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Thread: Mekugi ana HELP!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    N.S.W. Southern Highlands Australia
    Posts
    45

    Mekugi ana HELP!

    I need help ( alot of people tell me this ) with the correct positioning of the mekugi ana in the blade and the tsuka. How do you measure the position of the hole in the tsuka so that it cinches the blade tight in the tsuka? Is the mekugi ana in the blade angled? etc etc. Thanks in advance
    Cheers Keith

    www.knifemaker.com.au
    ABS Apprentice

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    steelville , mo.
    Posts
    2,297
    Hello keith , this is what I do . I use a tapered drill bit . drill the hole in handle . then meticulesly cut your mekugi to fit . the mekugi is also tapered but, make it a little long . (So when you tap it in with mekugi hammer it will really tighten up ).Then put blade in tsuka and mark blade tang for hole . Just make sure everything is tight before you mark hole then drill nakago ( tang ) and tap into place .I hope this helps. I use smoked bamboo for mekugi .
    " If it ain't 6 " long it ain't no tanto"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    365
    Bubba pretty much summed it up. That's the easiest way to do it.

    There are several ways to approach it, and your approach depends upon the conditions in place.
    1. Is the mekugi ana already in place? (Often the smith will do this as part of making the blade.)
    2. What material is used for the mekugi?
    3. Will the blade be subjected to actual use (tameshigiri, etc.)

    Hopefully your blade does not already have the mekugi ana in place before construction of the tsuka. If it does, you'll need to mark hole locations while the tsuka is still in two halves.

    For reasons too detailed for this post, ONLY bamboo or delrin should be used for the mekugi.

    You asked if the mekugi ana is supposed to be "angled". If you meant tapered, then yes. Ideally, all components in the assembly follow the same taper.
    The easiest way to accomplish this is exactly how Bubba described. Keep in mind this requires a tight fit before drilling the mekugi ana.
    If you do not have access to a tapered drill, then you can use a straight bit to drill the holes, then follow up with a tapered hand reamer.

    Now to add to the confusion, there is another often-used approach, especially for "user" swords.
    You may benefit by very slightly offsetting the mekugi ana toward the machi. An offset of 1/16" should be good.
    This method would require an approach slightly more involved than the one above, but it's not difficult. If you need details on the best way to do this, just ask.

    Good Luck,
    Rob
    ALWAYS HAVE PLENTY OF SANDPAPER. IT'S ROUGH OUT THERE!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    steelville , mo.
    Posts
    2,297
    Rob you are right , my way is only if your ana is not already drilled or hot punched as the japanese do. I also drill a second hole if it is going to be used for tamashigiri practice . the mekugi is inserted from other side . It makes the fit super tight and strong. my current wakizashi has 2 holes . it is a dojo cutter . real fat blade with less convex and a little flatter grind.
    " If it ain't 6 " long it ain't no tanto"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    N.S.W. Southern Highlands Australia
    Posts
    45
    Thanks Bubba and Rob for the info, up till now I have been hot punching the hole and marking out on 1 half of the tsuka. I will try the methods that you have outlined. Thanks again for your advise. Will post a photo of my latest tanto when I have it complete.
    Cheers Keith
    www.knifemaker.com.au
    ABS Apprentice

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    steelville , mo.
    Posts
    2,297
    Good luck . I think you will do fine ... Bubba
    " If it ain't 6 " long it ain't no tanto"

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