Field Kotanto

$1240

A 108mm hammer-forged kotanto blade mounted in rustic satoyama kaiken style.

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Description

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.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm equipment.

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.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm equipment.

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.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm equipment.

Specifications

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.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm equipment.

Process

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
Hand forged in a charcoal fire from a reclaimed harrow tooth.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
Hardened using a natural clay and rainwater yaki-ire technique.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
Steam rises, fresh from the water quench.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
One fourth of a silver-plated copper bus bar bracket is forged to shape.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
The opening is filed to match the tang.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
Scrap Nootka Cypress is carved to fit the tang and the halves joined together.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
The block is taken to final dimension and tapered with a plane.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
The rough shape is carved with a kiridashi knife.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
The tsukigata and a recess for the cord ferrule are added.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
After the initial coat of natural urushi lacquer has cured, a channel is cut and the cord tied in place.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
Subsequent layers saturate the cord and crushed tea leaves provide a stone-like texture called ishimeji.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm tools.
The finished components ready for assembly.