Kanagawa Blade Explores The Power of Water

Forged through the power of water, the Kanagawa Blade by Mark Wilson exploits a machining defect unique to waterjet CNC manufacturing.

The Kanagawa Blade celebrates the sheer power and ferocity of water. It’s form references the clawed waves depicted in Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa, which instilled fear and terror in those who witness its power. Water from the waterjet cutter is able to slice through one of the hardest and toughest steel composites in the world, Hardox steel, and with just two linear cuts, an unreplicable corrugation in the steel is formed.

Waterjet manufacturing is a CNC machining process that uses a high-pressure stream of water to quickly erode and cut material. As the water carves its way into the material, it quickly loses pressure and consequently precision. This results in small, irregular corrugations along the edge of the material called a trail back, which can be exaggerated or minimised by manipulating the feed rate of the waterjet stream. Deconstructive interference occurs at the intersection of two waterjet cuts, leaving an incongruent serration in the steel, which is maximised by a prominent trail back from an increased feed rate.

Although fabricated with mathematical and machine precision, the Kanagawa Blade reveals a natural and serendipitous defect. Emphasised by a clean, geometric handle, the blade speculates on what we perceive as ideal. As precision is criticised for its inaccuracy, the undesired becomes desirable.

If natural form is perfect in its imperfection, then is the digitally formed imperfect for its perfection?