Nowadays, Katanas or Samurai Swords are no longer used for traditional battles and fights; they have become historical items referencing a developed art of working the Steel materials. Steels are Iron reinforced by a variable Carbon tenor to give it certain solidity and the ability to keep a relative shape allowing making items and objects. There are many steel types that are used for making swords which are commonly designated by their material type. Basically they are all Carbon Steel materials.
The basic Carbon Steel material can have different Carbon tenors and therefore have different properties. Sword makers tend to use three types of Carbon Steel: Medium, High and very High Carbon Steel. Each Type has its properties and they influence the way it is treated and forged. Medium Carbon Steel, known by 1045, produces 1045 Carbon Steel Katanas. They inherit the properties of that material which are supposed to imply the forging processes to apply in order to obtain the best featured 1045 Carbon Steel Katanas.
1045 Carbon Steel Making
Traditionally, Carbon Steel is obtained by firing up a particular type of charcoal within a Clay Tub for approximately 72 hours. Iron powder should be added at determined amounts to associate appropriate quantity of Carbon. At the end, the obtained Steel is Stainless; its solidity depends on the amount of Carbon that associates to Iron. The steel obtained is referred to by four digits number which designates Carbon by the two first digits and the percentage of Carbon within the steel. Thus, 1045 Carbon steel refers to Carbon steel material that contains %0.45 Carbon fraction.
It is called Medium Carbon Steel as well because that carbon concentration is the minimal required for the Steel to be used for industrial purposes; there are lower concentrations of carbon but the materials are not suited for industrial use. 1045 Carbon Steel is suited for making Katanas because it is cheaper than the other materials used for this industry. It is softer and easily forged. The proper application of the hardening techniques and the Clay treatment, certainly produce amazing steel that can be forged in real pieces of arts.
1045 Carbon Steel Properties
Besides the cheaper price of the 1045 Carbon steel, it is a material that requires a medium temperature to be forged. Therefore, it has low risk of losing Carbon and to be altered. The material can be easily forged. 1045 Carbon Steel Katana tends to curve while being forged and polishing process is done easily. This material does not resist to bending efforts and tends to lose original shapes when exposed to bending exercise.
Therefore 1045 Carbon steel Katana has to be particularly treated to avoid this situation. In sum, 1045 Carbon steel is hard enough to make swords and it is soft enough to be easily forged into swords. The medium Carbon concentration gives the steel the ability to be hardened and produce pretty good Carbon Steel Swords.
1045 Carbon Steel Katana can be very hard when properly treated. The best practice is to forge the steel however usually it does not apply the Clay tempering at the material is not high carbon concentration. 1045 Carbon Swords are very suitable for shows and occasional dojo cuts. They have the particularity of being relatively light.
Swords made of the 1045 Carbon Steel are said to be the best for kata practices. 1045 is easily associated with layers of others Carbon Steel types to form the Katana blade and form the initial Hamon shape. It appears that 1045 Carbon steel Katanas acquire hardness by appropriate Clay tempering process, which is differentially operated.
It is known that Differential Tempering or differential hardening allows the edge to be hard and solid and keeps the spine softer. The use of 1045 Carbon Steel may imply the choice of the several pieces to mount on the blade to obtain the final 1045 Carbon Steel Katana. These Katanas are affordable and can relatively be acquired by everyone, because of the cheap price of the material, the easiness of the forging processes and the extra cost that may apply when choosing and mounting the different items.
1045 is the material of which are made the famous blades called MAru and Kanbai. Actually they are appreciated for their properties inherited from the 1045 Carbon Steel and the certainly unroughed by the proficiency employed to make them.
Soft Material Consequences
Most of the 1045 Carbon Steel Katanas for sale are hand forged, because of the softness of the material; this property is one advantage because usually handmade items are very unique and each piece is particular. It is common to have a groove next to the spine, because of the necessary hardening processes that the katana goes through, it tends to gain weight and be somehow heavy, and therefore, the Groove allows the reduction of the weight of the blade and gives a more attractive look to the piece.
This procedure has no notable effects on the curve of the blade or on the differential tempering process. It is common also to notice the Hamon types that the 1045 Carbon Steel Katana can have, and it is the result of the commonly applied folding process.
The Hamon will inherit certain shape imposed by the number of layers of steel and the steel types employed. If there is only 1045 Carbon Steel layers, the Hamon should be straight, if there is different type of Carbon Steel associated to the primary material, the Hamon can be distinguished to Choji type or wave type. The Hamon type has its influences on the pieces that you may mount on the blade to obtain the final Katana. The Tang type is not a real constraint because the Katanas is not intended to tough experiences.
It serves in casual shows and simple dojo cuts. This material makes Katanas which are not of good durability; they rapidly lose their sharpness if used for heavy practices. Thus, they need to be handled with care, cleaned and oiled with extreme precautions to avoid the corrosion and oxidation which are susceptible of increasing the vulnerability of the sword’s blade. When it is about decorative purposes, 1045 Carbon Steel Katanas are much appreciated because they can be associated with items and pieces at very affordable prices.