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Old 03-02-2005, 06:37 AM   #1
TheWonderKid
Dojo: Memorial University Aikido Club
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Katana metals

Just curious, I'd like to have a katana that I could actually use without fear of it breaking and I'm wondering what kind of metal would be durable enough to, for example, block a strike.

*I just want to point out that I have no intention of doing this to a katana, I'd just like to have a good sword that I could practice with.

I know that stainless steel isn't so great but I really have no idea what was used back in the day or what's preferrable now. Can anyone suggest anything?
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:16 AM   #2
JJF
 
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Re: Katana metals

You should never - NEVER - block anything harder than tofu with a katana - no matter what material it's made of. Deflect if need be but never block.

Many good things can come from practicing with an iaito (usually a cast blade made from a zinc/berylium alloy). The sword is cheaper than a forged katana, you are less likely to hurt yourself (or someone else) and you can learn a lot from a good iaito.

Later when you know what you are doing you can 'upgrade' to a real sword. Usually they wil run you about 9K USD and up if you want one from a certified japanese blacksmith. You can get cheaper katanas from f.eks. Paul Chen but I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner.

Just my 2 cents.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:23 AM   #3
Brian Vickery
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Re: Katana metals

Quote:
Owen Matchim wrote:
Just curious, I'd like to have a katana that I could actually use without fear of it breaking and I'm wondering what kind of metal would be durable enough to, for example, block a strike.

Can anyone suggest anything?
Hello Owen,

Check this place for a 'usable' sword:

http://www.coldsteel.com/88kwarser.html

If you want how to actually use one, you might want to look into taking a Shinkendo class.

http://www.shinkendo.com/

Regards,

Last edited by Brian Vickery : 03-02-2005 at 07:27 AM.

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 03-02-2005, 02:17 PM   #4
TheWonderKid
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Re: Katana metals

Thanks for replying, though I'm still unsure as to a good metal. The site mentioned with 'usable' swords lists 1050 High Carbon Steel. Is this what is commonly used?

As well block was indeed a poor choice of words, I should know better than that from bokken practice

I would like to try an iaito class, but right now it conflicts with Kung Fu practice. And I don't think there are any Shinkendo dojos where I am right now. Though thanks for the tip as one day I may move somewhere where there are.
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Old 03-22-2005, 10:58 AM   #5
Walter Wong
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Re: Katana metals

Quote:
Owen Matchim wrote:
Thanks for replying, though I'm still unsure as to a good metal. The site mentioned with 'usable' swords lists 1050 High Carbon Steel. Is this what is commonly used?

As well block was indeed a poor choice of words, I should know better than that from bokken practice

I would like to try an iaito class, but right now it conflicts with Kung Fu practice. And I don't think there are any Shinkendo dojos where I am right now. Though thanks for the tip as one day I may move somewhere where there are.
Yes you can use 1050 to make a functional blade.

Register yourself at this forum and you discuss metallurgy with some experienced people.
http://forums.swordforum.com/forumdi...s=&forumid=130

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Old 04-05-2005, 10:11 AM   #6
samurai_kenshin
 
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Re: Katana metals

Quote:
Walter Wong wrote:
Yes you can use 1050 to make a functional blade.

Register yourself at this forum and you discuss metallurgy with some experienced people.
http://forums.swordforum.com/forumdi...s=&forumid=130
I understand a little about metallurgy so.... 1050 steel is useable, but if it's just hardened i wouldn't do tameshigiri or anything with it for fear of breakage. If you must have only a hardened blade (the cheapest of them all) I'd go to Last legend for the new series of competition blades. Those are 1090 steel which i've heard is better, but i'm not totally sure. For about $150 US more you can get a defferentially tempered blade which adds strength to your sword. For about $300-$500 more you can get a folded blade. These are the higher end blades and cost anywhere from $774 to $1000. You could of course go to bugei for their high end paul chen stuff but you 'd be paying about $1500 for the cheapest stuff. Wherever you go if you want to cut with it and heavan forbid "block" get something steel. Some places (won't mention names) *cough*cheapswordsstoptoshop.com (shut down)*cough* offer unbreakable titanium katana. These are ripoffs and are usually no more than stainless steel brushed to make a duller color. My final answer is go with last legend or high end paul chen stuff, but try not to get anything with a bo-hi as it actually can weaken the sword if made incorrectly.

