The Making of a Katana Sword

A Katana is a samurai sword with a curved blade. It is worn with the edge upwards in a sash (obi) across the body. The word katana itself combines two Japanese words: kata (“one side”) and na (“blade”). The katana developed from the earlier sasugatana, and replaced the tachi as the mainstream sword for samurai warriors.

While the katana may be famous for the way it slashes through the flesh in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, or the way a samurai Hattori Hanzo forges a blade that cuts God in 13 Assassins, the sword actually has a remarkable design. Forged from specialized steel, known as tamahagane, the blade is made from multiple layers of hard and soft irons, each with their own carbon concentrations. This unique forging creates the distinctive Hamon (blade pattern) that makes a katana both sharp and durable.

After the blade is forged, it must be polished and sharpened. Sword masters carefully adjust the blade’s curve, and polish it using a series of grinding and polishing stones. They also make sure that the blade and hilt fit perfectly, which requires precise attention to achieve ideally flat surfaces, strict angles of faces between mating parts, and delicate handling to prevent personal injury.

Once the Katana is sharp and ready for use, the sword craftsman will perform a ritual known as Mekugi-nuki. This is the process of ensuring that the katana will not rust or otherwise degrade through regular use. This includes cleaning the sword, removing oil and dirt with a cloth, rubbing the blade with special oils to protect it from oxidation, and inspecting for nicks and scratches that may have occurred during use. click on this page

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