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. This elegantly shaped blade has plenty of character and is ready to be mounted and finished.
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.
Forged from a reclaimed cultivator tine, the blade profile of the forest style tanto is based on a yoroidoshi tanto and has a slender and elegant profile. The temper of this high carbon steel blade has been left relatively hard in order to hold a keen edge. The vinegar etched finish reveals the character of the steel, the surface pitting of the decades it spent in the outdoors, and a strong mizukage (water shadow) angling up from the base of the hamon.
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 falls right in the range between tanto and kotanto for the forest pattern at 6.75″ long with an overall length of just under 10.5″. The spine is about 6mm thick at the munemachi but there is a pronounced distal taper. The edge only needs the final bevel and sharpening work. The unhardened tang is not yet drilled, the general location can be marked if requested.
長さ/刃長 Nagasa (blade length): 170mm
重ね/元重 Motokasane (spine thickness): 6mm
元幅 Motohaba (blade width): 25mm
反り Sori (curve): muzori (straight)
中心/茎 Nakago (tang length): 91mm
柄長 Tsuka (handle length): none
拵全長 Koshirae (overall): none
形 Katachi (geometry): hira-zukuri, iori-mune
刃文 Hamon (edge pattern): suguha (straight) with prominent mizukage (water shadow)
帽子/鋩子 Boshi (tip pattern): ko-maru
中心/茎 Nakago (tang): futsu, kuri-jiri, no mekugi-ana
銘 Mei (signature): mumei (unsigned)
拵 Koshirae (mounting): none
Materials: pre-1960’s cultivator tine
This blade was forged and underwent yaki-ire at the museum forge. It began as a pre-1960s (integral) cultivator tine used by a farmer a generation or more ago. The other half of the tip of this tine was forged into a mountain kotanto and this piece can be seen in raw form under the process section there.
**Please note that in order to preserve the patina and texture of the antique components involved in this mounting there may be minor damage, scuffs, variations in colour, and other indications of their stories over the centuries.