PORTRAIT – PAVEL BOLF

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Pavel Boff Nihonto Swordsmith

I was born in 1973. My interest in Japanese swords began when I was 14, firstly as a user when I started to practise Iaido. I was more and more fascinated with the production of the swords itself. At the beginning I only collected basic information about the technology of the production but later I tried to make some swords. Making Japanese swords became my professional in 2000. At the beginning I made swords only for Iaido and tameshigiri practice from homogenous modern steel. However, deeper study of the problemacy and technology of the traditional making process of Japanese swords led me to melt and process my own steel.

I got more and more interested in swords made 11th to 14th century. The way the steel of these swords is processed and metallurgical activities on Japanese swords from these times eventually led to my focus on the production of swords of Ichimonji School. The main focus of my study and transmission of the results into practice became discovering original methods of making steel, its processing and technics of hardening. My goal is to find processes allowing origination of metallurgical effects typical for works of the Heian period through to the early Muromachi period – finding procedures which would allow me to reproduce effects, such as utsuri, koshiba, nie and techniques enabling hamon line in style of Ichimonji School. During past few years I started to experiment with techniques of another schools in old Koto style, mainly Soshu, Yamato and Gassan. I repeatedly visited Japan to study traditional schools and Koto swords. My friends in Japan allowed me to study excellent works of old masters. In 2013 I was invited to Ichinoseki district in Iwate province to make sword in Mokusa style and tanto in Ichimonji style. These works present in Japan my effort to understand Japanese swords and the journey of the swordsmith to making a perfect blade.

Location: Czech Republic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pavel.bolf

Email: PavelBolf@email.cz