Japanese garden machete (nata) : an example of the benefits of the chisel grind
I understand the higher price. 片刃は、裏面が「少し窪ま」= for single edge (chisel grid) the backside is [a little hollow] . We would say the backside is not flat. It is hollow grind or hollow ground. Adding that feature would require extra time during the manufacturing sharpening process.
鉈の研ぎ方’(Sharpen the hatchet)
[from the video description - 片刃の鉈の研ぎ方です。 It is the way to sharpen a hatchet with single edge.]
Two Lazarus Hatchets - brought back from the dead:
鉈を研ぐ Sharpening a Japanese hatchet “Nata”.
サビ 鉈 研ぎ 磨き 鏡面 仕上げ
Rusty hatchet sharpened and polished to a mirror finish
I have been looking at nata models. This one or similar, I think might be most pleasing to me.
(予約販売)登山鉈 腰鉈150青2 45 両刃/ 柄角度 大：北海道型(450g)[農山林：登山鉈]
(Reservation sale) Mountain climbing 150 blue 2 45 double-edged / Large handle angle
: Hokkaido type (450g) [Agriculture mountain forest: mountain climbing hatchet]
I have the impression Toyokuni makes or sells good quality tools. But maybe that is mistaken idea. I like the straighter design, double edge, 45mm blade width, and light weight. But maybe a little longer (180mm or 195mm) would be better, or maybe the 150mm blade and 310mm total length would be just right.
I have not yet figured out what is meant by Hokkaido type [北海道型].
What features make it an Hokkaido type? The straighter design (large angle from cutting edge to handle, or some other feature? It is a bit difficult for me to understand a lot of the text on their website. A lot of the text are images, not entered text - it does not get translated. And I would have to figure out how to order it.
Parent webpage for Toyokuni Mountain Climbing / Blue steel hatchets
11 videos from KSF - How-to sharpen convex edge on cutting tools -
Sharpening Convex Edges (1) - Introduction to Knife Grinds
The other 10 videos in the series are here:
White compound and my stropping system
btw - I own a sharpening kit, as shown in the featured frame in the above video, except my otter box is blue. It has proven to handy for sharpening knives, or even a small hatchet I own.
Knives Ship Free, and I’m sure other retailers, in addition to the black, green, and white stick stropping compound also sell CBN (cubic boron nitrate) emulsion. CBN is only second in hardness to diamond. CBN is recommend to sharpen any of the super steels. Steels that are very hard. I have knives with super steel blades, such as ZDP 189, and I can sharpen them without needing CBN emulsion, but maybe I could sharpen them a little quicker if I used it. I’ve not tried it yet. It’s a pricey product.
CBN emulsion comes in various micron sizes. 16micron = 1000 grit, 8 micron = 2000 grit, 4 micro = 4000 grit, and so on, with 0.5 micron = 35,00 grit. I can’t see ever wanting anything above 8 micron.
Anyway, some information about what CBN is:
Dr Wako / Virtuovice - uses a microscope to show how the edge looks after being honed with all 3 colors of Bark River honing compound.
Bark River White Compound & DLT Leather Strop
Axe Edge Geometry & Performance Considerations
Interesting explanation comparing different edge sharpening characteristics - most interesting to me is that he believes the improved robustness of the convex is due to the edge only worn by the initial contact with the wood - then as the tool penetrates the wood - the wood splits ahead of the edge due the the convex curve forcing the wood away from the apex ahead of the edge. ( a different theory from Dr. Wako’s theory of the force angles as explained in his video in an earlier post) Unfortunately he does not cover Japanese nata hatchets, but they would be in the class of straight edged axes or hatchets that he does discuss. The same principles would apply to axes, hatchets or knives.
Convex sharpening axes, kuhkris and more
Includes an interesting sharpening kit made using an Altoids box.
The above are all manual sharpening methods.
There are various sharpening jigs or powered sharpeners that will work if you are less skilled at manual sharpening, (the method I prefer), devices such as the Work Sharp Ken Onion model tool or the KME Axe sharpening device. Or some people just use a belt sander, but you need to be cautious not to overheat the edge which would ruin the temper of the metal.
Well, I have finally made some decisions.
I have ordered from Amazon the 180mm 千吉(Senkichi) nata hatchet. Even though the type of steel is not listed, only that it is knife steel. It is scheduled to deliver next Monday.
