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Old 07-11-2007, 08:00 AM   #26
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

What I appreciate about the the site I mentioned earlier in this thread

budogu.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/page19.html

is that they are willing to back up their products with education as well as quality. If you need some information, they will give it to you. If you have real questions regardng Iaido, Kenjutsu, or other trad jap arts, they can answer them with authority and application. They are martial arts lovers interested in sharing the art and providing quality tools for the operation.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-11-2007 at 08:02 AM.

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Old 07-12-2007, 11:11 AM   #27
Keith Larman
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Bugei makes good stuff, but we've seen a few quality control issues of late. They will stand behind what they sell however and they are very reputable.
Not to totally hijack the thread, but I'd be curious to hear what problems you're talking about since I do the QC for Bugei basically by myself now. In the last year or two I've inspected a couple hundred pieces and the only returns I know of (I only deal with things returned due to issues of quality) have been about 6 I think. I've rejected a heck of a lot more than that in that time frame, of course, but those never get out to the customers.

Just curious since I do the work. I'd like to know if there are issues I don't know about. I was down at Bugei yesterday as a matter of fact. And I rejected 4 pieces while I was there, did some adjustments/repair to about 10 others, and brought two home with me for further work. One of which is getting an entirely new custom tsuka because the piece was one of their semi-custom waves and they didn't want the customer to have to wait another 3-6 months for his sword. So they're taking a loss on that one but the customer is getting a fully custom tsuka.

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Old 07-12-2007, 11:17 AM   #28
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Or to better phrase what I'm asking... What did you consider a problem since I'm not hearing about it? If it is an issue I'd like to know about it. Heck, I'm composing a long note directly to Paul Chen about some things I want to see changed in Bugei's swords based on the last two shipments. If there's something else that is an issue I'd really like to know about it. Or if there is something I'm missing I'd like to know about it.

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Old 07-12-2007, 11:45 AM   #29
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

The tsuka ito on the wave model katana that we bought for our instructor came very loose within the first couple months of regular class use (1 time a week). I have not contacted Bugei to fix the issue (although I'm sure they/you would) because he doesn't want to be without it for the time it would take to do a re-wrap. If it was mine, I would have send it back to be re-wrapped, I've only seen one other sword have the wrap come loose like that, but it was a much cheaper katana (not from Bugei, but was a Chen). The majority of people from our dojo use Bugei swords for tameshigiri and we haven't seen anything like that from other swords that have 5 years of use. I know you guys do all you can to ensure that what you get in from China is up to your standards, and have no doubt that you would have re-wrapped it if we had requested it. It's just kind of a bummer for the ito to come loose after about 25 hours of use.

Chris Moses
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:57 AM   #30
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Was it tight when you got it? And was it leather or silk?

One thing I've noticed is that most leather out there including the stuff Hanwei uses *sometimes* likes to stretch out over time. The tsuka I'm redoing right now was also a wave and it was in leather. Bugei ended up buying some leather ito directly from Ted Tenold's Legacy Arts supplies for me to use on this one. He's having leather ito made with a nylon core -- the stuff absolutely does not stretch.

If it was silk I don't really know what to tell you. If it started out tight it shouldn't have loosened.

A rewrap would be in order regardless.

Anyway, a rewrap can usually be done really quickly if you contact Bugei about it. And if I know it is an issue of time I can expedite it since it will likely come to me for the rewrap. And all he'd have to send is the tsuka, not the entire blade.

Last edited by Keith Larman : 07-12-2007 at 11:59 AM.

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Old 07-12-2007, 12:30 PM   #31
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Was it tight when you got it? And was it leather or silk?
It was silk and seemed tight when we got it. It loosened from the top of the tsuka (near the tsuba) rather than from the kashira end (where the other non-Bugei tsuka that I had loosened severely). I'll talk to him about if he would like to send it in to be re-wrapped. Thanks Keith.

Chris Moses
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:55 PM   #32
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

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It was silk and seemed tight when we got it. It loosened from the top of the tsuka (near the tsuba) rather than from the kashira end (where the other non-Bugei tsuka that I had loosened severely). I'll talk to him about if he would like to send it in to be re-wrapped. Thanks Keith.
That is very odd. It shouldn't have happened.

On those other swords you'll often see that as they lose a lot of the tension when they fiddle around trying to do the knots. They seem fine initially but they rather rapidly work their way loose because the "slack" propogates as it is used. It takes some training and practice to maintain the tension while tying things off on both sides. But coming loose up near the tsuba is odd. I'd actually like to see it to see if I can figure out what happened.

