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Swords ?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by ezoeni, Dec 25, 2002.

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  1. ezoeni

    ezoeni Member

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    I want to get a sword, but I have clue one on what to look for. What are the right things to look for when buying a sword.

    The type Im thinking of is a thin blade like the Japanese Samurai swords.

    As far as cost it would have to be something minimal at first and then if the bug bites Ill spend more later on.

    Any links or info would be cool. Im just starting to look around now
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2002
  2. Schuey2002

    Schuey2002 Member

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  3. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    The flat-out weirdest Japanese-pattern swords made today are also probably the toughest made, possibly the toughest ever:

    http://www.himalayan-imports.com/sword.html

    The Everest Katana, from Kathmandu Nepal. Seriously. Genuine recycled Mercedes-Benz leaf spring (5160 spring steel, TOUGH stuff). Blades are patterned after a circa-1840s Edo period 26" Japanese blade (the real thing!) hanging on their wall. Grip design is a modified form of a Khukuri grip, about 500% tougher than original Japanese practice. Overall "feel" is surprisingly good, and a beginner flat will not break it. "Battle ready" doesn't even begin to describe these bad boys, they'll cut clean through any cheap stainless "Samurai Sword" without even slowing down. They're tougher than a Paul Chen blade (1060/1084 series steel). They just don't look real traditional :).

    There's a long story about how this came about :).

    Looks like they have three in stock (in Nevada):

    http://www.andale.com/stores/sf_cat...=7402588&mode=1&catId=1114243&psize=10&pnum=2

    Their basic model for $245 is one hell of a deal on a genuine combat-grade sword of any type:

    http://www.andale.com/stores/sf_itemHome.jsp?foo=bar&sid=95360&cid=7402588&lid=26123488&mode=1

    These critters have no "hamon" (visible temper line) whatsoever. But there IS a "differencial temper" applied, with a harder edge and softer spine. A "Japanese sword purist" would be simply horrified at one of these, 'cept they perform like nothing this side of the $5,000 mark!

    One thing: I recommend buying one that has an "oval grip" versus round. The $245 piece in stock is an oval profile, dunno about the others. Drop Bill Martino a line through the EMail link on the first URL above (http://www.himalayan-imports.com/).

    HI is basically the best blacksmith shop in Nepal, BAR NONE.
     
  4. Triad

    Triad Member

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    Sword Forum International is a good place to look for info. Like you I'm starting to look into the world of swords, and SFI seems to be the TFL of the sword world. The folks at the forum are really friendly and willing to answer questions. Check it out, I think you'll like it.
     
  5. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Fun hobby! :cool:

    I'd suggest giving Western swords a look, as well, especially later, more evolved forms of hand-and-a-half swords and rapiers.
     
  6. Jim V

    Jim V Member

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    Look at ATLANTA CUTLERY for a selection of knives, swords, dirks, etc.

    I don't have any of their swords but bought one of their "Bowie" knives that is a pip.
     
  7. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    There's a great Web resource on swords, but I don't remember what it's called.

    It had a good selection on selecting swords and the pitfalls about selecting the wrong one for your purpose. If that's just for hanging on the wall, no problem, but if you're intending it for use as a weapon, there are some selection criteria you should consider.

    I'd do some serious research before buying one.

    As I remember, this site sold every type of long knife you can name, plus all types and brands of short ones as well.
     
  8. ShaiVong

    ShaiVong Member

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    Katanas are cool. I'm more of a Western sword man myself. I have one spring steel 2H broadsword, and I'm pretty happy with it.

    For some nice swords, check out

    www.christianfletcher.com

    They also make some nice battle-ready plate too, if your planning on completing the look :)

    I have gauntlets, pauldrons and full plate arms from the site, and I couldnt be more pleased with the quality.:cool:
     
  9. ezoeni

    ezoeni Member

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    Thanks a bunch for the info. I knew Id get some straight out responces here. I found a few of these places last night Ill look at the rest tonight.

    Thanks again

    And happy holidays
     
  10. aikidoka-mks

    aikidoka-mks Member

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    I will have to second the comment that Sword Forum International seems to be the TFL of the sword world. Everything from Japanese to Western swords that Tamara mentioned. They have links to bladesmiths and others along with their forums. They test and evaluate swords also. You will also learn the difference between a real sword and a decorative wall hanger.

