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Thread: Tsuka ????

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    I know, it's just a $200 sword, but why make things wrong on purpose?
    . And as an aside, I hate the axe-handle shape that (all?) Hanwei katana have.
    While there is an amazing perversity of spirit among people, I don't think the chitana craftsmen sit around and say, "now how can we further screw up this sword?" But I could be wrong....

    I think they simply take as many shortcuts as possible, because speed is the name of the game.

    tk

  2. #27
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    while I sympathise with Timo on a lot of his points its always going to come back to the cliche' of "you get what you pay for " easily the most flogged to death truth on these boards ,

    if your buying what you expect to be a functional sword for $200 you have to expect the half dozen or so flaws Timo mentioned , its just not possible economically to build a functional sword mounted to a performance standard , decent build quality and qc checked for 200 bucks no matter how cheap the labour is , not if you want all the trimmings with your turkey of real same' tight even and uniform hineri maki , a decent finish on the blade etc .

    unless you buy KC who,s swords have none of those fancies

    if you sit and think about it its laughable that we
    complain bitterly when our $200 sword is anything less than perfect , hell man - we are outraged and scream about asymetrical ito maki ,
    cosmetic yokotes and poor bohi termination

    what we should be thinking is that "some people spend that on a decent tsuba "

    although IMO a cracked tsuka is unforgiveable on anything but the most obvious and cheaply made wall hanger - the issues I mentioned above dont compromise use or jeapordize safety liked a cracked core most certainly does .

    Mick
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  3. #28
    Mike I agree with what you say but I would expect a $400-$500 price range Katana to be safe enough to cut with. Most of the reasons for a highly priced production blade are due to polish and fittings, no? Don't most of these start out as $400-$500 swords then go up from there. My point being i would still expect the foundation to be good from the start. I would not however expect it to be the most beautiful sword. I know its off topic but I got excited so excuse me. I have some pics from Aaron Justice who is doing one of his fingerstone polishes on my Dynasty Forge Tri-Folded Katana. I thought I would share them, Aaron stated that he still has some work yet and touching up to do but i am extremely impressed as of now just from the pictures.
    ***Aaron, If you check this post hope your not mad at me for the pre-mature post of your work.



    Last edited by Joe DAgostino; 01-07-2008 at 06:16 PM.

  4. #29
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    Question

    was the hamon straight suguha? unless it was something's wrong with that polish.. although it may be just the work-in-progress nature of the pictures.
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    was the hamon straight suguha? unless it was something's wrong with that polish.. although it may be just the work-in-progress nature of the pictures.
    Timo, I know you've been around long enough to have seen a lot of hamons polished in a suguha fashion. I know I've seen my share.

    http://japaneseswords.gotdns.com/pro...e/masahide.jpg

    I can't find the picture but there was a Gendaito polished by Brandon Thell done in a similar fashion. This one will be more of a notare-suguha when finished.
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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Justice View Post
    Timo, I know you've been around long enough to have seen a lot of hamons polished in a suguha fashion. I know I've seen my share.

    http://japaneseswords.gotdns.com/pro...e/masahide.jpg

    I can't find the picture but there was a Gendaito polished by Brandon Thell done in a similar fashion. This one will be more of a notare-suguha when finished.
    Right you are. I just got suspicious since very few production swords actually have a suguha hamon..
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  7. #32
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    I'm actually trying some stuff I've never done before with this one. I still have a little bit more cleaning to even some of it out, but what's pictured is about an 80% finished product. This blade has a very strong and active habuchi, and often times hazuya will cover over it to a good degree, so I've been experimenting a bit to get it to show up a bit more. Still haven't hit nugui yet.
    Every time I put on a suit for a wedding or other event, I feel like I'm wearing optimal clothing for an epic fight scene...

