The Katana is a sword that is known for its Bushido roots, influential design, and iconic status. While we’ve all seen it on the silver screen, fought imaginary battles with our plastic Samurai swords, and have read about its legendary use in history books, most of us don’t understand how this beautiful sword is actually made.
The katana is made of layers of steel, with a harder softer iron core wrapped around each other. The hard layer, called Kawagane is heated, hammered out into a long bar and then welded to the softer ductile iron inner metal, called Hanokane. The two layers are then struck and elongated to get them four times longer than the original size of the Kawagane. This process, called ‘Koshirae’, gives the katana its characteristic appearance and allows for a fine hamon (blade pattern).
Once the two pieces of the blade are forged, they are cooled to a temperature below their melting point and then quenched in water. This makes the blade strong and durable. The smith then uses files and planes to shape the blade. This step is very important, as the blade must be able to withstand great stress and still be sharp.
During the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the katana was increasingly used as a weapon of war and it became shorter and wider. At the same time, smiths like Kotetsu NAGASONE, Go Yoshihiro, and Kunihiro HORIKAWA started to develop their own styles and produce katana that were regarded as works of art with their ornate and intricate Hamon. find out more information