Japanese blade craftsmanship

Yeah, that’s because Japanese blades are legitimately some of the best blades in the world. They know their stuff.

I’m really into hand tool woodworking, and I just love the Ingenuity that goes into Japanese woodworking blades, whether it be for hand planes or chisels. The way that they approach this whole realm of blacksmithing is truly ingenious.

European/American style blades work, but they are definitely behind on the times.

I digress…

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There is a very fascinating documentary on youtube about Japanese blade forging. Im not sure if they still make cutlery this way, but the amount of steps and techniques applied are really intense. These guys take their swordmaking very seriously.

This is the video im referring to:

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I’ve watched this a couple of times now, it’s super fascinating isn’t it?

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They do in fact use a lot of the same techniques! Although the need for 3 people to forge the blade isn’t common anymore due to power hammers. Plus kitchen cutlery is much smaller lol. But the use of clay, ashes, the folding, and shaping are all pretty much the same. There is a smith named Murray Carter who is the only Caucasian to be considered a master smith by the Japanese government, and he uses all of the same techniques and has a wonderful YouTube channel if you want to learn more lol

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Yeah it kind of blew my mind that the wavy pattern running down the length of the blade was not due to different metals, but it was the contrast between the different types of clay that they used to coat the blade before hardening.

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I’ve practiced iaido (along with aikido and jodo) for 20+ years. I got a 2nd job in 1999 to buy my first quality iaito from Japan, and then basically saved for the next 13 years to buy my shinken. Some things you just can’t fake.

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A proper yanagiba with a nice Hamon has been on my long list of knives to purchase!
@edhaponik you couldn’t be more correct! I’ve seen fake Damascus before, but there is no faking a proper heat treat! Beautiful blade btw! I guess this ties into the op. Quality is quality, no matter where it was made, and there is no faking a quality yoyo. We are definitely fortunate to have the quality we have for such a low cost. I don’t even want to know how much a proper katana costs!!!

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Cool man, thanks for the youtube suggestion! And yea, id like to learn more, blade making is definitely fascinating to me.

Ive always wanted to get at least one quality Japanese steel for my kitchen knife set, ideally a good chef’s knife. I currently have a Henckels 4 star set and keep them nice and sharp, but id love to eventually get a high end blade. Held one in a store (it was like $350, don’t remember the brand), but man was the balance just perfect and it felt so nice that my knives feel like a kid’s toy.

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I just cut myself looking at that photo Ed :joy:

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Good call splitting this off @vegabomb, nice discussion!

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before I got back into yoyoing I wanted to a black smith

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I have two Japanese kitchen knives. An 8" Miyabi and a Chinese Chef knife Shun. I found the Shun at a garage sale for 3 dollars recently. Never had used a Chinese chef before. It’s a lot of fun.

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You ain’t kidding. Going from an iaito to a shinken in practice is appropriately terrifying. When I do a draw sloppy, it shaves paper-thin slices of wood off the inside of the saya. At the end of practice, I tap on it and see how I did lol.

Basically, iaido is a traditional Japanese sword-art involving drawing the sword, performing several cuts, clearing the blade of blood, and returning it to the scabbard. The style I practice has three levels of kata, and then there’s a set of standardized “seitei” kata recognized by Japan’s official kendo organization.

Here’s some of my training weapons:

  • On top is a US-made dotanuki (basically a “beater” made for practice cutting) which is super simple but well made and hardy.
  • 2nd is my first legit iaito from Japan which feels like an extension of my arm. My instructor insisted I get a slightly longer blade than my height would suggest because it’s harder but teaches good habits (like learning on responsive lol?)
  • 3rd is my baby, a nihonto I bought myself a few years ago. It’s the only one forged by a smith in the traditional manner. Love the green silk tsuka ito, and the dragonfly ornaments are a little tribute to my son. It’s sharp enough to cut through the saya, so gotta go careful (which is kinda the point of iaido lol).
  • The little blue tanto is also from Japan and was a gift from my aikido instructor after passing shodan.
  • The wooden bokken & jo are what we use in jodo & aikido.

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I can’t speak for any home cutlery or swords. My knife experience is limited to everyday carry knives, of which the USA makes some of the best in the world. But when it comes to kitchen cutlery, man some of those Japanese chefs blades are AMAZING. Best in the world in that regard. I respect any bladesmith.

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Check out chuboknives.com sorry in advance if this isn’t allowed. They don’t sell yo-yos lol. You can get really good quality knives for relatively inexpensive. They are kind of like the yye of knives!

Agreed on both points! USA cutlery was incredible up until the late 60s before stainless took over.

Same here man! I’ve been refurbishing, modifying, and rehandling blades for about 4 years now!

I don’t see myself getting a katana anytime soon, but I will get close some day with one of these!

Man that’s a steel!! I love a good Chinese cleaver!

It’s one of the best deals I have ever found. It took everything in me to stay composed. It didn’t have a price on it. I asked the guy said 3. That’s exactly what was left in my wallet. He said an old roommate left it behind. Still in its box barely ever used

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