Spalted Alder Kotanto

A slender clay tempered blade with copper habaki and seppa, housed in a shirasaya hand carved from a beautiful piece of Vancouver Island spalted Alder.

Providing intricate detail in simplicity, the spalted Alder shirasaya (display scabbard) is the highlight of this piece. The wood was a gift from another local artisan, rescued from destruction in the firewood pile. The handle and scabbard were split and carved from a single piece to show the grain and spalting patterns wrapping around and flowing across the full length, and finished only with hand rubbed ibota wax to preserve the natural color and grain activity of the wood. The shirasaya was cut, carved, and planed entirely by hand, the process is detailed on the process page for shirasaya.

The natural fire patina and hammer texture on the reclaimed copper habaki and seppa compliment the “wabisabi” elements of the aged Alder wood and the chisel-faceted mekugi is carved from deep red piece of Cocobolo.

The clay tempered blade construction is muku with a slender and graceful hira-zukuri shape. It is one that I made many years ago and had not mounted until recently, in fact it is probably the second kotanto blade to come out of Crossed Heart Forge. (I am still trying to track down the owner of the first!) The blade is about 5.5″ long, an overall length of just under 10″, and the overall length when closed is just under 10.5″.

This piece is in a private collection in Australia.

Material: Reclaimed steel, reclaimed copper bus bar, reclaimed copper water pipe, spalted Alder firewood, Cocobolo chopstick

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

Process of Making Shirasaya

The handle and scabbard are split and carved from a single block of wood so that the grain flows over the whole surface of the shirasaya. A more detailed account of the process is here: Making A Shirasaya

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives made from reclaimed and natural materials

A more detailed account of the process is here: Making A Shirasaya

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