The Dynasty Forge Kiku Nagimaki has a folded steel blade comprised of 1095, 1080 and 1060 high carbon steels. The bladesmith hammered these three different billets of pure steel into a single blade to combine their differing hardnesses and qualities; it also gives the blade the traditionally-crafted finish achieved by the folded steel. A close inspection of the blade will reveal the visible Hada on the blade – a pattern similar to rippled water or wood-burl grain created by the demarcation of the thousands internal layers of steel created when the blade was folded into itself 8-12 times.
The blade has a half bo-hi to reduce weight in the thickest part of the spine whilst sacrificing a minimal degree of durability. The spine then tapers to give the rest of the blade a form that not only reduces weight, but also minimizes drag on the blade as it passes through a target.
The blade was tempered in the traditional manner with clay to imbue it with a very hard edge of crystalline martensite steel; the body of the blade was allowed to temper to a softer hardness to give the blade the flex needed to keep it from being too hard and brittle – this also gives the blade a degree of shock absorption when it meets the target. The blade was finished with a hybrid polish of machine polishing, followed by a final polish by hand.
The Sukashi tsuba is crafted from iron, as is the fuchi and kashira hilt components. The habaki and seppa are brass and the long grip is wood fitted with inlaid panels of rayskin. The grip is finished with a long wrap of knotted black silk tsuka ito; two long brass dragon menuki are fitted beneath the ito folds.
The blade scabbard is crafted from carved wood and finished with a textured black lacquer and a black sageo cord.
The Nagamaki may look like an oversized katana sword, but it is better understood as a polearm. The glaive-like blade with an elongated and widened tip is paired with a long grip for great leverage; the combination creates a weapon capable of forceful and woefully efficient cutting. The sharp and temper-hardened tip also lends itself well to decisive thrusting. The long tsuka ito wrap not only improves the grip on the long haft, but the tightened and overlapping cords also ensure that the haft will not break apart easily should it be damaged in battle.
The Nagamaki was most popular in the Muromachi Period (1336 – 1573) and it was routinely used as an anti-cavalry weapon well-capable of crippling a horse or striking down a horseman with its extra reach. The great Daimyo, Uesugi Kenshin, is reputed to have an armed guard of retainers all armed with the imposing and brutally efficient Nagamaki.
Please Note: It is common for the lacquer finish of the scabbards to have 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.