The Making of a Katana Sword
The Katana is an iconic sword that symbolizes Japan’s warrior culture. It’s a weapon that’s known around the world for its beauty, strength and symbol of status. The making of a katana is an art, steeped in tradition that’s been refined over centuries. It is also a sacred process, a ritual that’s revered for the skill and dedication of each smith who creates one.
The heart of a katana is its unique composition of steel. Known as tamahagane, this steel is made from iron sand and charcoal in a clay tatara furnace. The different levels of carbon in the steel allow for a combination of hard and soft metal, creating a blade that’s both tough and flexible. The curved shape of the katana’s blade (mune) allows for both the slashing and thrusting moves required in mounted warfare.
Once the smith has created a tamahagane that’s both hard and flexible, it’s ready for a process known as “hardening.” The smith reheats the blade in a coal fire until it becomes extremely hot. Then, the smith hits the blade with a light hammer to straighten it. The resulting surface of the blade is called Martensite, and this gives the katana its distinctive curve.
The smith then polishes the Martensite with a stone to create a mirror finish on the blade. Next, the smith adds a hilt, guard and scabbard. The scabbard is made of wood and can be as simple or ornate as the owner prefers. The hilt is often wrapped in ray or shark skin and tied with silk cord. The smith may also attach brass menuki to the hilt for added aesthetics. click on this page