Last edited by samurai_kenshin : 04-05-2005 at 10:17 AM.

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
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Old 04-05-2005, 01:00 PM   #7
Walter Wong
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Re: Katana metals

The low end Last Legend swords, Nohara Grade 1 of the 2000 series are thoroughly hardened and not differentially hardened.
Going up from there in the Last Legend swords you'll get the differentially hardened blades.

The cheapest Bugei sword is actually $963.00 without the shipping/handling included, which is the Shobu Zukuri model.

I've order the Crane from them which was $975.00 but totalled to $1,013.00 with the shipping/handling included.

It's the Wave model from them that costs $1,525.00.
If you get the Wave with a bo-hi then it'll come to $1,725.00. Both prices not including shipping/handling charges. The Wave model has the most customizable options of the whole Bugei line. So it's the Wave the would cost the most.

When it comes to production swords, I lean towards high end like Bugei or the high end lines of Last Legend.

Angus Trim came out with his line of Katana now. His heat treatment is supposedly really good. When it comes to swords, it's all about the quality of the head treatment.
Here's Angus's Japanese styled swords that should be considered as well. But of course check with your sensei.

http://www.atrimasa.com/Japaneseswords.html

His swords have some customizing options as well.

Bo-hi does take away some strength. But more importantly it's about the heat treatment that should be more of a concern. Bo-hi itself should only be selected by experienced practitioners of tameshigiri who's technique is consistant. If you're a beginner or intermediate, bo-hi is not recommended on a sword that'll be put to tameshigiri practice. For kata, bo-hi is fine since doing kata you're only cutting air.

Should read this article regarding niku and bo-hi.
http://www.bugei.com/niku.html

Last edited by Walter Wong : 04-05-2005 at 01:08 PM.

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Old 04-06-2005, 10:40 AM   #8
samurai_kenshin
 
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Re: Katana metals

just to clarify what a bo-hi is for lets look at those "I-Beams" they use on skyscrapers. The reason they're shaped like an I (with the lines on top and bottom) is because the I shape uses less metal for about the same strength. This is terribly important while making these gigantic buildings. Looking at a bo-hi you can see that it's about the same shape as an I beam. "good idea" you think. even so it still does sacrifice some structural integrity of the sword.

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
-Barry LePatner
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Old 04-23-2005, 04:07 PM   #9
SupremeWarlord
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Re: Katana metals

As it was said above you wouldn't block with a katana, but simply push it aside. For a good sword I would suggeust looking on ebay. But make sure that the handle is made of a decent wood, unless you can make a handle yourself.. I would suggeust oak, any kind.
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:17 AM   #10
Randathamane
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Re: Katana metals

True- in a seance.
You could not physically "block" with a katana although block is the wrong word to use

Samurai did "block" blows on the battlefield by presenting the flat of their blade to an on coming attack, but the technique for doing so is difficult to do at a snap. It is not a true block in a sense as it does not stop the enemy's blade- it only redirects his energy (IE a parry). You should not "block" with a katana not because of the strength/ durability, but because of the momentum of the attack.

Myth buster- The katana will not break if a shomen cut strikes it dead center. In fact the katana was so strong that it could be relied upon better than a shield- hence why they were never developed in feudal japan.
However, saying this, another katana could, if used properly cut straight through the defending blade. So in order to block- you have to take some of the momentum out of the strike.

1 Raise the katana to your head so that the handle is resting on your forehead. Make sure the blade is parallel to the ground.

2 Rotate the blade so the sharp edge is toward you. Yes towards you! This exposes the flat of the blade. as force is
Mass X acceleration / Surface area.... The larger the Surface area (a flat as opposed to a point) is better. DO NOT EXPOSE THE SHARP OF YOUR BLADE! chances are you will just ruin it- and if you have another 300 men to cut down you need a sharp blade.

