How to Make Your Own Tsuba

I often get requests for people looking for a unique, personalized tsuba design. But for these to be made commerically, you need at LEAST 100pcs before anyone will even talk to you.

But what if you just want one?

Well, here's a relatively simple method that you can use to make your own tsuba by SBG member, 'Lakemonster'.

How to Make Your Own Tsuba

Ok.... so I decided to kill time and drink a few beers making up a simple tsuba. I'll talk ya thru the process.

What you need:

  • A three inch or better circle cut from 3/16ths" steel plate.


  • Belt Sander
  • Drill press and bits
  • Needle files and flat file. (dremel users can get around this)
  • Grinder, angle or bench.
  • Caliper or small increment ruler

So we start out with our "blank".... it needs to have the slag ground off and made into a proper circle.

Using a belt sander we can remove the slag.... I chose to make the job a little faster by using an angle grinder. Next I moved on to the belt sander to shape up the blank into circle.

I checked it every so often with caliper to see where my "high spots" were.... this could be done with a ruler instead.... this is just more accurate.

Once I'm fairly close.... I set an old tsuba on the blank and shot some spray paint on the ana to transfer the shape to the blank.

I forgot to take a pic of how I created the anas..... but what you do is use a drill press to drill a series of holes in the blank.... enough to allow a needle file it to open it up. Once the hole was big enough I used a flat file to finish it up. It is important to check the tsuba on the tang every so often so you don't make the hole too large, causing slippage.

Using the drill press again, with a 3/8 bit, I created the holes thru which the sageo can pass. I don't know what these are called.... But anyway.... once these holes are drilled the burrs can be removed with a needle file or a Dremel with a sanding drum.

At this point you should have a utilitarian tsuba..... and can further it with your own shaping and details. I intend to carry on with this further.... but I wanted to post up how to get a basic tsuba with minimal tools and effort.

....and heres what it looks like seated up..

I hope this tutorial on how to make your own tsuba has been helpful. To return to Basic Sword Care and Maintenance 101, from How to Make Your Own Tsuba, click here

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