden toolbox and a selection of tools up for grabs in a raffle. Proceeds will be donated to both Zero and the Dojo.Of course, if you aren't in Sydney, it will be a little difficult to pick up a ticket at the show, so we'll also have the tickets live on our site for those who wish to go in the draw for a chance to win a great toolkit.
See you at the Knife Show this weekend!