The Katana sword requires both a very hard cutting edge which can be sharpened to cut through bone, and a soft flexible spine to absorb the shock of powerful blows. The samurai depended on his sword with his life, and demanded the highest amount of care and quality to go into the forging and polishing of it. The Katana is the only weapon in history known for being clay tempered. This creates the beautiful temper line on the blade, the curvature of the edge, and the differential hardening of the steel. The steel was also hammered flat and folded on to itself 12-15 times, which evened out the carbon content and removed impurities
Today, modern steel is pure and no longer requires folding. It is now only done for tradition's sake, and the aesthetic of the fine grain pattern (Jihada) it creates. In feudal Japan, a material called Tamahagane was used, which consisted of iron sands and charcoal smelted in a clay furnace. The material was very impure and required to have the impurities hammered out of the steel and folded to create a strong blade. Who knows what kind of swords the old master smiths such as Masamune would have created with the materials widely used now
The Japanese sword is now a national treasure in Japan. The production of swords are governed with strict laws and requirements. They still require all swords to be forged and crafted in the traditional way, with tamahagane. Because of the severe restrictions on production regarding the amount of swords that can be made each month and the long apprenticeship required to become a swordsmith, samurai swords are a rare and valuable commodity in Japan. Most real sharpened swords made in Japan, called Shinken, cost over $10,000 and can go into the hundreds of thousands for swords produced by the most skilled swordsmiths
While the early legacy of swordsmithing in Japan was being written, China had already developed their own methods of forging swords. In the Spring & Autumn period (771 to 476 BC) over 2,600 years ago, the Longquan sword was born. As a small town in China, Longquan's swordmaking history started when a legendary swordsmith named Ou Yezi forged a sword at the foot of Qingxi Mountain, an area with abundant iron ore, cold springs for quenching and stones for grinding blades. Longquan, coined as "The First Sword in China", quickly became a bastion for swordsmiths and the art of swordmaking was perfected. This is a little known fact but the art of differential hardening, or clay tempering, originated in China, and later spread to Japan when Chinese smiths emigrated to be hired as smiths for samurai in need
Longquan swords are widely regarded as the best option today for those who need very high quality, authentic samurai swords but can't afford to spend thousands upon thousands for traditional swords made in Japan. Another benefit to the Longquan sword is that smith's are not restricted in making swords from the ancient tamahagane material, and are free to combine both traditional and modern techniques to create swords that are among the strongest and most durable in the world. Our team at Swords of Northshire works with the most trusted master swordsmiths in Longquan to provide you with the highest quality swords available for affordable prices
Below are our reccomendations for the best battle ready Katana swords
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