Riveted Sword of the Monkey

Introduction: Riveted Sword of the Monkey

I present to you the "riveted katana of the monkey"!

I  will walk you through the untraditional way of makeing a 100% real katana

The Quality depends upon you!

making swords in some countries is illegal without an arms license, and you can get fined and possibly charged for wielding a weapon if someone sees you in public with this

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  Two vice grips, you can probably get by with one pair and a friend.
  Pliers with cutting edge

  Carpenters hammer
  One handed sledge hammer

  Power drill with a drill bit(s) as wide as the nails and dowel rod you have.

  Vice with anvil on the back
  Anvil if you don't have a vice with one.
  Large sledge hammer if you don't have the two above.

 Power grinder or belt grinder

 Sharpening stone

You can get great steel deals at www.admiralsteel.com

20 gauge sheet metal for Tsuba(Guard) ,habaki (blade collar) ,and for the pommel witch I have not figured out how to make.

1/4 inch by 1 inch wood for handle

Steel pictured in thumbnail 5.

Flat and wide shoe laces black are best but you can use any color.

Step 2: Plan.

Draw out some sketches of the size shape and design of your blade.

Step 3: Building Your Forge

you'll need a wide variety of bricks and the best sword forge I've seen that is easily assembled is made by [tom] this is his forge

You may want to put bricks or concrete slab over the top that you can take off to feed the fire to keep most of the heat in.

I just re built my forge yesterday and built it a bit taller with a top on it and a small chimney like hole in the top.
pic 2 is a forge I just made i havent tested it yet but it think it'll work really well.the air comes up through the bottom thus not blowing the coals everywhere. it's smaller for concentrating on only 3-6 inches of the sword at a time.  it's basicly a box of bricks a piece of metalth holes in it and a little hood on top. (powered by a fan or a hair blow drier)

Step 4: Decideing What Size Your Blade Will Be.

First off we gotta  decide what size our blade will be.

My blade is 27  inches long discluding the metal that's in the handle.

Your handle should at least be 10 inches long 12-14 is great , note you'll need one extra inch for the tsuba and habaki to go.

So you know your blade will have to be as long as the handle, chose your handles length then wright it down. then decide how long your blade should be. Wright that down add them up and vwala! That's how long you have to cut your metal strips.

You will probably end up cutting off a bit off the tip unless your a good blacksmith ,so factor that in.

Cut the metal cut the length of metal you want 4 times over maybe 5 times if you want a thick sword. and 5 would help because then it would have  center cutting edge. if you hammer it enough it gets a lot thinner too so keep that in mind.

Step 5: Riveting

If you decided to go with one solid  piece of metal skip this step

1.Drill holes in the blade trough the 4 pieces of metal don't zigzag like I did just go strait.

2. insert a nail

3.cut nail

5.slowly pound it down hit the nail very lightly.

Step 6: Forgeing!

Now comes the part where you literally turn into a blacksmith.

From my first day of hammering with my sledge hammer my wrist was sore for a weak so this is pretty tough work.

Now that we're all riveted and have our forge going full throttle stick the tip in the hottest part of the fire.

wait for it to turn bright red/golden....

Don't hammer too hard or you'll cause blemishes that are very hard ,near impossible, to work out Just take your time consecutive softer hits are more effective.

Then take it out and hammer the middle of the blade don't hammer the edges or it will cause it to curve. make sure you flip it over and hammer it equily on both sides.

It may/will start to corkscrew this happens a lot it's from making one side longer than the other from hammering  thus causing it to be pushed into a circular shape. try to stay on top of the problem and you'll be good.

Don't worry about hammering the shape into the metal just yet at first we want to just fuse the metal all together.

Now move on to the next 6 inches down the blade and repeat the proses.

1.hammer (middle)
3.hammer (middle)
5.hammer (middle) until flat You may need to flip several times.
7. move to the next 6 inches.

Repeat when you get to the very bottom of the handle.

Picture 3 is the shape your going for.
you can ether cut the handle to be shaped like that ,or if you have mad skillz you can do it just with your hammer and heat.

Step 7: Curving the Blade.

To give the sword it's traditional curved appearance, you first must heat up the art of the blade you'll be working on until it turns light red.

Then use the same proses as before but on the edge instead of the center.

1.hammer (edge) lightly we only want a slight curve and we want it t take 2 passes.
3.hammer edge
4. straiten the blade if it cork screwing at all.
5. move to next section

if it is not curved enough start over and do it again.

Step 8: Annealing.

Now it is time to anneal the sword.

This will involve first heating the entire thing up to a uniform heat about 660*C or 1400*F degrees I think is what you want ,usually called critical temperature.

