The temper of this thin high carbon steel blade has been left relatively hard in order to hold a keen edge for tasks such as wood carving and fine 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 clay tempered blade was hand forged in a charcoal fire, water quenched with clay, and polished with waterstones to bring out the subtle character of the steel. A coarse waterstone inspection polish revealed a notare hamon with ko-maru boshi and a well-proportioned turnback. The blade profile is based strongly on the tip portion of the Aizu Shintogo, but has a very pronounced distal taper to allow for fine detail work.
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 urushi lacquer sculpted in a tree bark pattern. To create the texture using the karanuri technique, black urushi was mixed with egg white to give the base layer enough stiffness to hold its sculpted shape while it cured and then transparent natural urushi finishing layers added a red-brown colour and depth. A narrow forged copper ferrule and wrought iron guard salvaged from the sea complete the mounting and a removable peg carved from Cocobolo holds the knife together.
The blade is just over 2.25″ long and the overall length of handle and scabbard is about 7″. The spine at the munemachi is about 4mm thick.
Nagasa (blade length): 59mm
Motokasane (blade thickness): 4mm
Motohaba (blade width): 17mm
Sori (curve): uchizori/drop point
Nakago (tang): 96mm
Tsuka (handle): 102mm
Koshirae (overall): 179mm
Katachi (geometry): hira-zukuri, shallow iori-mune
Hamon (edge pattern): notare
Boshi (tip pattern): ko-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, wrought iron from the sea, copper water pipe, Nootka Cypress, natural urushi lacquer, Cocobolo
This knife is in a private collection in California.
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