***Update 2/15/2016: I've decided to keep this in my collection as well. It is no longer for sale. *** Thank you
*Only Iwasaki-San's initial honing at sanjo forge, no wear (the initial flat is less than 1/64 of an inch)
Blade width- 21.14 mm
Blade Thickness- 6.49mm!
Blade cutting length- 66.14mm
Still has the Iwasaki Tamahagane sticker on the scales! And it of course has snug action at the pivot and the blade is perfect, straight and true as could only be expected if receiving new from Iwasaki-San himself. Please read full description for detail of every cosmetic flaw.
The special tamahagane used to make this blade took Iwasaki san 10 years to develop, as the 60-62 HRC of Katana blades wasn't high enough for edge retention of a razor. Not by Iwasaki's standards. The blade edge on this razor is hardened to a stupefying 67 HRC (steel 'should' be brittle and shatter at this hardness when thinned to a razors edge. However from experience with my personal used one and my Iwasaki Tamahagane Kamisori and from other lucky Iwasaki owners- they don't. The forging and metallurgic control Iwasaki San had over steel was simply perfect)
Unfortunately, When sanjo forge was moved years ago the equipment used to make the Tamahagane was damaged beyond repair and plans were never enacted to rebuild. Sadly Iwasaki san is a bit senile at 82 years of age and I believe and agree with the estimations of others that another Iwasaki Tamahagane razor will never be made. Neither the Kamisori or the far rarer western straight. If you cannot afford a Tamahagane Iwasaki, don't despair. His Apprentice and successor Ryoichi Mizuochi makes limited runs of Traditional Kamisori from Swedish steel, which while not Tamahagane, are impeccably forged and take the next keenest edges. I have several new ones (swedish steel Iwasaki kamisori) that I will be adding to the site and they are much more attainably priced. I have one in my rotation at all times myself.
I know from experience in honing my personal Tamahagane Iwasakis and others that the honing takes much longer than a traditional high quality razor like say a Dorko, or Dovo Puma or other german steel which go up to 64/65 HRC and are very hard steels themselves. Iwasaki is on another level entirely at an untouchable 67 HRC. As such, honing one of these is it's own reward and it takes time. So does dulling it-- it holds its edge above all. Barbers in Japan frequently attained 900-1000 shaves maintained on only clean linen and leather strops before they became a "little dulled". If you polish the blades on these and etch the hamon with ferric chloride or acetic acid (vinegar) you can see the hamon. Polishing with traditional Japanese-Whetstones further brings out the hamon- a samurai sword for your face that is expertly refined and impeccably comfortable, smooth and close.
The reason this is near NOS and not NOS is because there was some light scuff marks on the back of the spine, like someone used a scotch brite or the like to wipe off light surface rust that may have formed after 40-60 years sitting unused, that I have resolved with some light hand polishing with MAAS and a microfiber rag, and I also shave tested with it, I simply couldn't resist and it was brilliant. Full ATG (against the grain) close and no discomfort. It would be very easy to sell this as new with full blade size and immaculate condition- no doubt others would. But honesty is very important to me as are Iwasaki razors. I have included the before picture of this razor next to one of my NOS ones, before the light hand MASS polish so you know exactly what was done. It is the last picture, the thinner one is one of my 100% NOS Iwasaki Tamahagane (pictures on my site) it goes to show just how custom and handmade each of these razors were by the Legendary Iwasaki - check the wedge, you can see that it each was scaled custom one at a time, just as it was made. No cookie cutter manufacturing like you see today. Forged by hand. One tatara smelting of iron sands took a couple days and yielded enough metal for only 6 western straights, In the side by side notice how the blade for buy it now, here on ebay, is nearly .5 mm thicker at 6.49mm and is longer as well! This is not only near NOS but a uniquely large piece of the special Tamahagane which took Iwasaki-San 10 years to develop. It is the second largest "NOS" Iwasaki I've handled. I think you can understand why I couldn't resist one test shave with this monster Iwasaki - but I'm sorry if you don't :). The blade has the original honing done by Iwasaki Himself at a Blade Width of 21.14mm. After the photo shoot, the blade was disinfected with barbicide for recommended 10 minutes, hand washed and rinsed in De-Ionized water, Air dried with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol evaporation, and coated with mineral oil and returned to its Poulowonia Box.
I also have a truly NOS one if you prefer.