A samurai sword, or katana, is a curved, single-edged sword used by Japanese warriors since the 16th century. By learning how to forge a samurai sword you can create a formidable weapon that can also be used as an eye-catching piece of furniture for your home. Follow the instructions below to forge your samurai sword.
Step 1. Purchase or obtain a piece of steel about 5 cm wide, 1.27 cm thick and about 0.9 m long
Step 2. Heat the steel in a charcoal furnace
You have to heat the material to a temperature of 870 degrees centigrade to make it malleable enough for forging and to remove impurities. During the heating process, substances such as sulfur and silicon oxidize and separate from the iron, forming slags. Removing this slag makes the steel much stronger.
Step 3. Remove the heated material from the furnace when it turns yellow-orange and place it on an anvil
Step 4. Forge the steel
- Hit the metal with a hammer, turning it while forging. You will likely need to re-heat it during forging to maintain its malleability.
- Bend and chisel the metal on the anvil to shape the sword. Direct the blows of the hammer to shape the sword. At first focus on the basic proportions of the sword.
- Once you are happy with the basic shape, you can forge the tip, then move on to the curvature and edges. Work the two edges of the blade like this: one should be long and sharp; starts from the tip and forms the cutting part, the other shorter and thicker, which forms the dorsal part of the blade.
- Thin the blade in the final part, where it will fit into the handle.
Step 5. Shape the sword
Use a grinding wheel and file to give the sword its final shape.
Step 6. Apply a special clay mixture to the blade
You can use a mixture of clay and other substances, such as grass and feathers, for your sword to achieve the desired result. Sprinkle the back of the blade with the mixture, leaving most of the cutting edge untreated. This will make the dorsal edge more flexible and the cutting edge sharper. Reheat the blade in the forge.
Step 7. Harden the steel
This process cools and hardens the metal at the same time. You can use water or oil for this process.
Dip the sword into water or oil starting with the tip and edge. This method has a double purpose: it serves to make the cutting surface harder and to keep the dorsal part softer, so that it can better absorb the blows inflicted by the opponents. The hardening technique is important as the faster you do it, the harder the sword will become
Step 8. Harden the blade
Reheat the blade to a temperature of about 200 degrees Celsius after hardening it and then let it cool to room temperature. This process helps the blade find a balance between flexibility and hardness.
Step 9. Remove the clay mixture from the blade and grind the line until it is sharp
Step 10. Clean the blade
Use a special stone to sharpen it. Once the cleaning phase is complete, the hardened and non-hardened parts of the blade can be clearly seen. Give the blade a final filing to improve its aesthetics.
Step 11. Drill two holes in the end of the blade to make it easier to attach the hilt
Step 12. Build the hilt
The hilt of the sword, or hilt, must be long enough to allow the grip with both hands and to give an optimal balance to the weapon once hooked to the blade.
- Build the handle using hardwood, such as yellow poplar or alder. Make a quarter-saw at the end to ensure maximum strength.
- Install two dowels with copper or brass pins, and line them up with the end of the blade. They will serve to hold the blade in place.
Step 13. Attach the blade to the hilt
Insert the hilt dowels into the holes in the blade and secure them with their respective pins. Use industrial adhesive and a leather strip to further secure the blade with the handle.
Both water and oil quenching have their advantages. Products hardened with water have greater hardness, while those with oil have greater flexibility
- Make sure your katana is made in the traditional way, as those made with the modern method have a lack of temper, while it is an essential aspect for the quality of the sword.
- Use a high quality metal for the sword, such as steel.