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  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael wilson View Post
    while I sympathise with Timo on a lot of his points its always going to come back to the cliche' of "you get what you pay for"
    Not true. I've gotten worse value for my buck from a $400 sword than a $50 sword, I've got a $1200 MSRP sword for $500 (-ish) which is in the same price range as the sword that started this thread, hell I could get a nihonto for less than $700! After all the glowing reviews OF has received over the years on SFI I expected more than blatant negligence from even their lower end products. As I mentioned, I bought the Shobu out of curiosity to see a live shobu-zukuri (well, an imitation of shobu-zukuri, but anyway..). After all, the OF Shobu was developed with a lot of input from SFI back when Loren used to post around here (back in 2005 I think it was?), so I had *some* hopes that I might get some level of bang for buck. I didn't. Lesson learned.
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  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Justice View Post
    SNIP

    When I can I have the rayskin go under the fuchi so even the mouth of the tsuka cure is bound in rayskin.

    SNIP
    Just a quick note. I've never seen that done on antiques short of someone retrofitting an existing tsuka (i.e., putting on a much thicker tsuba so the core is trimmed pushing the fuchi "down" the tsuka a bit to compensate). I was taught that getting a clean, consistent fit under the fuchi is more important than any additional strength offered by samekawa wrap underneath it. In other words, sacrifices made to do that aren't worth any perceived benefit. The idea is to spend a lot of time making sure the fuchi fits snuggly and consistently to the wood. Here you are allowing a solid piece of metal to support the wood (which is pretty darned tough). But getting a snug, clean, and fully in contact fit is a lot harder to do if the fuchi is going over samekawa. And doing that also means that you're probably not inletting the samekawa quite correctly for a properly shaped and dimensioned final wrapping given the fittings. Sometimes the samekawa sits a bit lower than the inner edge of the fuchi depending on the thickness of the fuchi walls, the thickness of the compressed ito to be used, etc. And given the variability of material thickness (doeskin and leather are a lot thicker than silk for instance) you're not adjusting the dimensions to what the final tsuka should look like. You'll likely either end up with a final wrapped tsuka that is a bit too thick side to side, especially if you're using thicker ito. So the overall shaping suffers a bit and there really isn't an improvement functionally assuming it was carved correctly to begin with.

    There is very little that was done for any reason other than function first. And especially if it is something that wouldn't be visible... Why would a craftsman of old *not* do something like that when the tsuka is already expertly carved, fit with a gorgeous full samekawa wrap and done up with superb fittings? So when you see something that *wasn't done* that *could* have easily been done, you need to ask why they didn't...
    Keith Larman
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  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    Not true. I've gotten worse value for my buck from a $400 sword than a $50 sword, I've got a $1200 MSRP sword for $500 (-ish) which is in the same price range as the sword that started this thread, hell I could get a nihonto for less than $700! After all the glowing reviews OF has received over the years on SFI I expected more than blatant negligence from even their lower end products. As I mentioned, I bought the Shobu out of curiosity to see a live shobu-zukuri (well, an imitation of shobu-zukuri, but anyway..). After all, the OF Shobu was developed with a lot of input from SFI back when Loren used to post around here (back in 2005 I think it was?), so I had *some* hopes that I might get some level of bang for buck. I didn't. Lesson learned.
    The reality is that it is a question of expectations. I've seen $50 swords that I thought were a great bang for the buck. But that's like saying I was really impressed with the taste of a 50 cents hamburger. 50 cents is cheap so it wouldn't take much to be impressive. In other words... it's still a cheap burger.

    The problem is that people seem to be expecting filet mignon quality for "meat-by-products" pricing.

    People always talk about cost with respect to fittings. They assume the cost is because the fittings cost more. The overwhelming majority of cost of an entry level blade is due to the labor and skill that goes into doing it right. When it takes me weeks to polish and mount a single sword there will be a base-level of cost involved. The Chinese importers have dirt cheap labor. But even then the cost of training their labor, keeping them trained, the cost of someone designing their swords that knows what they're doing, etc. are all not being paid. So yes, the only costs on most of these cheap swords is in fact the fittings. And it wouldn't matter if they used the nicest fittings ever made -- the quality of the worksmanship is the problem. That's where the cost starts.

