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Katana advice

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Mamertine, Nov 16, 2013.

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  1. Mamertine

    Mamertine Member

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    I'm interested in buying a Katana and/or Wakazashi. There are many websites that offer mass produced swords for sale new and there are reviews for these.
    However, when I find one on craigslist or the like how do I know if it's a replica or a real deal? Can anyone point me in the direction of where to learn to assess the quality and value of a used sword or a new sword from a small foundry.
     
  2. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    http://www.musashiswords.com/shop/home.php

    Personally I recommend the Zetsurin Katana with Kozuka for [practical uses.
     
  3. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    What is the intended use?
     
  4. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, what are you wanting to use it for? A wall hanger or cutting of tatami mats or beating about and cutting limbs/trees?

    Do you want an historic piece from Japan costing a lot of money (thousands to tens of thousands), a modern steel piece that can cut ($100+), or a fancy looking piece that isn't intended for cutting?

    What's your top price you can afford to pay?

    http://www.sword-buyers-guide.com/authentic-japanese-swords.html
     
  5. kBob

    kBob Member

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    At least one US Army officer carried a waki in the first Gulf War....maybe he wants a katana for the next......

    Sorry, I am just in a playful mood today.

    -kBob
     
  6. Mamertine

    Mamertine Member

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    Yes I should have addressed that in the first post.

    As with anyone who owns a sword it will spend most of it's time on the wall, but I want to know that if I need to use it for something it isn't made out of pot metal. I do aikido and would like to be able to do some tatami cutting with it.
     
  7. Mamertine

    Mamertine Member

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    I'd like to be sub $500. I'd be willing to go a bit higher (up to $700-800) if that puts me into a significantly better product.

    I like the look of the clay forged ones. Does that do anything with strength or value?
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Look specifically for swords rated for tatami cutting.

    It depends upon the steel and heat treating/quenching whether it has any relevance or not.


    Just outside your price range at $825 is the Ronin Elite series of swords that reviews as that significantly better sword.
     
  9. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Member

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    If you plan to use it in class ask your instructor before you buy. He will definitely have an opinion and is your best resource.
    Assume anything you see on Craig's list, eBay or pawnshops is junk and not safe.
    Having a sword come apart while swinging won't be a good thing.
    If you want to learn about real swords there are many good books in English. Search amazon for Nihonto.

    Basic categories (my list):
    -Sword like objects. Junk only suitable for display for people who don't know what to look for. Don't swing or buy them.
    -Choppers. Better made with an effort to keep them from coming apart. How likely they are to come apart varies greatly as does the price and appearance. From $150-$5000.
    -Dojo practice swords. Higher quality with emphasis on sword balance and appearance. Look and feel more like real swords. $800-$5000
    -Traditional swords called Nihonto. Made from mixing raw steels fired with wood charcoal and hand fordged and differential clay heat treatment giving them a distinctive temper line, performance and beauty. New $5000-???+++ Many older blades are family or national heirlooms. Some are just old worn out and not worth repairing or safe to swing.
    -Gunto. Japanese military blades made from "modern" homogeneous steel. 1890-1945. Now historic and collectable but never presented or displayed by Japanese. Illegal in japan and many Japanese find them an offensive reminder of history. $500-$5000
    Collectables are never used for cutting. Condition is everything.
     
  10. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    If you are willing to do a little work, I've been eye-balling THESE

    [​IMG]
     
  11. rockhopper46038

    rockhopper46038 Member

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    I purchased mine from this gentleman. He is close enough to me that I was able to participate in the forging, claying, heat treating and polishing, spread out over about several months. He instructed me in the making of a habaki for it too, although after making it I chose to have him make the one on the sword currently. He is truly an artist.

    http://www.barrettcustomknives.com/home
     
  12. Sentryau2

    Sentryau2 Member

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    500$? Cold steel or musashi swords. You will NOT find a better blade, maybe something a bit more pretty but you wont find one stronger or more durable. Heck I had a 80$ "samurai special" musashi katana I used to hack up trees and what not. It wasent perfectly straight (it was bent at the tang before being hardend so there was no way to straighten it) I split wood with it, cut down fairly large trees (8inches in diameter) split bamboo, cut through steel tubing. I abused my katana ALOT, it collided with cinder blocks more than just a few times as well. I never actually broke the blade. I did snap the sheath during a form. The handle shattered only when I was doing a verticle cut into a log and only after going through the log and wedging into the oak base a good 4inches.
    All of that said, was it just as durable as my dojo's cold steel ko katana? possibly, would I bet money on it? No.
     
  13. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    rockhopper46038,

    I know Rick and he does excellent work, but there's nothing he makes that fits the OP's price range. Rick's least expensive blade, just the blade, is an order of magnitude higher in price than his $800 upper end price for a complete sword.
     
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