What is Traditional Japanese Bladesmithing?

November 30, 2017

When Murray refers to traditional Japanese bladesmithing, he is specifically talking about the centuries old process of heating simple, high carbon steels in a solid fuel forge and laminating that to softer iron at the lowest possible temperatures in a process known as forge welding, and then hammering the steel with the intention of purifying and refining it. That is followed by a unique annealing process wherein the heated blade is inserted into rice straw ashes to cool slowly. To increase the overall performance, the blade is hammered cold before quenching, a process known as cold forging. The blade is then coated in a unique clay slurry, heated again in a solid fuel forge, and then quenched in lukewarm water. Blades that survive the extreme quenching process are then arduously ground on slow rotating water stones to optimum edge geometry and then hand honed to a true razor’s edge.

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