This blade was named Sunagawa (砂川, sand river) because the texture of the blade and the flowing edge of the hamon are reminiscent of the bank of a calm river. It was hand forged in a charcoal swordsmith style forge powered by… Continue reading
A forging exercise leading to a sculptural tanto form for study and enjoyment, part of the Artist in Residence project at the museum. Forged from a piece of lovely fine-grained salvaged wrought iron railroad plate more than a century old. A little… 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
Though the majority of tanto are muku (one-piece construction), after the beginning of the edo period larger swords (katana, wakizashi) are often intentionally constructed of multiple steel components containing differing carbon content. The reason partly stems from the increase in brittleness of… 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.
Habaki is a non-ferrous collar for the blade that strengthens the base of the tang and holds the blade tightly in the scabbard. Often made of copper, it is composed of a large jacket and a small wedge that are forged and… Continue reading
This tanto began as a reclaimed carriage spring and was hand forged in a pine charcoal fire, smoothed with files and a sen scraper, differentially hardened using traditional water quench yaki-ire with clay, and polished by hand with natural Japanese water stones.… Continue reading
The geometry of a tanto blade is simpler to describe than the tang, though it has more subtleties and nuances. The three main characteristics I want to focus on are tip shape, spine thickness, and bevel geometry. While kata document the profile… Continue reading