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Thread: Tsuka ????

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mat Rous View Post
    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.

    The funny thing about advertising is that the catch phrases could have changed because the public is now becoming more educated about swords. This is a definite truth from 15 years ago when things were still called "battle ready". Today it just seems that they just changed "battle ready" to "Tameshigiri" just to get interest.

    I know that the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is echoed through out the Forums here, but it is true. The one thing that really sucks about you guys dropping your money on the swords is the fact that you don't get to see them before they arrive on your doorstep. I think that is an important aspect to buying a sword, any sword in general. But in the age of the Internet, distrubutors just put a picture up and cast the line.

    And guys, we should be thankful that guys like Keith Larman is taking there time to offer opinions and answer questions here. We should be happy that Rick Barrett will pop in from time to time so we can pick his brain. So lets be more inviting guys. Guys like Keith and Rick should really be appreciated.

  2. #52
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    opinions welcome

    aspersions are not , no one here is elitist or dismissive

    and Mr Goetz - we do value your opinion so please dont think its not wanted , your input is as valid as anyones - you just have to remember that one of the focus's of SFI is to help people evolve as collectors to appreciate art swords and swords that are the pinnacle of the custom smiths proffession as well as to promote the swordsmiths art and craft as opposed to just indulging the ever growing production sword market .

    so please elaborate on your cracked tsuka issue - its the first DF
    tsuka failure I have heard of

    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

  3. #53
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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.
    Do you still have that tsuka-core? Would you mind splitting it in two along the ha- and mune-seams with a chisel or a knife? I'd love to see how the nakago-inletting has been done on a DF tsuka. The split-picture could also give us clues as to why it cracked in the first place.

    Some have mentioned how "tameshigiri" is the new sales pitch hot-word. Now, on eBay I would understand it, and even expect it. But from an established sword production company like Dynasty Forge? I mean, really?
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  4. #54
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    Well reading my post I can see I was rude.I apologize,that's not my way.But it is very frustrating to purchase something on trust,only to be burned in the deal.I did alot of research on this before my purchase.Alot of it here on SFI and I knew I wasn't getting a art blade.Just a good katana like sword,for as little money as possible.I was willing to give up all the aesthetics and perks of a real katana,For something functional.Now just a few months and 3 beach mats down the road all I have is a white elephant.I will fix this,the blade is good steel and cuts nicely.But think of this,I checked and cleaned this sword after every cutting session.Good thing,but how many others are out there swinging what they think is a "good" low end sword,when it's just a accident waiting to happen.And does DF use the same Tsuka core on there high end swords?I'll see about splitting the core after I have my new one made.I'm going to send it to my guy as is for inspection.Mr.Larson,again I am sorry to have been rude,your work and approach to it are spot on.

  5. #55
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    Even though your sword was under $500 you still should not have a cracked tsuka cutting beach mats with a blade marketed as a cutter - Do DF give a warranty against any breakages under normal use with their blades ?

    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

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael wilson View Post
    Even though your sword was under $500 you still should not have a cracked tsuka cutting beach mats with a blade marketed as a cutter - Do DF give a warranty against any breakages under normal use with their blades ?

    Mick
    How long ago did you buy it?

    "45 days from the date of invoice: Dynasty Forge Inc. will provide repair or replacement (to be determined at our discretion) against manufacturer’s defects in workmanship or material only."
    http://www.dynastyforge.com/about/terms.php

    EDIT: Nice warranty, BTW, an European buyer (for example) wouldn't even have received the item in 45 days from date of invoice..
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  7. #57
    Guys, dont' get me wrong, I fully understand disappointment and frustration with these things.

