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Thread: 4 Katanas for under 300

  1. #1
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    4 Katanas for under 300

    I'm thinking about buying my first Katana, unfortunately my budget is $300. The four that I am looking at are the PPK, the Dynasty Forge Musha 1060, the Cheness Tenchi or Kaze, or the Kris Cutlery Katana 26 II. So I'd like to hear any opinions on these swords. Advantages/disadvantages for each one would be nice. Which one would you buy for the money?

    I was also looking at the Ronin Swords... The Hana-Kage seems nice and fits my budget. So now it's five swords to choose from.
    Last edited by Dan Aronowitz; 08-09-2007 at 10:18 PM.
    The cut worm forgives the plow.
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    He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
    Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
    The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
    The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom, no clock can measure.
    All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.
    Bring out number, weight & measure in year of dearth.
    No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
    A dead body revenges not injuries.
    The most sublime act is to set another before you.
    If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
    Folly is the cloke of knavery.
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    -William Blake

  2. #2
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    Hi Dan

    I think if you were to use the 'search' function on the board you would bring out an awful lot of opinion on the merits and otherwise of these blades.

    However, a lot will depend on what you want it for?

    If it's a practice blade for JSA, such as iaido, then I'd really suggest hanging in there budget wise until you can afford something from a Japanese manufacturer like Tozando.

    The quality difference is very marked between 'entry' level and what might be termed 'practitioner' level. Most of us have been through the "Buy what I can afford" stage and in the end have had to spend much more buying the higher end offerings as our skills improved. Far better to wait and get a blade that will serve you for as long as you look after it than buy several along a scale of increasing quality.
    Nuki .. OUCH!

  3. #3
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    Depends on what you want and what you'll use the sword for.

    I'd avoid Cheness, the tsuka-problems they have made it a no-no for me. I have KC bare-blade, the geometry is very nice but the polish isn't that great, I haven't had the chance to cut with it yet so no comment there. PPK doesn't appeal to me because of the looks, but I think you could get a Performance series blade for around $300 if you shop around a bit. I've heard good things about DF swords but I haven't handled one.

    You could also post a "WTB" in the Classifieds here on SFI, you could get more than you could wish for..
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  4. #4
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    timo called it

    The classifieds will turn up a lot of production swords for $300 -
    probably with after factory upgrades as well .

    I would however consider a new PPK excel for cutting with or if forms is your thing an Iaito from bogubag.

    if you want a workhorse cutter a kris cutlery 26 or 29 II - maybe the way to go , hang around the forums a bit longer and listen to the guys like Timo and J. hedgspeth who do know a lot about the production sword market .

    Cheness must get a mention but only if its through SFI classifieds and has had a tsuka upgrade carried out .

    I gaurantee you that once you get used to your first katana you'll be plotting and schemeing for the next one pretty quickly

    Mick
    " Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



    Ephesians 6:11

  5. #5
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    I would wait and save more. I'd either wait for a more expensive production model, such as a dynasty forge or something of the like. Or you might want to call and talk to some custom smiths. But if you want a tree trimmer I'd stick to something through hardened. I suggest something in T10 steel like an oni performance katana from www.oniforge.com I will warn they have slow response right now. I like the 9260 stuff but the new tsuka cores have yet to prove themselves. But anyway, welcome to the wonderful world of sword collecting.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by P. Farris View Post
    I would wait and save more. I'd either wait for a more expensive production model, such as a dynasty forge or something of the like. Or you might want to call and talk to some custom smiths. But if you want a tree trimmer I'd stick to something through hardened. I suggest something in T10 steel like an oni performance katana from www.oniforge.com I will warn they have slow response right now. I like the 9260 stuff but the new tsuka cores have yet to prove themselves. But anyway, welcome to the wonderful world of sword collecting.
    Speaking of the devil.. PM'd ya
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  7. #7
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    I'm actually not new to sword collecting. I have a few medieval swords and I have read many books on the subject. I have been on this forum for 3 years and I have read thousands of threads. My purpose on this thread is to get reviews on these particular katanas (from people who have handled them) considering I cannot try them before I buy them. I don't want to pay more than $300 on a katana right now. If I get a better job in the future and can afford a better one I will buy a better one then, but for now I'm getting a cheap one. So, if you had to pick one of these, tell me which one and why.
    The cut worm forgives the plow.
    Dip him in the river who loves water.
    A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
    He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
    Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
    The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
    The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom, no clock can measure.
    All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.
    Bring out number, weight & measure in year of dearth.
    No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
    A dead body revenges not injuries.
    The most sublime act is to set another before you.
    If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
    Folly is the cloke of knavery.
    Shame is Pride's cloke.
    -William Blake

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  9. #9
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    yes well...

    yeah..katanas are pretty much the most expensive swords that i have ever seen. i have kaze, it is an excellent blade. people keep saying that you should avoid cheness because of the tsuka. i do not see why, they are fine blades, and it is not like you are going too take a sledge hammer too the tsuka. it is also not likely that someone is going too try and break the tsuka on you....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sal v. View Post
    yeah..katanas are pretty much the most expensive swords that i have ever seen. i have kaze, it is an excellent blade. people keep saying that you should avoid cheness because of the tsuka. i do not see why, they are fine blades, and it is not like you are going too take a sledge hammer too the tsuka. it is also not likely that someone is going too try and break the tsuka on you....
    You *DO* realize that a katana is sum of it's parts, right? For your own sake, and for the sake of those around you, please read this thread (or at least the first post): http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=79231

