This piece was named for the way the natural spalting design of the saya is reminiscent of an ink painting of waves washing on a sand covered shoreline. It also commemorates the fact that the woods used for the handle and saya are among the most recognizable of the West Coast woods, and the common experience that ties it to its final home over on the East Coast.
The concept was to create a very small kaiken style tanto but to bring in the proportion and aesthetic of a formal aikuchi mount so the knife could serve well as in daily use and as a display piece. The design was a collaboration with the client and, in addition to meeting the small size requirements, includes elements of a favorite aikuchi style and the Vancouver Island native woods hint at another area of his aesthetic study and artistic pursuit.
From start to finish, this small tanto was created with hand tools using centuries old techniques. The stages of the process are detailed beginning on the process page for forging a blade.
The spalted Alder saya has lots of activity and is reminiscent of a traditional line-art ink painting. The hi-do fire patina and hammer texture on the reclaimed copper habaki and seppa tie in with the Pacific Yew ki-fuchi and kashira and the urushi coloured mekugi, carved from a piece of deep red Cocobolo.
The blade construction is muku with a hira-zukuri profile in yoroidoshi proportions and a ko-maru mune. The blade is 3″ long, overall length is just over 6.75″, and the overall length when sheathed is just over 7.5″.
Nagasa: 2 sun 6 bu (78mm)
Motohaba: 6 bu 3 rin (19.2mm)
Motokasane: 1 bu 8 rin (5.5mm)
Nakago: 2 sun 3 bu 5 rin (70mm)
Construction: hira-zukuri, ko-maru-mune
Sori: straight/slight uchizori
Hamon: notare, o-maru sagari, slight hakikake ? ?
Nakago: futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana, signed near the tip
Mei: hot stamped Crossed Heart logo
Material: Reclaimed sawmill blade steel, reclaimed copper water pipe, Nootka Cypress, Pacific Yew, samegawa, spalted Alder firewood, Cocobolo chopstick
This piece is in a private collection in New Hampshire.
A more detailed account of the process begins here: Forging a Tanto Blade
= 0.1 shaku（尺）
= 1 sun（寸）
= 10 bu（分）
= 100 rin（厘）