Then we will be sticking the blade into an insulated box maybe build a brick  box that it can fit in with a few blankets over it.

I've heard boiling it in 600*F oil is best.

Second best would be wrapping it in gauze and then wrapping it in an old blanket then a in a box.

The goal is to keep the blade hot for 18-20 hours to let the metal soften for ease of sharpening , polishing ,and to relieve stresses in the blade.

Step 9: Grinding and Cutting.

If you have a grinder  pic one or a belt grinder you're in luck.

If not, well it was nice knowing ya lol the second best way is to get a grinding wheel for a drill and then use that.

You'll also need some kind of saw... hack saw works great.

First off we need to cut the tip into the katana.
2. while you have your saw out cut off some excess form the handle.

3.You want want to try to grind just one angle into the blade all way to the tip don't worry about it being sharp just try to get this shape throughout the entire blade.

4. use this picture to help with grinding the tip don't grind away from the tip or it will cause it to become rounded only grind on a 35* angle downward. See the line that points to the word Boshi  that is the angle you want to grind the very tip on. Away from the top not the handle.

You may see the HI  witch is the grove that is usually ground down the katana they do this for 3 reasons 1. it's looks 2. it makes it weigh less ,and 3. it improves cutting somehow.

5. polish the blade using various grits of sand paper start with 400  down to 100 grit paper change the angle of your stroke with each change of sand paper.

400 / diagonal 300 | up and down 200 \ diagonal 100 grit -- left and right or up and down the blade. Maybe go back with even lower grit paper and sand left and right if you're not satisfied.

Step 10: Heat Treating

It is now time to heat treat the blade! Heat treating is the proses of heating the entire blade to where it looses its ability to hold a magnet on it ,then dunking it in water to cause all the atoms bonds to become stronger.

1. Prepare the forge get some charcoal and light it in the forge with the fan on low or off wait till they get very hot then add more turn the fan on high

2. stick the entire Blade in the coals then add wood on top of the forge don't let it get less than an inch or 2 away from the blade it needs space for air circulation to get hot enough.

3. When the blade becomes orange allover dunk it in water very quickly.

4. Pray that the blade doesn't crack... It shouldn't with this metal but there's that chance.

Step 11: Sharpening and Pollishing

it's now time to polish the blade start out with rough sandpaper ,or a wire wheel on a drill.
That  should get all the brown stuff off.

Then go back with less course sand paper and so on stop sanding it when it gets shiny.

Sharpening it depending on how much you have to sharpen it you may need to use the grinder or you can use a hand sharpener. Use the coarse side first if it has a coarse side then switch to the smoother side.

Step 12: Carve the Hilt

The hilt for me was a lot of fun because i got some wood that I could carve very easily.

1. carve out the inside of the wood enough for the blade to fit in very snugly with with both layers of wood on top of each other. Outline the hilt on the blade to the handle to carve out only where you need to.

I used this knife to put a 35* angle on each edge of the wood ,then filed it smooth with  a course and smooth file.

lacquer the wood with 4-5 coats , if you want a very nice shine.

Don't put your handle on yet this is not the step for it.

After you carve it all out and you're sure you can get the blade in without the handle parts coming apart epoxy the handle together //WITHOUT\\ the blade in it.

Step 13: Habaki or (Blade Collar)

The habaki can be built from a strip of sheet metal bet at 4 points.

1. a great diagram of what the habaki does looks like and how it functions.

2. my habaki

3.google image result.

4. My new  katana modeling the habaki an showing that it holds the entire thing together.

Step 14: Tsuba (guard)

1.Get an electric panel from home depot.

2. Plot out a center point , by messureing both sides. then drawin lines throught hte mid points on each edge.

3. cut it out and clean up.

4.drill a hole in the center. makes sure the hole is skinnier than your habaki

5.cut  a rectangle out with your a jig saw. then go shape the rest with a metal file until you can fit it on to your blades handle section.

6. add design to it however you like.

7. mine 6 holes in a  hexagon arrangement and some side edging

Step 15: Put Yor Brand New Katana Together!

Guess I'll complete this when I make a new habake and tsuba.

but it should be pretty self explanatory. if you manage to get here before I finish then wow.


follow the lil gif i made of the katana magically assembling itself

Step 16: More Parts of a Katana That Were Not Included

pommel a counter weight that helps balance the blade usually 4- 10 ounces.

1.A seal that goes on the top of the handle ,to give it a nice appearance ,that is usually engraved.

