Charcoal forged classical tanto & fusion style takedown knives crafted by hand from reclaimed steel and natural materials using traditional techniques.
Process of Polishing a Tanto Blade
After the blade is hardened and tempered, the final geometry is created and the surface smoothed and polished with various abrasive stones. Polishing is broken into two distinct stages, the rough polish occurring before the fittings and scabbard are made, and the final polish once the rest of the knife is complete.
A combination of Japanese waterstones, both synthetic and natural, and diamond stones are used to remove smaller and smaller amounts of steel and give the knife its final shape and surface. Each stone is progressively finer and is used with a different orientation so that the scratches from the previous stones may be clearly seen. Once they are erased, the next stone can be used, each time refining the geometry and surfaces towards the final goal. Once the rough polish is finished, work on the blade is halted until after the habaki, seppa, tsuka, and saya are created and fitted. This prevents accidental scratches while working on other parts of the knife.
Rough Polish (Kaji-Togi)
At this stage, the large volume of steel left around the edge for the process of yaki-ire must be removed, and the blade and tang are given their final geometry. The blade is much harder than is was during the rough shaping stage and steel cannot be removed with any metal tools. A combination of natural and artificial waterstones are necessary for this process.
Care is taken to refine each part of the blade geometry and bring the planes into proper alignment and proportion beginning with coarse stones and quicker removal and ending with very fine stones and subtle adjustments. Tagane-ha (chisel edge) is a common technique for establishing the centre line of the edge. Both sides of the edge are honed away on a 45 degree angle and then the excess material in between the edge and the spine is removed, similar to the method of using a sen to set the pre-quench geometry after forging.
Once the fittings and scabbard are complete, the blade is given its final polish. Depending on the condition of the blade, the last used stone (#300, #500, or #700) is repeated again to check that there are no new scratches from the workshop and then finer and finer stones are used to complete the finish.
Most of the last steps are carried out with natural Japanese waterstones which cause the hamon and other steel activity to show up against the body of the blade. A Japanese waterstone forms a slurry like fine clay with suspended particles in it, water (with a little baking soda to combat rust) is used to control its viscosity and how much stays on the stone during use. A natural stone gives a nice final finish with a unique look due to its slight variation of hardness and grit size. The blade is carefully cleaned and oiled frequently with a clove oil blend for the first few days and weeks after polishing.