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Josh Wilson

Location: WV
Joined: 01 Nov 2010
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Fri 13 May, 2016 3:52 pm    Post subject: Sokojikara Katana Review         Reply with quote

There are two katanas in the Sokojikara line. Both are $299. Normally I wouldn't go for a katana in this price range, but I liked that it's T10 steel as opposed to the 1040-1065 carbon steel that you normally see swords made out of in this range. I also liked the longer handle than the 10" you normally see on swords. I purchased this one:

"It just doesn't get any better than the Sokojikara Clay Tempered Bamboo Katana. You are getting 28 1/3” of sheer beauty and power in a blade. The process of clay tempering this T10 carbon steel blade gives it the strength and flexibility, which is the hallmark of a high-quality sword. Through this differential hardening process, clay is used to create the difference in temperature on the edge and the spine of the blade to achieve a blade that is a masterpiece of perfection. The handle is ray skin and cord-wrapped in a soft brown. The katana is further elevated by the keen attention to detail in the iron tsuba’s design and features a brass blade clip and menuki. Its perfection is completed with the bamboo-colored wooden saya that sheaths the incredible blade. It is 41 1/3” in overall length."

The specs on the sword I received are:

Blade length: 28 5/8"
Blade width at habaki: 1 5/16"
Spine width at habaki: 5/16"
Spine width at tip: 1/4"

Handle length: 11 5/8"
Handle width: 1 1/2"

Overall length: 40 3/8"

The handle is wrapped in real ray skin. The tsuba, fuchi and koshira are all cast steel. The menuki and shoto-dome are brass. The blade has a real and beautiful hamon, but it is not as polished and pronounced as on other swords.I have not removed the tsuka to look at the tang, but the sword is double pegged, and judging by how far down the second mekugi is, I'd say it's substantial. The habaki fits VERY tight in the days. The koiguchi is of water buffalo horn, and the kurigata is of the same wood the saya is made from. I'm not sure what the wood is, I would guess maple...? The sageo is a polyester material and of a proper length to secure the sword in your obi for iaido practice.

The sword is a bit blade heavy, but I like the heft for cutting. I cut some bamboo with it, and it did pretty well (though, the bamboo was still very green... I hope to practice on some more dried pieces, and tatami mats in the near future.) I purchased this sword for the purpose of using it in martial arts and am quite pleased with it. If someone is looking for a sword to practice iaido or tameshigiri, I would recommend this over other swords in its price range.

Last edited by Josh Wilson on Tue 17 May, 2016 8:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tyler Jordan

Joined: 15 Mar 2004

Posts: 104

PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2016 2:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chinese Nihontos can really run the range, but $299 is right where you can start seeing some real value for practical swords, provided you find the good makers.
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Troy Nielsen

Location: Washington State
Joined: 29 Mar 2019

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue 02 Apr, 2019 6:51 pm    Post subject: Turbulent Blue         Reply with quote

I have purchased their 'Turbulent Blue' model, and must agree with the quality of this piece. I removed the tsuka, and tang indeed goes down the length. My only issue was that it was not up to my expectations on it's sharpness. Though, IMO, if you are big into this kind of hobby, sharpening/polishing a fine blade should be no mystery to you, and if it is, you should remedy that. With all the vastness of tutorials, and videos, and products to maintain and polish a blade, it's a no brainer.

I will be sharpening the edge to something I respect, and begin my testing of it then. Then I will know the true quality of this producer.
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Troy E Schmidt

Location: United States
Joined: 14 Mar 2020

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar, 2020 7:35 am    Post subject: how is it holding up?         Reply with quote

I have ordered one of these swords last week, and am awaiting its arrival.

This is the only review that I've found. I was wondering if you still have the sword, and how it's lasted?

Did it bend? Did it chip? If so, do you feel that the bends or chips are well earned and do not represent flaws or poor quality?

How does it hold an edge?

Do you have a better sword? can you compare? a worse sword?

here is the link to the sword I ordered.
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Troy Nielsen

Location: Washington State
Joined: 29 Mar 2019

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun 15 Mar, 2020 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ironic, two Troy's on a Sokojikara post... what are the odds?

Sadly, I have not been able to test it, or polish it sharper than it is now and test it again. It is my first t10 steel sword, and i've been very eager, but, due to circumstances with work/living, I am now in an apartment, and there are little, if no places for me to go to practice my cutting anymore, let alone walk to said space with an armful of swords from my collection!

As far as initial impressions, the sword is quality. It is heavier, bulkier, and much more stout than most other katana's I have purchased in the past. I am ruthless with my testing though, to the point of destroying most of the swords I end up buying...

That being said, musashi, and obviously shinwa are far worse in quality, edge, material, etc. I've not had one of either of those brands meet up to my expectations or hopes. Though I've never spent a decent amount on a Musashi, perhaps after this bitter taste in my mouth has left from the last swords of theirs I have purchased, I will attempt it again...

Better? Absolutely. I cannot say enough good things about Hanwei/Cas Iberia swords. Though I have only ever tested 3, they have been exemplary in all things I have tested. Tatami, sticks, trees, bamboo, cardboard, fruit, etc. Impact resistance, and springiness to absorb shape-changing damage, it's all there...

Particularly their Ninja-to. A lot of stipulation and historical accuracy debate on these things aside, what that sword is makes historical accuracy a moot point. I'm certain that they are a wonderful sword, and will purchase more. Currently, in my limited capabilities, I am putting mine into a hand made shirasaya, as I love the elegant simplicity of them. I have rewrapped the tsuka, and changed out the menuki a few times, tried several wrap variants, material, styles, etc. But I feel a straight bladed ninja-to looks much more, hmm, discreet? Classy? Elegant? Some connotation of those elements...

Hanwei Practical Shinobi Ninjato get my full seal of approval. Another highly recommended manufacturer to pursue is Katana1980 on ebay. A few stats worth nothing: 6488 sales, 100% positive feedback (an unbelievable feat in of itself), and has been online since 2003.

I purchased only one sword from them so far. A custom Odachi, shirasaya, nothing fancy. But I did pay more for a sharpened/polished blade, and two mekugi instead of one, as I feel a blade that large, that heavy, pretty much required the extra level of security. That sword is 1060 differentially treated steel, and though I bought it maybe 10 or more years ago, I keep it beyond razor sharp, polished and pristine, and still use it whenever I get the chance.

The perk of Katana1980 is their customization options. Steel, ornamentation, types and styles of blades, it's all there, in abundance. It's build a bear workshop for serious swords. Pretty unreal.

Aside from that, these days I am leaning more towards t10 steels, and spring steels, as they just seem to take the abuse better and return to true easier. As we both know, a sword is only as good as it's materials and construction, so, it's more important to find a reputable manufacturer than get hung up on a specific material, style, or design.

I hope this helps, and, for what it's worth, I will be doing business with Sokojikara again. Couldn't be happier with my 'Turbulent Blue,' but until further testing, I cannot accurately rate it at this time, other than what is obvious about it's construction, composition, and claims of what it is. I have removed the tsuka, and inspected and cleaned the blade a few times (monthly inspections/maintenance). But it is beefier than most other's I've had.
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