How the Katana Sword is Made

Katana is one of the most iconic swords in history, both for its legendary sharpness and its storied use on the battlefield. The sword’s design was engineered with three highly sought-after qualities: ‘Not to break, not to bend, and to have a razor sharp cutting edge.’ This is accomplished through a unique forging technique, called the tatara-buki method. Using black iron sand found on the beaches of Japan, this process allows for quick reduction at low temperatures and creates high quality steel with few impurities, known as Tamahagane.

The smith then expertly heats, hammers, and folds the steels together over and over again—sometimes up to 16 times—to evenly combine the carbon content throughout the blade. This also helps to distribute and absorb shock stress, a vital component in making the sword durable enough to withstand furious blows during a duel. This special forging also forms the Hamon, a distinctive pattern that marks each blade as a true work of art.

Once the smith is satisfied that his blade has reached its perfect form, he then attaches a saya, or wooden scabbard, to the tsuka. This scabbard is traditionally wrapped in ray skin, a tough and grippy material that can be made from either genuine or synthetic stingray. It is then bound with silk or cotton cord for a comfortable and secure grip. The hilt of the sword is then adorned with ornaments, called menuki, which are typically placed on not hardened sections of the blade. Manga Katana collection

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