Posted By Thomas L. Buck

In addition to rewrapping a tsuka for a recent client, I was also asked to replace the original tsuba with a new one, fitting it to the blade.  Below is a side-by-side before photo of the two tsuba, the oringinal on the left, and the new one on the right.

New Tsuba

Fitting a new tsuba to a sword usually involves the widening or lengthening of the nakago-ana (opening for tang) to improve the fit, below is a photo of a few of the various file one might use in this process.

New Tsuba

After measuring the necessary height, width, and position of the nakago-ana, I marked or scratched an outline of the desired opening on the new tsuba.  Below is a photo of the actual filing that was involved in the fitting.

New Tsuba

The next photo was taken midway through the process, notice the scratch lines defining the desired size and shape. 

New Tsuba

It is important to regularly check and recheck the fit and positioning of the tsuba on the nakago, and in relation to the saya, seppa, and fuchi.  

Below is a photo of the tsuba on the sword in its final fit, it is both lined up with the seppa and saya, and has a tight fit.  


Below is a comparison shot of the original tsuba and the newly fitted tsuba.

New Tsuba

Any questions or comments?  Tell me what you think...

5 Comment(s):
Tom said...
There are several ways to tighten a tsuba, the two most common being copper fillers on the 'ha' and 'mune', and making the opening smaller by dimpling it in with either a punch or chisel. See my blog from Dec. 2010.
September 10, 2011 08:12:01 PM
Grant said...
My question is the same as Roman's: what if the nakago-ana is too wide? Is there any way of tightening it? Or should i just look for a better fitting tsuba? Thanks.
January 25, 2010 09:40:37 PM
Joseph Di Francesca said...
I was wondering what type of file to use on a Ryumon iron tsuba?
January 9, 2010 08:38:59 PM
Dylan said...
Hello, I'm trying to make a tsuba and I was wondering what type of metal you use? I have a 5mm sheet of steel but it is very hard and will take weeks to work with (this is after annealing). Any advice would be great! Many thanks, Dylan
December 25, 2009 05:02:27 PM
Roman said...
And what if nakago-ana is too wide for current nakago? How do you make it tighter? P.S. What material are those tsubas made of? If it's iron, what are they painted with?
October 4, 2009 03:27:24 PM
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Thomas L. Bu...
Duluth, MN

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