Do you have _______ in stock?
I typically don’t make things that don’t already have a buyer—it’s too labor intensive to work on speculation and the raw materials are too valuable to commit to use unless I know where it needs to go. I definitely never have naginata in stock.
Generic tanto and tessen are another story. Those are often made from offcuts or pieces of wood unusable for longer buki, and I can finish those rather quickly. As I work through a backlog of long weapons, I’ll be able to do more short generics. I typically post about them when I have them.
Do you ship overseas?
Not really. I do get inquiries, but whenever we’ve done the math on the shipping folks have decided to try to find something local. Naginata in particular are super expensive to ship overseas—you’d be paying as much to ship as the weapon itself costs, so you might as well buy a less expensive one from Japan.
How should I maintain my weapons?
Once a year, or more often in dry climates, you can lightly sand the surface and apply more boiled linseed oil. Follow label precautions about flammability. If it gets gummy, you’ve been using too much, so sand off the oil and apply more sparingly.
Pay attention to your weapons. Listen for changes in pitch on contact that hint at cracks. Sand out any dents with rough edges. If a weapon seems brittle, it’s time to retire it. Better to let it have a peaceful retirement than to have it go out with a bang and take someone’s eye.
What arts have you worked with?
I’ve made weapons for: Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu, Suio-ryu, Tenshinsho-den Katori Shinto-ryu, Shinto Muso-ryu (but no jo!), Kashima Shinryu, and Toda-ha Buko-ryu.
Do you make custom weapons for gendai arts?
I make weapons for koryu because koryu folks often have needs for weapons that are hard to get outside of Japan. It takes up all the time I have to spare for buki-making. If I divert some of that time to gendai weapons, then someone in a koryu has to wait longer for a weapon they can’t easily get elsewhere. So, no.
I do make generic tanto and tessen but do not take custom orders for those.
I really love your naginata. Can you make me one just like yours so I can spar with this guy I work with?
Are you kidding? Go find a teacher.
Isn’t there anything I can do to get you to make me one? Pretty please?
Now you’re just embarrassing yourself. Stop.
What’s the best way for me to not sound like that last guy when I contact you about a custom order?
It’s really simple: use common courtesy. Let me know which art you train in, and who you train with. Then I will know if we’re looking at a relatively simple fulfillment of a known entity, or a research and design project.
When can I expect a reply to my inquiry?
Be patient! I work full-time as a systems administrator, and like systems administrators everywhere I’m doing the work of one and a half people, so by the time I get home my brain is worn out. If you send a question on Monday, for example, I may not get to it until Sunday.
I have some feedback about the weapon you made for me. What should I do?
Let me know! I do hear some good things back, but I also want to hear about anything that doesn’t seem right.