    Of course combine quality workmanship with quality parts and the price will go up quickly. I cannot even remember the last time I bought a tsuba for less than $350. Heck, I've bought single rayskins that cost more than many of these swords. And I charge over $750 just to do a custom saya as a starting point. Why? It takes me a long time to do it right.

    It all depends on your point of view. And I'm one of those guys who has long advocated production swords for newbies -- I think they are a great resource and provide an easier entree into these martial arts and craft arts. However... The bar keeps getting pushed lower. So there is now quite a range of quality (and cost) in production swords. Some vendors work really hard to keep prices low but sacrifice quality to get there. Others work hard to maintain quality at a certain level and let the price be what it has to be in order to do that.

    There is a butt for every seat as they say. Just make sure you're buying what you're buying with your eyes wide open. And don't fool yourself into thinking that slice of spam is just as good as that filet mignon. Sure, both have calories and food value. But beyond that there really is a substantial difference in taste, quality and enjoyment. You don't get many cuts from the tenderloin. What you do get is great. And the further you get away from the higher quality cuts the less it costs...

    Geez, now I'm hungry... And I need to put on my thermals and go polish... I really need to insulate my workshop one of these days.
    Keith Larman
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    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  11. #36
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    Post "Looks like meat is back on the menu, boys!" -Uruk-hai

    Hmm.. a bad choice of words on my part, perhaps. What I meant was I'd rather have paid $400 for the $50 sword than the other way around. I had what I thought were quite realistic expectations of what an Oni Forge product would be like (I've read back dozens of reviews of their products dating back years and years), and those expectations were not met. This has (finally!) lead me to believe that the world of production swords has nothing to offer for me. I end up paying a lot for a cheap sword with all the shipping costs, taxes, importing honoki for a new tsuka, buying ito and same-gawa, initial and maintenance costs of my tools etc. Not to mention the time consumed to actually do all that stuff. If I buy a project-sword (bare blade or something I know I'm gonna redo) that's fine. But I'm done doing it out of necessity..

    To go along with your culinary analogy, I don't expect to be asked to provide and prepare the meat myself if I pay for a steak in a restaurant. But enough about me, let's get this thread back on-topic shall we?
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  12. #37
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    Some interesting thoughts. I've never been able to inspect a dismantled nihonto tsuka core.

    For the most part there are two reasons I would do it. First up, many of us have had production swords where the fuchi will shift around a bit. Short of creating a new tsuka core for it there are two things I can do to at least help remedy the problem. The first and easy one is to bind the fuchi end of the tsuka in tape. I'm under no illusions the tape is actually helping bind the core together, but at the very least it allows for a snug fit and helps prevent any splitting of the wood core because there is now no extra gap under the fuchi. Only paper based tapes that are non compressable, no plastic or electrical tapes of course. That's the cheap, easy, done for free method I have used.

    The second is doing the rayskin under the fuchi. I do not remove excess material from the tsuka core in order to do a full wrap under the fuchi, I go the other way around.



    After I have reshaped the core by chiseling off the original panel inlets and the extra amount on the ha and mune sides, I added the full wrap which also goes directly over the fuchi area. Once dried, the rayskin is too thick to put the fuchi back on, so I have to sand it down with a dremel tool (carefully measured so I don't go down too far of course) until the fuchi does fit, which usually means I have to go almost all the way down to the rawhide portion. Once it has a tight fit then I concentrate on the rest of the tsuka and the wrap.