If this HONMAMON “AZUMASYUSAKU Hatchet 195mm(ABT 7.7”), Blade Edge : Aogami Steel, Double Bevel nata had turned up in previous searches on Amazon I may have ordered it instead.
HONMAMON "AZUMASYUSAKU Hatchet 195mm
However, the 千吉(Senkichi) should be adequate to determine if I like the basic design, and if I do, I can always order a higher quality nata tool later.
I also decided to give two of the parangs a try. The Condor ECO parang, and the MYParang Duku Chandong model, which I already have in hand. Both were reasonably sharp out of the box. A couple of hours with a homemade sandpaper hone polished the edges and brought them to hair cutting sharp. The Condor sharpened a little faster.
The weather has not been cooperative to get out and try them out yet. Cold, rainy, with some snow later this evening. But I think I will like the MYparang one better. Nicer balance, more comfortable grip, and it was made by the people who developed the design over time and use. The Condor I think is more an attempt to mimic a design they are not deeply familiar with. What one youtube video review of another model of parang called - Design by picture vs design by use. (iow, a design refined and evolved over time by actual use of the original desing)
A few pictures:
The blue tape marks the balance point. The MYParang wts 396.4g (13.98 oz), the Condor ECO wts 416g(14.67oz)
My basic sharpening tools. Shapton waterstones, 1000, 2000 & 5000 grit. A two sided diamond stone. Some purchased and homemade leather strop. The one made from a piece of wood yard stick has a piece of foam from package of chorizo links, glued on, over which is taped various grits of wet/dry sandpaper; 600, 800, 1500, 2000 grit. Which is what I mostly used to sharpen the two parangs. Plus the leather strops with compound applies. The blue box is a KSF sharpening kit. And a small loupe magnifier to look at the edge.
A bit off topic. But a few Japanese pull saws I have owned for 30 years or so. As you can see, not always taken care of as carefully as they should have been.
The two in the middle have been the most used ones.
I’ve also had a Japanese hatchet like this one for 30 years, but at the moment I can not find it. It will turn up on a shelf in one of the two garages or hanging on a peg board somewhere. I hope.
Japanese laminated steel hatchet
Some more about the 180mm 千吉(Senkichi) nata hatchet next week.
It is amazing how easy this guy in Malaysia makes it look to make a parang scabbard and handle from a piece of quarter split wood. Using only simple tools.
I see no reason why the same basic process couldn’t be adapted to make a wood scabbard for a nata hatchet or any similar large blade cutting tool.
I did not see anything listing the type of wood. Balsa or similar soft wood would be my guess. I think it would be a bit more difficult using a harder wood. Not too much, but slower.
Both of the below videos are on YTC, YouTube Channel, omz109 CNL. They have uploaded several similar videos.
The videos play at a high frame rate.
It helps to see the details if you slow down the the speed to 0.75 rate.
PROSES membuat sarung parang ukir PART2
[PROCESS making a machete sheath carving PART2]
Proses pembuatan gagang/sarung parang,golok
[The process of making the handle / sheath machete, machete]
I’m sure it helps that he has probably made hundreds of them before. Indeed you can see a stack of scabbards in the background in one of the videos. I have not found any videos of someone doing similar work with a nata hatchet. But still looking.
Thank you for a wonderful video
A little closer look at my two parangs.
Top one OAL 17.5in (446mm) Bottom one OAL 17.25in (435mm).
A more sophisticated and decorative scabbard. I think maybe made from a harder type of wood too.
I find these kind of processes rather tenkara-esque. Simple tools + skills. Making the same thing in a room full of power tools would be easier and faster. But I find this kind of thing satisfying. Probably the same drive that makes me prefer using a magnetic compass & printed paper topo map over a smart phone app.
#part3 BAGIAN | MENGUKIR SARUNG | GAGANG PARANG/GOLOK!!
I wonder what they call the knife with the long handle and curved blade that he does so much of the carving with?
The top end collar looks like a simple way to make a friction fit to hold the tool in place should the original become loose. I have a nakiri knife that came with a wood scabbard. And another one that came without a scabbard. I’ve thought about making one, but how to get the fit tight enough. If I should make one and it turned out to loose. Adding the collar make a little narrower would be the easiest solution vs making a whole new scabbard.
