Field Kotanto II

$850

An 86mm hammer-forged kotanto blade mounted in rustic satoyama kaiken style.

In stock

Description

The core of this project is a charcoal-forged blade, water quenched with clay and sharpened with waterstones, an outdoor knife that has the foundation of the Japanese sword but is finished in the simple and humble style of farming and foresting tools of centuries ago.

Satoyama are the managed forest areas that border the cultivated fields and the mountain wilds in Japan. Historically they provided soil nutrients, firewood, edible plants, mushrooms, fish, and game, and supported many local industries and crafts such as farming, timber construction, and charcoal making. The interaction of forest, arable land, wetlands, and streams are an important component of the satoyama landscape.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.

A subtle and rustic appearance with hammer marks left on the blade, hand-carved wooden handles finished with natural urushi lacquer made from tree sap, reminiscent of hand-hewn beams in a kominka farm house that are darkened by years of smoke drifting up from the irori cooking hearth. A tool for adventure that would be very much at home in the field, forest, or mountain landscape.

Forged from a reclaimed file, the blade profile of the field style kotanto is based on a kamakura sword and has more pronounced belly with slight drop point. The temper of this high carbon steel blade has been left relatively hard in order to hold a keen edge for tasks such as wood carving and hand work. This particular combination of steel and heat treatment is well suited to users who require a good edge and are willing to take care of it.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.

The tang is constructed in a similar manner to a Japanese sword requiring only a single bamboo peg to hold the knife assembly together. In addition to the sense of beautiful simplicity, this design allows the knife to be taken apart for cleaning, polishing, detailed cutting tasks, or major resharpening work.

The handle and scabbard are carved from local magnolia and finished with traditional fukiurushi lacquer to highlight the facets of the wood. A forged brass seppa/guard and cord wrap accent the handle and the removable peg is carved from susudake, a piece of bamboo that served for a century or more as part of the ceiling or roof in a kominka, darkened and hardened by decades of smoke wafting up from the irori hearth.

The blade is just under 3.5″ long, the overall length just under 7.5″, about 8.5″ sheathed. The spine at the munemachi is about 4mm thick.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.

Specifications

Nagasa (blade length): 86mm
Motokasane (blade thickness): 4mm
Motohaba (blade width): 20mm
Sori (curve): muzori
Nakago (tang): 79mm
Tsuka (handle): 102mm
Koshirae (overall): 217mm

Katachi (geometry): hira-zukuri, slight iori-mune
Hamon (edge pattern): suguha
Boshi (tip pattern): maru
Nakago (tang): futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana
Mei (signature): mumei (unsigned)
Koshirae (mounting): satoyama aikuchi style, issaku

Materials: reclaimed file steel, Magnolia, cotton cord, brass doorplate, natural urushi lacquer, susudake Bamboo

Process

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Shaped from part of an old file (at top, stream kotanto below) with an anvil, hand hammer, charcoal forge, and hand file.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Drawfiling the bevel clean in a sen-dai staple vise.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
Hardened using a natural clay and rainwater yaki-ire technique.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
A nicely defined sweeping suguha hamon with turnback at the tip.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
A piece of reclaimed brass doorplate is chisel cut for a seppa washer.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
The opening is filed to match the tang.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
Magnolia wood is carved to fit the tang and blade precisely.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
Halves glued back together with sokui (rice paste glue) and clamped with leather strip and wedges.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
The brass seppa is cut and filed to shape.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
The wood is carved to shape with kiridashi and planes, a sususdake (smoked bamboo) mekugi peg carved, and the wood polished with tokusa grass.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
A look at the dividing line of the hamon in angled lighting.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
Tying the cord wrap after the first layer of natural fukiurushi has cured.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
Final layers of urushi lacquer cured, ready for assembly after sharpening the edge.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
Field kotanto (centre) shown with Stream kotanto and Forest kotanto.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed files.
Detail of surfaces, colours, and textures.