I'm going to post a bunch of stuff about Takefu Village. We do business with a bunch of these guys. I'll post some fun videos first and then come back and talk about the co-operative and some of the guys I met.
The factory is co-owned by all the guys in the association and they work side by side even though the two guys here are not employed by the same boss. Most of the senior blacksmiths have 2 or 3 apprentices that work under them and they don't "share" the work. Ikeda is working for Anryu and is finishing a bunch of knives that Anryu forged earlier (I have video of him as well).
This is a diagram of the main Takefu Village facilty.
The big round space is a retail area with rest rooms, a small break room and it's got a gallery feel to it with pictures of the guys on the walls and videos of them working along with lots of knives for sale.
The rectangular space is the factory. The top right of the workshop is where all the forging takes place and that is where I shot Ikeda in the video above. The bottom right is where the wall of grinders are locatated. You can see that there is a second floor connecting catwalk that goes from the store to the factory with an observation deck where customers and tourists can walk into the workspace without bumping into the guys working. You can stand there and watch them work as long as you like. It's a great set up.
This is Anryu's production for the morning. He was doing 3 knives at a time by crimping them together. I think I have a video of him doing it that I'll post shortly. The knife in the bottom right of the picture is the template they keep to make sure they're shaping them to about the right size. They get cleaned up in several steps later.