Kisuke Manaka: A unique and rare blacksmith who attained Tansetsu of Stainless steel (Japanese traditional techniques of making knives from forge welding)

black smith

Kisuke manaka knife making

 Since its establishment in 1872, the Manaka Hamono a historical blacksmith has been making Japanese sword. To satisfies  the needs in the present age, The blade using in daily life such as kitchen knives and farming tools have been made since the fourth generation started. Manaka Hamono has been intent on preserving the ancient way from forge welding to water quenching without using any convenience materials. Although it’s said that it’s hardly possible to weld stainless, the fifth Keisuke Manaka,  one of few blacksmith who has skills causing superhuman feat, succeeded it.

*Generally, welding different types of stainless steel is extremely difficult or impossible. Forge welding can be done under machine management system in a high temperature furnace, since its melting temperature is very high. Furthermore, its temperature range in which a blacksmith can operate is limited.

By researching and developing metals, having traditional facilities and a miracle of skills, he successfully achieved to weld different types of stainless steels by hand. He also make custom knives and handles for western chef knives conducting almost every process in blacksmithing by hand, from the ancient Japanese way of smith forging(the process of layering stainless), the production of the blade, sharpening, up to the attachment of the handle.

You can enjoy these high quality products with all his heart and soul which can never feel it through mass production products.

There are two product line-ups: Kanema and Kisuke
Kanema- the product making with high level of techniques have been passed down 

Kisuke- the product making with rare techniques developed by Kisuke Manaka. It has a unique hammered mark and additional sharpness. Kisuke Manaka makes all products by himself after the previous generation passed away.   

I was able to observe part of the Tansetsu forge welding and attached blade making process - please watch below and video.

base soft iron steel

*They are all base above, untouched base in the left, hammered to appropriate thickness, cut in the middle in the right.
To insert blade steel called ”core” into the middle of base soft iron steel, called “base” below.

Yasuki blade steel

*base soft iron steel(“base”) in the left, Yasuki blade steel(“core”) in the right

1.Putting both of steels in a high temperature furnace. Forming and heating them to the welding temperature.
2.Taking out a base and making a tang by cutting base iron steel a little with chisel and then hammering to form a tang.
3.Forming the hole of a base and insert a core with joining material, then forging.
It’s needed to perform immediately by checking its temperature without occuring unevenness of welding point.
It can’t be making a mistake…!
4.After welding, forge and form it roughly.

tansetsu ats24 steel

*Tansetsu Chef knives of ATS34 stainless steel
Its HRC is 64. High sharpness and durableness is attained by an original heat treating method.

Kisuke manaka black smithKisuke Manaka: A unique and rare blacksmith who attained Tansetsu of Stainless steel

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