3 Angle the blade towards the ground (about 20 degrees down) and lean so that the blow lands on the blade as opposed to your head. (IE sword held towards the left- lean right).

If you do this correctly, the blow will land on the flat of your blade, glancing off to your side.

Kitogaiesh yokomen to take the head. (sorry about Japanese spelling)
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:27 AM   #11
MikeLogan
 
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Re: Katana metals

Howard Clark's site, www.mvforge.com seems to be down right now, but his premier blade is one I will own if I ever purchase anything of the sort:

http://www.bugei.com/product_241_detailed.htm

The price listed is naturally wrong ($0.00) Clark's site mentions a total approaching 7000 grand when delivered as fully polished and mounted. I think the metal is close to that of 1086 in composition, (what most 'functional swords' are made of) or so I believe, but check clark's site above for better detail. The one thing I do recall is that it is a metal alloy/forging process that was simply not possible until the last 50 years or so. One of those, "if they could have, they would have" type things.

A great review of Howard Clark's work is seen on the following page:

http://swordforum.com/summer99/howardclark.html

From all accounts (not just the above) this seems like something worth waiting for.

michael.
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Old 04-28-2005, 04:29 AM   #12
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Katana metals

Quote:
You could not physically "block" with a katana although block is the wrong word to use
Quote:
You should never - NEVER - block anything harder than tofu with a katana - no matter what material it's made of. Deflect if need be but never block.
Although this is true in most cases. Katana after a certain era (the name escapes me sadly) are found to be much much thicker and harder for the first few inches above the habaki. They were in fact designed so that that portion of the blade could be used for "full on" blocking technique while sustaining only minimal damage.

I wish I remembered the name of the year though. Anyone out there know what i'm talking about?

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 04-28-2005, 05:19 AM   #13
Michael Cardwell
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Smile Re: Katana metals

Quote:
Owen Matchim wrote:

I know that stainless steel isn't so great but I really have no idea what was used back in the day or what's preferrable now. Can anyone suggest anything?
I think that pure Swedish steel is what is considered best at the moment.

Quote:
Although this is true in most cases. Katana after a certain era (the name escapes me sadly) are found to be much much thicker and harder for the first few inches above the habaki. They were in fact designed so that that portion of the blade could be used for "full on" blocking technique while sustaining only minimal damage.
Not sure about the name, but that makes sense to me that the bottom edge of the blade was used for blocking. I've always wondered about this, if the first third of the blade was the only part used for cutting, why would you care if you messed up the the bottom edge of your sword? I mean, sure if it was a priceless family heirloom or something, but if it came to life or death who would choose to save their sword instead of their life? You could always get another sword.

Blocking with the flat part seems like a good idea, but I'm guessing that works best in the manner described, a deflecting movement. After all the sword strength is going the other way, hitting a katana on the side is how you break it with a jo. My sensei once showed a block using the back edge of the sword. But this puts the edge towards you, so if the sword gets driven back, you're out of luck. I guess the moral of this is don't let anyone hit your sword, or you.
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Old 04-28-2005, 06:13 AM   #14
Nick Simpson
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Re: Katana metals

Im not sure about this but I imagine that the thicker heavier swords were produced just before the Edo period when the country was in civil war for most of the 16th century. Muskets had been introduced from portugal and therefore very heavy "bullet proof" armour was being worn. Swords also had to be adapted to be heavier and have a wider edge that was slightly blunter and would sustain atttacking this armour better. I believe Dotanuki swords are a prime example of this. A very heavy katana with no frills fittings intended for heavy cutting in battle.

Ive got several books and leaflets from the imperial sword mueseum in Tokyo upstairs but Ive got an interview to get to now. I'll look them up tommorrow and clarify the dates and stuff

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:18 PM   #15
Walter Wong
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Re: Katana metals

In regards to blocking with Katana:

http://www.tsuki-kage.com/faq.html#3
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