    FWIW a bunch of years ago I was asked if I could drive down to Bugei for a meeting (it's about 120 miles away and traffic is often terrible so I'm usually not in much mood to just "drop by"). Anyway, a Chinese vendor wanted to show us some swords they were trying to introduce into the US market. They were hoping Bugei would carry them. Well, I got down there along with Ted Tenold and we saw these new swords. The blades were somewhat unconventional in shaping, rather flat ground, and a bit thin. Nothing terrible, but not all that great either. But the mounts... Terrible. Misfit habaki, poorly fit (and shimmed) tsuka, poorly cast fittings with sharp edges, atrocious tsukamaki, and the ito looked like it was scavenged from recycled shoes... At this point a few people had already done some cutting with them and commented that they cut mats well (which wasn't surprising given how thin and flat they were). Both Ted and I had the feeling everyone there was hoping we'd like them. We didn't. We went through a long list of problems and what sort of long term results those problems would have. Handle loosening almost immediately. Tsukamaki coming apart. Ripped up hands. Unsafe mounts. Poorly fit saya being problematic for training. Also concerns were raised that the overly thin and flat blades would easily take damage in the hands of the inexperienced or in the hands of someone cutting something a bit harder like bamboo or thicker targets. So our opinion was very low of these things and we listed out everything we felt needed improving. The Chinese vendors hoping to break into the US market smiled, nodded a lot, said they'd take care of it and went away apparently quite happy. We just shrugged and told Bugei "let's see if they can fix the issues".

    Months later we go down again for "version 2". Basically nothing was fixed. Same stuff. No changes. And right around that time an individual had started selling "unusual" sugata swords at pretty low prices. We started by pointing out that the vendors had asked Bugei to be an "exclusive" partner but we were seeing the exact same swords, fittings and mounts on another website already. Then we came to point number 2 -- nothing had been fixed. They were in our opinion just as shoddy, poorly made, poorly fit, and basically unusable as they were before. They smiled, said they would look into who was 'stealing' their designs, said they'd fix the issues, and that was basically the last we ever heard about it.

    There are now a lot of people selling swords that look an awful lot like those swords. Tsuka design, habaki design, mounting methods, fittings quality, etc. These swords got a lot of really positive press on forums like these when they first came out. And it reminded me of what I had told Bugei way back when -- they'll be popular at first but then the problems will start to manifest. The corners cut to make things inexpensive and feel tight when new will rapidly devolve into failures and flaws.

    Anyway, the point here is that there is a lot of noise out there. Lots of "reviews" on forums like these by people who know very little about swords. It is great that there are enthusiastic people willing to share their experiences. But you have to filter their enthusiasm and look more deeply.

    When I was asked my opinion about these swords it was solely from the point of view of whether they will be usable and reasonably safe as weapons in JSA training. We felt they were a long way off from the mark. Others apparently didn't agree and began selling them. And with lots of positive press and reviews on forums like this, well, they're going to sell. So some of us try to educate a bit more to help people understand the forces, the tensions, etc. in building these things. And how complex it really can end up being to make a good sword. And how that complexity translates into a base cost that is quite literally necessary in order to make a solid sword. If you're trying to do a traditional style mount, well, it takes not only quality materials but the skill and time to do it right. That translates into cost.

    Bugei was hoping to find another line of swords they could sell in good conscience at a lower price range. But after over a decade doing this they have yet to find ones that meet their goals. They may be out there, but I haven't seen them yet. Now we all understand that those goals are not everyone's goals, so your mileage may vary. And I think there is a butt for every seat as they say. But for training, cutting, etc. there are some pretty high hurdles that need to be cleared in terms of quality and construction.

    On the separate issue of how inexpensive blades are sold and how they are positioned as usability goes... Well, that's something you need to discuss with them. As I said I recommended against them when Bugei asked me about them. So they passed. But a lot have been sold since by other vendors. And I'm sure some of them have been just fine -- there was a sort of hit/miss feeling with many of them once you got past some of the less than stellar decisions made in how they were done. I'm sure some are just fine. But others were spectacularly wrong. And it only takes one...

