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Thread: Production Habaki and Machi

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Tsugio Kawakami View Post
    I have handled a blade with a failed habaki, and it DOES fall apart. Fuchi and tsuba come loose, then the ito. It may not come apart from the tsuka, but it does bad enough. Awful feedback from cuts, too. Should the sword go limp like a "you know what", then that is also a problem with the tsuka. It shouldn't have been cut with like that in the first place. The habaki is an indispensible player in keeping the whole unit as one.

    Furthermore, I've seen the shoddiest habaki hold up through sword abuse (IE a certain plastic habaki job). I have seen far more swords lost to edge damage, split tsuka, or simple snaps than habaki problems. Vice versa, I've seen great habaki split during normal heavy cutting exercises by highly skilled swordsmen. You can't say it's all human, or all product error.

    Also, (and this may have been brought up already. I've been reading through this thread over a few days, all broken up. Sorry if it has.) isn't the unparalleled machi deal all part of cost reduction while maintaining proper aesthetics? The hamachi being on top of the habaki would still give the look of an encased hamachi, but would be a lot easier to produce.
    Sorry, but all that I was trying to get across is that the blade dose not in itself go flying across the room but what happens is that the sword is rendered useless, granted you could let go of it because of bad vibration, but like you say it can happen with any sword at any given time, but to say its because its not made in the true Nohinto style is very wrong because they can fail to, that I have seen happen at a demonstration outside Cobe city in 1970. Just remember there is the human factor and metal fatigue, all that I am trying to get across is that It is not necessarily a design flaw but swords themselves. Stuff Happens. If you want to talk about a real dangerous situation, you will find it in swords that are made far to hard and brittle, when a third of the blade goes flying because you hit something such as a wooden dowel accidentally, that is scary.[Happened to me many years ago, but no Injuries thank god.] Most anything man made can and dose go wrong at one time or another, I always keep this in mind, but I personally am not going to loose any sleep over it. As far as the design of the Habaki goes I will leave that to the Smiths.
    Last edited by David Henderson; 04-09-2008 at 09:37 AM.

  2. #52
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    From MartialArtSword.com, it seems they have uneven machis aswell.

    Dear Remy,
    Yes, our blade has similar look to the picture you provided.
    So, I guess it is uneven.

    Thank you.
    Regards,Stephan


    Greetings,
    I would like to know if your blades have even or uneven MuneMachi and HaMachi.
    Exemple of uneven machis: http://i19.tinypic.com/8ac2u5l.jpg

    Thanks for your time.
    Remy B

  3. #53
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    I still think you can fit a habaki proper even if the machi are uneven.
    example the citadel habaki is filled at the bottom, this filling slopes to the ha machi, the fit is very tight.
    So many things are done different on a modern production katana, some are good others are not so good, guess it all comes done to the skill of the people making them and the quality control at the end.
    What production blade has the real shape and feel of a nihonto??
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  4. #54
    I'd like to know how many production companies actually turn out a hamachi hard enough to suffer the potential damage Keith describes.

    I'd be surprised to hear they were not all tempered way back from the oft assumed 60. steel is far less likely to crack and chip at 52rhc (or is it 42) than 62RHC

    I reworked one low ender, reusing the habaki- split the habaki-ha a short ways with a coping saw, moved the munemachi. When I tried to tighten the habaki around the blade with a hammer, the ha was deformed- not chipped or cracked- bent. One might expect the brass to form around harder steel; it was more the other way around.

    Another sword i have from the Philippines in 5160 is only hard at the monouchi

  5. #55
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  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruud B View Post
    The last is not all that offset, but the first two are. Is it possible that this happened in the shortening process, and was not innitially supposed to be that way? I would imagine that shortening the ha would be much easier than shortening the mune due to the amount of metal there. It would be much easier to leave the mune longer and just build a habaki around that.
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  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsugio Kawakami View Post
    The last is not all that offset, but the first two are. Is it possible that this happened in the shortening process, and was not innitially supposed to be that way? I would imagine that shortening the ha would be much easier than shortening the mune due to the amount of metal there. It would be much easier to leave the mune longer and just build a habaki around that.
    Sounds like a reasonable conjecture to me. I would be interested to know how the habaki were constructed to accomodate the uneven machi of these swords.

