Katana is a Japanese sword with a distinctive curved blade. It was one of the primary weapons used by Samurai warriors. Its design strove for three highly desirable qualities: not to break or bend, to be light in hand and to have a razor sharp cutting edge. Swordsmiths achieved these attributes using a technique called the Tatara-buki method. This was an original steel making process that did not depend upon imported iron ore, but rather utilized black iron sand from beaches in Japan to achieve fast reduction at low temperature and created high-quality steel with few impurities. This layered metal gives the katana its beauty and strength.
After forging, the blade is heat treated. This process creates a beautiful wavy line known as the hamon, as well as giving it superior hardness and flexibility. A thicker layer of clay is applied to the body and spine, while a thinner layer is applied to the edge of the blade. This differential heat treatment is a crucial element in the sword’s creation.
The sword is then shaped and refined by hand. A specialized sword polisher, known as a togishi, uses progressively finer stones to refine the hamon and the folded steel grain pattern. This process takes weeks to complete and ensures that the katana is not only beautiful, but also sharp as a cutting tool.
Once the katana is completed, it is hilted and assembled with the scabbard and tsuka. These elements are often made by specialized craftsmen who add intricate carvings and gold inlay to the fittings, further adding to the beauty and status of the finished sword. click on this page