The 千吉 ナタ 鉈 １８０mm ６０２０４２ – Senkichi Nata hatchet 180 mm 602042
arrived in the mail today. Two days ahead of scheduled delivery.
Clearly a much different tool from the two parangs. Heavier, more tip heavy, and more than twice as thick (6.5mm vs ~ 3mm) , and more of a wood splitting tool. The more complete product description pages states it is for pruning and wood splitting.
Many of the parang youtube videos go a little silly, slamming the parang hard into the wood, where due to its thinness it sinks in deeply. Then they have a difficult time getting it out. The better method with the parang would be be nibble more smaller bites out of the wood if chopping the wood into two pieces, and if splitting the wood, just get the split started then pound in a wood wedge to complete the splitting. Easy to do. My brother and I used to split locust trees into fence post, we had two iron wedges, and 4 wood wedges we cut when needed to make the work go faster.
This website has several high quality pictures of this same nata/hatchet model. Actually it shows both the single bevel (chisel bevel) model 片刃 (kataba), and the double bevel model, [which can be written as 両刃 (ryōba, ryouba) or 双刃 (sōba, souba) maybe there is a slight difference in the meaning]
Looking at the scabbard pictures on the above website - you will see two straps that hold the nata in the scabbard. The diagonal strap holds if fairly tightly. It is not leather, just some imitation leather. Above that strap - the straps that go around the handle is quite loose. I will probably glue a piece of leather or the fuzzy side of velcro on each side to make it hold tighter onto the handle.
Some pictures with specific observations:
Senkichi Nata vs MY Parang, blue tape marks balance point:
The nata : OAL = 14.5 in (360mm) Wt = 20.99oz. (595g). Blade thickness = 6.5mm.
Sticker on handle listing details, model number, etc.
Tapered tang connection to handle. The edges of the wood were sharp and uncomfortable to grip with bare hands, (but I have girly-man hands - maybe not a problem for those of you with tough manly manly man-hands ) a few minutes with 600 grit sandpaper eased the edges along the tang slot, top and bottom side, the butt end of the grip, and the top side of the handle near the reinforcing ring. Only on the top side was the wood edge of the handle larger in diameter of the ring. The bottom side was flush. I also sanded off the sharp edge of the handle on the blade side of the ring. Making it more comfortable to grip and avoid hot spots that would cause blisters.
You can see the exposed forward edges of the wood grip better in this view.
End view of the blade. My guess is the top end corner is machined off to avoid sharp corners on the non-cutting edge. However, the corner is only machined off on one side. Maybe it is done for a different reason. What I do not yet know.
Stamp marks on the blade :
It was pretty sharp out of the box. Thirty minutes with 2000 grit sandpaper & leather strop quickly made it a lot sharper. If I ever buy another one I would probably opt of a shorter lighter model. Haven’t done any wood cutting with it yet. Nice weather day, but busy day. My brother-in-law is in MICU, my son is home from Ohio to see him, and it’s college football game day. However, my team looked on course to have a W in the bag, only to lose the game in the last minute of the game.
Maybe some of this information was of interest to anyone thinking of buying a ナタ 鉈 .
I think the nata is meant to cut by sharpness and weight of the tool vs a parang that I think is designed to cut more by speed of movement and sharpness of the tool.
You are welcome. I am pleased to read you found the videos to be - wonderful.
I did too.
Well, now I know. In the below video at about 2:34 the short blade / long handle knife is called a “raut”. But later I discovered raut may just mean “knife” maybe not a specific type of knife, and similar knives are known by a different names from area to area. Such as “Pisau Raut” or “Penat”. Knives used for rattan or bamboo work, carving or as just a general small utility knife. So many blade shapes, depending on specific purpose, but same general idea - short blade + long handle. The blade is short but with a long handle to aid control in hard cutting.
