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DaveJ

A Hon-Yaki Nata

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Someone gave me a couple of nice old lawn mower blades...nice because they are from a ride-on and are a little thicker, old because they are stamped,"made in USA"...I figured half of one looked quite a bit like the nata I often use for yard and forest work when visiting family in Japan.

 

Nata come in various sizes and shapes, but most fit the description of a light brush hatchet or heavy camp knife. Common characteristics include thick spines and heavy blades, often with single beveled edges similar to Japanese wood chisels. This type work well for medium duty camp tasks, carving hatchet work, roughing and shaping, green wood work, and bamboo splitting. Similar to boat builders or timber framers slicks, they can make controlled straight slices due to their mass and chisel-like bevel. Another common variation has double sided bevels, cord wrapped integral handles, and curved or hooked blades for working in the rice fields.

 

Most nata are permanently mounted to a hardwood handle because it is faster and easier for production. However, this piece has been assembled in the takedown style using elements of nihonto handle engineering and features swordsmith style hon-yaki edge hardening rather than a thin steel edge laminated to an iron body.

 

2015-hon-yaki-nata-2.jpg

Forged from half of an old lawn mower blade, nothing was wasted as the full volume of steel was reshaped into the nata blade. The ura (back side of the blade, in this case towards a right-handed users left side) has a slightly (~1mm) concave shape forged into it for the purpose of flat sharpening, and the omote (front side, to the right of the user) bevel was forged in roughly and filed clean before hardening.

 

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The ferrule tapers slightly outwards as the tang tapers slightly inwards. This allows for a snug fit of both parts to each other and to the wood.

 

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Getting close to a final fit! Because of the rectangular cross section and flat sides of the tang, all of the carving can be done on one side. The benefit of this method is that the stress will not be on the joint, but fully contained in one of the halves of the wood block.

 

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The handle is sapele wood, finished with fukiurushi, a technique of wiping on thin layers of natural urushi lacquer to fill the grain and bring out a rich, intense colour...similar to some types of tansu furniture made with keyaki (zelkova).

 

 

 

 

more info on making a nata: islandblacksmith.ca/2015/06/making-a-hon-yaki-nata/

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2015-hon-yaki-nata-26.jpg

 

2015-hon-yaki-nata-25.jpg

 

2015-hon-yaki-nata-30.jpg

 

Materials: lawn mower blade steel, steel pipe, copper pipe, Sapele wood, Walnut, natural urushi lacquer, red Bamboo

 

Blade construction is muku/hon-yaki with a kiriha-zukuri profile and hira/kaku mune. The blade is 7.25″ long and 1 7/8″ deep with a 7/64″ spine, overall length is around 12.5″.

 

長さ/刃長 Nagasa: 185mm (blade length)

元幅 Motohaba: 47mm (blade depth)

重ね/元重 Motokasane: 5.5mm (spine thickness)

中心/茎 Nakago: 80mm (tang length)

柄長 Tsuka: 134mm (handle length)

 

____

 

Update: Photo of the reversible Black Walnut and Sapele scabbard...

 

2015-hon-yaki-nata-42.jpg

Edited by DaveJ
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nice, solid, and well-made. I like the esthetic of your work.

kc

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very nice, I like the pegged blade/sword fitting. I would not have thought of that for a knife, thank you.

 

Derrick

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I am always extremely excited when I see you post new work, and you always leave me wanting more! Once again, fantastic work, and excellent video of the sounds. You manage to capture a lot more than the non-makers will appreciate, and I thank you for sharing it :)

 

John

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I have never seen a nata blade before you posted it on Youtube. The bevel on that one is really crisp! Also, how did you sharpen the flat without getting marks on the spine of the blade?

 

 

Wes

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I always love seeing your work, there is just something about it that speaks to me.

Thank you for sharing.

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Dave,

Thanks for the great tutorial on that knife...I like the strong ferrule and the functionality of this construction method. I have ben looking at similar blades here (pic), this book was purchased at a local grocery store specializing in Japanese products.

 

Jan

DSCN1880.jpg

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i love how you made such a simple tool look this nice and clean.

 

i also love the takedown handle, someday i'll have to try that.

 

your work and the way you work breathe a special kind of serenity that i can only strife for

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very much appreciated, all...i added a photo above with the reversible Walnut and Sapele scabbard...

 

@Wes, the bevel took a long while on the stones to get that flat...the ura side is forged hollow so i held the spine off the edge of the stone and did all the polishing along the blade edge.

 

@Jan, that looks like a lovely book, if we were nearer i would stop in and check it out!

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