Railroad Spike Tanto Sculpture

$360

A serious letter opener in the form of an unmounted tanto with tsuba handguard forged entirely from a single salvaged railroad spike.

Description

A sculptural tanto form for study and enjoyment. A serious letter opener forged entirely from a single salvaged railroad spike. A little large for actually opening letters, this piece would function as an art object, paperweight, and conversation piece. Not high carbon steel, it will not take or hold a particularly fine edge and is designed to be enjoyed as is, straight out of the forge. Unmounted.

The removable handguard was forged from the head of the railspike and the blade was forged from the rest of the spike. Watch the video below to see the process as the parts take shape.

Blade construction is muku with a shobu-zukuri profile and a iori mune. The final blade dimensions are 10.75″ (274mm) long and 1 1/8″ (29mm) by just over 1/4″ (7mm) at the mune machi…point to tip of the tang is 15″. Forge finish (black iron oxide and some red oxide areas) with a coat of 100% natural tung oil.

Specifications

長さ/刃長 Nagasa / blade length: 9 sun 5 rin (274mm)
重ね/元重 Motokasane / spine thickness: 2 bu 5 rin (7mm)
元幅 Motohaba / blade width: 9 bu 5 rin (29mm)
反り Sori / spine curve: 1 bu 2 rin (3.5mm)
中心/茎 Nakago / tang length: 3 sun 5 bu (117mm)

形 Katachi / geometry: hira-zukuri, iori-mune, as-forged
刃文 Hamon / edge pattern: none
帽子/鋩子 Boshi / tip pattern: none
中心/茎 Nakago / tang: futsu, kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana
銘 Mei / signature: mumei (unsigned)
拵 Koshirae / mounting: none (except for tsuba/handguard)

Material: Reclaimed railroad spike steel

Current price for a similar work: $560

Process

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto letter opener made from a reclaimed railroad spike
A salvaged railroad spike.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto letter opener made from a reclaimed railroad spike
The sunobe (blade pre-form) compared with the original size and shown with the head of the spike (right).
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto letter opener made from a reclaimed railroad spike
Completed parts next to a railroad spike.
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged tanto letter opener made from a reclaimed railroad spike
The assembled piece compared with the original railspike.

A detailed video of the process is here:

3.03022 cm
= 0.1 shaku(尺)
= 1 sun(寸)
= 10 bu(分)
= 100 rin(厘)