Hand made wood sheath and handle for parang
The below linked website states,
" … This small Ilang comes with a smaller knife, called the Penat . While the small Ilang is used for heavier tasks like chopping and slicing , the smaller Penat knife is used for cutting rattan, carving , making fire sticks and peeling fruits… Here is how you hold the Penat knife. As you can see, the handle is long, and this long handle is held against the inner of your forearm, so you will have a much stronger and stable hold on the otherwise small knife. This is important when you are carving hard wood or preparing rattan ( meraut ) …"
Picture of Penat from myparang . com
My personal parang collection # 4 – Small Ilang
more pictures and explanations on the blog post:
Short Blade, Long Handle - a different sort of craft knife
From the bushcraftusa forum. In a comment about knives he had made he writes,
“… They are patterned on a variety of long-handled knife found in Asia, often associated with bamboo and rattan craft, and called by various names depending on the region…‘pisau raut’ (rattan knife) in Malay, ‘penat’ in Penan Dayak, and many others.
The idea of these is to hold the knife still, and move the work instead…the “chest lever” grip, but with better leverage. The long handle allows the user to brace the knife against the forearm and body. It uses a whole different set of muscles than push cutting, and with practice is very efficient and precise. …”
[Puukko and “Puukkoid”]
Scroll down a little more than half way - till you see the knife on the book with yellow color cover, where the author writes,
" … the skewed blade still reflect the characteristic of a Malaysian/Indonesian Pisau Raut or Penat
Here’s the Malaysian/Indonesian Pisau Raut or Penat . … Malay called it as Pisau Raut while Dayak called it as Penat … It can be translated as carving knife.
The above picture is copied and pasted from Photobucket of my Indonenesian friend Anton Nurcahyo who work in a wildlife organisation specialized in Orang Utan in Borneo.,"
鍛治師 小松広さん - Forge Master Hiroshi Komatsu-san
His specialty is making Ken nata [ 剣ナタ / 剣鉈] Sword nata. Nata with pointed tip. More for hunting or mountain use, I think.
The Forging of a Hunting Knife in Tosa, Japan - 2013-3-7
From the video description:
“This is master craftsman Hiro Komatsu. As a child having grown up next to a blacksmith shop he wanted to become one very badly. He apprenticed at the age of 16 under a master craftsman of forestry and hunting tools. He specializes in hunting knives. We were allowed to film him forging a 210mm “sword nata.” The links to their guild site are below…”
As an off topic aside - way off topic. But I thought of this story due to its link to the Tosa area.
A Japanese man from the 19th century, who I believe originally was from the same Tosa area, that I have found intriguing for several years, is known by several different names - John Mung, John Manjirō, and Nakahama Manjirō [中濱 万次郎]. He was perhaps the first major bridge linking Japan and the English speaking world. Specifically America. — A function I tend to think, or like to think, is also being done today by interest in tenkara, by the 10 Colors Tenkara forum, and by several other people who aid the understanding of the sport and cultures: Daniel G. the Discover Tenkara guys, John & Paul, and their Japanese colleagues, Go Ishi, Adam T, Todoroki-san, and many others. .
I first discovered Nakahama Manjirō about 8 years ago in a youtube video by Nathan Tardiff, founder of Noodler’s Ink, describing his - Noodler’s Manjiro Nakahama Whaleman’s Sepia bottled ink. It’s a fun story. imo.
Manjiro Nakahama, aka John Mung - the most Japanese themed fountain pen ink of all time
Manjirō Nakahama: From Castaway to Samurai ー The first Japanese person to live in the United States, Manjirō’s incredible journeys are seafaring legend:
One of the more interesting accessible books about his story, in the English language, is
Drifting Toward the Southeast: The Story of Five Japanese Castaways : a Complete Translation of Hyoson Kiryaku (a Brief Account of Drifting Toward the Southeast) as Told to the Court of Lord Yamauchi of Tosa in 1852 by John Manjiro
Google book sample of - Drifting Toward the Southeast
Wikipedia entries in both Japanese and English:
The Story of Five Japanese Castaways: A Historic Voyage to the United States (2004)
Interesting, but long video: 1:22 hours - but I have linked the video to start at 25 minutes, past the author’s introduction - from CSPAN2 Book TV.
There are several books on Amazon about John Manjirō, in both English or Japanese language. For example: Heart of a Samurai, is a children’s book. Other more adult reading are: John Manjiro. The Castaway His Life and His Adventures; John Manjiro - Japanese who discovered America (Kawade Bunko), and several others. Maybe you found his story interesting, from castaway to whale ship crew, to California gold rush miner, to interpreter and diplomat – despite Nakahama Manjiro’s story being far from the discussion of nata hatchets.
