Ep 107 Allen Rozon “A Blacksmith and a Swordsmith Collaborate”

Allen Rozon is a blacksmith who works out of Montreal Canada.  Since initial exposure to blacksmithing through time spent learning the basics from Uri Hofi in New York state, Allen Rozon, was on a quest to spend time with highly respected teachers within the metal arts community.  An early friendship formed that would guide many of Allen’s steps taken over the years.  Taro Asano, aka Fusataro, visited Canada early in his career as a licensed master sword smith from Japan.  On that first visit, the two met at THAK Ironworks during his demonstration.  An immediate kinship developed between Taro and Allen, which deepened over the years and eventually spawned Tamahagane Arts, swordsmithing classes that draw from Fusataro’s formal apprenticeship and his 24 previous generations of swordsmiths.

  

What We Talked About

  • Allen explains his business, Iron Den and how it is part of a nonprofit organization and physical shop called Les Forges de Montreal. This organization started 16 years ago offering finically accessible blacksmithing classes.  Students can eventually become members of the organization and then have access to the forge at any time.
  • Allen had artistic pursuits prior to blacksmithing, such as sculpting and painting. Then he learned about blacksmithing and took a two-week class with Uri Hofi and ended up staying and learning with him for a month.
  • He saw a demonstration of a swordsmith from Japan, Taro Asana, in Canada and they quickly became friends. This led Allen to visit Japan many times, visiting Taro and learning about the Japanese apprenticeships for swordsmiths.  Taro comes from the Kenifusa swordsmithing family (24 generations of swordsmiths) and his swordsmith name is “Fusataro”.
  • Allen and Fusataro started to talk about teaching swordsmithing classes in Canada, these talks continued for 2 to 3 years before Fusataro agreed to try the concept. The reason Fusataro was reluctant had to do with the Japanese tradition of apprenticeships for swordsmithing, teaching the craft outside of Japan and the apprenticeship structure is not really “allowed” or tolerated.
  • Allen and Fusataro just recently offered a 10-day intensive Tamahagane Tanto class. Students could pick what kind of sword they wanted to make, choosing from 2 kilograms to 8 kilograms of tamahagane steel.
  • We talk about the features of Tamahagane steel and how it is made in Japan.

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