Louis Mills – Louie (Yasutomo)
Since Louis Mills does not have a website and Togi Arts being the sole distributor of his blades, I’ve created this page for a quick bio of Louis and some pictures of his work.
“My interest in Japanese swords began around 1974. Enjoying working with steel, but unable to afford to become a collector, I decided to learn how to make them myself. I started by taking basic blacksmithing craft courses, followed by self-instruction through reading, pictures, and trial and error (mostly error). In 1980, I met the Yoshihara brothers at the ABANA conference which, subsequently, enabled me to work with them on three occassions (workshops and public demonstrations), where I learned the basics of traditional Japanese bladesmithing.
“My current available work is fashioned from a custom, “experimental” steel made by a metallurgist friend in an attempt to duplicate traditional steel. To further develop the grain pattern, I laminate it upon itself or add wrought iron. My supply of this steel is almost exhausted, however, so my work will soon return to traditional methods, which involves making my own orishigane from pure iron in a charcoal fired forge.
“I regard my blades as art swords that, of course, will function when necessary. Please keep in mind, however, that they are not made to withstand the sheer punishment associated with swords made with modern steels and high-tech heat treatments, and cannot be guaranteed to perform as such. I consider my work to be comparable to Koto-era blades in both beauty and quality, but when compared to the abuse resistance of swords made with modern technology, my blades are as obsolete as a flintlock rifle.
“In addition to my Japanese-style blades, I occasionally do contemporary damascus and work with modern steels, but always with a Japanese tempering style.”
– Louie (Yasutomo)