My recent working visit to Bangkok and Aranyik allowed me to purchase a 25 inches Dharb blank for an unbelievable price, as can be seen in the link.
It is known that the work is good, though I can see some waves on the blank plus a not so flat hira-zukuri surface, which, in the picture below shows a kind of a wide bevel near the tip, which is, however, almost unnoticeable.

The bevel that I am referring to is shown here in a more increased definition because of the lighting. It seems like a shobu-zukuri near the tip but it isn't. This blade is incredibly light and when mounted with a traditional 14 inches handle, it will become much more balanced.
However I am interested in removing the belly from the tip of the blade because it will require a wider opening in the sccabard. I will belt grind the excess.

Here is a quick picture of the line I drew on the point to ensure a sleeker point.
I found an article originally written on BLADE Magazine by Francis Boyd who went to Thailand. Here is the description of the construction method. I do not know if this is what is applied to this specific blade but it is a hint of how they heat treat. I doubt it is a san mai for the price and for the appearence, although at present, nothing is visible. The main description is here:

Most Thai cutlery work is done as a co-operative effort. For lack of a better term, I will refer to these co-ops as guilds. One of the largest guilds in Thailand is S. Arunyig (S stands for sword), and the head of the guild is Boonsam Srisuk. When I met him, we immediately entered into a lengthy discussion of sword manufacture and history.

In 1822, King Rama 11 brought a large group of craftsmen back from Vientiene (the capital of nearby Laos), including goldsmiths, silversmiths and swordmakers. Boonsam's family had served as swordmakers for five generations. The present king is highly interested in agriculture to the point that he has experimental rice paddies within his palace grounds. Today, instead of making swords for the king as his family did in the past, Boonsam makes rice sickles and is as proud of his work as his ancestors were of their swords.

Boonsam uses a Chinese-derived laminating process for making his swords. He told me that he uses nine folds for the body of the sword. He then splits the billet lengthwise with a hot set and inlays the edge steel 80 percent of the way through the bar forming a lengthwise welded three-piece or, as the Japanese say, san-mai construction (as opposed to Cold Steel's San Mai III). I found Boonsam's technique extremely interesting as I recently polished a 1,000-year-old Japanese sword made by a national-treasure-ranked swordmaker named Masatsune that belongs to my friend, Kaname "Fred" Nakamura. The Masatsune sword was laminated in a nearly identical process to the one described by Boonsam.

Next, we entered into a discussion on heat treatment. With a tanto of my own making, I explained the ceramic shell (clay) process for heat treating a Japanese blade. Boonsam did not just tell me how he did it, he took me out to his forge and showed me. With a sword held edge down in the fire, he quickly moved it back and forth in a very hot flame until just the edge was hot. Then, flipping it over, he dropped it back first into the water tank. Dropping it back first, he said, reduced the curving effect that heat treating had on the blade. After heat treatment, he laid a half-inch steel rod on the anvil and whacked it with the sword, nearly cutting the rod in half. With great pride he showed me the edge of the sword, which was undamaged. This-what I call a "natural" temper line process-is exactly how the aforementioned Masatsune blade is heat treated. It produces a slightly undulating straight-line temper the Japanese call suguha. The complete process of blademaking is essentially the same one the Japanese used a thousand years ago. The process finds its origins in Han Dynasty China over 2,000 years ago, and it still makes a pretty good sword today.

I have highlighted the burl central area to be used here, but I noticed that it only is 22 inches long, which means a new sccabard design with combined wood will be needed, since the blade is 25 inches.

My idea considering the blade qualities is to heath treat it and then make another variation of my first dharb design.
The sccabard was designed considering the existance of a habaki, although it may not be eventually necessary since the insertion of the blade is long.

Here are some explanations:
As said above, the burl wood is only 22 inches long and the blade is 25 inches. To compensate for that, I created a joint type (the longer the better) where an extra 5 inches of black dyed wood decorated with 5 grooves could be inserted and strongly bonded together allowing for the appearence of the koiguchi. This piece is entirely cylindrical and should match the brass guard diameter or be a bit larger perhaps.
On the other end, a 3 inches blackwood in the shape of a fish tail should give the sword its final look, using the same or other system of bonding the wood. The color would be exactly as shown, brownish red all lacquered with a strong hard semi-gloss finish.
The top view shows the transformation of the cylinder into an oval shape and thee subtle or less subtle removal of wood towards the Kojiri. I think the contrast of black and this rich redish brown color will give it a fantastic look.


Here are the designs of the brass fittings which are being made locally.

Heat threated blade with front brass fitting and with rough polish. This picture was taken by Nathan Creel who will be mounting the blade in a month's time. I will polish and etch it to check for the hamon.

The dha is now with a complete handle mounting. The scabbard is almost finished and the difference of woods is clearly visible. Having seen the illustrations above one can anticipate the outcome judging by the beautiful handle color.

In my design I did not consider the curve that the scabbard would make because of the blade's shape. Nonetheless the outcome pleases me one hundred percent and I am looking forward to see the grooves on the end near the handle. Nathan Creel has done a superb job.

On August 10, 2005, Nathan sent me these pictures of the finished mountings. Superb work by Nathan. The blade is removable by two pegs.

Look at the beautiful wood after its vivification. The grooves lend a very subtle touch. Now is time to wait for the blade so it can be polished.
On August 18, 2005 I received the package with the dha,

On August 19 I took these pictures while preparing to polish the dha. An early etch showed a nice boshi.

A detail of the scabbard assemblage of two woods.

Another angle of the grooved upward part of the scabbard

A view of the scabbard at a perspective angle.

These two pictures of me with the sword show the size and proportion of the sword in the scabbard.
Meantime the blade is being polished by me.


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