The core of this project is a charcoal-forged blade, water quenched with clay and sharpened with waterstones, an outdoor knife that has the foundation of the Japanese sword and an aikuchi mounting that includes fittings made for swords centuries ago. Satoyama are… Continue reading
A kata is a pattern or form used for study or for 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… Continue reading
A look at some precision cut steel tanto kata based on historical japanese swords from 1200s-1500s…order a set of kata here: soulsmithing.com/product-category/kata/
A kata is a pattern or form used for appreciation, study, or for reference. 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 tanto forms. Learn about making your own kata.
One of the most common mistakes when attempting to recreate a Japanese classical style tanto is to caricature or over exaggerate certain design elements while entirely missing others. The Japanese aesthetic is subtle and nuanced, millimeter differences can make or break the… Continue reading
Arashiage is the stage of rough shaping following hizukuri (forging) and in preparation for yaki-ire (hardening). Earlier posts have described tanto kata and the geometry of the tang, machi, blade, and kissaki. Familiarity with these geometry points is a prerequisite to success… Continue reading
Sunnobi tanto (寸延び短刀) are larger than ordinary tanto, with nagasa a sun or two above 1 shaku (sun nobi, “a sun longer”, from nobiru, to stretch or lengthen). Though there is some area of crossover with hira-zukuri ko-wakizashi and they may have… Continue reading
Making a habaki from reclaimed copper. Material is scrap copper from an electrical bus bar, forged and bent to shape, silver brazed with hard silver solder in the charcoal forge with fuigo, finish work done with files and rasps. Watch the shorter overview edit here.
Futokorogatana (懐刀) is translated as “clothing fold sword” and describes a type of tanto mounting meant to be carried in the kimono sleeve or fold. Also known as kaiken, this humble style of hidden mounting is usually unadorned with a smooth profile… Continue reading
In this video the tsuka is carved first, starting with the omote side and then the ura, carving each half from the mune to the ha. The saya is next, starting with the omote and then the ura, each half beginning with the fitting of the blade (from the mune towards the ha) and then the fitting of the habaki area (koiguchi). Finally the halves are glued together with rice paste glue, wrapped with leather cord, and wedged tightly to dry overnight. The first half is almost real time, the repeat steps edited out during the second half. The wood is hounoki, carve carefully and check often! carving the outside | making the fittings | final work
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… Continue reading
Hand filing a classical tanto style blade forged from half of a reclaimed horse carriage leaf spring. (4x) Arashiage is the rough shaping stage that comes after hizukuri (fire shaping) and before yaki-ire (hardening). Serious students of the forge can read more and watch the full process version here.