Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: A Follow-up Review Masahiro Bamboo 3 years Later

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Out of my depths and out of my mind...
    Posts
    3,283

    A Follow-up Review Masahiro Bamboo 3 years Later

    Masahiro Bamboo....

    3 Years Later




    Hey Everybody... this is a just for fun review on a boring day. A bit over three years ago, I purchased and reviewed the Masahiro Bamboo on SFI. My review was VERY favorable , maybe even a bit obnoxious, and it caused quite a stir... and a bit of a demand for these swords.... so much so that the sellers themselves began counterfeiting them after they sold out... funny stuff, that.

    Masahiro is a trademark owned by Master Cutlery , along with Ryumon. Master is a rebrander , meaning they buy swords from various sources and resell them under their brand name ... one that was a winner was the sword I dubbed the Bamboo.These are no longer availiable from Masahiro , but can still be obtained as the JL-813 from the manufacturer..

    http://www.jlsword.com/

    There was a very large shipment of these that were sold by SunpointUsa/ Handmade Sword on ebay for $.01 starting bids. I eneded up buying many of them , and saw some variation in the model, and got some for as low as $26. The very first one I got was a damn good one.. and i have held onto it , and used it heavily. Abused it , really.

    The sword in this review cost me $56 plus shipping. Many on SFI predicted catastrophic failure within a month... I stated that I would be quite happy with a month, from a sword that cost the price of a night out to the movies...

    Now , after 3 years , the sword still survives, and I am still quite chuffed with it.

    This review will endeavor to examine its durability.









    Specifications

    Nagasa: 27"
    Weight : 2.2 lbs
    Tsuka: 12 " including fuchigashira
    Motohaba : 1.25 "
    Sakihaba : 1.0 "
    Motokasane : 7.5mm
    Sakikasane : 6.0mm
    POB : 5 inches from tsuba




    Aesthetics

    Sugata is shinogi zukuri with chu-kissaki. Kissaki is counter polished, but has that nice diamond flare called mune-kado ( I think).

    The fuchi-gashira and tsuba are cast in copper , or bronze maybe, and have a bamboo theme.

    The hamon is acid etched, and suguha.

    Tsuka-ito is black cotton , and the folds do not alternate , the white same is in panels.









    Last edited by M.K. Ridgeway; 02-15-2009 at 04:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Out of my depths and out of my mind...
    Posts
    3,283


    Fit and Finish

    The fit and finish on this sword is a mixed bag. There are some shortcomings , as you would expect on a katana of this price, then again, some things are pretty damn surprising.

    The blade is nice and thick , and has some niku. The kissaki is nicely shaped, and the counterpolish "clean".

    The bo-hi is a bit shallow, and tapers off rather than terminates, but the polish is a smooth mirror polish. These actually go hand in hand, because on these cheaper blades like this, the machine that cuts the bo-hi also mirror polishes the blade.

    The tsuka-maki is tight and symmetrical, but does not alternate and the ito is not so good. On many cheaper swords tsuka ho are sercured by two mekugi, because it is a serious shortcut to making the tsuka fit correctly... it will just "ride" on the two pegs, rather than be fitted. The Bamboo is actually single -pegged , and the tsuka fit is great.However it does have a bit of an axe-handle shape.

    The fittings are cheap, and mass-produced, generic fittings, but they are fit to the sword very well. Habaki fit is good as well.

    The saya has shoestring style sageo , but fits very snug , with very little rattle.

    All in all , despite the shortcuts taken , the fit and finsh is superb.













    Handling Characteristics

    The Bamboo handles like a DREAM. It is very light , 2.2 lbs, with a point of balance 5 inches from the tsuba. It handles as well as any sword I 've ever had, and better than many... the best comparison I can make is a Citadel Yoshi, A newer PK , or the Tori, but with a bit more authourity than those... you know you are holding a sturdy blade. Its just a marvelous feeling sword.
    I fthe ito were a bit more tactile , and the tsuka-ho better shaped , it would handle fine indeed.






    Cutting

    The Bamboo is a superb cutter. It is very sharp, and kind of thick at 7.5 mm kasane with the 27 inch nagasa. Some of these I had were up to 28.5 inch nagasa , and were considerably thinner. This one is very robust.

    With its attributes it handles light and heavy targets well. It cuts bamboo up to 4-5 inches very well, and handles dry bottles just as well.

    Lately, since the Imperial review , I'm really getting into cutting golf balls. A lot. They are a great target... small, hard .... they take precision and tip speed. Not every sword would i feel comfortable cutting golf balls with... not any Hanwei I've ever owned (but the Wind and Thunder) only Oni forge and the Masahiro Bamboo... they are sturdy enough to confidently attck golf balls with....

