Katana, the sword of samurai warriors in feudal Japan, is a weapon of unsurpassed beauty and grace. In the hands of a skilled swordsman, its elegant curves make smooth, powerful cuts that cut through the enemy like butter. The samurai, who believed the swiftness of the katana was a symbol of God’s speed and power, used it as a weapon of honor. Today, the katana remains the symbol of Japanese culture and an icon of traditional sword smithing.
The process of forging a katana can take several months. First, the smith hammers out all of the slag from a mixture of various kinds of tamahagane steel. He then heats the tamahagane and forges it with a hammer, shaping it into the form of a long, U-shaped channel that is fitted to another piece of tamahagane. The smith then hammers the two pieces together, merging them into one piece that is perfectly balanced, with the hard low-carbon steel that forms the deadly blade, and the tough high-carbon steel that forms the sword’s core and spine.
The smith then takes the blade out of the fire and plunges it into a trough of water in a rapid cooling process called quenching. The quick cooling of the blade side causes it to become extremely hard, while the slower cool-down of the mune side allows it to flex and bend, giving the sword its distinctive curve. The wavy line, known as hamon, that results from the differential heat treatment is a mark of quality in a sword. buy the katana here