Alan Folts Katana

Oct 4, 1998
I just picked up my first Katana from Alan Folts a few weeks back and would like to share some of my thoughts. This Katana is Alan's first one ever made and if this is any indication of the work he is capable of he will be at the top of his game in no time at all! This Katana measures in at 36 inches and the blade length is 25 1/4 inches. It has a silver wire wrapped handle and came with Alan's logo on the butt cap. The Katana weighs in at 1 lb 14 oz.It comes with it's own wooden sheath that is finished beautifully. I will also let Alan describe the katana in detail. Enjoy!

I miss my baby already!!

Funny thing, I still remembered the night I finished it, I took it out of the saya in the house and managed to cut 2 blades off the ceiling fan in a matter of seconds, luckily the wife was working and never noticed the change...

Okay on to the description, When I started out designing this peice I wanted something that looked like pure metal, just lots of sparkiling shiny buffed silver. I was always a fan of Tom Maringer's work, and loved the all metal and wire wrap as a combination, so I figured what the hell...

The blade is 440C, the guard is 6061T6 aluminum as is the buttcap, the handle and collar are made of 303 stainless, the handle wrapping is 416 stainless over an ash handle, the scabbard is poplar with 8 coats of bronze hammerstone enamel and a corian loop on the side for the ties...

The blade has a modified hollow grind that was left thick at the edge and then convexed from there, this gave the peice an extremely light and agile blade while still keeping a sword like geometry at the edge. It has a 4 inch balance meaning that it balances at 4 inches in front of the Tsuba (guard). I have made 3 katanas since this one, each being substancially better, the last one I completed was a 1060 blade with the temper line all stainless fittings a wire wrapped handle and had a 0 balance, it was like swinging air when you moved it...

At this time I am working on one with a beveled spine that will be fixtured very traditionally with the rayskin and silk wrap and the whole enchilada!!

Any questions or whatever just post them here or email me I would be glad to answer them any way I can.
Alan, I have to say NICE PIECE OF WORK!

I've been in love with Katanas all my life, but never had the dough to spend for one. My one and only Katana here is still my old WWII junk, and I don't even dare cut anything hard with it (though my dad used to, previously).

Again, great piece of work!

That is a very beautiful blade. I have always been in love with the Katana, but due to regulations of my country, I can't legally own one unless the blade is unsharpen (which kind of defeats the purpose).

I hope you carry on making katanas and refining your skill until your blades rival the quality that myths and legends have imparted on the Katanas of the Mastersmiths of ancient Japan.
Your work speaks for itself, Alan.
That sword really is a beauty!

One of these days... one of these days...

Oh yeah, you mentioned ceiling fan?! As in literally sliced off? What happened to the blade? no dents or anything?

Can you make a more contemporary Katana? Something like the ones they have in the olden days. I'm going to save up for one, and of course, I know who to contact now.

Danny, sure, I am working on one now in fact. When you get ready just email me ...

Goat, that blade does not have any distal taper because it was done in the stock removal meathod so the only taper is the grind. Although when I do one in carbon steel I do forge a distal into the blade blank before I start grinding...

Alan Folts...

Whoa, you forge too? That's really cool. Since you work with 1060, are you also doing the clay hardening?

In the old days one could approach Bob Engnath for a reasonably priced katana blade. I don't think anyone still do it for $9 an inch anymore. Probably because no one can do it all in 5 hours like Mr. Engnath.

As I recall he also used stock removal. Wonder what was his secret for distal taper.

[This message has been edited by tallwingedgoat (edited 21 October 1999).]
Alan, very nice work!
Didn't you do a blade for Jim March? Has he finished it yet?
I'd like to see pics of you other swords if possable


Spyderco Starmate winner! Thanks Sal Glesser!!!
Shappa, yes I did that bohemouth for Jim and as far as I know he hasnt finished it yet, it was a beefy boy out of 1/4 inch thick ats34 with a flat grind, a beveled spine with a peircing tip and a chisel tip on top of that, all straight no curve...
it was mean..
I will love to see what he did with it...

Congratulations sure is a great looking knife and with a rec like that from CJ it has to be better than good looking

[This message has been edited by Gus Kalanzis (edited 21 October 1999).]