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Old 07-12-2007, 01:00 PM   #33
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I'd actually like to see it to see if I can figure out what happened.
I'll see what I can do, thanks again.

Chris Moses
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:24 PM   #34
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

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I'll see what I can do, thanks again.
Thanks, I appreciate it. I vastly prefer to know what's going wrong so I can hopefully catch it before a sword is shipped the next time.

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Old 07-14-2007, 12:00 PM   #35
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

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Thanks, I appreciate it. I vastly prefer to know what's going wrong so I can hopefully catch it before a sword is shipped the next time.
Wow! You guys are great at working out this problem. It is refreshing to hear problems being solved so cleanly and quality craftmanship held to the level of respect that is deserved.

I am glad you 'hijacked' the thread for this.

js

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Old 07-15-2007, 11:24 PM   #36
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

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Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Wow! You guys are great at working out this problem. It is refreshing to hear problems being solved so cleanly and quality craftmanship held to the level of respect that is deserved.

I am glad you 'hijacked' the thread for this.

js
Jennifer,

Thanks for the kind words. For me the issue is that I "do" custom swords and nihonto full time as my career. So when I started helping out with QC and new sword design at Bugei I was pretty adamant about how I wanted things done. The reality is that it isn't any secret I'm doing the QC and I really don't want my reputation to end up resting on issues that come up there. I'd rather have my reputation rest on my work on custom swords or in the world of the nihonto, but in doing the work for Bugei I've managed to put that out on the line there as well. So I tend to keep my eyes open for issues that customers may have. There is a great, huge fuzzy area when we're talking about production swords -- there are reasons why they cost around $1k vs. 5K vs. 10K. I know we can't make everyone happy -- there are those who expect 10k swords for 1k. But everyone's dollar is important to them so we work hard to make sure they get what they want. Not everyone will always be happy. We can't adjust expectation to reality every time.

I must admit I get a bit frustrated to see criticism about things I've not seen or heard about. We can't help if we never hear about it. And these are complex objects involving quite a range of crafts. And as they say, "stuff" happens. Lord knows I'm human and I miss things sometimes too. I get tired looking over that many swords. I do my best but I'm sure things slip through the cracks.

But we are sincere about it. And we hope the customers will let us know about issues otherwise we simply can't address them...

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:39 AM   #37
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

You know what, Keith? I think that I am going to order my sword fron Bugei after all (when I've eaten enough carrots). I don't think that I will ever buy something like that in my life, and I am willing to spend enough money for guidance, quality and honesty from my providers.
Arigato!
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:08 AM   #38
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
You know what, Keith? I think that I am going to order my sword fron Bugei after all (when I've eaten enough carrots). I don't think that I will ever buy something like that in my life, and I am willing to spend enough money for guidance, quality and honesty from my providers.
Arigato!
There you go .

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:10 AM   #39
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Jennifer,

Thanks for the kind words. For me the issue is that I "do" custom swords and nihonto full time as my career. So when I started helping out with QC and new sword design at Bugei I was pretty adamant about how I wanted things done. The reality is that it isn't any secret I'm doing the QC and I really don't want my reputation to end up resting on issues that come up there. I'd rather have my reputation rest on my work on custom swords or in the world of the nihonto, but in doing the work for Bugei I've managed to put that out on the line there as well. So I tend to keep my eyes open for issues that customers may have. There is a great, huge fuzzy area when we're talking about production swords -- there are reasons why they cost around $1k vs. 5K vs. 10K. I know we can't make everyone happy -- there are those who expect 10k swords for 1k. But everyone's dollar is important to them so we work hard to make sure they get what they want. Not everyone will always be happy. We can't adjust expectation to reality every time.

I must admit I get a bit frustrated to see criticism about things I've not seen or heard about. We can't help if we never hear about it. And these are complex objects involving quite a range of crafts. And as they say, "stuff" happens. Lord knows I'm human and I miss things sometimes too. I get tired looking over that many swords. I do my best but I'm sure things slip through the cracks.

But we are sincere about it. And we hope the customers will let us know about issues otherwise we simply can't address them...
Hi Keith,
It comes through loud and clear that you have quality and craft and care and a willingness to work with your customers and products. I am a fan of 'craft' and I am glad to know there are more out there. Gambatte!
jen smith

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Old 07-21-2007, 02:12 PM   #40
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Keith, I sent an email to you with a couple pix of the tsuka. I'm going to be out of town for a couple weeks here, but wanted you to at least see what I was talking about.

Thanks again.

Chris Moses
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Old 07-22-2007, 03:42 PM   #41
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Hi, all. It's been a while since I posted, so I'll just re-introduce myself nicely...