    If you want a good japanese style sword that you can bang around without worrying about destroying an antique then try
    http://www.kriscutlery.com/ excellent beginner swords there - real ones not just wall hangers.

    Mark
     
  11. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Kris Cutlery is very similar to Himilayan Imports, in that both are doing handmade spring-steel blades. Both are quite good.

    The Everest Katana is something special though :). Basically, the Khukuri-derived grip actually balances correctly because it's a "stick tang" running lengthwise through a cylindrical wood grip, pinned at the butt and floating in epoxy. It has impressive recoil-absorbing properties, it's fairly light and it's tough as nails...and the total tang weight and overall blade heft is similar to Japanese practice.

    Kris' answer is a full-width, full-length tang with two pinned-on wood "grip panels". It's tough all right, but the balance is way funky.

    Both are made out of 5160 spring steel. Either one is excellent stuff...but the HI has "soul". Browse around the HI site and you'll see what I mean :).
     
  12. ezoeni

    ezoeni Member

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    Jim -

    "There's a long story about how this came about :)."


    So is this story online someplace? This looks like what Im after. Can this sword be razor sharp it looks like it can. And the price is right.

    Thanks for sending this
     
  13. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    OK, "the story".

    First though, I checked out the Kris website, haven't seen it in a while. They now have a $750 high-end Japanese-pattern sword that WILL balance more like a Japanese original. My comments above on "funky balance issues" applies to their lower-end pieces, not that high-end jobbie.

    Right.

    About...<scratches head and counts on fingers>...seven years ago, I decided I wanted a battle-ready sword of Japanese type. So I headed for the nearest gun show, and found a nice-condition Japanese *blade only* for $300, purported to be early 20th Century when the Japanese ramped up sword production both for new military officers and as part of a "revival of the Bushido spirit", sort of the "psychological prep for WW2". The edge was straight, it was slightly discoloured but no rust, and I figured I'd be able to homebrew up a grip and leather sheath myself. Blades of that era and type don't have a whole lot of collector value.

    So about a year later, I was just getting around to building the mounting hardware, and showed it to a friend who'd spent some time in Japan and knew some Japanese. By luck, he'd spent time in Kyoto, and new the character for the city plus some of the history of the area.

    In examining the tang marks, he found the mark for Kyoto, but then got all excited...because the character was in reverse from modern practice.

    The town's name was reversed after the Shogun's defeat at Kyoto in 1864 I think it was? Rather a memorable time in Japanese history - basically, the Portugese figured the Shogun was a psycho, armed the Emperor in Tokyo with 10,000 muskets and watched as he eventually piled about 10,000 Samurai heads in a big pile in Kyoto, where the Shogun had been. Note past tense, his head was somewhere in the pile. To mark the occasion, they changed the town's name (you'da thunk the big pile of heads at the Shogun's old castle would have been enough :rolleyes: ).

    Point is, that marked my blade as being genuine Edo (late Bushido era) period - a real "Samurai sword". It also had a feature not found on various imitations, a "battle bulge" where the spine just behind the tip flares out and makes for a tougher, armor-piercing tip. That and the fact that the tang hole for the grip pin was punched versus drilled further verified it's originality.

    Great. Just great. I didn't *WANT* an antique. Proper mounting hardware and scabbard would have run $2,000 minimum, at which point I'd have something worth at least $3,000 or more. But still a wall-hanger.

    Sigh.

    Well I sat on it for a while, and then a roommate stole it :mad:. I finally found out where it went years later, and demanded it back - I got it alright, but the damnfool had stored it tip-down in a closet and the last 1/4" of the tip rusted <grrr!!!>. So now I had to add a $900 polish job to what it needed, at which point I'd barely break even if that.

    Meanwhile got ahold of one of Bill Martino's Khukuris, a nice 21" overall "combat type", longer and skinnier than the Ang Khola "utility pattern", and was very impressed with their craftsmanship.

    I talked to Bill Martino more, and found out more of his story. He had gone to Nepal as a younger dude in the Peace Corps and had gone "very native", converting to Bhuddism, marrying into a Ghurka family, etc :). He later came back to the US (Reno, NV) with his wife. He acts as an importer for his father-in-law back in Khathmandu, who had the best blacksmith shop in Nepal. They hand-picked the best smiths, put in power tools, and paid VERY high commission prices for some of the best Nepalese-style to come out since the 1800s.