    It worked well in this case as it is perfectly flush to the fuchi. You're right that in this case it wouldn't have worked with leather or suede, but before I do any rayskin wrap I always check to see how thick the ito is and how thick the hide is before getting started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Larman View Post
    Just a quick note. I've never seen that done on antiques short of someone retrofitting an existing tsuka (i.e., putting on a much thicker tsuba so the core is trimmed pushing the fuchi "down" the tsuka a bit to compensate). I was taught that getting a clean, consistent fit under the fuchi is more important than any additional strength offered by samekawa wrap underneath it. In other words, sacrifices made to do that aren't worth any perceived benefit. The idea is to spend a lot of time making sure the fuchi fits snuggly and consistently to the wood. Here you are allowing a solid piece of metal to support the wood (which is pretty darned tough). But getting a snug, clean, and fully in contact fit is a lot harder to do if the fuchi is going over samekawa. And doing that also means that you're probably not inletting the samekawa quite correctly for a properly shaped and dimensioned final wrapping given the fittings. Sometimes the samekawa sits a bit lower than the inner edge of the fuchi depending on the thickness of the fuchi walls, the thickness of the compressed ito to be used, etc. And given the variability of material thickness (doeskin and leather are a lot thicker than silk for instance) you're not adjusting the dimensions to what the final tsuka should look like. You'll likely either end up with a final wrapped tsuka that is a bit too thick side to side, especially if you're using thicker ito. So the overall shaping suffers a bit and there really isn't an improvement functionally assuming it was carved correctly to begin with.

    There is very little that was done for any reason other than function first. And especially if it is something that wouldn't be visible... Why would a craftsman of old *not* do something like that when the tsuka is already expertly carved, fit with a gorgeous full samekawa wrap and done up with superb fittings? So when you see something that *wasn't done* that *could* have easily been done, you need to ask why they didn't...
    Every time I put on a suit for a wedding or other event, I feel like I'm wearing optimal clothing for an epic fight scene...

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  13. #38
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    How deep was that cut Aaron? Ouch!

    I'm curious - as shark and ray skin may not always be the right choice, what other material makes sense.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Sinder View Post

    How deep was that cut Aaron? Ouch!

    I'm curious - as shark and ray skin may not always be the right choice, what other material makes sense.
    A reminder to always pay attention to what you're doing. I was switching hands while holding an Oni Forge katana... needless to say when it slipped it found my left hand.
    Every time I put on a suit for a wedding or other event, I feel like I'm wearing optimal clothing for an epic fight scene...

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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    And as an aside, I hate the axe-handle shape that (all?) Hanwei katana have.
    The Green Bamboo Snake katana I used to have before it found its way to J-H, AJ and __?__ was quite slim and had a very nice ryugo waisted shape. See below how it tapers compared to the more straight Bushido tsuka.
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  16. #41
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    Maybe our UK economy has clouded my mind with regards to low end swords , hmm maybe !

    Over here $200 is approx £100 GB and prices being what they are in the UK £100 buys nothing but the most cheaply made masahiro

    hell man, a PPK over here costs $400 - so personally speaking we learn not to expect much at all for our $200/£100 as far as a user swords go.

    still though Joe's sword was sold to him as suitable for cutting with
    and he has huge cause to complain just on the strength of how poorly the rework on the tsuka was from a health and safety issue.

    have you spoken with Loren yet Joe ?
    " 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."



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  17. #42
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    The tsuka picture I posted,was from a DF,G2 tamashigiri kat.Now because I only paid 300$ for it,should not mean I'm going to be all right with the fact the tsuka is sub-par.And telling me you can spend more on a tsuba doesn't help.I have friends with very expensive cars,good for them,but when I bought my inexpensive car, I still expect it to go down the road as advertised.And no I didn't try to cut down a tree or abuse the sword in any way shape or form.To suggest other whys is elitist and dismissive.

