The Making of a Forged Club

I have always been intrigued by the Japanese Samurai sword. Throughout history they have been seen as the highest quality swords ever produced, and the craftsman who made them also turned them into amazing works of art. Recently, I had the good fortune to meet the guys from Miura Golf, quality makers of golf iron heads. The Miura family name is right up there with those Samurai craftsmen, and the same attention to detail has been expended in their golf "art". Here is the story of the birth of a forged club.

There are many steps in the production of one of these clubs once its actual design has been accepted by the Master designer.

Step 1

The head starts life as cylindrical stick of mild iron, which is then heated to 1200 degrees Celsius, so that the iron maintains its chemical integrity. Note that this is the structure for the head and not the hosel, which is added later.

Step 2

The heated cylinder is then struck with a massive forging hammer, which creates the initial rough shape of the head.

Step 3

The edges are now trimmed and the rough head is now pounded again with the forging hammer. The force used is very precise, and along with the head of the rough head this creates the molecular structure of the head.

Step 4

The head is hit a third and fourth time, by which the head is now well defined and is in a smooth and unblemished state. Once in this state, the score lines and any artwork and iron numbers can be stamped into the head.

Step 5

The hosel now comes into the picture. The hosel cylinder is now spin welded onto the head in a very precise manner to make sure lofts and lies are of an exact nature.

Step 6

At this point we have a raw but technically advanced head, ready to be finished off by the Master Craftsmen.

Step 7

Grinding and polishing now takes place to make sure each head is taken to its specified weight. Each iron has its own designated weight which will generally see a 4 gram increment between irons, which allows for very tight swing weight matching.

Step 8

A final polishing is done in a purposely-built polishing barrel, which is capable of producing any sort of finish required via a variety of techniques. Now plating is applied, using either Nickel Chrome or W Nickel for a Satin Finish to the face with a touch of copper to the chrome for the rest of the club head and hosel.

The face now requires a light sandblasting to give it a bit of grip for the ball to munch on. The chrome is taped over here, allowing only the face to be blasted.

Now the club is ready, apart from painting in the number and model stampings.

If any of you are lucky enough to own one of these works of art, enjoy them each time you take them out.

Post Script - A Short History Of Samurai Sword Manufacture

The Samurai came from the ancient Yayoi, their warrior forbearers. The Samurai actually became a class somewhere between the 9th and 12th centuries and held on until the 19th.

They wore two swords, one longer than 24", The Katana, and one shorter, The Wakizashi, the latter being between 12 and 24". Most also carried a shorter Tanto, in case the need for hara kiri presented itself.

Their word for sword was daisho. Their word for Samurai sword was nihonto, generically speaking. The steel used was tamahagane. It was forged, then pounded, then "folded", hundreds of times.

Then it was quenched, while still "red hot", often by running it through the bodies of corpses, often through live slaves. Then it was tested for efficacy, on the same subjects, starting with the small bones, and progressing through the larger to the largest. Test results often were recorded on the nakago or metal piece used to attach the handle to the blade.

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