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    9 years ago on Step 7

    if you want to curve this a little easier, you can do with some controled cooling, heat a few 'wedge' areas and then apply a wet rag. (use gloves) This will make the cooled edge pull, creating a curve. You do not have to get it extremely hot. As you are anealing this, it will remove the stresses across the back edge using this system.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

    i kinda no-longer take credit for this intructable cause i was a royal idiot with a forge back then.

    I must say I find it deeply refreshing in this age of techtronics to see so many folk taking up fire and steel. Never, ever stop. Don't rely too terribly much on 'proper ways' - you learn more making 'mistakes' and even though the subject is deeply discussed and researched there is nothing that says you may not find a better way. It happens all the time in every field, so follow any hunches you may have. I gave up three hobbies I had twenty years ago when it started to seem as if I knew the results before I finished the plans - too much study, too much adherence to 'the ways' - no horizons left. I've taken up all three again, following only the most necessary rules, and it is very rewarding, even when a project skews, even when the voice in my head mutters "that's not the way you do it...". I only started doing so because of 'Instructables' and my wife (who shuns convention and succeeds).

    Inspiration is a precious gift, and (many of) you have given it freely. You're doing good works and sharing the results - sincerely, I thank you. You keep the world young and interesting. Peace & Good Fortune, all.


    Reply 6 years ago

    While that is true, research is also important, much of the process that is involved can be learned quite more easily its not always worth ruining a peice. Traditional Japanese blacksmithing methods are very helpful and I have learned a lot from that. Research can help more than trial and error in most cases.


    7 years ago on Step 16

    this is really good but have you been doing your full research most katanas are bent using a method of rapid cooldown to one side then it bends to the shape usually this is achieved through a clay of some sort being put on the back before it is fired for the second time

    john tierney
    john tierney

    9 years ago on Introduction

    you really do have a good way with steel there man, the only thing i'd say is the wine handled one, you could polish the blade and make it even nicer than it already is, just a thought


    i love it, this is a great instructablem, got to be the first time (although i have known about it) i have read anyone talk about the anealing process in a diy. i don't know exactly how it's done but if you wanted to make the arc the traditional way i know it involved splitting open the back of the blade and putting in a softer piece of metal. then rapidly cooling it. this causes the soft metal to pull the rest of the steel into that arc. although i am not sure, i think that this is done after the first shapening (which is it's own process), that way when the arc is made the steel on the front of the blade is drawn into an even finer edge.
    if you try it you gotta msg me so i can check how you did it :D


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    The softer piece of metal they addin the middle of the blade isnt there to make the blade bend back that's to improve toughness on the inside and hardness on the outside.

    The curve comes from a special trick during heat treatment insulating the backbone of the blade with a clay charcoal powder mix. and keeping the blade more lightly insulated. Heating the blade up to critical temperature evenly and submerging it evenly and quickly in water.

    I get my curve simply during the process of putting the edge into the blade I only lightly straiten the blade so eventually it's going to curve.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    well that information came from a sword buff friend of mine, either way this is a great instructable.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I thought there was info in the comments about how to add the pommel, but I guess not. Any info on how the pommel is made and attached the handle? I know the handle is held on with pins.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    well a legit katana the pommel is simply a cap on the end it's kinda just half a sphere of metal that's hollow, and it has a slot through the center do put the laces through. it's actually the laces that secure it on.

    The way I made mine is, I took a large chunk of cast iron and cut out what i wanted and then fine tuned the shape.

    if you don't need too much extra weight use the first method if possible.

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL44E66FD76428D65D That link will help big time with the handle and fittings.


    10 years ago on Step 14

    yeah that is a well make casting, looks like a katana guard should, a thick cast iron guard that will protect your hands.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 14

    Haven't gotten around to making a legit one yet, and actually they're usually a copper/tin alloy,


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 14

    where did you get the idea that the hand guards were a copper/tin allow? i could understand if some was used to coat the outside for aesthetics, but not for use with the whole thing, that would be amazingly soft in comparison to the blade and a liability to anyone who chose to wield said blade.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 14

    Some one told me to melt down like 2$ of pennies and some tin cans and pour that in a mold , I know pennies are mostly zink now but. yeah.


    11 years ago on Step 13

    Could you explain the point of the habaki? i don't see why it's needed. Awesome sword tho, you should try to make one with a hamon.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 13

    Sorry for the late reply, but it does quite a few things.

    For one it makes things look nicer, it helps keep the hardware snug, it secures the blade into the sheath, and also helps match up the blade with the handle.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 13

    OK, thanks. would it matter much if a sword didn't have one?


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 13

    you can make one easily out of a copper pipe and a bit of hammering.