  18. #43
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    While i understood your whole food nutriments analogy Keith, and while i also keep in mind that you get what you pay for... this isnt all about taste in this case but about safety, looks like his Spam slice was poisonous! :O

  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by R.C.Goetz View Post
    The tsuka picture I posted,was from a DF,G2 tamashigiri kat.Now because I only paid 300$ for it,should not mean I'm going to be all right with the fact the tsuka is sub-par.And telling me you can spend more on a tsuba doesn't help.I have friends with very expensive cars,good for them,but when I bought my inexpensive car, I still expect it to go down the road as advertised.And no I didn't try to cut down a tree or abuse the sword in any way shape or form.To suggest other whys is elitist and dismissive.
    I was simply trying to explain the larger picture from my experience working in production swords as well as hopefully give some perspective as to where the cost of a sword comes into play. So best of luck to everyone involved and I hope you're all able to resolve your issues.
    Keith Larman
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  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.C.Goetz View Post
    The tsuka picture I posted,was from a DF,G2 tamashigiri kat.Now because I only paid 300$ for it,should not mean I'm going to be all right with the fact the tsuka is sub-par.And telling me you can spend more on a tsuba doesn't help.I have friends with very expensive cars,good for them,but when I bought my inexpensive car, I still expect it to go down the road as advertised.And no I didn't try to cut down a tree or abuse the sword in any way shape or form.To suggest other whys is elitist and dismissive.
    No offense, R.C., but it seems like car analogies don't really work here. Anyway, I think $300 for a sword is pretty much guaranteed to get you a sub-par tsuka... Although I'm pretty much a n00b myself, the more I learn about this craft, the more I understand how and why it's simply not possible to get a good product for relatively so little money... a new tsuka made by Fred Lohman, for example, will cost $450. And that's just the handle made the right way... which is supposed to be time-consuming because a tsuka is supposed to be made for that specific blade with care and attention. There's no way that a mass-produced product, made in a hurry and with poor material and attention to detail without any actual formal training can ever compete with that kind of quality.

    I don't think anyone is trying to be elitist here... just realistic. I really like SFI because it seems like almost everyone here is really friendly and helpful. Personally these days, I'm just trying to learn about one part of the sword at a time... starting with the habaki. And holy cow! There's a lot involved in just that one piece of metal... and I can totally see now why it's so important and why that piece alone definitely should easily cost $250~300+ even without artistic embellishments.

    Before I found this forum, I thought that a sword is a sword and all the rest of $ spent on art swords and custom swords was just vanity and appearances... for "brand-name" sakes... but now thankfully I know better....
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  21. #46
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    The last thing SFI or its users need is a man of keiths experience and standing in the sword community ducking out of threads due to heavy handed comments .... not good .

    If your happy with your $300 sword fine , I am pleased some people still are , the majority of us aspire to something better though and our tastes evolve over time along with our experience .

    not elitism and dismissive I hope .. just a gauge of where some people are at with their swords and cold hard truths about production katana .
    " 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

  22. #47
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    Hey ,enjoy yourselves.Far be it for me to state an opinion.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin P. View Post
    No offense, R.C., but it seems like car analogies don't really work here. Anyway, I think $300 for a sword is pretty much guaranteed to get you a sub-par tsuka
    The important thing to remember is that it was advertised as "Tameshigiri" blade. It's misleading advertising. Buying a shinken is a matter of trust as you have to pay for something you've probably not seen. You expect it to do what it is advertised for.

    I'm not talking about "Battle ready'. The usage of the word "Tameshigiri" implies that they understand the term. To supply something substandard to the task (Whatever the cost) becomes an ethical issue for the supplier.

    It's a difficult issue but needs to be spoken about if safety and knowledge sharing is to be fostered on sites such as this. Tough love.
    Last edited by Mat Rous; 01-09-2008 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Spelling
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  24. #49
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    Sushi sword... you can chop your sushi and eat it with the chopstick! :O
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  25. #50
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    Interesting Chitana tsuba

    Oops, meant to start a new thread.

    Many apologies-

    Chris
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    Last edited by Chris Sheaffer; 01-09-2008 at 06:21 PM.
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