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Need help with both hamon and scabbard for wakizashi


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This is the blade I was meant to make for my kids mum for mothers day (separated but still really good friends). First blade had a crack when i was sanding it so i scrapped that piece and grabbed a new bit of leaf. somehow it has ended up as a 52cm blade with a very slight curve  that very closely resembles a wakizashi. Maybe just maybe I used to much metal lol


So that is what I have decided to make it. Now I have 0 experience with this type of blade. Iv never done anything on this size and never done a scabbard out of wood. Also never done a hamon.


So my questions are as follows.

What clay is best for a nice clear hamon?

And can anyone give me a step by step on how to do a scabbard that matches up to the handle out of wood? Pictures if possible.

And any  problems I might run into when finishing this blade??



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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, so I'm definitely not an expert. From what I've read, if you're using leaf spring, a hamon is going to be impossible. I've heard satanite or equivalent more than once, thin wash sticks better.

Flats with a spacer the thickness of the blade is the easiest way I could think of for a scabbard. Basically a laminate where the center layer has a blade shaped hole in it.

Murphy's law applies to your last question.

Good luck

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It's quite difficult to explain scabbard and handle carving from one piece of wood, here is something quick that might help. I use a bandsaw and curved chisels, do not ever use sandpaper inside of a wood scabbard, it doesn't have to look pretty it just has to fit in a few key places. Read up on traditional saya making, use the right tools, and take your time.


Cut Open the wood like a book, trace in the blade onto just one side with a pincil and then a knife, carve the wood to accept the entire length of the blade, the handle and scabbard are still one length of wood. The blade edge should not rest on the seam of the wood because it can split the scabbard or handle, the blade will be at a slight offset to the wood seam, you can leave the back of the blade in the center of the seam. carve slowly, I like to use maple because I can carve barely undersized and squish the tang in for a nice fit, any wood that isn't super hard will work, maple is a very well behaved wood and I would recommend using it. The trickiest part is getting the blade traced onto the other side of the wood, the best advice I can give you is measure where the tip of the blade and tang rest in the carved wood and use that to accurately place the blade on the other wood and trace it. The more accurate you are the better the grain of the wood will match. 


I dont have any pictures however I might have posted some before in a previous wip thread for some of my miniatures, not too sure about that though. Check out the topics I've started if you have time to kill, but I think you might have better luck on YouTube.



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Looks like all of my pictures are broken, gotta love Facebook.....  


I would like to do a wip on this but I just can't go through all the bs it takes to upload pictures that just disappear. I have to use multiple devices and websites and etc.....

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Depending on what type of steel you're using you may not be able to make a hamon.
Steels that are good for this process are.
Hearth material or bloomery.
!050, 1075 low M, 1095, W1 and W2
You can use smooth furnace cement for the clay layout.
The "Clay" can be thinned with a little tiny bit of water.
Should be like creamy peanut butter.
Watch videos of Japanes clay layout and try and repeat that kind of layout.
You need a proper quench oil also.
You will have a hard time making hamon without Parks 50 or 11 second oil.
It can be done with veg oil or mineral oil with some steels but not with others.

The way to layout the sheath which is called a saya and the handle which is called the Tsuka is to use two pieces that you layout the shaper of the whole blade on for both sides and then make a straight cut where the shoulders of the blade are.
Chisel out what is traced.
Generally only the top and bottom of the saya touch the blade at its spine and edge.
When you have hamon you don't want anything touching its sides.
When you glue up make sure the two sides are flush at the ends and fit and refit the blade while you are guing up.
You can mark lines on the outside of the two halves of wood so you have lines to line up when you go to glue together.
Do a test fit with the handle and the sheath so that you can see that both of them meet face to face and then make marks so you have guides and glue everything together.

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