The making of a quality sword is a technical and labor intensive process. The swords making skills involved simply can not be explained by a few paragraphs. Traditionally the Japanese swords were made of Tamahagane which was made by the tatara from iron sand using a lot of charcoal. Unless stated, we choose the best suitable modern steels for our blades today they are just as good as tamahagane. Be aware of swords made of tamahagane out of Japan, it is very expensive to make a tamahagane sword today. You probably can get tamahagane through a tatara, but to make the actual blade out of tamahagana is a very hard and tricky job!
Our forging methods are traditional. The iron steel is heated prior to the forging process in a charcoal fire, the sword smith hammers the iron to remove impurities. This process controls the carbon content in the iron, the hardness of the iron alters while the iron cools down. It maybe done a few times. The flat iron is then put in water to quench. The extra carbon content is isolated from the original iron. The blade steel is then formed. A good controlled process will give the steel good flexibility as well as good hardness.
The different hardness pieces of steel are then fired and forged to form the jacket steel and core steel. Together the core steel and the jacket steel are folded around a dozen of times to form the blade, the carbon and all other chemical content are spread out evenly, depends on how many layers in the steel. you may see all kinds of different wave patterns on your blade surface.
The blade has different lamination of construction. Below are diagrams of the common methods of our swords.
Single type mono steel, hand forged high carbon, high carbon spring steel. differential hardened and clay tempered, water quenched and polished. The hardened edge is supported by softer parts of the blade.
High carbon steel is the hard core and two forge folded steel are laminated on two sides. Hand forged folded, differential hardened and clay tempered, water quenched and polished. The middle layer is exposed and hardened as blade edge, the edge is supported by two folded steel laminated on two sides.
Hand forge folded steel with the soft core steel enfolded in the spine. differential hardened clay tempered, water quenched and polished. The hardened edge is supported by the softer core steel and less hardened folded steel to absorb shocks.
Harden the edge is by using the special clay wrapping the blade then put in water to quench. It requires a lot of skills. The fire temperature can not be too high or too low it needs to be well controlled by the sword smith. The blade is then put into water for quenching. The blade shape is done this process creates beautiful hamon hada and Martensite (grains) on the blade surface.
The smith measures the blade and adjusts tang, checking if there are any forging flows. The excess parts and material will be removed. If everything is satisfied then the smith signs the engraving on the tang and the blade is ready to be polished.
Next is polishing of the blade. Polishing is important as the forging of the blade. It is actually the most time consuming process. Believe me a good polishing reveals the true actives of the forged steel. To re-polish your old blade in Japan is very expensive today. We have been working a lot for polishing our own blades.The blade is then assembled together with an appropriate, habaki, seppas, tsuba, and mekugi with some fine adjustments.
Please note this page only gives you the basic how a sword was made in our forge. To finish a sword it requires a lot more steps than this page explains. st-sword brings you swords on individual basis. Each sword is individually forged and mounted, each sword has its own characteristics, please see the swords for sale.