Ordering A Custom Tanto or Takedown Knife

Primarily here for my own reference, this is a general guideline for estimating the cost of a finished knife based on the traditional hira-zukuri blade geometry and tang form of nihonto, tanto, or fusion style takedown mount.

Estimate using price per inch of overall length (blade plus tang) rounded to the nearest inch. These baseline prices are also subject to change based on issues such as availability of materials and supplies. Prices are for pick up and are in Canadian dollars (shipping and applicable taxes extra). Please review the pricing schedules for blade and mountings and then contact for a quote.***

Hand Forged & Clay Tempered Blades

Overall Length (blade + tang)* Hammer Finish Working Finish Polished Finish
< 7″ blade (kotanto) + 3.5″ tang $50 /inch $70 /inch $100 /inch
< 14″ blade (tanto) + 4″ tang $100 /inch $140 /inch $200 /inch

Examples of Finish

  • Hammer finish – distinct hammer, fire, and file marks, mostly forged finish
  • Working finish – some hammer, fire, and file marks, mostly hand filed or rough stoned finish
  • Polished finish – very clean, hand rubbed soft satin finish

Hammer finish has the most hand crafted character, displaying remnants of the blade’s past and formation process. Mainly finished with the hammer and drawfiling, and the edge is finished with files and diamond stones to between 220 and 600 mesh (60 and 25 micron). This works well on outdoor blades, heavy working blades, and certain types of traditional blades.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged knives made on Vancouver Island from reclaimed materials
An example of a charcoal forged blade with a hammer finish

Working finish has cleaner geometry than the hammer finish, but doesn’t have the refinement of the polished finish. After forging and before hardening and tempering the shape is cleaned up by drawfiling, and later the edge area may be cleaned up somewhat with diamond stones and waterstones to between 120 and 600 mesh (120 and 25 micron) but with some remaining hammer and file marks. This finish serves well on working knives and certain types of reproduction blades.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged knives made on Vancouver Island from reclaimed materials
An example of a charcoal forged blade with a working finish

Polished finish is mainly for nihonto or other collector and heirloom pieces where the traditional finish does not fit the style or design of the knife. This finish best shows the internal character of the steel and activity of the hamon. Soft satin finished with diamond stones, paper, and waterstones to between 600 and 1200 mesh (25 and 9 micron). This finish works well on all blade sizes.

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged knives made on Vancouver Island from reclaimed materials
An example of a charcoal forged blade with a satin polished finish

To fully appreciate the blade details and activity, there is a fourth option to arrange a classical Japanese sword style polish by a professional polisher, please contact for details.

Also note that the process of forging is different for each finish and it is not usually possible to change from one type of polish to another after the knife has been forged.


Knife Mounting

Base prices for standard koshirae, any elements involving precious, rare, or hazardous materials, complex designs or techniques may be assessed an additional fee for sourcing and working.***

Western Style

Wooden handle $400, hardwood add $100, lined add $200, fukiurushi add $200
Guard $300
Wood accent or open ferrule $200
Copper tube rivet lanyard hole $100
Cord wrap handle $200 plus cost of cord
Leather sheath $40 /blade inch

Japanese Style

Habaki $500
Seppa thin $200 each, thick $300 each
Tsuba $400
Fuchi & Kashira $400 each, ki/cord $200 each
Tsuka $400, hardwood add $100, lined add $200, fukiurushi add $200
Samegawa panels or plain wrap $300, w/nodes $500, lacquered add $400
Shikagawa underwrap $300
Mekugi from bamboo $100, lacquered/horn/hardwood $200, metal/capped $300
Menuki (目貫) / Origane (折金) $300 each
Tsukamaki $200 plus ito cost
Saya $90 /blade inch, hardwood add $200, lined add $30 /blade inch
Urushi nuri $180 /blade inch, ishime-ji $90 /blade inch, fukiurushi $60 /blade inch
Koiguchi horn, copper, or wood $400, cord $200
Kurikata horn, iron, or wood $400
Tsunakuchi horn, iron, or wood $300
Kojiri horn or wood $300

Storage & Display

Shirasaya $90/inch
Hatome $300
Tsunagi $50/inch
Ki Habaki $300
Koshirae Bukuro Storage Bag (silk obi or silk lined with cotton) $200
Shirasaya Bukuro Storage Bag (cotton / linen) $100
Formal Presentation Tanto Kiribako Style Storage Box $600
Futsu Kiribako Style Storage Box $200
Formal Presentation Tanto Kake $600
Futsu Tanto Kake $400


Other services, for DIY knifemakers

Overall Length (blade + tang)* As Forged, no tempering or finishing As Tempered, no finishing As Tempered, with inspection polish Tempering Service only (my own blades)** Tempering Service only (other carbon steel blades)**
< 7″ (kotanto)
+ 3.5″ tang
$30 /inch $40 /inch $60 /inch $20 /inch $30 /inch
< 14″ (tanto)
+ 4″ tang
$60 /inch $80 /inch $120 /inch $30 /inch $40 /inch

Lost? Get in touch for a quote.


*Blades with non-traditional shapes, designs, swedges, double edges, or large surface areas will be assessed individually.

**Traditional clay hardening and tempering are inherently risky and therefore payable in advance, non-refundable, and come with no guarantee against warping or breakage during the process.

***In order to ensure adequate workshop time is dedicated to a custom project, the consultation phase is set aside with the following general framework in mind: 3% of the budget dollars converted to minutes (eg, every $1000 of project budget provides 30 minutes of meeting time or correspondence and dialogue, a handful of email exchanges). Those that wish to go over and above this to work out the details of a project in full are welcome to do so, billed at the regular hourly consultation rate.