I was able to get out briefly yesterday to test out all three chopping tools. Murphy’s law hustled in the rain not long after I got started. The Senkichi Nata hatchet 180 mm is wonderful at splitting green wood. (about 4 ~ 5 inch diameter sycamore). And the clear winner for splitting wood.
But for lighter duty chopping of wood into kindling sized pieces or other processing, in this case trimming, squaring and flattening pieces of the split sycamore into planks that I will air dry and use for small carving projects in a few months. Either parang was a better choice than the nata. And the parang was a better choice than the more commonly carried fixed blade sheath knives. Of the two parang tools the MYParang 10" duku chandong was better balanced, had a more comfortable handle, and was more pleasant to use than the Condor parang. The Condor parang is still a nice tool, but if I could only have one machete type tool it would be the MYParang 10 inch model. It works better than a large sheath knife for many tasks. It became clear why the recommended combination is a pragang + a small knife. But I always have a small folding pocket knife with me. Most often a spyderco stretch.
For pruning trees I would recommend the 10 inch MYParang or similar tool or a smaller, lighter nata model. For splitting wood a nata close to 180mm, not much smaller, or maybe larger would be best, I think.
My nata is made in Kohchi 高知県, famous place for making knives a.k.a. 土佐打刃物.
Toyokuni’s forest officers’ model.
Is that his name?
I really enjoy his unique style and enthusiasm.
I have tried hard to use a Nata. I’ve had one for many years now and it just doesn’t get used. My little Gerber knife and Silkyboy saw are far more useful for my taste.
I’ve learned quite a bit about Japanese tenkara and culture. Now it’s time for me to do things my way with my choices and share those things with a few friends that like sharing.
In the comments to his YouTube videos I see people refer to him by slightly different spellings of his name:
Dr Wacko, Dr Wako, and Dr Waco. Not sure which is correct or if any of them is correct. And sometimes as Wako-san, and even Waku-san. Probably in some comment to an old video he gave his name in romaji the way he would prefer it be spelt and over time the many different spellings have crept in.
He has two YouTube channels. One in English - Virtuovice, and one in Japanese - JPSikaHunter. iow - Japanese deer hunter. Sometimes he will upload the same video in both languages on the different YTC, but not too often. Lately he has not been uploading new videos as frequently as in the past.
Here is his most recent river side lunch video from 4 months ago, July 30, 2018. I have the same 210 mm Silky Gomboy saw he uses in this video. It’s a favorite model. It’s a good size if not concerned about the weight vs a shorter model. I’ve seen him asked in the comments if he ever fishes with tenkara, but have never seen a reply about yes / no or why not.
Riverside lunch with the BK-16
I’ve had opportunity to get out and use the nata a few times. It takes some getting used to. It is very good for splitting short pieces of wood about 5 inches in diameter.
I agree with you it is better and also a lot safer to use a Silky saw to cut wood to length that is several inches in diameter vs chopping large wood to length with a hatchet. Swinging a very sharp heavy chopper requires extra caution. But for spitting wood it’s fairly safe.
[I went through Navy boot camp with a guy who had gone hippie before enlisting, living deep in the woods alone, who ended that experiment after chopping into his leg, leaving a large scar, and a recognition of a lucky break or divine intervention to get out of the woods alone to seek help] No skilled medic to help.
I also recently purchased a 300mm Silky Gomboy Curve saw with large teeth. Not yet sure if it cuts faster than the straight blade models as claimed. It is added to my arsenal of 130mm Pocketboy saws (medium and large tooth) and the one 210mm Gomboy medium tooth (10 tips/30mm) saw. One of them is always in the back of my car where it has been found useful a couple of times to have when a storm blew down a tree blocking a mountain road. A few minutes sawing cleared the way to get through.
Published on Jul 17, 2018
This video has a bit of everything: Firewood prep, knife comparison, rice cooking on Firebox stove, fly fishing, making - sashmi (刺し身), shioyaki salt grilling (塩焼き), using Himalaya salt (ヒマラヤ ソルト), and a bit of target shooting with XDM. What model I couldn’t determine. Sorry, no mushroom foray.
Make a fire, fish, eat, and shoot
The two knives compared are a Bark River Bravo 1 and a Helle Temagami. [ ブラボー1とテマガミを]