    Later, gotta get focused on my work. Taxes coming and I need to figure out how to pay for the kid's summer camp she wants to do... Signing off for a while...
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  8. #58
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    very candid and openly honest

    many thanks Keith - a very enlightening look at part of what goes
    on "behind the scenes" as it where .

    Knowing Bugei Tradings High standards this comes as no surprise -

    I can only imagine that other lesser, more unscrupulous vendors must have been rubbing their hands and counting their mark up when they inspected the swords in question.

    I keep saying it lately but Bugei and Paul Chen are definitely out there as the front runners with everyone playing catch up .

    plus theres a host of swords that match them in price but fall way down in quality .

    just my opinion and two pennies worth
    " 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

  9. #59
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    Thumbs up you called it Timo

    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    How long ago did you buy it?

    "45 days from the date of invoice: Dynasty Forge Inc. will provide repair or replacement (to be determined at our discretion) against manufacturer’s defects in workmanship or material only."
    http://www.dynastyforge.com/about/terms.php

    EDIT: Nice warranty, BTW, an European buyer (for example) wouldn't even have received the item in 45 days from date of invoice..
    This is so true - what with International shipping, delays , customs inspections , added VAT inspections etc - we would be really lucky to get a sword delivered within that warranty .

    Timo - are you in the same boat where by if you do buy a sword from the US you get for import duty by your own customs guys ?

    I recently imported a wakizashi and a remounted musashi tsuka - the whole lot was covered by $500 shipping insurance and I got stung for £50 GB import duty

    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

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael wilson View Post
    This is so true - what with International shipping, delays , customs inspections , added VAT inspections etc - we would be really lucky to get a sword delivered within that warranty .

    Timo - are you in the same boat where by if you do buy a sword from the US you get for import duty by your own customs guys ?

    I recently imported a wakizashi and a remounted musashi tsuka - the whole lot was covered by $500 shipping insurance and I got stung for £50 GB import duty

    Mick
    That's the thing here too.. Surface mail is the only economically reasonable way to get a sword from US to Finland, and it takes about 45-60 days *at least* to arrive. And then there's the customs. A $200 sword from US with another $40-60 for s&h amounts to a $300+ sword when I get my hands on it. If there's something wrong with it I need to send it back that's another $50 I'll never see again. Then the second sword comes, and again I have to pay taxes for it's customs-declared value (it doesn't matter that I didn't pay for it this time), plus, again, s&h. Now I have a (hopefully) functional $200 sword and I've paid $500+ for it. Try the same math with a $700 sword, or a $1000+ sword. This is why I don't do production swords anymore. It's simply not worth the trouble.

    Incidentally, when I got swords with cracked tsuka I didn't send 'em back, I disintegrate the bloody things as anger-management and start building new ones..
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  11. #61
    Sorry it took so long but i finally contacted Loren in reference to this matter and he emailed me back a few hours later which was a surprise. He responded first with an agreement that this was not correct and sometimes new craftsman take shortcuts which should not happen. He offered to make good by swaping the Tsuka out. I cant really ask for anyhting more, so Im pleased. Now if i could just get the Hamon to show a little more on this Oni forge I would be really happy.

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DAgostino View Post
    Sorry it took so long but i finally contacted Loren in reference to this matter and he emailed me back a few hours later which was a surprise. He responded first with an agreement that this was not correct and sometimes new craftsman take shortcuts which should not happen. He offered to make good by swaping the Tsuka out. I cant really ask for anyhting more, so Im pleased. Now if i could just get the Hamon to show a little more on this Oni forge I would be really happy.
    Waitaminute, "swapping the tsuka"? I hope he means "crafting a new tsuka for the blade" (which you will naturally have to send back to them).. otherwise you'll just get a new one-size-fits-all tsuka-core that's gonna crack sooner or later, with or without the shims.
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  13. #63
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    Thumbs up anger management - hahahahha

    Timo mate - bloody hilarious image of you busting open cracked tsuka to relieve stress LOL

    I too hope Loren does not mean a straight swap tsuka for tsuka -
    thats how some people like Jim Anestasi eneded up going through 3
    one size fits all tsuka before Skip stepped in .

