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First sword: san mai hira zukuri wakizashi

Francis Gastellu

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I completed my first (and so far only) sword almost exactly a year ago, a hira zukuri wakizashi with wrought iron cladding. The construction is san mai with a 1095 core and a 15n20 contrasting layer. The cladding is twisted wrought iron and O1 tool steel. The blade was not deferentially heat treated, so no hamon; there would not have been much room for it, and I felt it would visually compete with the cladding. Besides, I was in over my head already with this project so I thought I'd stick with my regular HT routine ;) 


The engraved habaki and seppa are brass and the tsuba, fuchi and kashira are wrought iron. The ito is silk, over a full same wrap with minimalist menuki made with leftovers of the cladding billet. All in all, this took about 160h, not counting research and practice. Yes I am slow ;) but I learned a huge amount.


It definitely has its flaws (for instance, the core could have been better centered, and the overall blade geometry has issues), but I feel that wasn't too bad given my first knife, from stock removal, was a year before.














A few weeks back, I started working on its big sister, a katana with a similar construction. I just finished the forging, so at my pace of work, it should be done in what... four or five months? ;) 



Edited by Francis Gastellu
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