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Katana modification into a bush whacker

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Sentryau2, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Sentryau2

    Sentryau2 Well-Known Member

    Ok so i just finished cutting the tang off of a 1045 carbon steel katana blank, (its been properly heat treated after being stamped out but the tang was bent at a hard angle and it is a soft temper with a through hardening) I plan to cut on the bast of the blade to place in a handle, do you think it would be better to pit the steel with a drill bit and epoxy a leather handle into place? or how about wrapping expoxying twine and then doing a leather wrap, or should I try and make a wooden handle for it and use a peg system to keep it in place? Keep in mind this will not have a pommel, I will upload some pictures on it tomarrow (I already plan to cut on the blade and get a new tang formed)
  2. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    I think you'd do better to throw it away, and buy a 2" wide piece of 5160 from New Jersey Steel Baron. In the long run, I think you'll be much happier...and safer.

  3. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

    I'd put in in a vise, don PPE for limbs,face and body and give it a couple flexes before even considering usage of that blade for anything else.
  4. I agree. Let the sword die in piece.

    If you still want to do something with it, I can offer a few suggestions. You are going to feel some rooouuugghh hand shock with just a strip of leather on there. I would add a proper handle. I would suggest maybe picking up a 3ft or so 1 inch+ dowel and make a nagamachi or a longer handle to form a naginata out of the blade, particularly if you don't know much about using katanas.
  5. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    I have no faith in the structural integrity of a 1045 sword. Adding a long handle will keep it away from a user's face, but will also dramatically increase leverage.
  6. I have no faith in a piece not forged by a smith, of any metal. It's his call, however.
  7. gazpacho

    gazpacho Well-Known Member

    I'd shorten the blade (from the hilt end) to about 16", and fashion a tang of about 8". (Total length 24".) Remount the Habaki and Tsuba, but ditch the Tsuka et al. Then I'd make 2 wood scales to flesh out the grip, pin them in place, and use paracord to wrap the hilt.

    What you end up with would be a short Wakizashi. Use it for chopping up pool noodles and the odd branch. Or use it like a machete to clear grass. 1045 should hold up enough for a fun blade, especially in shortened form. Sharpen it up and see how the edge holds up on a few whacks on a 2x4.

    If you really want a Katana or Wakizashi, but don't know what you are doing, I'd recommend a through hardened Chinese made spring steel blade. AKA a reputable dojo beater sword. They apparently stand up to abuse better than a traditional blade.
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    That's all contradictory. It is not properly heat treated or you probably wouldn't be facing this dilemma. Do you have the ability to anneal and then heat treat this thing yourself? If not it isn't a project to take on to make a "whacker". You don't "drill" tangs to roughen them. You use a file or wire wheel or coarse abrasive.

    1045 is the "cheap" end of steel for cheap swords. It can be hardened and it can be tough, but it won't hold an edge worth much of anything simply because the carbon content is so low.

    Follow the advice of the others and toss it or shorten it to a long tanto and play with good building techniques, but forget making a whacker out of it.
  9. Sentryau2

    Sentryau2 Well-Known Member

    I went ahead and cut down the tang, I'm adding a temporary grip (duct tape and twine with epoxy) I think you guys are right tho, depending on how it behaves I may just take it to the local smithy get together and let them melt it down into an ingot for a paper weight. I am going to turn the piece I cut off into a pocket knife tho and go with a para cord wrapped handle. 1045 carbon steel is soft but it was a nice blade while it lasted, it was a beater and served good for that purpose. Around a hundred hours of sparring practice with it before we sharpend it with a wet stone and went to cutting with it. Its sliced and diced atleast 500 tatami mats along with countless water bottles and bamboo pieces.
    <edit> The tang was bent at an angle before I got it, it was a mistake in the stamping process before it was heattreated, thats why it was unable to be straightened.
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    This was a broken sword blade once.
    Before I made this knife out of it.


  11. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Here's the thing. Most of us think you're going to invest time, effort, and probably at least some money into something that could be mediocre at best.

    Or, you could go here, buy a 48"x2"x.25" piece of 5160, which is an almost ideal sword/large blade steel, and have it shipped to your door for $44. That's the route I would go. If you keep playing with that piece you have, be sure you always wear gloves and quality eye protection, and don't swing it with anyone else close by.

    RC, I guarantee that sword blade wasn't 1045.

  12. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    That's impressive for a piece of 1045.
  13. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Well-Known Member

    $20 - $30 for a new machete or hatchet. Made for whacking bushes.
  14. Sentryau2

    Sentryau2 Well-Known Member

    We sharpend it ALOT it could do a dozen or so (of anything be it pool noodles, hard bottles, newspaper rolls soaked in water, or even green bamboo) before we had to use a stone on it but like i said it was cheap fun while it lasted, and im not spending anything but time and maybe a few grinder tips and cutting blades. I finished the sword itself and tested it, we hacked through a few trees and what not I am going to solder a pommel to it (just to make it less blade heavy) Later tonight I should be able to post some pics, so you can see the blade and just maybe understand the hell its went through lol (we just used it to cut a piece of sheet steel)
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013

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