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1086 Katana by Howard Clark

Polish and mount by Keith Larman

 

This sword was done to be a fairly straightforward project. The 1086 blade is large, strong and very powerful in the hands. The blade has a real "old-school" feel to it. Howard Clark has been known to do blades that really give a Namokucho feel for some practitioners who really like the larger blade styles. This is a good example of his work in this area.

The blade has many areas of what we would call "nijuba", or basically two transition zones running along together.

In many areas the blade is quite intricate. I'm not even sure what to call some of the stuff he sometimes gets in his 1086 steel.

The kissaki was a lot of work given the toughness of the 1086 steel and Howard's heat treatment. It originally had a great deal of meat in the kissaki which made the blade look almost like a "pregnant" shobu zukuri. So a lot of work was done to pull the various surfaces together and install a relatively traditionally correct geometry.

Since the blade was so "robust" we went with larger silver fittings with a basket motif. The tosho style tsuba shows sukashi (cutouts) of various plants and the menuki are of "Kaki" or Japanese persimmon, all engaging a theme of nature. The saya is a fade from a very deep blue into black. Yes, this is the same coloration I used in another project recently. I liked the color and the fade effect so much I used it again. The tsuka is a full wrap rayskin, lacquered black, with silk tsukaito. I built the tsuka but sent it to Robin Ramirez for the final wrapping as I no longer do wraps myself. Robin did a fantastic job as usual.

In the above photo you can see how the blue of the saya fades in and out depending on light angle. It also absolutely fades to black gloss by the kojiri. Here is a good shot done to highlight the blue tones.

And here is a closeup of the intersection of the tsuka, fuchi, tsuba, etc.

I rather liked this project. Understated but still elegant IMHO. I enjoy sometimes doing flashy work, but I also really like swords that are understated and powerful all at the same time. This blade due to it's robust design seemed to cry out for a more graceful and subtle mount.

 

 

 

 

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