Hon-Yaki Field Nata

Nata come in various sizes and shapes, but most do the work of a light brush hatchet or heavy camp knife. Common characteristics include thick spines and heavy blades, often with single beveled edges similar to Japanese wood chisels.

The hand forged blade features swordsmith style hon-yaki water quench edge hardening rather than a thin laminated steel edge and a slightly recurved edge bevel that was polished on an antique hand-cranked sandstone wheel. The ura has a slight forged concave to assist flat sharpening of the edge.

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

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

A steel ferrule forged from farm machinery (from the end of a flat bar with a hole in it, similar to this: step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4) accents the hand carved Sapele wood handle. Thin layers of natural fuki-urushi lacquer seal the wood and allow the grain and rich colour to show through. A reclaimed nail was forged and filed into a peg that secures the entire assembly together.

Blade construction is muku/hon-yaki with a right handed kiriha-zukuri profile, hira/kaku mune, and uchizori (recurve). The blade is 5″ long and 1 5/8″ deep with a 6mm spine, overall length is around 10.5″, just under 11.75″ when sheathed. Accompanied by a Nootka cypress scabbard finished with a light coat of 100% pure tung oil.

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

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

Specifications

長さ/刃長 Nagasa (blade length): 128mm
重ね/元重 Motokasane (spine thickness): 6mm
元幅 Motohaba (blade depth): 42mm
反り Sori (curve): uchizori (reverse curve)
中心/茎 Nakago (tang length): 80mm
柄長 Tsuka (handle length): 135mm
拵全長 Koshirae (sheathed length): 297mm

形 Katachi (geometry): kiriha-zukuri, kaku-mune
刃文 Hamon (edge pattern): suguha
中心/茎 Nakago (tang): futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana
銘 Mei (signature): mumei (unsigned)
拵 Koshirae (mounting): nata, issaku (sole authorship)

Materials: antique plow share steel, reclaimed agricultural steel bar, Sapele wood, natural urushi lacquer, a reclaimed nail, Nootka cypress

This piece is in a private collection on Vancouver Island.


Process

This blade was forged and underwent yaki-ire at the museum forge.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged knives made from reclaimed and natural materials.
Shaped from an “L” shaped piece of antique plowshare with an anvil and hand hammer. The edge of the plow became the edge of the nata.

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

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

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