    The blade needs returning and a new core fitted to that particular blade - or the entire sword replacing .

    I know when DGuertin swords were up and running daryl would lend
    his customers a loaner sword so they had something to use while their own sword was in the shop - a great idea IMO.

    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

  14. #64
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    production tsuka core construction database

    If I was rolling in cash you know what I'd do? I'd get a low-end and a high-end sword from each and every manufacturer there is and bust every single one of those tsuka in half, and post what I've found here on SFI. I find it hard to believe that each PPK (for example) has a custom fit tsuka at the price they're selling and the volume that's been made.. yet we don't get many "my PPK's tsuka cracked" threads, which either means that Hanwei has found a way to do half-decent job for very little money or that PPK-owners don't check their tsuka for cracks.
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  15. #65
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    tons of remounted PPK's floating around

    as the title says , I bet there's loads .

    Aaron Justice has remounted about 60 different chen katana
    obviously not all different but I dont recall him mentioning a cracked core ,

    maybe they have strict guidlines for nakago dimensions and the amount of inletting for the core - or they might number the component parts like some KC models have - so the right blade is matched to the right core , its all speculation though

    I guess Paul Chens QC control standards have filtered down from the Bugei stuff as many hoped it would .

    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

  16. #66
    Timo, honestly thats what it sounds like he wants to do with it. I agree with you on having future problems but I doubt he's going to cut a new tsuka for me.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael wilson View Post
    as the title says , I bet there's loads .

    Aaron Justice has remounted about 60 different chen katana
    obviously not all different but I dont recall him mentioning a cracked core ,

    maybe they have strict guidlines for nakago dimensions and the amount of inletting for the core - or they might number the component parts like some KC models have - so the right blade is matched to the right core , its all speculation though

    I guess Paul Chens QC control standards have filtered down from the Bugei stuff as many hoped it would .

    Mick

    Actually, in about 60 swords (has it been that many? Geez...) or so, lost track of the actual number, I have faced a few Chen tsuka issues. The main issue has always been loose fit. A loose tsuka can be shimmed, and obviously if it is loose you can assume there wasn't any stress to force the core apart. One was a practical plus tanto that had so bad a fit it required about 4 shims, two on each side, to have it in their solid.

    I also HAVE seen a split Chen tsuka core, 2 in fact, but like some of the other cores I've seen they were split at the seam. In fact the original Kami katana I had, the nakago was bent to the side slightly. I had to dimount it, place it on a chair and hold it down, and with my other hand apply pressure to the nakago to straighten it. It worked, but for their highest (back then) in their line, that's something they should have spotted.

    Of the 15 or 18 or so Dynasty katanas I have customized, I also found 2 with split seams. Of course you can't multiply that upwards and say Dynasty has a 4x failure rate as these are small samples.
    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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  18. #68
    FWIW I've seen only a very small number of cracked tsuka on the swords I inspect for Bugei. It is a pretty easy decision when you find one -- I reject the entire sword. Most of the time it is because the core was just a hair loose and they put in a single shim that was simply a bit too thick and then jammed the nakago back in at the factory. Regardless of why it was cracked, the entire sword is sent back to China for a new tsuka.

    But I haven't seen one in a while now that I think about it...
    Last edited by Keith Larman; 01-11-2008 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Clarification...
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  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Justice View Post
    One was a practical plus tanto that had so bad a fit it required about 4 shims, two on each side, to have it in their solid.
    If you're talking of one of the early PPT you've done where you just polished the blade, that tanto is now on my desk. The shims made it solid enough that it didn't move a millimeter during a cutting session.
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  20. #70
    Geez, just as I post that I remember why it was bugging me...

