Yes, yes another katana choosing thread...

Discussion in 'Weapons' started by Mr.88, May 31, 2004.

  1. d33pthought

    d33pthought New Member

    you could easily make what I've heard called a 'redneck katana'. Basically, it's an appropriately long piece of rebar with a foot-long grip on one end. It won't break without trying, and it's heavy enough for a good training aid.

    Now, about getting a real sword..I'd avoid ordering off of ebay or catalogs, because you're making a decision based from a picture, and not the real thing, and the retail stores, which tend to be insanely expensive (saw an early rapier sell for 500 euros in a corner store). I'd suggest scanning the flea markets and yard sales. With luck, you'll find a decent sword for a much smaller price than it may otherwise command.

    How to know you've got a decently durable piece of sharpened steel in your hands:

    1. Bang the hilt/grip. If you hear a rattle, or any appreciable noise at all, the blade isn't secured very well into the pommel, or it's a rat-tail tang. Either of those isn't good news for a working sword.

    2. Swing it around hard. If anything comes off (ie: the blade), or if you hear any noise come from the sword that isn't the whistle of metal slicing through air, something may be loose, or poorly attatched.

    3. If the blade is chromed to prevent rusting, it's worth questioning. If it survives the first 2 tests, it's probably ok. I'd be cautious about cutting with it, though, since while stainless steel blades can be decent to swing, impacting anything may break or damage the sword.

    4. Look for any old rustmarks on the blade, if it's a carbon steel, or otherwise non-stainless steel. This is almost purely an indication whether the sword's been taken care of, or just been oiled up and left to sit. Also, extensive rusting, even if cleaned off, might weaken the blade.

    5. Swords with unusual blade design (like spikes coming out perpendicular to the spine, some flamberge types, etc) are often just for show. Same goes for any sword weighing in over 5 pounds that's bigger than a claymore (like the one Gibson used in Braveheart. That one's gotta be around 5lbs or so.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm by no means a sword-expert, and these guidelines are purely my own, used whenever I buy a sword. There are exceptions to most, if not all of these guidelines, except for 1 and 2.
  2. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    some great info on this thread.

    Me and the better half are looking for a katana, but probably won't get one until we get a house.

    Wanted it mainly for display as I'm not proficient in Japanese sword arts.

    I'm a bit unsure about ordering online, as from what I've heard from most people - you can't tell that much from a picture.

    Do people know of any stores in south UK that are worth visiting?
  3. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    What do you mean with display? That it's beeing used just for passing around? In that case it's irrelevant wether it's crap or not. You will get swords that loosen in the handel/crossguard (or what ever you katanalovers calls them pieces...) if you swing them around. -But if you do not wack it around, it will probably not be a problem...

    Well, bang it towards a machinegunbarrel, and I'll promise you that it will get destroyed! (The infamous and o-so-untrue rumor of MG-barrels beeing cut in WWII have wrecked more than one katana :rolleyes: You're all victims to hollywood and their misinformation. Smokers and fat people sue corporations en-masse; perhaps you have a chanse of suing Hollywood for misleading you all into believing that Katanas are magical lightsabre-material that is indestructable. If they were, US army would employ katanamakers for designing projectiles for your Abrahamses...)
  4. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    I'm surprised no-one picked up on this sooner, but hey, I'm just more observant than most apparently :p

    The "Samurai 3000" sword is featured on that site. The blurb that accompanies it is all to make it sound cool and futuristic, it doesn't really have a plasma charged blade that can cut through anything other than another blade of it's type...

    In other words, it's a wall hanger and nothing else! I doubt they really though anyone would think it was for anything else either ;)
  5. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Beware of ANY sword which is made from "440 Stainless" or "Stainless steel" I assure you as a student of Iaijutsu for ten years, that these weapons are nothing short of lethal... And not in the way you would imagine.

    Stainless Steel will hold a reasonable edge however they are very brittle, any contact with another blade or, within tamashigiri may (Highly likely) cause the blade to break... Again most likely at the habaki where the stress of the blade meets the tsuka.

    I have seen these blades break! They may be steel and may well be sharp but their worth fek all. Trust me on this one. Don't waste your money.

    Unfortunately, for £100 your not going to get much else I'm afraid, the cheapest Iaito (High quality zink alloy blade) is £150. It's a basic weapon, it cannot be used for contact or cutting (other than air) however for your money you will be getting a Japanese made weapon, not some immitation crud.

    The choice is yours of course, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder... What might look tacky cheap and nasty to me, might not to you so, choose wisely mate.

    Take a look at

    These guys sell nothing but genuine Japanese swords.

  6. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Actually mate.. your not quite correct.

    If you ever get the chance to visit the Victoria and Albert museum in London, you will see a Gendaito Katana mounted into WWII furniture. This sword was surrendered (taken) before the end of the war following a scurmish with British Troops the actual regiment's name escapes me.

    The officer carrying the sword cleaved a Lee Enfield .303 rifle in half just before he was shot and killed.

    Testimony enough in my book to the construction methods of a traditionally made shinken.

    Ever heard the phrase "Kabuto Wari" ? This means "Helmet Crusher/Splitter" certain shinken were specifically designed to be caperble if splitting open the helmet worn by Samurai. I've seen footage of Obata Toshihiro Sensei testing a modern (although traditionally made) shinken on an antique helmet... It split it wide open!

  7. K_Coffin

    K_Coffin New Member

    Good stuff Dave.....Well written again. While the Lee Enfield is not a machine gun, it is by no means a cheap piece of steel. I hunt with one, and they are well built and heavy. Mine was made in 1941, and has seen 4 years of military service and almost 60 years on a farm, with only one cleaning in those last 60 (Courtesy of me, last year). That damn rifle is almost impossible to hurt, and still shoots straight. I can personally guarantee that cutting through one of those would be damn hard, and would be an excellent testimonial to the cutting power of the Nihonto.

    Also, I'm backing up the Kabuto Wari. While I may not have seen footage of it's use, I do have personal accounts from trusted teachers and sources of it's effectiveness.

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