Old tempering processes became so complex and time consuming that few manufacturers today even attempt their reproduction. Higher quality modern alloy steel and new ways of producing high quality blades only occasionally compete with the old standards. Almost never does anyone manage to blend the two approaches.
Through the Kami Katana by CAS Hanwei we have a look at what’s possible if the two methods combine. The result isn’t inexpensive, but neither were the old masterpiece swords. Beginning with K120C powder steel — one of the finest modern high carbon cutlery steels — Hanwei follows ancient theories of blade construction, layering the body of the blade by folding and hand forging in the Damascus steel pattern. Instead of the one-size-fits-all tempering that most modern knives receive, the Kami Katana is hardened by differential heat treatment. Similar to the old process that left the distinctive hamon of clay-tempered cutting edges, this new system creates different but complementing qualities in critical sections of the blade. A tough and resilient spine combines with a hard and impact resistant cutting edge — all in one seamless piece of steel.
Hanwei treats the rest of this ancient design with the same respect, building the Kami Katana with hardened copper tsuba, ray-skin tsuka, and woven silk tsuka-ito. Overall length of this fine functional weapon is 41 inches, though as with all high quality blades, exact measurements vary slightly from piece to piece. Scabbard and sword make wonderful display items as well — embellishments include hardware of blackened bronze and detailing in copper, silver and gold.
Find this Kami Katana:
Find this sword on eBay:
[phpbay]Kami Katana, 2[/phpbay]