From Handmade Sword’s mid-level series, the #132 Japanese Tanto meets practical standards and in most ways follows the classical pattern of this old samurai backup blade.
This model of Handmade’s hand-forged full tang tantos features a double-edged blade of 1060 carbon steel with better edge-holding ability and a sleeker appearance than the 1045 series. The hamon or tempering mark is polished on and only represents the true clay-tempering process of Handmade’s more expensive tantos and swords.
Construction is of natural materials, including an ornate iron tsuba and hardwood handle wrapped with genuine rayskin and covered with a woven ito of dark red cotton. The hardwood scabbard or saya gleams with a black piano-grade lacquer, and an etched dragon symbol decorates the polished 9-inch-long blade. An overall length of 16.6 inches in the scabbard and a weight of nearly one pound mark this knife as a fighting blade. Manufacturing processes are modern and simplified compared to some old techniques — the blade is not layered steel, forged instead from one blank of high carbon alloy.
Other small variations from the old patterns include a shaped but not truly sharp back edge — the usual style of double-edged daggers today but definitely not the old battlefield design. The #132 Japanese Tanto isn’t a detailed recreation of a museum piece — instead, it’s a modern knife built to resemble the old style. New processes and minor changes bring this tanto into an affordable price range without limiting its practicality for martial artists. Many collectors will find it interesting as well.