Posted On:1/06/2012 6:50pm
Style: Aikido and Iaijutsu
So I recently bought a cheap sword. It is full tang and, as far as I know, hand forged in a production forge. It is a Shinwa double-edged damascus sword. It has katana-styled mountings but a jian-type blade.
Anyway, back to the point. It is a pretty nice sword, but it was in the sub-$100 range. My issue is that the ito is loose and when I swing the sword, the ito slips. I was wondering if there is an effective way to stop the ito from slipping, aside from re-wrapping it. I'd rather not have to re-wrap it. Is there anything I can do, or do I just have to deal with it since it was a sub-$100 sword?
Posted On:1/06/2012 7:37pm
Style: French Smallsword
To my recollection Shinwa doesn't use "damascus" or "pattern welding" no matter what they or a retailer claims. Supposedly their "high end" (if you can call it that) uses forge folding and they advertise it as "damascus" but I won't go into that here. It sounds like one of their fantasy styled blades so if I recall they actually use a light epoxy on the ito to help secure it so that probably wore off but I'd be careful using epoxy on an ito.
Be very careful with those cheap swords even the ones that say "full tang" and "battle ready". It means nothing really in the end. If you have any suspicion and you're going to be swinging that thing around you should really be careful. Last thing you'll want is that breaking off the moment you accidentally or otherwise strike something.
Shinwa's higher line katana have been known to have a decent blade for the price they charge but their fittings have always been suspect and often at those price points other recommendations are made instead. For this reason a lot of retailers that deal in higher end stuff don't carry shinwa anymore unless they spend time to also cater to the internet anime crowd that wants a sword.
Unfortunately its sometimes more trouble than its worth to fix a sword that inexpensive and sometimes is just cheaper/more reliable to save money and check out some of the more expensive blade lines but you could always try rewrapping it although you didn't want to.
I'm sure I or others here would make recommendations for the future if you had a price point and knew what it was for (wall hanger, forms, cutting). You don't have to spend 10k on a Rick Barrett or a Howard Clark katana (though heavens knows I wish I could). Just remember, while there are deals out there, in general you get what you pay for.
Posted On:1/06/2012 7:46pm
Well yeah, I got a Musashi 1060, differentially hardened blade with really good furniture for $80. And yeah, I know the shinwa blade isn't damascus because it is forge folded. I know there is a difference. And yeah, I knew that it was a risk when I bought it, but I was in the market for something different, you know? I'm hoping I don't live to regret it :P
I know many would say that the Musashi katana is too cheap to be worth it, but for the price, it is great.
Posted On:1/06/2012 8:43pm
I didn't mean to insult your intelligence if you already knew some of this. A lot of people don't.
Shinwa is kinda like Musashi just not as good. Stick with Musashi at that price point.
Musashi I have mixed feelings on. The old 1060s were not differentially hardened then supposedly Musashi started differential hardening to add the hamon. The steel tends to be soft still though. I would be cautious with harder targets than water bottles due to its inconsistent heat treatment and would check the blade periodically for nicks. Ultimately it depends what you want it for. For sub 200$ it probably is one of the better blades out there though compared to higher end stuff it still can't hold a candle. But if you're spending under 200$ then its probably worth it. My personal preference is to buy 1 really good blade than ten cheap ones but many others love getting that deal and love having a lot of cheap but still reasonably working swords.
Posted On:1/06/2012 8:56pm
Oh no, I wasn't insulted at all, I was just saying that I do know, because of how little most people truly DO know about swords, especially around my age range. I completely understand why you would add the explanation :)
And yeah, Musashi is good for the price range, but definitely not the best. Someday, I really want a Cheness 9260 silicon alloy spring steel sword! For now, though, that is too expensive for me. I think I would also like a katana made of T-10 tool steel. My current dream sword, however, is a nagamaki.
Posted On:1/06/2012 9:28pm
The tenchi 9260 is only about 179$ at KoA (one of the best dealers for reproductions in my opinion). Sub 200 its pretty decent from my understanding.
Posted On:1/06/2012 9:36pm
Yeah, I've seen the sword buyer's guide reviews of cheness blades and they seem great!
Posted On:1/06/2012 9:37pm
And I agree that Kult of Athena has some great deals on blades, though their clothing is a bit pricey.
Posted On:1/06/2012 10:07pm
Just remember SBG, while a good resource, is focused primarily on the sub-300 range and seems to focus on cutting things, focusing less on historical accuracy and some (not all) of their members ignore actual handling in favor of something that can cut paper. Durability is a plus on that board as well. This is why you'll see on average some brands loved there but hated elsewhere. Many of their veteran reviewers have handled top quality stuff though and I trust their reviews, but there are those that have never handled anything out of the sub 200 range so take it with a grain of salt.
Last edited by BryanW; 1/06/2012 10:10pm at .
Reason: added clarification
Posted On:1/06/2012 10:14pm
Yeah, that is very true. For now, however, since it is cheaper, I am going to have to focus on function more than complete historical accuracy. Maybe when I have more money eventually, I can focus on historical value.
So as for the ito on my sword, I'll just have to deal with it since I don't want to re-wrap it then? I kinda figured, but I figured I'd ask.
Articles and Reviews
Tools and Info