On topic, iaido-katana.com is good. I got an iaito from them and it's one of the nicest swords I've ever held. Just thought I'd put that out there

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
-Barry LePatner
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:55 AM   #42
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Decent swords usually start at around $1,000 and can get up to $100,000 pretty fast.

http://www.shinkikan.com

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Old 08-06-2007, 10:51 AM   #43
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

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Sam Feinson wrote: View Post
You might also do well to ask the same question on the Kendo World forums. The people there are very knowledgeable about equipment, and there is a section dedicated to all things Iaido.

http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=3

Note the post about wallhangers.

Even a search of the forums there, or a look at the links section of the main page, will give a wealth of links to equipment sellers. I can also tell you off the bat that a lot of people there swear by www.e-bogu.com, but I can't personally speak to it. E-Bogu does sell Iaido equipment, including katanas.
Wow...looks like the thread of my dissected cheapo $10 wallhanger has been making its rounds.

Seriously, though...there hasn't been a better time to buy an affordable user blade. Marie, I know you already made a decision to go with Bugei. I've handled a number of their swords and owned a Bugei Crane for a short while. Nice swords, but they were a *little* much for me (I'm only 5'). I found them to be heavier than I like. As others said, different ryu require different specs for the swords used. James Williams practices Nami Ryu. I practice Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, which utilizes a close-hand grip as opposed to the wide grip in Nami Ryu (and Aiki ken).

I'm curious about your sensei's JSA experience. Do you know which style he practiced? What iaido styles are available in your area, if any? You wouldn't want to invest $1000+ on a sword - only for it to be unsuitable for your needs, should you start practicing a sword art in the future.

Most of my fellow kenshi use Paul Chen and Last Legend swords. I'm thinking about springing for a Furuyama daisho in the future. Or maybe even a custom L6 daisho from Martial Art Swords. I recently handled a MAS L6; good balance and an excellent cutter as well. Just a wee bit out of my budget at the moment.

Last edited by Jennifer Yabut : 08-06-2007 at 10:55 AM.

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:00 AM   #44
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Quote:
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Thanks, I appreciate it. I vastly prefer to know what's going wrong so I can hopefully catch it before a sword is shipped the next time.
Bumpity...

I just wanted to mention that I recently shipped the tsuka in question back to Bugei to be re-wrapped. It came back at no cost to me in excellent shape. Thanks to Bugei and Keith for standing by their products. A+.

Chris Moses
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:42 PM   #45
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Sharp steel or unsharpened alloy

I am not sure that an unsharp iaito is the safest, if you plan one day to move on to shinken, a real sword. After a few years with an unsharp sword, it might be difficult to establish proper habits with the sharp one, and you risk cutting yourself.

I assisted a Scandinavian budo equipment company in developing a Chinese made sharp steel sword, which is actually not more expensive than a decent iaito. So, now I always recommend my students to buy one of those, instead of wasting their money on a iaito - because the latter will just not suffice, after a few years of training.

Of course, safety and other aspects need to be considered. But when you work with a sharp steel sword, you are constantly aware of it, and there is not that big a risk that you get sloppy...

On my website, I wrote some general advice about getting a sword:
http://www.stenudd.com/aikibatto/shinken.htm

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #46
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
Informations keep pouring in, thank you again to all of you.
Now, I suddenly remember a story I heard on CNN about a year or two ago.
One night, a mother decided to check one last time on her child who was already sleeping, before going to bed herself. She entered the room to find an absolute stranger with an absolutely dirty look in his eyes standing next to her child's bed. There happened to be a wallhanger, well, hanging on the wall, within her reach. She did what any parent, no, any sane and responsible adult would do in a situation like this: she grabbed the sword and charged the pervert. The pervert did the only reasonable thing to do given the circonstances: he fled.
So maybe a sharp wallhanger is not such a stupid idea after all.
Hi Marie Noelle,
I'm a swordsmith here in the US, specializing in japanese blades; I'm new to this forum, and understand it is neccesary to be discreet about offering my services, but if you are interested in knowing more, please feel free to e-mail me at: yakibaforge@mac.com. I would be happy to share my expertise concerning construction, design etc. It's nice to be able to rely on your weapon and know that it will not break, bend or crack when you need it!
Sincerely, Ron Macy
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:16 AM   #47
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Re: Need some advice to order a katana

SFI is a good place for Katanas' and sword related.
Just look around and read everyone's reviews and experience.

My katana is a custom Momo no Saru, limited edition. ordered from mounted by SFI member.
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