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Posted: 9/7/2010 5:54:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 8:16:44 PM EDT by Zaphod]
My wife and I are planning a trip to Japan next year. She has a cousin who lives there who will make our visit a little easier.

Anyway, one of the things I definitely want to bring back is an authentic (which is to say properly-made, not legitimate antique) samurai sword. There are several places where the Masters continue to make them by hand in the old way, with all the accompanying quality and mystique.

So my question is, what should I be on the lookout for, and does anyone know if there are any handles available other than the traditional cross-weave-over-sharkskin style?

In the meantime, I am scouring the web to learn more about this. I will be spending more on this than on any gun I've ever owned (more like any three combined), and just want to be sure I know what I'm getting into.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 5:57:39 PM EDT
Anxious to see who's proud of knowing a lot about Japanese sword-making, which is also a serious admission of the lack of pussy in your teenage years that would lead you to study such things.

I can tell you how to get a girl's panties around her ankles with Boone's Farm and a Journey record, but sadly not much about katanas.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 5:59:50 PM EDT
Well, if Steyr were still here.....
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:00:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By swingset:
Anxious to see who's proud of knowing a lot about Japanese sword-making, which is also a serious admission of the lack of pussy in your teenage years that would lead you to study such things.

I can tell you how to get a girl's panties around her ankles with Boone's Farm and a Journey record, but sadly not much about katanas.


Please elaborate further.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:01:10 PM EDT
IBDKProf
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:01:33 PM EDT
I believe DK-Prof has knowledge of traditional Japanese edged weapons.

Jane
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:01:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 6:03:09 PM EDT by Matthew_Q]
Yeah, I know this. An authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:01:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:01:47 PM EDT
Reply of the year right there

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:02:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rayman70:
Originally Posted By swingset:
Anxious to see who's proud of knowing a lot about Japanese sword-making, which is also a serious admission of the lack of pussy in your teenage years that would lead you to study such things.

I can tell you how to get a girl's panties around her ankles with Boone's Farm and a Journey record, but sadly not much about katanas.


Please elaborate further.


You two get your own thread!
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:02:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Well, if Steyr were still here.....

It's not like he's dead.


I don't keep track of our dearly departed across the internet.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:02:55 PM EDT
Look up Swordbuyersguide.com Should be a start.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:03:40 PM EDT
I believe I remember cmjohnson posting at length about Japanese sword making at on point
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:03:58 PM EDT
I see a lot of Japanese guys at gun shows buying Japanese swords to take back to Japan. They don't buy the WW2 military issue stuff, but only the real high-quality handmade blades from the 19th century and earlier.

Two things I have heard about Japanese swords in Japan:

(1) They're expensive as hell. The Japanese view them as art objects that belong in Japan.

(2) Even if you find one that you can afford, you need a special permit to possess it.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:04:08 PM EDT
Tag in case you bring back something cooool.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:04:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 6:05:19 PM EDT by Harvey041]
All I know is don't ever touch the blade with a bare hand. So I was told.

And they are expensive as fuck for a real one.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:04:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 6:05:07 PM EDT by metalsaber]
stupid double post
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:04:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Yeah, I know this. And authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.


Yep.

They range from $19.99 to almost $1 million, depending how much authenticity you want.

Since I can't go anywhere near five figures, I'll have to stick to the mid-fours. A very functional, durable, and authentic blade can be had for that, although it won't be winning any artistic contests, which suits me fine.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:05:03 PM EDT
If you're paying less than $3000 for it, it's not authentic.
If you pick it up and you don't have an instant connection to the hamon, don't buy it.
I'm sure there are other types of handles, but the traditional silk over rayskin is what you want. The blade will outlast 50 handles.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:05:23 PM EDT
Any real one made in Japan by a reputable smith has to be registered as they are only allowed to make a certain amount in a given time period.

Oh, and it will cost you lots of cash.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:05:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Harvey041:
All I know is don't ever touch the blade with a bare hand. So I was told.

And they are expensive as fuck for a real one.


Only silk or the body of an enemy.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:06:35 PM EDT
I've never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express...


...but I HAVE seen Kill BIll.

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:06:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By swingset:
Anxious to see who's proud of knowing a lot about Japanese sword-making, which is also a serious admission of the lack of pussy in your teenage years that would lead you to study such things.

I can tell you how to get a girl's panties around her ankles with Boone's Farm and a Journey record, but sadly not much about katanas.


I'm supposed to accept "love making" advice from some random guy from Ohio on the interweb.
























Just kidding!
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:06:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 6:07:23 PM EDT by Mattl]
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Yeah, I know this. An authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.


Modern materials and manufacture can give you a working tool/weapon comparatively cheaply.

Cheness 9260

Tool steel Katana

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:06:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By metalsaber:
Tag in case you bring back something cooool.


I will definitely be posting pics when (and if) I score a good one.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:06:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By metalsaber:
Tag in case you bring back something cooool.


Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:06:57 PM EDT
REAL examples are exceptionally expensive. Exceptionally.....
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:07:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Harvey041:
All I know is don't ever touch the blade with a bare hand. So I was told.

And they are expensive as fuck for a real one.

As long as you wipe it off before you put it up it will be fine. These things aren't stainless steel.

If you're talking about it cutting you, that's bullshit.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:08:29 PM EDT
Originally Posted By OKZJ:

Originally Posted By Harvey041:
All I know is don't ever touch the blade with a bare hand. So I was told.

And they are expensive as fuck for a real one.

As long as you wipe it off before you put it up it will be fine. These things aren't stainless steel.

If you're talking about it cutting you, that's bullshit.


Yep carbon steel, skin oils left on the blade over time will cause rust/damage.

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:08:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Yeah, I know this. An authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.

More like 10K.

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:10:26 PM EDT
Originally Posted By swingset:
Anxious to see who's proud of knowing a lot about Japanese sword-making, which is also a serious admission of the lack of pussy in your teenage years that would lead you to study such things.

I can tell you how to get a girl's middle aged woman's panties around her ankles with Boone's Farm and a Journey record, but sadly not much about katanas.




Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:10:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 6:17:45 PM EDT by hazuya]
I tried to get into doing a traditional polish in my knife making days.

Just a set of the basic stones ran me near a grand and that was about 8 years ago.


Buying a sword made from tamahagane will be a very expensive journey.

A lower ranked smith sword in shirasaya could run several thousand dollars (with the exchange rate now, who knows).

Getting it mounted is another story.

It is truely is an investment.

I know that doesnt help but you can learn off Google more than I could type here.

Oh, and about touching your blade. Spend a grand or 2 on a traditonal polish and see how you feel about touching the blade with your bare hand. It isnt done and to do so would show extreme disrespect and carelessness.

Its about the details in the steel., the hamon and how it was crafted. Once you learn about the steel and underatnd the small range that swords are hardened in you get a strong sense of awe in how it is controlled.

There are alot of American smiths that make them in the traditonal way, Louis Mills is a name that comes to mind.

Search for forums that deal in the subject and I'm sure you will find what you seek.

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:11:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Yeah, I know this. An authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.


Modern materials and manufacture can give you a working tool/weapon comparatively cheaply.

Cheness 9260

Tool steel Katana



Perhaps, but if I'm going to haul my ass all the way to Japan, I'll be looking for the real thing (or as close as I can get within reason).
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:13:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 6:20:04 PM EDT by DasRonin]
Weapons, including swords are restricted in Japan. If I recall correctly swords are "registered" and must have their paper work attached to transport. If you are looking for a "real" sword you probably won't be able to walk into a knife shop and buy one. Also all the Japanese swords I know of from japan are from but a hand full of makers and cost several thousand dollars! I beleive there are only a hand full of sword makers in Japan, and they are made to order so to speak, taking weeks-months to build and last I read were back-logged months to have one made.

The majority of the folded steel swords worth buying available in the US are made by Paul Chen Hanwei and are in the neighborhood of $1,000+ for a Katana, and slightly less for a Wakizashi. There are a couple of US based makers that produce or sell the closest thing to a Japanese sword, and they are in the few to several thousand dollar range. My last research was about 5 years ago so consider my information a bit dated.

I am not saying it will be impossible to buy a sword in Japan, but it will be extremely challenging most likely finding one for sale and at a price of a very expensive custom firearm for comparison. I doubt you will find anything comparable to the price of the Paul Chen Hanwei swords. I have a Paul Chen folded Katana and matching Wakizashi and it was over $2k for the pair about 5 years ago.

I used to have a bunch of research where I was going to try and have one made and shipped here. It was on a computer that crashed and I lost it all. It was going to cost several thousand dollars. I was making big money at the time but that was before 2 years of unemployment and losing a ton in investments and the rest trying to not default on anything. I have given up on the thought of ever having one made.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:13:48 PM EDT
What is the record price paid at auction for a real, old katana?

IIRC, a model from the 1300's sold for several million.

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:14:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Yeah, I know this. An authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.


Modern materials and manufacture can give you a working tool/weapon comparatively cheaply.

Cheness 9260

Tool steel Katana



Perhaps, but if I'm going to haul my ass all the way to Japan, I'll be looking for the real thing (or as close as I can get within reason).

IF, and only IF you don't find one over there and still want one, heed the poster right above you and check out some US smiths. They make 'em every bit as authentic as the Japanese do if they're making their own Tamahagane.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:14:38 PM EDT
There are laws in Japan about removing registered handmade blades from the country.

Know before you buy. Japanese court systems do not favor the defendant.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:17:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 6:18:00 PM EDT by nightstalker]
I don't think Steyr's that hard to get ahold of.

I read the 47th Samurai by Stephen Hunter and just from what he relates in the book, these kinds of things will not be easy to come by for the average joe.....

Good luck

OH yeah, check Pawn Stars in Vegas!!!!

