This Dynasty Forge O Katana has a large blade of folded steel – the blade contains 1095, 1080 and 1060 high carbon steel folded together 8-12 times into a single blade to create thousands of internal layers. The folded blade creates a distinct surface wood-pattern Hada from the mixing of these differing steels. The blade was then differentially tempered with the traditional clay method – the hardened edge of martensite steel can clearly be seen as a vibrant wave hamon upon the blade. After forging and tempering the blade was machine polished and then finished with careful hand polishing.
The silver-detailed tsuba and fittings of the katana depict the roiling waves of the tsunami, perhaps in homage to the great storm that reduced the grand invasion fleet of the Mongol Khan to humiliating flotsam. The wooden tsuka grip is inlaid with panels of rayskin and overlaid with knotted black silk tsuka ito; a pair of dragon menuki are fitted beneath the knotted folds.
Its companion saya scabbard is carved from wood and finished with a glossy black coat of lacquer. A knotted black sageo matches the grip. This sword comes with a blue cloth sword bag.
Please Note: It is common and standard for the scabbards of these swords to have scratches, scuffs, small indentations or light and thin cracks in the scabbard lacquer.
The heft of this O-Katana can be felt in the hand – with a blade wider and larger than many other katana this O Katana has a fierce and capable presence that will translate into decisive cuts. Despite this it does not feel overly heavy due to its wide and long bo-hi groove which has removed some of the blade mass from the thick spine to reduce overall weight. The groove has an interesting side-effect – it disturbs the air as it passes through in a strike – this gives it the distinct sound of the Tachikaze – the sword wind. A learned ear can tell by the tone of the whistle whether his edge is in proper alignment as the blade slices the air in the strike.
Historically, steel was folded largely to remove impurities – the process would upgrade the quality of an inferior steel. This was a necessary step to much of Japanese swordsmithing, as Japan was not blessed with large amounts of high-quality iron ore. When one takes the additional step of folding steels of differing hardness together this also has the effect of combining the qualities of the steel together into a single blade billet. In this case very hard 1095 steel was mixed with less hard 1080 and the yet softer 1060. This combination gives the finished blade some of the edge-retaining hardness of hard steel – the inherent brittleness of such hard steel is balanced by the softer steels to impart a degree of shock absorption into the blade. The clay tempering of the blade after folding ensures that the entirety of the edge is crystalline-hardened steel.
While the folding process created high quality swords in the past, folding is no longer a necessary step to make a great sword. Modern, quality pure steel can be shipped direct to the swordsmith and its uniformly high quality make folding unnecessary to create a blade. Despite this a folded blade still has great appeal for those who value the skill and craftsmanship that the swordsmith had to impart into his art to create a valued sword and its distinct folded pattern, unique to every blade as a fingerprint is to every hand, imbues the sword with a distinct character and is a testament to historical swordsmithing techniques.
Please Note: It is common for the lacquer finish of the scabbards to have minor cosmetic blemishing. Also, the Menuki may not match what is pictured as it is common for the manufacturer to use different menuki for different production runs. It is also common for the sword to be configured for a single bamboo mekugi peg to be used instead of two.