This knife was forged from a piece of very special old steel and has been paired with part of a seventy year old pear tree and an existing leather sheath. The custom leather sheath was part of an estate sale and was hand crafted on Vancouver Island.
Satoyama are the managed forest areas that border the cultivated fields and the mountain wilds in Japan. Historically they provided soil nutrients, firewood, edible plants, mushrooms, fish, and game, and supported many local industries and crafts such as farming, timber construction, and charcoal making. The interaction of forest, arable land, wetlands, and streams are an important component of the satoyama landscape.
The core of this project is a charcoal-forged blade, water quenched with clay and sharpened with waterstones, a satoyama style knife that has the foundation of the Japanese sword. The extremely rare steel for the blade came from a century-old mining car rail and the fittings are forged from a scrap of electrical washer and reclaimed copper pipe. The handle is carved from a seventy-year-old Pear tree that came from along the Alberni Highway and the removable peg is carved from African bamboo. The handle is finished with several layers of 100% natural tung oil to highlight the delicate grain and colour of the Pear.
The tang is constructed in a similar manner to a Japanese sword 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, detailed cutting tasks, or major resharpening work.
The blade is just over 5″ long with a 4″ handle, an overall length of 9.25″, and around 9.75″ when sheathed. The spine at the munemachi is 5mm thick.
長さ/刃長 Nagasa (blade length): 130mm
重ね/元重 Motokasane (spine thickness): 5mm
元幅 Motohaba (blade width): 30mm
反り Sori (spine curve): muzori with slight drop point
中心/茎 Nakago (tang length): 79mm
柄長 Tsuka (handle length): 119mm
拵全長 Koshirae (overall): 360mm
形 Katachi (geometry): hira-zukuri, iori-mune, with slight ubuha
刃文 Hamon (edge pattern): suguha
帽子/鋩子 Boshi (tip pattern): ko-maru
中心/茎 Nakago (tang): futsu, ha-agari kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana
銘 Mei (signature): mumei (unsigned)
拵 Koshirae (mounting): satoyama rustic, issaku (sole authorship) except leather sheath
Materials: reclaimed mining car rail steel, Pear wood, copper electrical bus washer, copper water pipe, Bamboo, vegetable tanned leather sheath
This piece is in a private collection in British Columbia.
This blade was forged, yaki-ire performed, and mounted at the museum forge during a forge visit from some young students of craft. The extremely rare steel for this blade came from a century-old mining car rail sourced on Vancouver Island.