    I did recently have a very frustrating experience with one of Bugei's high end Wave katana. The guy who was getting the sword had his sword rejected I think 2 times in a row. So here I was looking at number 3 and there was a super light layer of oxidation on the sword. So Bugei asked if I could redo the finish for them and just get this poor guy his sword. So I stripped off the finish and light oxidation and did a light refinish.

    Once the owner got the sword he commented the tsuka felt funny in the wrap and he wanted it rewrapped. It seemed as though a seam in the leather ito (cows are only so big so seams are inevitable) landed right into his hand in an uncomfortable way). Argh. So Bugei asked me to rewrap it. Okay, I pulled it apart, started reshaping a bit and then found that it was just not fit quite right -- close but no cigar. I worked on the bloody thing for a while and finally just told Bugei we should either send it back or just make him a new tsuka. Of course by then we had already repolished the blade, torn the old tsuka apart, cut some new high grade leather tsukaito...

    Long story short by the time I was done the sword had been refinished and had a new custom tsuka with full samekawa wrap, lacquered same', new menuki (why not -- we were redoing it anyway), and new high grade leather.

    Bugei obviously lost a lot of money on that sword.

    So no matter how hard you try, things happen. The more important issue imho is how the vendor addresses those problems.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael P View Post
    If you're talking of one of the early PPT you've done where you just polished the blade, that tanto is now on my desk. The shims made it solid enough that it didn't move a millimeter during a cutting session.
    I've owned six of the little buggers... not sure who's went to who...

    Good value for the price though, i don't think anyone can deny that.
    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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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Justice View Post
    I've owned six of the little buggers... not sure who's went to who...
    Even worse from that point of view, it was an indirect purchase and I can't recall who I bought it from in the classifieds here
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  23. #73
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    Oh yes, that's probably it - shims. Make a bunch of blades, measure the average nakago dimensions, inlet the nakago-ana of the core with extra space and add shims (probably stock them in variable thickness) that make it fit well to a specific nakago. Sounds feasible, certainly safer than the hammer-on one-size-fits-all solution, yet still cost-efficient.

    I wonder, how much cost does a custom-fit tsuka-core made in China add to a sword? I mean, if there's a person or persons dedicated to just that work they can do it in a day, easily. Making a pretty good fit isn't really that hard, once you know the basics. So, a Chinese woodworker's one day's salary, multiply by 1.3 to be on the safe side, equals..?
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  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Justice View Post
    Actually, in about 60 swords (has it been that many? Geez...) or so, lost track of the actual number, I have faced a few Chen tsuka issues. The main issue has always been loose fit. A loose tsuka can be shimmed, and obviously if it is loose you can assume there wasn't any stress to force the core apart. One was a practical plus tanto that had so bad a fit it required about 4 shims, two on each side, to have it in their solid.

    I also HAVE seen a split Chen tsuka core, 2 in fact, but like some of the other cores I've seen they were split at the seam. In fact the original Kami katana I had, the nakago was bent to the side slightly. I had to dimount it, place it on a chair and hold it down, and with my other hand apply pressure to the nakago to straighten it. It worked, but for their highest (back then) in their line, that's something they should have spotted.

    Of the 15 or 18 or so Dynasty katanas I have customized, I also found 2 with split seams. Of course you can't multiply that upwards and say Dynasty has a 4x failure rate as these are small samples.
    Interesting stuff, Aaron. Have you just rewrapped the old tsuka or do you make new cores (or both)? If you dispose the old cores, have you by chance split any to see how they've been done?
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  25. #75
    actually I've owned a PC shinto (one of the original ones) and a PPK and both had cracks in the tsuka. It makes me wonder if that is why the samurai went through all the trouble of having metal bands around them and wrapping them with ray skin and silk cord. I can't say I've ever seen a production katana that didn't have a cracked tsuka. The only exception would be my japanese production iaito. I dont' get it. I can't imagine a $250.00 iaito has a better tsuka than a $650 PC shinto. Am I wrong. Aren't most sub $300 iaito production too?
    "When I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me..."

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