    Personally, my guess is that those habaki took the above uneven-ness into consideration and had a deeper channel for the mune-machi so that it could still protect the fragile ha-machi "inside" the habaki rather than just having it butt up against it (like in modern production versions).

    If the swords like in the pictures above were shortened at some point like Tsugio is suggesting, then the relatively thicker ubu-ha (if there were any) would be gone already, making the protection of the ha-machi even more important.
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  8. #58
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    Thats only two swords (first two links are of the same sword), and one of them doesnt look like it ended up this way intentionaly, cant say that they both look koto either.. im no expert but it doesnt have the usual koto feel to it.

    At any rate, i personnaly wouldnt think that two exemples would make uneven machis "the norm" in nihontos or making it acceptable, imho.

  9. #59
    Guys if the Habaki is Constructed in a manner that makes it have gaps that make it work like a fulcrum you are going to have problems in that you will start to get metal fatigue and eventually fracture in said habaki, weather its nohinto or production katanas, also remember that the Japanese also had an infrastructure of people around to maintain these swords right up to WW2 because they were so important to them and because things went wrong.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Henderson View Post
    Guys if the Habaki is Constructed in a manner that makes it have gaps that make it work like a fulcrum you are going to have problems in that you will start to get metal fatigue and eventually fracture in said habaki, weather its nohinto or production katanas, also remember that the Japanese also had an infrastructure of people around to maintain these swords right up to WW2 because they were so important to them and because things went wrong.
    David, first... *nihon-to*, not nohinto.

    Given enough time and use, or even sitting on a shelf, all things require periodic maintenance, especially those parts with degradable or even bio-degradable parts.

    Regarding what is relatively safe or unsafe, I'll defer to the prevailing opinions and wisdom of those professionals and historians who have more experience and knowledge in these matters. But the bottomline, at least for me, is that modern production habaki construction methods are a cost and time-saving measure, whereas the traditional construction method is not arbitrarily judged to be "good" just by the virtue of the fact that it is "traditional", but rather because it is what worked and worked best in real-life conditions for people who had to use it as a tool for survival and as a highly functional piece of art, which gradually evolved over centuries with that functionality and durability in mind. It is not because "it doesn't matter" or because "it's just as good."

    But if you want to believe that uneven machi and/or the ha-machi resting flush against copper or brass habaki is an excellent idea or is otherwise not even worth considering, then you are of course entitled to that opinion.
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  11. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin P. View Post
    David, first... *nihon-to*, not nohinto.

    Given enough time and use, or even sitting on a shelf, all things require periodic maintenance, especially those parts with degradable or even bio-degradable parts.

    Regarding what is relatively safe or unsafe, I'll defer to the prevailing opinions and wisdom of those professionals and historians who have more experience and knowledge in these matters. But the bottomline, at least for me, is that modern production habaki construction methods are a cost and time-saving measure, whereas the traditional construction method is not arbitrarily judged to be "good" just by the virtue of the fact that it is "traditional", but rather because it is what worked and worked best in real-life conditions for people who had to use it as a tool for survival and as a highly functional piece of art, which gradually evolved over centuries with that functionality and durability in mind. It is not because "it doesn't matter" or because "it's just as good."

    But if you want to believe that uneven machi and/or the ha-machi resting flush against copper or brass habaki is an excellent idea or is otherwise not even worth considering, then you are of course entitled to that opinion.
    I bow to the obvious your argument is sound.

  12. #62
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    Umm.. why should the machi be even? Did I miss a post somewhere?
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  13. #63
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    It seem like you missed two pages of posts, Timo! XD

  14. #64
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    Lol. Oh, I know that they are the same sword. I meant the first two pictures. I suppose I should have clarified.

    Anyhoo, I think that it is not so much about the machi being uneven...it is more about the hamachi being placed too far forward on modern production blades, leaving them vulnerable as they sit atop the habaki. The habaki technically could be worked around having uneven machi by making the hollow for the munemachi longer, thus allowing more material for protecting the hamachi, but then that would use up time, resources, and effort for a part so many see an unimportant anymore. I am not saying that it is unimportant, but it is how so many today seem to feel. I personally believe it to be very important.

