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Michal Plezia
Industry Professional

Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2010 3:45 am    Post subject: Best 500$ katana - help needed.         Reply with quote


The friend of mine wants to buy a katana for his collection (price circa 500$). It has to be sharp and capable of cutting bottles, tatami etc...

I am not an expert in the far east weapons market so I need your help. I know that some decent swords can be bought on SBG sword store but they are under 300$ price range and my friend wants somenthing more...hmm fancy (natural hamon, silk, maybe even pattern welded steel).

Do you have any good propositions? Is it possible to buy a decent sword that was really made in Japan at this price?

Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
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Paul Hansen

Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2010 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not a katana expert in any way, but two things:
1) If you include shipping and taxes, a $300 sword bought outside the EU can easily become a $500 sword.
2) Some people feel that pattern welding and to a lesser also differential heat treatment have a seriously bad influence on the suitability (read safety) for a cutting blade, in the lower price classes.

With point 2, I'm only echoing what I've read on-line, so for what it's worth.
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Timo Nieminen

Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2010 3:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It might be worth asking on Sword Forum International's Modern Production Katanas forum, and is certainly worth reading past posts/threads there, as similar questions have been asked there many times.

Good blades can be had for under $200 shipped from China, easily for under $300 (not counting taxes), natural hamon, pattern-welded if that's your thing. To get good fittings as well can be more challenging. The various Hanwei katana are an option - consistent, and you can find reviews. It's possible to find something OK, good, or even excellent, at $400-$500, depending on how fussy one is about fittings.

A decent made-in-Japan sword at this price is another story.

A differentially hardened blade will have a harder edge, but will take a set more easily on a flubbed cut.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Harry J. Fletcher

Location: Lost in Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 13 Nov, 2010 3:42 pm    Post subject: Good service katanas         Reply with quote

There is an old saying that you can't have it all and it is true today as when it was first said. I have seen people who want turn assualt rifles and turn them into sniper rifles instead of just buying a purpose built rifle rifle. Same is true of a sword. You just cannot have a beater sword and a display sword all in one. There just ain't no such animal...but you can have a decent looking sword that will give good service and that is what I am going to discuss here.

First, I have very good cutting swords from Cheness, the SG, which means specialized goza cutter, and is a wide heavy blade. While good for cutting tatami omote or goza it is not really a bottle cutting sword though it can be used as such. Next, I have an Bujinkan Onniyuri, a really specialized katana for the creepy set with a blade just over 22.5 inches and a tsuka around 13 inches. Though not a Ninja I like this sword for cutting and it will cut bottles, milk jugs, and surprisingly light tatami targets very well. Oh yes, it is sharp as all hell and made of spring steel so it is very resilient and will not take a set. It is a very nice looking sword on display as well.

If you can find them, Hawei Shinto kantans are excellent bargains and very good looking display swords. The Shinto is a beautiful sword on display, with a differentially hardened blade, with a prominent hamon and sharp as a sharks tooth. The Shinto Elite is a heavier blade, somewhat wider, not quite as sharp but it is made for lots of heavy cutting. Drawbacks in my book are sharpening the blades. A monosteel blade of thru hardened steel blade is just as good a quality cutting blade and easier to sharpen.

Another recommendation I would make it to try SBG's custom Katanas and build your own from tsuka ito, wrap, color, saya color, etc. Check it out. A real bargain in my book.

Mike Sigman has a katana made by Albion for sale and might take a decent offer of around $1200 up and your friend can have his own display setting made. Just a thought.

To Study The Edge of History
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Glennan Carnie

Location: UK
Joined: 23 Aug 2006

Posts: 289

PostPosted: Sun 14 Nov, 2010 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As you're in Europe (and you've got a little more money to spend) try Nine Circles:

Over the years I've had many products from Nine Circles, and they've have always been of the finest quality.

Their shinken are an order of magnitude better than any of the other products I've seen at the price; and not a million miles away in quality to my Akamatsu Taro nihonto.
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