    So I heard that Bill's Nepalese father-in-law, the shop owner/foreman was coming over to Reno to visit his family. I talked to Bill and got myself invited over, and told 'em I'd be bringing a "special surprise".

    Yup. You guessed it. It's my old blade hanging in the shop wall in Nepal that is the pattern for the Everest Katana. I sat down with Bill and his pop-in-law in Reno where we drew out the design for the grip, tsuba and sheath, and it was in the pop's checked baggage back to Nepal.

    What I got out of it was the very first Everest Katana. In the "weird but cool" department, they kinda screwed up and did TWO Tsubas (round handguards), one at EACH END of the grip! That matches typical Nepalese sword practice, but it's quite peculiar on a Japanese sword. When Bill got that first one into Reno he explained the blooper but, you know, it's kinda cool that way and nobody else has anything quite like it :).

    Anyways. After that, Bill got it into their heads that there's only supposed to be one guard, just behind the blade :).

    They rock, either way :). Bill has a 40" overall length limit for shipping so a 26" blade and 12" grip plus a bit extra for the sheath tip works out just fine. You don't need longer, even if you're my height (6'4").
     
  14. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Oh, and they COME razor sharp :).

    Note: other than that first Everest Katana, I make nothing more off of this. And I feel I came out of the whole thing just fine, because I finally got what I wanted in the first place :D.
     
  15. ezoeni

    ezoeni Member

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    you just didnt write all that on a 2002 christmas night did you?

    If you did .... thanks I passed it on to a few a palls
     
  16. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Sigh. I did. No family inside of 1,000 miles. Just a boring night, for me :).

    Oh well. Anyways, that's how we ended up with Japanese swords coming out of Nepal :D.

    Out of curiousity, I went to the HI forum on Bladeforums.com and did a search in the HI forum on the word "Katana". Seems like some of the blacksmiths (Kamis) are tending towards a "straighter blade", but otherwise very "Japanesque". They've also been doing some of their own native Tatar blades with Japanese-style Tsubas :). So there's all kinds of funky "blendings" of styles going on over there. If you want one with a more traditional curve, drop Bill a line, he'll either pass on a request or keep his eyes open for what you want.

    You have to understand that sometimes things go weirdly wrong over there :). For a classic, hilarious example, see also:

    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=235310 - pull up the pics of the tragic beast that resulted :D. (The explanation is obvious: Khukuris are measured in overall length, versus blade length, so when they specified an 18" blade they got 18" *overall*. Wonder what'll happen to "stubby"?)

    If they didn't have a blade pattern to work off of on the Katana project, God(s) only knows what we'd have gotten. Nepalese swords normally run to much heavier blade patterns.
     
  17. Invisible Swordsman

    Invisible Swordsman Member

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    You're getting some good advice here. Swordforum.com is definitely the best overall resource on the net for sword information. Many of the leading swordsmiths post there, and you'll get lots of information and opinions. Take advantage of it and you'll save a lot of needless expense and frustration buying poor quality swords. Another site is Netsword, but it's not as active as Swordforum.

    I'll second Jim March's opinion on Himalayan Imports and Kris Cutlery for low cost but tough products. I own several HI khukuries, and they are fantastic values. I'm more interested in European swords than Japanese styles, but I would not hesitate to buy the Everest Katana if I wanted that type of sword.

    Some other good sources for quality swords are:

    Arms & Armor www. armor.com
    Albion Armourers www.albionarmorers.com
    Lutel www.lutel.cz
    Angus Trim Swords available through various retailers
    Armour Class www.armourclass.com
    Del Tin (various dealers)
    The above are all European style production swords. Cold Steel swords are getting some good reviews, and they offer Japanese style swords. There are also a number of custom swordsmiths, but they get quite pricey.

    Take some time and do your homework. You'll be a lot happier with the end result if you do.

    Mark
     
  18. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Cold Steel has an interesting fully functional replica of one of the last US-produced-and-issued swords, the US Navy "boarding cutlass" of 1917. 22" blade in blue steel, tip looks a lot like a classic WW2 KaBar Marine fighting knife (sorta "Bowie-esque" with the last 2" or so of blade double-edge). They use 1084 steel, which is a good classic medium-carbon steel...doesn't have the edgeholding of more modern tool steels like the M2/A2/D2 family but it's not as brittle. Same as what Paul Chen and company use on their Japanese-pattern, Chinese-made swords (but not as good as 5160 auto leaf and coil spring steel!).

