A look inside the carving of a small kaiken tanto mounting (futokoro-gatana) with additional examples from an Edo period tsuka and an even older shirasaya.
The omote is the “public side” of a tanto or sword, the side that faces outwards both when being worn and when on display. The edge faces upwards and the handle is on the left when displaying nihonto. The ura is the “private side” and faces away from the viewer when on display and towards the body when worn.
More on carving a tanto style tsuka.
Classical tanto geometry series archive.
A demonstration on the takedown and assembly of classical tanto style knives. Also some views of the finished work and a second/third time around with some additional information for clients. Properly cared for and maintained, a classical tanto will last for a lifetime and longer. Never pull or… Continue reading
The tang and handle of a classical tanto are constructed in a manner that requires only a single bamboo peg to hold the entire knife assembly together. In addition to the sense of beautiful simplicity, this design allows the knife to be taken apart for cleaning, polishing, or… Continue reading
Habaki is a non-ferrous collar for the blade that strengthens the base of the tang and holds the blade tightly in the scabbard. Often made of copper, it is composed of a large jacket and a small wedge that are forged and filed to shape and then soldered… Continue reading
The geometry of a tanto blade is simpler to describe than the tang, though it has more subtleties and nuances. The three main characteristics I want to focus on are tip shape, spine thickness, and bevel geometry. While kata document the profile of a blade, they leave much… Continue reading
The geometry of the nakago (tang) is very important as the assembly of the knife hinges on the correct form and construction of the tang. Viewed from the spine, the thickest part of the blade is at the machi (notches) and there is a distal taper towards the… Continue reading
Full Length Version
**The heating time has been edited out and some of the tang work is missing due to battery issues.
The blade shape is based on the Aizu Shintogo kata: islandblacksmith.ca/2014/04/aizu-shintogo-kunimitsu-tanto-kata/
Making the most of the fire, hammer, and anvil to prepare the steel to be refined and smoothed…read more about this foundational stage: Tanto Blade (Forging)
A kata is a pattern or form used for study or reference when creating an utsushi blade. The exercise of accurately making kata based on the work of historical smiths is an excellent way to train the eyes, mind, and body to create proper forms. This particular kata… Continue reading