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Thread: Looking for a good $400 sword for cutting and kata.

  1. #1
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    Looking for a good $400 sword for cutting and kata.

    Hey everybody,

    http://www.sword-buyers-guide.com/Kuramono.html

    Anybody ever purchase this sword? If so was there any major problems? And what did you think of the sword?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    That review was certainly glowing. And from what I can tell, it's an acceptable sword for that price range. I wouldn't expect top-quality fittings, polish, etc., for a sword that costs $350, but then again, it's a sword that costs $350! It should serve you adequately as a cutter.

    That said, what kinds of swords are used commonly in your dojo? Try some of those and see which ones you like, or pick up a used one from the classifieds here (they're usually cheaper and you can get a better report of its quality).

    I have to say, though, I've taken a break from active sword purchasing for a few years while I was in law school, and I am just FLOORED by all of the new low-cost options for swords! Back when I was first starting out you had Paul Chens and that was about it.
    -L.

  3. #3
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    Always ask your sensei first
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  4. #4
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    I have that katana and the other one that was also sold as the higher end SBG models. The blades are super nice. From my collection, the blade that compares to it is the DF 1095 blade.

    The fittings are pretty typical China mass producted fittings. Nothing special but does alternate on the wrap.

    Again, excellent blades. Can be used as is or a great blade for new mounting.

  5. #5
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    Lane, I understand you can't get a great sword for under a certain price range or its damn hard to, but I cannot afford a sword over 500 right now. But the reviews that I have seen all say good things but the people who are giving reviews say that they only practice backyard cutting and wallhangers. I'm looking for someone who uses the sword for cutting less forgiving targets like tatami and uses it for kata. The swords commonly used in my dojo are kotetsus and swords from nihonzashi. The swords I can afford from Nihonzashi I don't really like ( not saying their in any way low quality). And kotetsus are obviously way outta' my price range for now.

    Timo, already did. I'm just looking at my other options.

    William, So you are pretty happy with it then? No major problems?

    Thanks everyone for the replies

  6. #6
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    Watch the classifieds for some decent bargains.

  7. #7
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    Looking at the pictures I see a textbook "fred chen" T10 blade, bottom-of-the-barrel cast pot-metal fuchi/kashira, horrible but hopefully tight tsukamaki, and a tsuba that I know to be a real pain for your hands. The blade probably has no niku and is quite thin, which is both a good and a bad thing; it's lighter for kata (the blade has no bo-hi so that's good) but is less forgiving in cutting and will bend and/or chip on a bad cut on medium/hard targets.
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    Watch the classifieds for some decent bargains.
    Absolutely. This one for example goes for $350 right now, and it sweeps floors with anything at the price-range:
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...ori-katana-400
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  9. #9
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    I think that, for kata, you'd best be served by getting a good iaito from Tozando or Yamato Budogu, or even a kendo kata sword if you want something more robust. Less chance of a stray noto or nukitsuke taking off a finger.

    If what you're looking for is a workhouse cutter, Kris Cutlery makes blades that I have used in the past and can recommend as being fully capable of taking a flubbed cut without chipping, bending or turning. The fittings are bottom-of-the-barrel but that means the money went in to the important parts. You can always spend a lot less to get a rewrap with some new fittings later down the line if they bother you that much.

    I would recommend spending less and getting a more functional blade for cutting practice, simply because it would suck to chip/dull/bend a blade you sunk a lot of money in. If you get a cheap cutter (like the KC models, or a Munetoshi/Cheness) and it gets messed up, you're not out of very much money.

    Then you can save up to get a nice katana with good fittings, good polish, a professional wrap, etc., for seminars or tournaments or whatever.
    -L.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Timo for the link.

    Lane, I have a great iaito which I have been using for a little over a year and I sold my shinken, which was an $80 one. I would like to start using the shinken that I purchase in class in place of my iaito occasionally, as well as, for cutting tatami. Any good ideas for a sword with no bo hi and a 29 inch blade? (I'm 5'10). I'll take a look at Kris Cutlery. THanks
    Last edited by Sean R.S; 08-21-2011 at 04:26 PM.

  11. #11
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    Hanwei Raptor.

