How the Katana Was Made


How was a katana sword made? This question is more of an inquiry into the physical build of the Katana but there was much more to it than that. Before the blade forging would Experience the elegance of katana

  begin, the sword maker underwent fasting and ritual cleansing. They would then do their work in robes of white, much like priests. These sword makers were held in very high regard.

As early as the 13th Century, Japanese swords were known to be far more superior than any made anywhere else in the world. Not until the development of contemporary scientific metallurgy in the 19th century, could steel be made that would face up to the superiority of that made by these Japanese 600 years earlier.

To fabricate their unmatched katanas, Japanese artisans had to conquer a problem that had baffled many others throughout the world. They could make swords that were very strong, but this would also result in them being very brittle and would snap easily. The Japanese defeated this problem by folding the steel over and over repeatedly hundreds of times to make it extremely hard yet durable. When it was honed to a sharp edge the metal resisted dulling and the soft steel kept the sword from breaking.

To produce their best blades the Japanese used a much more involved process. For the interior of the katana, they used a comparatively soft, laminated metal that would resist breaking. The blade’s exterior and edge were made of different kinds of hard steel welded together in a compacted form that was folded and hammered out as many as 20 times or more, giving it more than a million laminations! This outer coat of steel could be made even harder by first heating the sword and then quenching it quickly by submerging it in water. In the final step, the sword maker would cover the rough blade with a thick layer of adhesive material, mostly clay, leaving only the edge uncovered, and heat the blade until the glowing metal reached an extreme bright glow. The sword maker would then thrust the heated blade into water. This would cause the exposed edge to cool instantaneously while the rest of the blade, protected by the clay, cooled slowly and remained relatively soft.

Leave a Comment