Making a Masterpiece

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Adding final touches
In the final stage, metalworkers add a decorated guard of iron or other metals at the sword's hilt. Next, carpenters fit the weapon with a lacquered wooden scabbard, which artisans then decorate with various adornments. Fashioned from gold or exotic leathers and stones, the katana's handle is as much of a work of art as the blade itself. Finally, the katana is returned to the swordsmith, who examines the weapon one last time. It has taken 15 men nearly six months to create this single katana sword. Though fit for a samurai warrior, this sword will likely sell to art collectors for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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