tools-for-satoyama-forest-20

Forest Kotanto

$975

A 124mm hammer-forged kotanto blade mounted in rustic satoyama kaiken style.

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Product 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 reclaimed from files.

The blade profile of the forest style kotanto is based on a classical yoroidoshi tanto and has a takenoko shape 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 hardwood 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 fukiurushi style lacquer to highlight the facets of the wood. A forged copper seppa/guard with cord wrapped ferrule accents the handle and the removable peg is carved from Wenge.

The blade is just over 4.75″ long with an overall length of about 9.25″. The spine at the munemachi is about 6mm thick.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.

Specifications

Nagasa (blade length): 124mm
Motokasane (blade thickness): 6mm
Motohaba (blade width): 25mm
Sori (curve): uchizori/takenoko
Nakago (tang): 100mm
Tsuka (handle): 112mm
Koshirae (overall): 252mm

Katachi (geometry): hira-zukuri, iori-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 file steel, copper electrical washer, Nootka Cypress, cotton cord, natural urushi lacquer, Wenge

This knife is in a private collection in New York.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.

Process

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Shaped from an old file with an anvil, hand hammer, and a charcoal forge.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Profiled with a hand file.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Hardened with natural clay and rainwater.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Utsuri revealed by a light vinegar etch.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
A glimpse of the rising suguha hamon.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Flowing surface texture remaining from the teeth of the reclaimed file.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Forging and filing a reclaimed copper electrical washer to form the seppa/guard.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Fitting the seppa to the tang.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Joining the halves of Nootka Cypress carved to fit the tang.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Squaring to final dimensions and tapering with a plane.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Shaping the handle with chisels and plane.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Tying the cord wrap after the first layers of natural urushi lacquer have cured.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Rejoining the Nootkca Cypress halves of the scabbard.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Planing and carving to shape.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives reclaimed from files.
Components ready to assemble.