Forest Tanto Blade

$440

A 170mm hammer-forged blade, ready to finish in diy style.

In stock

Category: Tag:

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. This elegantly shaped blade has plenty of character and is ready to be mounted and finished.

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 antique steel.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.

Forged from a reclaimed cultivator tine, the blade profile of the forest style tanto is based on a yoroidoshi tanto and has a slender and elegant profile. The temper of this high carbon steel blade has been left relatively hard in order to hold a keen edge. The vinegar etched finish reveals the character of the steel, the surface pitting of the decades it spent in the outdoors, and a strong mizukage (water shadow) angling up from the base of the hamon.

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 antique steel.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.

The blade falls right in the range between tanto and kotanto for the forest pattern at 6.75″ long with an overall length of just under 10.5″. The spine is about 6mm thick at the munemachi but there is a pronounced distal taper. The edge only needs the final bevel and sharpening work. The unhardened tang is not yet drilled, the general location can be marked if requested.

Specifications

長さ/刃長 Nagasa (blade length): 170mm
重ね/元重 Motokasane (spine thickness): 6mm
元幅 Motohaba (blade width): 25mm
反り Sori (curve): muzori (straight)
中心/茎 Nakago (tang length): 91mm
柄長 Tsuka (handle length): none
拵全長 Koshirae (overall): none

形 Katachi (geometry): hira-zukuri, iori-mune
刃文 Hamon (edge pattern): suguha (straight) with prominent mizukage (water shadow)
帽子/鋩子 Boshi (tip pattern): ko-maru
中心/茎 Nakago (tang): futsu, kuri-jiri, no mekugi-ana
銘 Mei (signature): mumei (unsigned)
拵 Koshirae (mounting): none

Materials: pre-1960’s cultivator tine


Process

This blade was forged and underwent yaki-ire at the museum forge. It began as a pre-1960s (integral) cultivator tine used by a farmer a generation or more ago. The other half of the tip of this tine was forged into a mountain kotanto and this piece can be seen in raw form under the process section there.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
The pre-1960s (integral) cultivator tine that the starting material was cut from.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
Doing most of the work with a hammer allows a small amount of steel to go a long way.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
Forging with a thin layer of water on the anvil helps keep the scale from building up on the surface.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
After filing in the machi (notches) and cleaning up the profile.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
Drawfiling in the sen-dai (staple vise) to clean up around the spine and bevel.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
Careful drawfiling at very low angles cleans up the edges without scratching the hammered surface.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
The clay mixture is made from charcoal powder, natural clay, and polishing stone powder.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
The blade is roughly finished and the edge is 1-1.5mm thick to protect it from the stress of hardening.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
The clay mixture is blended with water to become a thin, smooth mixture.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
The rough surface of the blade will hold the clay during heating.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
The clay mixture will control the cooling rate of the main part of the blade during yaki-ire.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
Drying the clay slowly over the coals to prevent cracking.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
After yaki-ire–the exposed edge has cooled quickly and become very hard, able to hold a keen edge.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
The area protected by the clay layer cools about half a second slower as it hits the water and remains in a tough, ductile state.
Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.
Ready for cleaning and finishing.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from antique steel.


**Please note that in order to preserve the patina and texture of the antique components involved in this mounting there may be minor damage, scuffs, variations in colour, and other indications of their stories over the centuries.