The hamons push these knives over the line.
The often wavy hardening line running laterally and roughly midway from one end of the blade to the other on some knives is the hamon (pronounced ha-MOAN). Most if not all blades with genuine hamons are forged and differentially hardened. The wavy line serves as a demarcation point between the softer spine for toughness above and what extends down to a hardened edge for enhanced cutting below.
Steve Sando: Classic Hunter
Steve Sando used a coffee patina to color the hamon of the 4 3/8-inch blade of 26C3 carbon steel on his classic hunter. Steve’s differential hardening of the blade resulted in a Rockwell hardness of 62 HRC on the edge and 40 HRC on the spine. Blade grind: flat. Handle material: Afzelia wood. Overall length: 9 1/8 inches. (SharpByCoop image)
Kyle Hanson: Tapered Full Tang Hunter
Not merely W2 but “Oldass W2” tool steel is the canvas for the hamon on the blade of Kyle Hanson’s tapered-full-tang hunter. Handle material: 5,600-year-old bog oak. Overall length: 8.25 inches. A leather pouch sheath (not shown) by Kenny Rowe accompanies the knife. (SharpByCoop image)
Geoffrey Baze: Chef’s Knife
ABS apprentice smith Geoffrey Baze opts for W2 tool steel to showcase the hamon on the 9.5-inch blade of his chef’s knife. The contoured bird’s beak handle is Tasmanian blackwood. (Jocelyn Frasier image edit)
John Doyle: Dress Classic Gunstock Model
While not unheard of, folders with blades sporting hamons are not all that common. John Doyle does the deed on his Dress Classic Gunstock Model with pocket clip. The 3.25-inch blade is W2 tool steel and the handle frame is African blackwood with koa inserts. Lock: linerlock. Liners: jeweled, anodized titanium. Closed length: 4.125 inches. (SharpByCoop image))
Peter Pruyn: Boning Knife
Like many makers who differentially harden their blades, Peter Pruyn used the clay-coating method for his small boning knife. The 5-inch blade is flat ground from 1095 carbon steel. The blueberry crumble resin-based scales are from Voodoo Resins and the bolster is copper. Overall length: 10.5 inches. Peter’s price for a similar knife: $450. (SharpByCoop image)
Eliott Robinson: Fighter
An apprentice to ABS master smith Sam Lurquin, Eliott Robinson nails it with the hamon on his fighter’s upswept recurve blade of U10A carbon steel. The bird’s-beak handle is Tasmanian blackwood. Respective blade and overall lengths: 5 and 9.5 inches. A quality inlaid sheath (not shown) by Jeremy Guillaume completes the outfit. (SharpByCoop image)
Brion Tomberlin: Coffin-Handle Bowie
The hamon of ABS master smith Brion Tomberlin’s coffin-handle bowie dissects the 8.5-inch W2 tool steel blade almost perfectly. Blade grind: flat. Handle material: ironwood. Overall length: 13.25 inches. Brion’s price for a similar knife: $2,200. (SharpByCoop image)
Check Out More Cool Custom Knives:
- Jim Poor’s Slip Joint
- Andrew Meers’ Pizza Cutter
- Kurt Swearingen’s Buffalo Hunter Set
- Isaiah Schroeder’s Gyuto
Knife Guide Issue features the newest knives and sharpeners, plus knife and axe reviews, knife sheaths, kit knives and a Knife Industry Directory.
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