The makiri is one of the traditional knife patterns of the Ainu, an indigenous people of Japan. Makiri are generally mid-sized utility knives and are hung from a belt by a lanyard. They are mounted with wooden handles and scabbards and may be decorated with carvings or incisions, often added by the owner.
The most interesting signature of the traditional makiri pattern is the curving handle which may appear inverted at first glance, but offers several grip positions as well as a toggle locking mechanism to keep the knife in the scabbard. This particular knife has been constructed as a nihonto style takedown, whereas the standard makiri has a stick tang and a friction/adhesive mounted blade.
The tang is constructed in a similar manner to a Japanese tanto requiring only a single bamboo 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, or major resharpening work.
The distinctive scabbard and handle are carved from two varieties of Nootka Cypress and there is a toggle lock to keep the knife from being lost from the scabbard. The leather cords are made from unsmoked natural hand-tanned buckskin made in the traditional manner. The scabbard surface has been finished with chisel and kanna plane only, and the wood lightly finished with 100% natural urushi. The handle has been given a deep red-brown finish in natural urushi lacquer. Traditionally makiri are often unfinished wood and are decorated by their owners with carved patterns and designs.
The clay tempered blade was hand forged from a harrow tooth and still bears the marks of the threads on the tang. This knife makes a cameo appearance around 2:12 in the Stria video as the blade being finish forged. The blade has been hand polished with diamond stones and finished with natural Japanese water stones in sashikomi style. The subtle hamon is a rising suguha with a gradual fade or possibly utsuri into the boshi. The spine at the munemachi is about 3/16″ thick with an iori mune shape.
The blade is 4.5″ long, the overall length is just under 7.75″, and the length when sheathed is about 10.5″.
Material: Reclaimed harrow tooth steel, copper water pipe, Nootka Cypress, urushi, bamboo, hand tanned leather, antler
This piece is currently in a private collection on Vancouver Island.