A katana is the long, sharp sword of the Samurai. It is often considered to be the finest sword ever made, as it combines beauty and power in one elegant, deadly weapon. The katana’s distinct appearance is attributed to the different steels used in its construction, which are blended together to form the blade’s distinctive wavy line known as hamon. The blending of these metals also gives the blade superior sharpness and durability.
The blade is made using the Tatara-buki method, which uses black iron sand found on beaches in Japan to create high-quality steel called Tamahagane. The smith hammers the rough tamahagane to remove all slag, and then he heats the hard, high-carbon steel, or Shingane, so that it forms a U-shaped channel into which he fits the tough, low-carbon steel, or Hanokane. He then forges the two metals together, melding them into a single, deadly blade that is both strong enough not to break and razor-sharp enough to cut through a person’s skin.
Once the blade is complete, it is quenched in water. Although some modern katanas are quenched in oil, this technique reduces the chances of failure but doesn’t allow the sword to achieve a fine Hamon pattern. The katana is then polished and mounted in a wooden handle, or Tsuka, and a scabbard, or Saya, with traditional Japanese motifs, or Kazutsu. A katana is now more than just a tool for battle, it has become a symbol of status and honor in Japan. find out more information