    Just so happens that was a Cheness Kaze, too...
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  11. #11
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    After reading that thread about Mr. Watanabe, along with the many other negative comments about the tsuka cores of Cheness blades, I have been deterred from buying a Cheness sword. Not that they are necessarily faulty, but I don't think it would be prudent to buy a sword that has such a bad track record. Thanks Timo for posting that link. It was definitely an eye-opener.
    The cut worm forgives the plow.
    Dip him in the river who loves water.
    A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
    He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
    Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
    The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
    The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom, no clock can measure.
    All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.
    Bring out number, weight & measure in year of dearth.
    No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
    A dead body revenges not injuries.
    The most sublime act is to set another before you.
    If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
    Folly is the cloke of knavery.
    Shame is Pride's cloke.
    -William Blake

  12. #12
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    To clarify my own purposes for a katana: I would like something that has a traditional blade geometry and at least somewhat traditional fittings. I know this is a tall order for the price I stated and not many of these blades really fit the bill, but that is, ideally, what I would like. I'm in no hurry to buy a sword right now either. I can wait a year or more, however, I doubt that I will be able to spend much more than I stated simply for reasons regarding my current priorities. This may change in the future, I may be willing to spend more, but it is hard for me to justify spending close to $1,000 on a sword in my present situation. (Those Bugeis do look nice though.)

    Also, I'd like it to be known that any sword I do get would probably only be used for cutting once or twice before I put it away. I would like to get training, but my schedule and finances will not allow that right now. So a katana may just have to wait, as much as I would just really like to have one to put next to my Atrim. (My only other sword of real quality.) I guess I am like so many other people who post on this forum looking for the "best" or the "best for the money". I've seen so many posts that have just repeated the same questions over and over again and I thought that by picking out the swords that I liked the most, and then asking for specific opinions about them, I would get some ideas to help me. So, I'm still open to advice, whether it's to look into a certain sword, wait for something just a little more expensive, or to just sit here on SFI wishing for that mystical $2,000 katana I will never have.
    The cut worm forgives the plow.
    Dip him in the river who loves water.
    A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
    He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
    Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
    The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
    The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom, no clock can measure.
    All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.
    Bring out number, weight & measure in year of dearth.
    No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
    A dead body revenges not injuries.
    The most sublime act is to set another before you.
    If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
    Folly is the cloke of knavery.
    Shame is Pride's cloke.
    -William Blake

  13. #13
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    I would recommend www.roninswords.com

    Or try zanshinironworks.com Both same people, but different options.

  14. #14
    I'll be getting a semi-custom katana from Brian at Roninswords, it's just that he might be away at the token kai so he may be out of touch for a little bit.

    Mine's going to be one of the folded Fred Chen blades, no bo-hi, full same wrap.

    I should add that my standards are fairly high, having seen the numerous shortcomings of various other katana I've seen/handled over the years. I don't claim to be an expert, but at the same time I'm no starry-eyed newbie just getting my first sword

    I'm decently knowledgeable about what makes a good cutting katana and I do expect to see that in my own sword. I'm giving Brian my business because I feel that he really believes in what he does, and I'm confident that he will provide me a blade that's up to my expectations.

    As for your budget... if you bump it up by another $100 - $180, you can get a Ronin-class blade and upgrade to a full same wrap on the tsuka, which I feel adds a lot of strength and also aids in keeping the tsukaito tight. None of the other swords mentioned in your list have that option.
    Last edited by Kmark; 08-13-2007 at 08:45 PM. Reason: elaboration

  15. #15
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    If you can notch the price-range up, there are killer-deals in the Classified right now. DF folded blade, customized by Aaron Justice, for $700, and a standard(?)-version of DF 1095 Daimyo for $600..
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  16. #16
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    I have a semi-custom piece coming from Ronin in the next couple of weeks. The experience has been very easy. Very good customer service. Brian puts alot of love in his work. Thats the best deal IMO for a production sword.

  17. #17
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    hmm....

    yes well, the katana being the sum of it's parts huh. well, are there any companies that make blades as durable as cheness swords? and as balanced?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sal v. View Post
    yes well, the katana being the sum of it's parts huh. well, are there any companies that make blades as durable as cheness swords? and as balanced?
    Are you serious?
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  19. #19
    If traditional is what you're looking for, KC and Cheness are out. The Tsuka core issues with Cheness would turn me away from them as well. Although, some people have had a Cheness blade remounted and that worked out well. From the options you've stated, I'd go with either the Dynasty Forge or Ronin Swords. As someone else mentioned already, Oniforge is great as well. I personally have a Bushi from Brian and I love it!

  20. #20
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    Thank you everyone for your help. If I was to get a katana today I think it would be from Roninswords, but it turns out I was just given an offer for training in Chinese martial arts... I might have to save my money for a Jian. I'll just have to wait and see what happens. Thanks again for all the advice!

    -Dan
    The cut worm forgives the plow.
    Dip him in the river who loves water.
    A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
    He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
    Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
    The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
    The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom, no clock can measure.
    All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.
    Bring out number, weight & measure in year of dearth.
    No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
    A dead body revenges not injuries.
    The most sublime act is to set another before you.
    If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
    Folly is the cloke of knavery.
    Shame is Pride's cloke.
    -William Blake

  21. #21
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    yeah...

    well Timo Qvintus, i did not quite mean that...i meant for the price....cheness swords are great, i would just get the through hardened blades and re-mount them myself. they are good blades,but the tsuka as from what i have been reading, are not so great....the tsuka on my kaze, is not cracked or anything, though it has been lightly used...

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