Need help with japanese swords

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Hez

Well-Known Member
Just some advice really, I've been reading up on care and everything before buying, but still have some questions.

Firstly, how simple a job is it to change a tsuba? Is it simply a case of knocking the pins that secure the tang to the hilt out, and everything comes apart from there?

Cleaning...Is it more difficult to clean a sword with a bo-hi? I also remember reading (on the old RPF, probably years ago) that it was a bad idea to display a sword in its saya, is this correct? I've read nothing to either contradict or confirm this.

Sorry if I've used incorrect terminology for anything...still learning.

Thanks in advance for any help. :)
 

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Minder Thr33

Sr Member
I've never changed a tsuba so I can't comment on this, but leaving a sword in its saya is not really a good idea b/c it locks in any moisture inside, especially bad in dry/wet climate areas.

Which sword were you looking at, just out of curiosity?
 

Wakal

Well-Known Member
Bo-hi is not harder to clean; it is harder to polish but that is a whole different game.

I've never had a tsuba "drop in", and I've fit close to fifty over the years. The hilt should be held on by one or two wooden pins (unless you get a Chen Practical, in which case...epoxy...), and will come off as more or less one piece. Needle file work on the guard for sure, and maybe seppa (spacers) depending if the new guard is thinner than the old guard. Swapping isn't hard; like everything else go slow and check for fit often.

Storage in a real saya isn't a problem. I don't have any old swords, but my less-new blade has been in a saya for close to a hundred years now and looks fine.

I've had a lot of happy customers with the Cold Steel katana line; I've been using a Warrior (with a CAS "Dancing Crane" tsuba) for cutting practice for the last two years, and can say that I'm not just a happy dealer, I'm a happy customer.




Alex
 

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Gigatron

Sr Member
Originally posted by Wakal@Feb 13 2006, 03:25 PM
Bo-hi is not harder to clean; it is harder to polish but that is a whole different game.

I've never had a tsuba "drop in", and I've fit close to fifty over the years.  The hilt should be held on by one or two wooden pins (unless you get a Chen Practical, in which case...epoxy...), and will come off as more or less one piece.  Needle file work on the guard for sure, and maybe seppa (spacers) depending if the new guard is thinner than the old guard.  Swapping isn't hard; like everything else go slow and check for fit often.

Storage in a real saya isn't a problem.  I don't have any old swords, but my less-new blade has been in a saya for close to a hundred years now and looks fine.

I've had a lot of happy customers with the Cold Steel katana line; I've been using a Warrior (with a CAS "Dancing Crane" tsuba) for cutting practice for the last two years, and can say that I'm not just a happy dealer, I'm a happy customer.




Alex
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So reading about all these katanas have piqued my interest. What is cutting practice? And how sharp are these cold steel warrior series? Are we talking 'can cut through paper like nobody's business" sharp or "falls on your arm, arm falls on the floor" sharp?


I've seen them (cold steel warrior) selling for about $330. Is that good, too high, average? Is this the line that you carry? Any discounts for us lowly RPFers?

Right now, I have a couple of those katanas that were "found" in china. They look old and they only sell for $10 with $50 shipping. Authenticity is questionable at best. I mean it's possible they are pre-WWII issue (Japanese occupation of China era) and the chinese are just trying to get rid of them on the cheap. They certainly aren't hundreds of years old. But possibly between 60 and 80.

But I would like 1 decent katana in my collection. Affordable, but can still cut (not that I have anything to cut, but I'd like that option).

Any help would be appreciated.

-Fred
 

Wakal

Well-Known Member
The purists don't like the CS kat's, even though they come from the same factory in China as the CAS Iberia versions (and some of the big "US" companies who sell functional katanas for rather a lot of money), because they are through-hardened instead of zone-hardened. With the difference in modern (vs. old school) metalurgy, there isn't a spit's worth of difference in performance. According to the real (bladesmith) experts, that is. Lots of good information out there; just avoid the "real Japanese swords can cut through machine gun barrels" crap. Good descriptions of real knife fighters taking on the might of the Japanese war machine hand-to-hand can be found in interesting books like "Ayo Gurkali" and "The Steadfast Gurka". Little men with curved knives killed a lot of little men with curved swords.

Anyway, back to the question.

A Warrior katana from Cold Steel retails for $550. Dealer is usually $249, although I see that some folks have them on special for near Distributor cost of $199.

