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. The blade with antique Edo period habaki 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 mountain style kotanto is based on a kamakura sword and has more pronounced belly and wider blade. The temper of this high carbon steel blade has been left relatively hard in order to hold a keen edge.
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 antique habaki came from the collection of a sword restorer and is likely Edo period (~1600-1800) but may be older. The specific proportions are those that would usually be found on large tanto. Habaki make the crafting, fitting, and maintenance of the scabbard mouth much easier than when relying on the friction of the blade alone.
The blade is just under 5″ long with an overall length of just over 8.5″. The spine is about 5mm thick at the munemachi. The edge only needs the final bevel and sharpening work, after the mountings are crafted. The unhardened tang is not yet drilled, the general location can be marked if requested. Please inquire about the possibility of adding an antique fuchi, seppa, and koiguchi parts to the order.
長さ/刃長 Nagasa (blade length): 124mm
重ね/元重 Motokasane (spine thickness): 5mm
元幅 Motohaba (blade width): 27.5mm
反り Sori (curve): muzori (straight)
中心/茎 Nakago (tang length): 96mm
柄長 Tsuka (handle length): none
拵全長 Koshirae (overall): none
形 Katachi (geometry): hira-zukuri, iori-mune, slight ubuha (thickened edge near the machi)
刃文 Hamon (edge pattern): suguha
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, antique copper habaki
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.
**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.