A Sword Apart, by W.P.

A few years back I began reading about the effectiveness of CPM3V steel on various forums. It seemed almost mythical in nature, like Wolverine’s adamantium, capable of performing amazing feats unheard of in other steels. As an avid knife collector, the CPM3V alloy appealed to me on many levels; its resilience, its incredible sharpness, it all fascinated me.

My interest hadn’t truly piqued, however, until I encountered Dan Keffeler’s work. Dan was already an accomplished maker whose quality of work was well known in the knife community. I was intrigued by his work from the start, particularly his Japanese-style blades made in CPM3V. I recall watching a video a while back of Dan testing one of his blades on various targets. As a longtime practitioner of the Japanese sword arts, I can attest how difficult it is perform proper tameshigiri, or test cutting with a live blade. There are a myriad of factors involved: grip, edge alignment, distance, all of which need to be taken into account when cutting. I was immediately enthralled by the CPM3V blade’s ability. It performed effortlessly, seeming to decimate anything in its path. I knew I had to have one. Thus began my journey to seek out a katana made from CPM3V.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Dan Keffeler by a mutual friend a couple of years back. His work speaks for itself, but Dan is also a great guy and very pleasant to deal with. We spoke on the phone a few times and discussed the possibility of my commissioning a CPM3V blade, but as we were both incredibly busy, the project never really got off the ground unfortunately and we lost touch for a time. Still, I couldn’t get the idea of obtaining one of his CPM3V blades out of my head. It became like an obsession, as though some part of me would remain incomplete until I possessed one of his blades.

Nearly a year and a half passed until I took a shot in the dark and sent Dan an email to inquire about one of his CPM3V katana blades again. I was elated to hear that he happened to have one available. After seeing only a single photograph of it, I purchased the blade without another thought. I couldn’t have been more excited. Call it good fortune, an alignment of the planets, fate, whatever. I was finally going to fulfill my dream of owning a Keffeler blade.

While the blade itself was already made, a handle and scabbard still had to be crafted. Dan was also gracious enough to fabricate fittings out of titanium, which he anodized in a greyish tint and added a wood-like texture. Several months would pass before the sword was finally complete. The end result was nothing short of astonishing, the perfect amalgamation of an ancient craft and modern innovation.

It has often been said that to truly follow the way of the sword, it must become a part of one’s very soul. I can proudly declare that even in the short while it’s been in my possession, this sword has indeed become a part of me, and I am the better for it.

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