'Warriors Demise' Minamoto Katana in Damascus 1095 steel with a clay tempered blade (in Brown).
The successful combination of the lamination or folding technique and the differential heat treatment technique, along with the skill and experience to do the job properly, are the true art of making a masterpiece Katana. In this Katana the smith has selected folding the steel as the base technique and clay tempering as the differential heat treatment tempering process.
Folding the steel on the blade serves two purposes. Firstly it removes all the impurities from the blade, and secondly it increases the hardness of the steel. Too much folding and the blade is too brittle, too little and it is soft and unable to hold that famed katana cutting edge. Any smith can fold steel but only at Minamoto do the smiths have the experience and teaching to do it to perfection. The hamon on this sword is real. There is no bohi (groove in the blade for weight reduction).
The purpose of the clay tempering process is to further improve the sharpness of the edge and durability of the overall blade. It involves smearing clay on the blade during heating and quenching to offer a uniform hardness to the blade and remove weak points which can occur when the heating or quenching is less even. It also allows the smith, by placing the clay thicker on certain parts of the blade, to make the edge harder (thus more able to keep the famous razor sharp samurai edge) and the rest of the blade less hard but more able to absorb impact.
The wooden handle is wrapped in genuine Stingray skin (Samekawa) before the traditional cotton handle wrapping (Tsukamaki). The saya (sheath) fittings are wood. The sageo (or ‘ito’) – which is the material wrapped around the saya – is made of cotton. The wooden box, black sleeve, cleaning kit and stand are included.