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:17:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 6:18:44 PM EDT by NAEP3]
Hope you have thousands of dollars to spend and several months to wait. After watching a program on how they are made be prepared for a long wait if they will even sell to a gaijin.

ETA: Reading fail. Your wife might be able to buy one if she is Japanese.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:17:52 PM EDT
Just what I've run across while looking for a decent rapier. But I've not heard bad things about Hanwei

Also I've read that modern steel meets or exceeds the traditional folded metal design
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:18:40 PM EDT
There's a place less than an hour from me, in NY. They make some really outstanding katanas and the like, and are visited by many many famous people. One of their regular customers, for example, is Henry Winkler. I can find you the info if you're interested.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:19:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Yeah, I know this. An authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.


Modern materials and manufacture can give you a working tool/weapon comparatively cheaply.

Cheness 9260

Tool steel Katana



Perhaps, but if I'm going to haul my ass all the way to Japan, I'll be looking for the real thing (or as close as I can get within reason).


That is unassing a lot of money for nostalgia and the perhaps 1-2% better a master swordsmith can make. A lot for an "eyes only" sword, kind of like a safe-queen rifle.

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:22:48 PM EDT
Originally Posted By OKZJ:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Yeah, I know this. An authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.


Modern materials and manufacture can give you a working tool/weapon comparatively cheaply.

Cheness 9260

Tool steel Katana



Perhaps, but if I'm going to haul my ass all the way to Japan, I'll be looking for the real thing (or as close as I can get within reason).

IF, and only IF you don't find one over there and still want one, heed the poster right above you and check out some US smiths. They make 'em every bit as authentic as the Japanese do if they're making their own Tamahagane.


Fair enough. Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:26:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By conductor:
I see a lot of Japanese guys at gun shows buying Japanese swords to take back to Japan. They don't buy the WW2 military issue stuff, but only the real high-quality handmade blades from the 19th century and earlier.

Two things I have heard about Japanese swords in Japan:

(1) They're expensive as hell. The Japanese view them as art objects that belong in Japan.

(2) Even if you find one that you can afford, you need a special permit to possess it.


Forget Japan. They even regulate airsoft now.

A guy I work with is a real collector of these things. Yes, they are expensive. He will drop $1000 on a heavily oxidized blade. You will have better luck on ebay than anywhere else. Good swords are generally quite old (he refers to 18th century blades as "newer"). Moreover, there are only a few people here in the U.S. who are remotely qualified to polish and restore the blades.

Try here?
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:27:27 PM EDT
As has already been said, they are amazingly expensive, and that's just for the blade, which can take anywhere from a month to about a year to make, not even including the preparation that the smith has to go through for the proper inspiration for the blade.

Then there are all the laws that the Japanese have about their national treasures and keeping them in country.

Trust me, and several others, just buy one from Hanwei or from Sword Buyers Guide and save yourself the hassle and money.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:28:43 PM EDT
Here is the law- its in Japanese, but you could hire an agent to do everything.

The Law
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:29:01 PM EDT
Japan has sword control now.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:29:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By swingset:
Anxious to see who's proud of knowing a lot about Japanese sword-making, which is also a serious admission of the lack of pussy in your teenage years that would lead you to study such things.

I can tell you how to get a girl's panties around her ankles with Boone's Farm and a Journey record, but sadly not much about katanas.


a true samurai dates girls who don't wear panties
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:31:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Originally Posted By Mattl:
Originally Posted By Matthew_Q:
Yeah, I know this. An authentic made Katana would cost THOUSANDS of dollars. They're not a souvenir that every tourist can afford.


Modern materials and manufacture can give you a working tool/weapon comparatively cheaply.

Cheness 9260

Tool steel Katana



Perhaps, but if I'm going to haul my ass all the way to Japan, I'll be looking for the real thing (or as close as I can get within reason).


That is unassing a lot of money for nostalgia and the perhaps 1-2% better a master swordsmith can make. A lot for an "eyes only" sword, kind of like a safe-queen rifle.



+1

You don't have to spend that kind of coin for a "Japanese blade" Find some decent sword in Japan that isn't insanely priced and use the rest of the money to go SEE Japan. Be a better experience IMO.


My profile pic is me in Japan







Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:31:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:
Anxious to see who's proud of knowing a lot about Japanese sword-making, which is also a serious admission of the lack of pussy in your teenage years that would lead you to study such things.

I can tell you how to get a girl's panties around her ankles with Boone's Farm and a Journey record, but sadly not much about katanas.

This.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:32:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MrBackpack:
As has already been said, they are amazingly expensive, and that's just for the blade, which can take anywhere from a month to about a year to make, not even including the preparation that the smith has to go through for the proper inspiration for the blade.

Then there are all the laws that the Japanese have about their national treasures and keeping them in country.

Trust me, and several others, just buy one from Hanwei or from Sword Buyers Guide and save yourself the hassle and money.


Yeah, Sword Buyers Guide, that's the other site I wanted to reference. I always forget to bookmark it
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