    I don't like Hanwei/Paul Chen's tsuka. I think they feel "wrong" compared to a Japanese-made one. But when it comes to being designed to be a solid cutter, James Williams' designs are great. And Bugei/Hanwei have been in business for a while and know their stuff and stand behind it.

    That said, a little patience and dedication in watching the Classifieds here have a greater chance of netting you a great sword, often one that's been customized with upgrading fittings and wrap. I got my current shinken, a Liveblade shobu zukuri (the company doesn't even exist anymore, I'm told) that I had Fred Lohman rewrap and put new fittings on. New, that would've cost me somewhere north of $700, but I got the basic blade for less than $400. I dropped a LOT in the new fittings and wrap, but I did that slowly over time. And now I've got an awesome sword. But if I were going out back to practice cutting, I wouldn't use that sword. I'd go get a good, solid beater. I've been looking at the Munetoshi Korean-style sword, simple for the fact that gumdo/kumdo people do a lot of mat cutting and the sword is supposedly set up to be a "mat cutter." It's uglier than sin, and the craftsmanship of the fittings is below adequate, but who cares if it's just in my back yard?
    -L.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    Looking at the pictures I see a textbook "fred chen" T10 blade
    My thoughts exactly, my other thoughts were "Oh, that's what Darryl's forge is doing now."
    I like swords.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lane H. View Post
    Hanwei Raptor.

    I don't like Hanwei/Paul Chen's tsuka. I think they feel "wrong" compared to a Japanese-made one. But when it comes to being designed to be a solid cutter, James Williams' designs are great. And Bugei/Hanwei have been in business for a while and know their stuff and stand behind it.
    I purchased a Raptor and the tsuka core was cracked. Even Hanwei messes up once in a while.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  14. #14
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    I've had a bad Hanwei blade too; I'm just saying, in terms of QC, I'd trust them over one of these newer outfits.
    -L.

  15. #15
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    I am satisified with the SGB ones, however, for the money, you would be better served by looking at a KC or other major producers. I bought the SBG ones knowing I would eventually need to replace the fittings. The blades are nice but again the fittings are typical China cheap ones. The wrap does alternate and is man-made artificial silk. Bascially bought the katana for the blade. Others are correct that their are some good deals in the classifieds on all 3-major forums. Actually looking pretty hard at one of them!!

  16. #16
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    I'll make sure to keep an eye on the classified part. I would like to get a sword within a couple of months as I am using one my teachers swords for tameshigiri.

    Anyone have a more detailed pictures of KATANA 29-A by Kris Cutlery? I looked on the site and couldn't find any detailed pictures of the blade itself and of the fittings.

    Here is the link

    http://www.kriscutlery.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?
    Last edited by Sean R.S; 08-22-2011 at 06:55 AM.

  17. #17
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    Hi Sean, there are a few other options out there in your price range, for your purpose. I do know someone, who practices the same JSA as I, who has bought that sword. Used it for cutting tatami. After a few weeks decided it wasn't balanced very well, and didn't handle very well. Now this is a personal thing of course. I recall his specicfic comment being "tip heavy". He went on later to buy a Bugei "Samurai" and loved that sword, but it was a bit too beafy and heavy for his likes. He ended up getting the new Hanwei "Bamboo Mat" katana. Which is what I would recommend.

    It can be found at some resellers for less then $500, just hunt around. For that price, it's a great sword. There are some reviews of it from when it first came out, and even though it's a mass production sword, with some of the usual cons, it's a pretty good, safe, well made cutter. At some point, you can have someone make a new tsuka, with better ito, and full same if you like.

  18. #18
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    Hey Gyan, could you clarify which sword your friend bought?

  19. #19
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    It was the step up model from the Kuromono, it had a tiger theme. Same blade, but a little nicer fittings and all. I think it was a limited run when SBG came out with the Kuromono sword.

    I would say, for stricyling cutting, single tatami, one of those SBG swords would be suggicient. They might not be as nicely put together or balanced as a some swords out there that might cost another $100-200 more, but if you just want something to cut with once in a while, they will work.

