This fixed blade comes from the Carter Cutlery neck knife series. Carter, a 17th Generation, Yoshimoto Bladesmith and ABS Master Bladesmith makes several models of neck knives, this being the Wharncliffe Brute Kata-Ha.
The Brute has a full tang construction. The 3.65″ x .151″ blade has been laminated through a forge welding process that leverages two key properties of the steels used :
The outer layer serves to toughen the blade. At a much lower HRc than the cutting edge, it provides tensile strength and in some cases, improved corrosion resistance through the use of a stainless layer. Carter uses Gokunantetsu, a mild, pure low carbon cladding. Gokunantetsu comes in two varieties, a non stainless (C< .08, S < 0.10, Mn < .030, P < 0.03, S </0.03) and a stainless. Stainless steels are usually achieved through the addition of chromium (C< .08, S <1.0, Mn < 1.0, P < 0.04, S </0.03, Cr 13.0). This particular knife uses the non-stainless variety.
The opposite steel layer is a very hard, high grade cutlery steel for cutting performance. The steel used here is Hitachi metal’s Yasugi White Steel #1. White is the purest forging steel from the company, maintaining a very high carbon content and extremely low phosphorus and sulfur content (C 1.20-1.40, Si .10-.20, Mn .20-.30, P < .025, S < 0.0004). Considered a modern “Tama-Hagane” or “Jewel Steel”, White produces an extraordinarily keen, resilient edge when properly forged and heat treated.
The lamination technique used to construct this blade is a ni-mai (two piece) forge welding. This varies from the more common Wari-komi or San-Mai cladding that wraps the sides or sides and spine of a harder core. Ni-mai produces one side that is the hard steel and the other mild (not sandwiched). This technique is optimal for “Kata-ha” or chisel style blades. The lamination is visible by observing the “hamon”, a distinct line visible on the blades grind that denotes a difference in material and or hardness.
The Kata-Ha grind consists of two bevels and opposite, a concave face to optimize the cutting geometry. The primary grind is responsible for the majority of stock removal and a secondary bevel creates the cutting edge. The combination of premium materials and Carter’s craftsmanship produces an exceptional tool. This knife is quite literally hair splitting sharp. The blade flat has a traditional, unpolished rustic black finish (kuro-uchi) that is a result of the forging process. The edges on the other hand, are polished and the back side of the blade is lapped. Carter’s signature appears stamped into the blade flat.
The Wharncliffe pattern provides excellent tip control and even pressure when cutting. In order to better leverage this, the spine of the blade is slightly concave for thumb or finger placement. With an elongated radius at the tip, the point of the knife is proficient at penetrating cuts.
The handle of the knife is 3.9″ long and supplies a near-to four finger grip when held slightly back and a full four finger grip when the finger choil is utilized. This provides a total grip length of 4.1″. The profile is well thought out and while the pommel terminates in your palm, the narrowing shape is unobtrusive. The scales are made from two layers, a black liner with a polished brown linen micarta face. These are fastened to the tang with nickel silver pins toward the ends and a mosaic center pin for detailing. All of the edges, including the choil, have been contoured for comfort. Even though the knife has a small handle, it feels extremely natural in hand while providing great control.
For carry, Carter’s neck knives ship with a Kydex sheath. Press molded to the blade and beginning of the handle, retention is excellent. The knife does not rattle or shift giving you confidence when carried handle down and around your neck. Although tight fitting, the knife still draws easily. Two holes drilled in the base allow 550 paracord to be threaded through. The kydex halves are firmly held with a series of perimeter rivets. Leather sheathes are also available through special order if preferred.
The Wharncliffe Brute Kata-Ha is a very impressive cutting tool. Although compact in size it does not compromise effectiveness. The Gokunantetsu layer strengthens the blade for heavier cutting tasks and the White #1 takes and holds an incredible yet maintainable edge. The ergonomics of the knife are equally impressive, making Carter’s neck knives feel like an extension of the hand. All these elements coupled with a great sheath make the knife a sensible tool for every day use. The rich history echoed in the process and masterful craftsmanship should also appeal to collectors and Japanese Bladesmithing enthusiasts alike.
For more on Carter Cutlery visit www.cartercutlery.com
Weight (with sheath)
Yasugi Specialty Steel White #1
Gokunantetsu (mild low carbon)
Japanese Chisel Grind
Black Fiber-Resin and Brown Linen Micarta
Nickel Silver and Mosaic center pin
Made in the USA