    Now, could the fact that these modern made blades are not put through the same horror the old ones were affect the need to have a covered hamachi? On older blades, used in actual combat, one can not be too sure where contact may be placed on their blade. I feel that they were used much more roughly than todays simply due to the turbulent times and the fact that swords were the weapon. Anymore, with firearms being at the forefront of todays warfare, swords have taken the backseat and are used for recreation, sport, art, or traditional training. I doubt any of these (aside from the ones belonging to kids who chop at trees) would be put through anything like the old blades were, thus making it "safer" for the blades themselves. Bokuto or shinai are used in paired training, so the hamachi on live blades would be in no serious danger.

    Have I hit anything there?
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  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remy B View Post
    It seem like you missed two pages of posts, Timo! XD
    From what I've read the discussion has mainly been on correct/incorrect habaki construction. I've missed any reason(s) why uneven machi would be undesirable, aesthetics non withstanding.
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  16. #66
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    I will simply quote Benjamin' post which i think was most accurate and excellent, i share his opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin P. View Post
    But the bottomline, at least for me, is that modern production habaki construction methods are a cost and time-saving measure, whereas the traditional construction method is not arbitrarily judged to be "good" just by the virtue of the fact that it is "traditional", but rather because it is what worked and worked best in real-life conditions for people who had to use it as a tool for survival and as a highly functional piece of art, which gradually evolved over centuries with that functionality and durability in mind. It is not because "it doesn't matter" or because "it's just as good."

    But if you want to believe that uneven machi and/or the ha-machi resting flush against copper or brass habaki is an excellent idea or is otherwise not even worth considering, then you are of course entitled to that opinion.

  17. #67
    I think what might be bothering to some people here is the thought that because the swords that they own are production swords this thred puts them in a bad light, well it should not, for the simple fact that there are many thousands of these swords out there and its not that they can not fail, but I put it to you that the failure rate simply is not that much to worry about, if it was, why has the sword community not gone nuts over the fact that their favorite Katana keep failing on them. For myself I have been using production blades since 1968, I'm pushing 60 years of age now and I can honestly tell you that the only time that I have come close to an habaki failure is when a cheaply built handle started to shift from the tang, so I threw the pice of junk out.You pay for what you get, get the best info about the product your after and go from there. A few weeks ago I bought an Citadel Katana from SOL it to has an offset of aprox 2/16 of an inch but the fit of the sword is exceptional in all respects for me, no its not perfect but will do for me. Perhaps one day the production people will look into this but until then I will just have to make do. Good debate tho

  18. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Remy B View Post
    From MartialArtSword.com, it seems they have uneven machis aswell.

    Dear Remy,
    Yes, our blade has similar look to the picture you provided.
    So, I guess it is uneven.

    Thank you.
    Regards,Stephan


    Greetings,
    I would like to know if your blades have even or uneven MuneMachi and HaMachi.
    Exemple of uneven machis: http://i19.tinypic.com/8ac2u5l.jpg

    Thanks for your time.
    Remy B

    Hi Remy,

    I did reply the above quote indeed, but I forgot that we changed to even munemachi last year. The katanas with elliptical habaki has uneven munemachi (old models) and the ones with square habaki has even munemachi (new models).

    Thanks,
    Stephan

  19. #69
    Wow...handmade, fitted tsuka, individual heat treatment AND properly fit habaki?! If there is a model with the ever-elusive geometric change @ the yokote I think I know what my next purchase will be!

  20. #70
    Hmm....our blades are bit on thinner side and it's bit hard to see the angle change at the yokote very clearly. Saya fits really well though =P
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  21. #71
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    Here is a photo of my Bugei Bamboo katana, for those that might be interested.


    Cast brass habaki with filed slot for hamachi, very clean cut.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephan A. View Post
    Hi Remy,

    I did reply the above quote indeed, but I forgot that we changed to even munemachi last year. The katanas with elliptical habaki has uneven munemachi (old models) and the ones with square habaki has even munemachi (new models).

    Thanks,
    Stephan
    I should have followed up on this earlier, but it skipped my mind.

    Stephan, I don't know how often you check the forums... but do your new square habaki have the mune-machi and ha-machi protected inside the habaki or do they both just rest on top of the habaki? If the former, you'll probably be hearing from me very soon for a custom order, bad economy or no...
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