The Katana is a sword that has a very particular shape. Its semi-curved blade was engineered to adjust to the wide movements of a warrior when cutting, and its sharp edge is much more effective than straight swords.
To make a Katana, the blacksmith starts with a block of tamahagane, which is a steel mix that varies in composition but mainly contains low-carbon and high-carbon steel. This combination allows the blade to be hard enough for a razor sharp edge, but still tough and flexible for shock absorption.
During forging, the smith heats up the steel to a high temperature and then puts it in a cooling pool of water (although some Katana were quenched in oil during World War II). This rapid heating and quenching process allows the high-carbon part of the blade to cool quickly, creating a very hard and durable edge. The lower part, meanwhile, cools more slowly, softening it and creating a distinctive temper line known as Hamon.
After forging is completed, the smith grinds down and polishes the tempered blade. He also drills a hole for the Mekugi, which is used for securing the Tsuka. Usually one hole is drilled for a sword that will be used for Iaido, while two holes are needed for a Katana meant for Samurai combat.
The next step is to finish the handle, which consists of several parts: Tsuba : The guard that protects the sword from impact. It can be of any design or style, but often it is a curved dragon with horns that represents the deity Nure-Onna who protected Japan from invasions and disasters in the past. It can also be a dragon with a woman’s face representing jealousy or anger, a rain dragon that listens to prayers and provides water for people in need, or even Indian symbols. Manga Katana collection