    But IMHO, using something for constant kata practice, where it's getting used on a regular basis, is another matter. With that kind of regular use, it's going to start to come loose, usually the tsuba, maybe the tsuka, the ita might start to come loose on you as well. To give an exmaple; I have a decent steel iaito, that I got for $100. It's rather well balanced and has a nice feel to it, and the ito is tight as a drum, even a year later of constant use in class. However, the tsuba rattles a bit now, and the cheap cotton it, is wearing out. It's tight as day one, but with all the sweat that gets into, it become rather slippery, and I can see in spots it's starting to fray.

    So my advice if you want something that is going to hold up fairly well to dojo practice, shop a bit and maybe spend as much as you can on a sword. Some of the other Hanwei swords can be had for less then $500 at resellers. The Tori line of words are pretty nice, I have spent a bit of time using one for cutting. Very solid and nice in the hands, and cut very well. The Elite or XL models I would recommend.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gyan G. View Post
    It was the step up model from the Kuromono, it had a tiger theme. Same blade, but a little nicer fittings and all. I think it was a limited run when SBG came out with the Kuromono sword.

    I would say, for stricyling cutting, single tatami, one of those SBG swords would be suggicient. They might not be as nicely put together or balanced as a some swords out there that might cost another $100-200 more, but if you just want something to cut with once in a while, they will work.

    But IMHO, using something for constant kata practice, where it's getting used on a regular basis, is another matter. With that kind of regular use, it's going to start to come loose, usually the tsuba, maybe the tsuka, the ita might start to come loose on you as well. To give an exmaple; I have a decent steel iaito, that I got for $100. It's rather well balanced and has a nice feel to it, and the ito is tight as a drum, even a year later of constant use in class. However, the tsuba rattles a bit now, and the cheap cotton it, is wearing out. It's tight as day one, but with all the sweat that gets into, it become rather slippery, and I can see in spots it's starting to fray.

    So my advice if you want something that is going to hold up fairly well to dojo practice, shop a bit and maybe spend as much as you can on a sword. Some of the other Hanwei swords can be had for less then $500 at resellers. The Tori line of words are pretty nice, I have spent a bit of time using one for cutting. Very solid and nice in the hands, and cut very well. The Elite or XL models I would recommend.
    I really can't spend more than 400 on a sword now and possibly for the next year (school is extremely expensive).

    Would you or anyone recommend the cheness swords? I've read a lot of reviews on them and there good and bad as with all swords i look up.

  21. #21
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    I have a nice katana for sale in the SFI Classifieds. You may have not seen it since the title of the thread was originally about WTT.

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...Ukigumo-Katana

    PM me if you are interested.

    Will MacLaren
    Where there's a Will, there's a Way.

  22. #22
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    I wouldn't go with Cheness for a blade thats going to be used often. They make decent BLADES for cutting, but cheap tsuka's. You run the risk of it falling apart. Though they do sell replacement tsuka's for around $25.

    William's Oni Forge looks like a good deal to me. They always made nice blades and it's rare. It's going to be difficult to find a blade for that price range thats going to hold up to lots of use. You might want to try to find someone with a Practical Elite that they're willing to part with or just buy a new one (they're about $200 and the Elite blade is designed for heavy cutting use). Then use the other $200 to get a full same wrap and tsuka maki rewrap. That'll make it hold up A LOT longer. Simple and effective.

    But that's just MY suggestion. I sent a PPK away to get a complete new tsuka. I was nervous I was wasting my money at first, but was very happy with the final product.
    "For I am Braden, King of cretins. May all lesser cretins bow before me."

  23. #23
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    Has anyone bought the KATANA 29-A by KC. I'm considering buying it as it. Only question I have concerning it is will it hold up to constant use for kata daily and 1 day a week for tamashigiri?

    Here is the sword in question. http://www.kriscutlery.com/mm5/merch...ry_Code=katana

  24. #24
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    I own a KC bare blade that I've yet to get around mounting. I've never used one myself but heard they are made quite well to withstand use. But as you may or may not have noticed they are sold out until supposedly October.

    Oh and my point about owning the blade is I really enjoy the geometry and feel of the blade.
    "For I am Braden, King of cretins. May all lesser cretins bow before me."

  25. #25
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    I've read that the one I'm looking at (29-A) is supposed to imitate a Jingum. (I could be completely wrong, just what I've read somewhere)

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