    Last I heard Cold Steel wants $200 for it; damned fine one-handed close quarters weapon. Remember that the Japanese considered the 18" blade length Wakizashi the *primary* weapon when indoors, versus the Katana. The Wakizashi wasn't just a "backup" to the bigger piece, if it was they'd have just carried two Katanas.

    Trivia question: what was the year in which the US military used the *sword* as the primary weapon in a battle? Hint: it was that same model 1917 cutlass involved, so you know it had to be then or later. There's a damned good story THERE :).
     
  19. Sylvilagus Aquaticus

    Sylvilagus Aquaticus Member

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    just a couple of my bookmarks.

    http://www.angelsword.com
    Handmade goodies; pricey, but top quality. Nice photos.

    http://www.museumreplicas.com
    A division of Atlanta Cutlery. Nice catalog available. Indian Mfg. for the most part, but they look really good and they're better than average and the prices are for the most part, fair. Nice variety of European designs from various periods.

    Regards,
    Rabbit.


    No country can act wisely simultaneously in every part of the globe at every moment of time. - Henry Kissenger.
     
  20. George Hill

    George Hill Member

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    Interesting thread.

    Confession: I love swords.
    But no, I don't own any.

    I've studied them in depth... and someday I may start a collection. Easily done as examples are often much cheaper than guns!

    Cold Steel is makign a lot of swords now. One if them is a MUST HAVE. The Scottish Broadsword. I also love that cutlas mentioned above.
     
  21. bobs1066

    bobs1066 Member

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    HI is a class outfit. There is a 20" slicer & dicer from their shop sitting on the bookcase behind me as I type this.

    On the general subject of swords, once in a while on eBay you can pick up a real USN Model 1917 cutlass at a decent price (ie, less than $200). It is the last sword bought by the US military that was actually intended for combat use.

    I've bought a couple of British toad stickers from Michael D. Long. They sell on eBay & also thru
    www.michaeldlong.net . Lots of 19th Century European stuff. There is a Pattern of 1908 cavalry sabre in my living room that could probably be driven thru a phone pole without bending the blade. I'm stretching the blanket only slightly.

    Repo swords can be very cool, but originals can't be beat for character....

    ;)
     
  22. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    The last time the sword was the primary US weapon in a battle was in 1942.

    A US destroyer depth-charged a U-Boat to the surface. The US Captain got on a bullhorn and told the Germans he'd machine-gun their lifeboats if they scuttled the sub - in German, mind you.

    So most of the German seamen were on deck with their hands up. The real Nazis among the officers were below trying to pull the drainplugs, and some German sailors were already trying to stop 'em.

    The US Captain issued 1917 cutlasses to a Marine boarding party, took away their guns, and told 'em to capture that sub intact with no gunfire. They succeeded, probably in part because it was a 3-way fight versus 2-way.

    Why did the US Captain do this?

    To protect the piece of machinery they wanted intact - a German "Enigma" cryptography (code) machine.

    Now you have some clue why the US Gov't is constantly being such a pain on encryption software.

    They take codes *seriously*.

    (Swords, connected to PGP? You betcha!)
     
  23. Soap

    Soap Member

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    Anything that is stainless steel is tres horrible. I would suggest going with a Angus Trim if you're going to go Western. And a Bugei or higher end Hanwei if you want to go Eastern. Also, try to spend a lot of time at http://www.swordforum.com
     
  24. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

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    Jim, for the life of me, I can't figure out why they don't just shorten the grip on that "camp sword." It still wouldn't be what he ordered, but with a shorter grip (just pop the scales, cut the tang and scales down, re-affix the scales, and add the same type of pommel) it would be a fine bowie/hunter rather than a loss.
    Ah well.

    I love the cutlass, I just have too many other things I have to pay for first. If anyone's ever wondered, the front end of a '95 Camaro is a lot less sturdy than the back bumper of an '86 Chevy pickup. The good news is that the pickup is undamaged, but the plastic fender and nose on the Camaro look like I took an axe to 'em. My wife is not amused.
     
  25. Flatfender

    Flatfender Member

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    a second on Cold Steel

    Jim Marsh has it right. Cold Steel has some nice swords IF you want to actually use them. Priced pretty good too. Real collectible swords are to expensive to use and the cheap ones are useless. The Cold Steel ones aren't wall hangers.
     
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