Habaki – Katana Blade Collar
There are two things Katana Habaki is known for: it is the anchor for the Tsuka or sword handle, seppa and tsuba. Habaki is mounted over the sword tang and stops the notches from hurting the owners. This Katana part also forms the tapered friction point where it holds the blade in the scabbard or saya. To know what period a blade comes from gold Habaki are commonly use on older blades while silver Katana Habaki are used on newer blades. This part can either be one or two piece. Samurai swords are designed in such a way that it can fit loosely inside the scabbard. When the sword is pulled out it normally slides back which explains why this is worn with the curved side down to avoid hurting its owner. During battle, the Samurai warrior moves a lot.
Whether he is riding on top of his horse or walking. This is the reason why there is a need to secure the sword in place. Katana Habaki enters the picture. This part solves this need since it is located at the base of the blade. This is wedge shaped piece of metal collar that secures the sword. The tapered shape of this part allows the sword to snuggly seat on the opening of the scabbard, leaving the user to freely move. The blade is a position where it looks as if it is floating inside the scabbard. The oldest type is made of iron from pot metal which contains copper. However; later on this is usually made of copper and has been known to be covered with different kinds of materials throughout time. Copper is always the wisest choice since this is soft and can easily adapt to the shape of the blade without scratching the steel surface. Although using gold cover is the popular choice.
Kinds of Katana Habaki
Brass with bump design
Copper with or without markings. Some designs have two separate lines
Partial Rain covered pattern
Full rain pattern. This is one of the basic designs
Shakudo. This is an example of two piece
Two piece with different designs on each section
Habaki is considered as the cornerstone of swords. Most of the time the most eye catching designs are those that are handmade, folded, soldered at the bottom and fits the blade perfectly. When it comes to manufacturing a traditionally made part like this, the craftsman bends a flat piece of copper around the blade and solders this where the two ends meet at the cutting edge area. When buying a sword it would be a good idea to inspect the Habaki for damage and if it does have it replace. Inquire about packing the sword using plastic bubble wrap to make it stable inside the carton. Some people packed these using cardboard tubes however; these materials are too fragile and will easily collapse. This places the sword at risk of being damage. In the future when the need arises for sending the sword for repairs, better keep this inside the sword bag.