A clay tempered blade hand forged in a charcoal fire, water quenched with clay, sharpened with waterstones, and finished simply and humbly in the age-old style of farming and foresting tools traditionally used in managing satoyama lands.
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 local industries 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.
Forged from a reclaimed harrow tooth, the blade profile of the field style kotanto 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.
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 Nootka Cypress and finished with traditional ishimeji (stone texture) made with natural urushi lacquer and crushed tea leaves. A forged copper guard with inset cord wrapped ferrule and removable peg carved from Bamboo complete the handle.
The blade is just over 4.25″ long and the overall length is about 8.25″. The spine at the munemachi is about 6mm thick.
Nagasa (blade length): 108mm
Motokasane (blade thickness): 6mm
Motohaba (blade width): 29mm
Sori (curve): uchizori
Nakago (tang): 89mm
Tsuka (handle): 103mm
Koshirae (overall): 230mm
Katachi (geometry): shobu-zukuri, kaku-mune
Hamon (edge pattern): suguha
Boshi (tip pattern): maru
Nakago (tang): futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana, signed near the tip
Mei (signature): hot stamped katabami-ken kamon
Koshirae (mounting): satoyama kaiken style, issaku
Materials: reclaimed harrow tooth steel, copper electrical bracket, Nootka Cypress, cotton cord, natural urushi lacquer, tea leaves, Bamboo
This piece is in a private collection in Ontario.