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.
The blade profile of the stream style kotanto is based on the tip of 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 brass seppa with cord wrapped ferrule accents the handle and the removable peg is carved from Bamboo.
The blade is just under 3.25″ long with an overall length of about 7″. The spine at the munemachi is about 4mm thick.
Nagasa (blade length): 81mm
Motokasane (blade thickness): 4mm
Motohaba (blade width): 21mm
Sori (curve): uchizori/takenoko
Nakago (tang): 91mm
Tsuka (handle): 97mm
Koshirae (overall): 201mm
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, brass door plate, Nootka Cypress, hemp cord, natural urushi lacquer, Bamboo
This piece is in a private collection in Massachusetts.