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Old 05-05-2005, 01:39 PM   #35
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Bronson Diffin wrote:
Hey Keith,

Glad to have someone with your sword experience posting here.

Do you have an opinion on what would be a decent starting cutter for someone who does occasional tameshigiri as part of Iai practice.



P.S. Are you going to Summer Camp?
Hey, Bronson, nice to see ya here.

The irony for me is that I work on swords that I can't afford myself. Well, not an pay the mortgage and preschool bills. I am just about finished a beautiful bainite katana by Howard Clark in full mounts that I would love to keep for myself. Unfortunately, I can't afford my own work. A very odd situation, but every time the rugrat smiles at me, I remember why money goes into the bank. Schools are too damned expensive these days and I shudder to think what college is going to cost in 14 years...

What I use is a 29.5 Dragonfly with a 12-inch tsuka with Bo-hi from Bugei. I practice tameshigiri occasionally and have invited a few folk you probably know over for small practices in proper form with a real target. My dragonfly with bo-hi has seen a few, um, shall we say, poorly aligned cuts in its time. And honestly to my surprise the blade is no worse for wear. I wouldn't use the blade on bamboo because of the edge geometry being a bit too thin for such a hard, impact target. But on mats the thing cuts like a light sabre. The bo-hi also makes it very light and fast which is critical for me. All these years of polishing hunched over has resulted in some very sore fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders. So I'm usually nursing something and I wanted a sword as light as possible. For me it is the difference between being able to practice and polish or to give up the sword completely because frankly it just hurts too much to practice with proper form. For someone who isn't quite as, well, banged up as me, the dragonfly without bo-hi is probably a better choice. They are robust enough to handle screwups and a bit heavier due to the lack of grooves. Very scant niku so they're more or less like lasers through soft targets. And still with traditional shaping and feel. I like them a lot. The biggest problem Bugei has had with this sword is that they are so far backordered the customers are getting irritated. Victim of popularity I guess.

No, camp is out for me this year. I was planning on going but with trips this month already out to Chicago for the Token Kai (transl: big honking sword show), trip to the San Fran Token Kai in August, a trip to Japan later this year to the Dai Token Ichi and with a bunch of relatives happening to be in town the very weekend of camp, well, I need to conserve redeemable marriage points. And now they've basically got me covering half the classes at AIA while everyone else is up at camp.

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