Mountain Kotanto

$1460

A 144mm hammer-forged kotanto blade mounted in rustic satoyama tanto 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 mountain style kotanto is based on a kamakura sword and 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 natural urushi lacquer. The handle is wrapped with cotton cord and then lacquered and the scabbard is finished with traditional sabi-nuri (rust texture) style ishimeji (stone texture) made with urushi and crushed tea leaves. A forged copper guard and removable peg carved from Bamboo complete the handle.

The blade is just under 5.75″ long and the overall length is about 10.25″. The spine at the munemachi is about 5mm thick.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm equipment.

Specifications

Nagasa (blade length): 144mm
Motokasane (blade thickness): 5mm
Motohaba (blade width): 30mm
Sori (curve): uchizori
Nakago (tang): 102mm
Tsuka (handle): 110mm
Koshirae (overall): 285mm

Katachi (geometry): hira-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 hamidashi style, issaku

Materials: reclaimed harrow tooth steel, copper electrical washer, Nootka Cypress, Maple, cotton cord, natural urushi lacquer, tea leaves, Bamboo

This piece is in a private collection in Oregon.

Island Blacksmith: Charcoal forged knives from reclaimed farm equipment.


Process

See the full process page for this knife here: Making the Mountain Kotanto

Hizukuri: Forging the Blade

watch the longer realtime video


Yaki-Ire: Hardening the Blade


Tsuka: Carving the Handle

watch the longer realtime video


Saya: Making the Scabbard

watch the longer realtime video


Urushi: Wrapping and Lacquering

watch the longer realtime video


Final Assembly

watch the longer realtime video


See the full process page for this knife here: Making the Mountain Kotanto