Springhammer: A Documentary about Japanese Blacksmiths

We like to call Springhammer an ‘accidental documentary’ – one that kind of happened rather than was intentional. The project came into existence when Kevin Kent, owner of Knifewear, took a leap of faith that bringing cameras into the blacksmith shops on one of his regular visits might end in something cool. He was right. Springhammer was produced by Story Chaser, directed/scored/edited by Kevin Kossowan, interviewing/post-translation by Naoto Fujimoto, executive production by Kevin Kent.

Springhammer - is about Japanese blacksmiths who dedicate their lives to making culinary knives [it's also the actual mechanical tool used by the blacksmiths]. At the end of WWII, Japan was faced with a burdensome repurposing of many industries, and with military swords no longer in demand despite a tradition carried on since the samurai, the industry turned to the kitchen. Craftsmen, now applying ancient trade skills of the blade making to cookery, go largely unnoticed by their countrymen and have to find a new place in the world for their craft. Thankfully, the world seems to be starting to listen.

Springhammer II was created based on popular demand and the reception of Springhammer. This documentary gets into the nitty-gritty of knife-making and follows the blacksmiths from start to finish as they craft high-performance kitchen knives. Each blacksmith brings different opinions and techniques to the table that form the bigger picture of modern Japanese knife-making. Springhammer II will teach you about the steels, tools, steps and finishing touches that these folks follow to make the best kitchen knives in the world.

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