A Imperial katana from Cold Steel (the same sword as the Warrior, but with a highly polished blade) retails for $879; $439 dealer/$379 distributor.

Compared to the CAS line...I've had a Musashi for a long time, and although the tuska is a bit longer than I like I'm a sucker for bo-hi. The CAS blades (all the regular steel swords) are all going for $350/dealer. The folded steel (actually made from Swedish powdered steel; very good stuff) blades vary between the low end (in the line) blades like the Tiger for six hundred, to the Kami for nine-fifty.

Cutting tradionally involves tatami mats, although I can't find them as cheap in the US as I could when I was living (and training) in Japan. Most folks use the rice "beach mats" from Walmart; usually just rolled up wet, tied, and allowed to dry...the purists will roll them around a piece of bamboo first. Stand the mat up and cut. I'm a novice at the art, and my best is doubles. The easy double is a upward cut at an angle, then reverse the blade travel and cut the already cut-off piece in half. A good hand with a sword can do a lot more...I've seen six before the first hit the floor.

A really good guy with a decent blade...uses an open tube of newspaper. Technique on tatami can be a bit sloppy and work, but newspaper has to be perfect or the tube collapses. Scary stuff.

Anyway, the CS and CAS swords come fairly sharp (and ready to cut) out of the box. With proper edge geometry (in any of several basic patterns), sharpening a katana is a function of the polish rather than, say a user-applied knife edge bevel. The cutting edge starts about the middle to upper third and rolls all the way through to the actual business edge. Neat stuff.

There are folks a lot more "into" Japanese swords than I am, here on the board. I have a fair "world-wide" collection of swords and edged weapons, with just a few Japanese and Japanese-style pieces. I also do cutting with European weapons :)



Alex
 

Phayze

Well-Known Member
Cool thread, and very informative. Thanks for sharing, Alex. :)

I love japanese swords, but I'm mainly a stage fighter so I avoid sharp edges whenever possible - If I'm gonna pay several hundred clams for a sword, I want to swing it at someone :D.

I'm a huge fan of Starfire Swords. I have a euro broadsword that I like real well for one-handed use (despite it's insanely long grip), and I'm saving up for one of thier katanas for two-handed fighting. I'll probably try to get a wakizashi to go with it eventually, but on my income that'll be a while off. ;)
 

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Hez

Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Lukes Roommate@Feb 13 2006, 08:31 PM
Bugei has a sword forum, with all their experts chiming in there. It's a good place to find the info you need.
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Yes, but I wanted to post and start reintroducing myself around here. :)

Thanks for the info Alex.

Hey Apollo, whats the sword like in the metal? How long did it take for you to get it from them, if you don't mind me asking...?
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don't understand your question are you asking about the Hada?

It took about 3 days to get mine as they had them in stock.
 

Hez

Well-Known Member
No no, just what is the sword like generally...I've only seen the pictures, you've held one in your hands, drawn it from its saya, hung it on the wall, that kind of thing. :)
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
It's Sweet.. I was surprised at the weight of it, Mine has no Bo-Hi.

Imo its very well-made for the Price.

I keep mine in its Saya wrapped in a Sword bag in my Weapons bag that I carry to the Dojo.
 

Sumatra

Sr Member
Alex, my Iaido sensei picked up a CS tanto just to see what the quality was like. They're quite impressive for the price. The ito was pretty low quality, but even if you had it wrapped in a nice silk ito it would still be a great deal. These seem to be a really good way to get started without damaging a $1500+ sword. I was really impressed by the video of them bending the blades in a vice and then letting it return to shape without any warping.

Out of curiosity, where have you seen them going for $199? The cheapest I've seen is $275.
 

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Gigatron

Sr Member
Thanks for the info, Alex :thumbsup .

And I second what Sumatra asked. Where are they for $199? I'd pick one up for that price.

-Fred
 

Wakal

Well-Known Member
One of my dealer catalogs has them on special for $199, or did last month (the mail over here is a bit slow).

I agree (on the wrap); they are functional but nothing special, and the fittings are good but again, nothing special. However, they are full-up (dismountable) fully functional swords delivered sharp out-of-the-box. Decent balance, good mechanics, and hell for strong. Cold Steel also has a line of basket hilts coming out; I'll be in for one of those.

I need to get back into wrapping hilts; I'd like to redo my CS Warrior in black ray with gray silk instead of the factory off-white rayskin with black cotton. That would, however, be like work :)



A
 

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