The cord used to tie a Japanese sword to the wearer's belt or obi. Sageo can be made of silk, cotton, or leather and often complements the sword's overall design.
The ray or sharkskin wrap often found on the handle of Japanese swords. Samegawa provides texture, ensuring a firm grip and adding to the sword's aesthetic appeal.
A sword made using the San Mai technique, where a harder core is sandwiched between two softer layers of steel. This provides a sharp edge and a flexible spine.
The scabbard or sheath of a Japanese sword. Made primarily of wood, the Saya protects the blade and often features intricate designs or lacquerwork.
A sheath designed to house a sword's blade. The scabbard, often made of wood or leather, protects the blade from damage and the user from unintended injuries.
A pommel type resembling the shape of a perfume bottle's stopper. Common in medieval European swords, it provides balance and can be used as a striking surface.
Metal washers/spacers used on Japanese swords, placed between the guard (tsuba) and the handle (tsuka) or the blade collar (habaki). They ensure a snug fit of components.
A final polishing stage for Japanese swords, ensuring the blade's surface is smooth and reflective. It also helps define and highlight the blade's features.
The softer core steel found in traditional Japanese swords. Shingane provides flexibility and resilience, preventing the blade from breaking upon impact.
The ridge line on Japanese swords, particularly the katana. The Shinogi runs along the blade's length, defining its profile and adding structural strength.
A Japanese blade housed in a plain wooden mounting. Often used for storage or transportation, the Shirasaya lacks the usual ornate fittings of a fully mounted sword.
An initial polishing stage for Japanese swords. Shitaji Togi removes forge scale and defines the blade's basic shape before finer polishing stages.
Metal fittings that reinforce the holes in a Japanese sword's guard (tsuba). They add a decorative touch and prevent the cord (sageo) from wearing out.
Additional protective rings or shells attached to a sword's crossguard. These provide extra hand protection against sliding or thrusting attacks.
A high-quality tool steel known for its edge retention and toughness. Used in modern sword-making, Sleipner steel is a popular choice for functional blades.
The curvature of a Japanese sword blade. Sori enhances the sword's cutting ability and balance, with different styles and depths of curve having specific purposes.
A variety of steel known for its high yield strength. Spring steel swords can bend without deforming and return to their original shape, making them resilient in combat.
Steel alloy with added chromium, resistant to rust. While stainless steel is often used for decorative swords, it's generally not suitable for functional blades due to brittleness.
The optimal point on a sword blade for striking. Hitting with the sweet spot ensures maximum force transfer and reduces the risk of the blade breaking.
The sharpened side of the blade. Maintaining the edge's sharpness is crucial for the sword's performance in cutting and combat scenarios.
The part of the hilt where the sword is held. It's typically wrapped in leather, cord, or other materials to ensure a firm grip and prevent the hand from slipping during use.
A protective component, often located between the blade and hilt, that shields the hand from opposing strikes and prevents the hand from sliding onto the blade.
The process of heat-treating a sword to achieve desired hardness and flexibility. Proper tempering ensures the blade's durability and performance.