    Today I cut empty bottles and golf balls... this $56 sword cuts better than many swords 10 times (or more) the cost that I've owned.



    Last edited by M.K. Ridgeway; 02-15-2009 at 04:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Out of my depths and out of my mind...
    Posts
    3,283



    Durability

    I have to say that the durabilty and value of this sword is unparalleled by anything else I've seen.

    In the time I've had it I've abused it... cutting hard plastic, metal , wire , plywood , 2x4 s , hacking into 4x4s, bamboo, and golf balls ...

    It has been used hard , and has help up well... better than any katana I 've ever owned... I chipped a PK and a Tori on much less than this sword has been through.

    Most of my Oni Forge swords have likely been as tough, but have not been used near as hard as this sword...

    After 3 years , and all my ill treatment, there is little damage. The ha is perfed a tiny bit from striking a metal rod that holds a bird feeder, (I was cutting hanging targets ) and the kissaki is dented up from striking a metal plant holder ... below I have tried to picture the damages, and the culprits .










    Conclusion

    This is a great sword for $56.. its a great sword for $156 ... hell its a great sword period. The attributes of it are the attributes of a great sword... its weight, balance , geometry , and durability all show it to be a damn well made sword . If the price was approaching $200 the compromises such as machine -cut hi , the tsuka-maki and the fittings would outstrip the value... but at $175 and under , this sword has few peers IMHO. Were Jianlong to make a sword with these specs to a higher standard , it would easily compete with any of the mid range ($200-$600) cutters on the market.

    These are unavailiable as Masahiro or off of eBay now.. and not availiable from handmadesword, those they offer now are impersonators , trying to take advantage of the popularity of the "Bamboo" and the value associated with it...

    However the true manufacturer is still around, and if one kind find these for a decent price I highly reccomend them.

    This sword has outperformed, and outlasted everyones expectations , and predictions, including my own... after three years, and dozens of other katana , it is still a sword I am proud to own, and one of the few I have held onto over the years.

    Thanks for reading....





    Last edited by M.K. Ridgeway; 02-15-2009 at 04:23 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Temecula, Ca.
    Posts
    77
    I thought there was mention in the former review that the one that's currently available on their site was of minor quality compared to the one you have there?

    Other then the furniture having the look of cheap store bought katana (the kind you usually see on wall in restaurants and sushi bars, that copper coloring and odd key pattern to the thin golden seppa ) and the ito being tied in only one direction instead of change over tying ( I have two chintana right here that are the same way) it looks like a really clean tight tie and it looks like over to be a nice theme.

    But for 56.00 I can't even take what I just wrote seriously.
    The two blades I just mentioned I got for 75.00 total and other then that they were sharpened by a spasmatic which I am now polishing out to a proper edge, they are a good blade with decent fittings and real same' but both have the heavier cotton.

    Your bamboo there has that nice tight flat cotton and what looks like tight but not to large nodes in the same'

    So three years of heavy use and abuse goes to say more then anything else and even if you have to completely remount it you would still be ahead.

    Great re-review! Thanks.
    Last edited by J.Williams; 02-15-2009 at 04:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Out of my depths and out of my mind...
    Posts
    3,283
    Yes , the ones that are on ebay from the retailer I got mine from are not the same anymore... but Jian-long is the original manufacturer, and those may still be the same ....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    salinas,Ca
    Posts
    96
    I got my Bamboo from Sunpoint for 65 shipped. About 3 yrs ago. I was very impressed for what i paid for this sword. I've never cut with it and its razor sharp. Best 65 bucks ever spent. The Ito wrap is very tight. good for the price most people paid!
    We Who Are Not As Others

    I'm poor so, Masahiro rules..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Fayetteville North Carolina
    Posts
    6,846
    do you have a link to sunpoint.


    I am thinking not only are they good blades for practicing cutting but for projects.

  8. #8
    Ah the fabled katana , I've been intrested in sword for about one year and during this year I've heard about the Masahiro Bamboo. So getting a real review from someone who has a lot of cutting experience and that has a lot of other swords is very nice. It's almost legendary the Bamboo!

    Cheers!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    salinas,Ca
    Posts
    96
    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis Smith View Post
    do you have a link to sunpoint.


    I am thinking not only are they good blades for practicing cutting but for projects.
    http://stores.ebay.com/SunpointUSA

    I cant speak for the quality of his swords now. But thats the guy i got my bamboo from.
    Last edited by Carvic Barrera; 02-17-2009 at 02:07 AM.
    We Who Are Not As Others

    I'm poor so, Masahiro rules..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Out of my depths and out of my mind...
    Posts
    3,283
    Quote Originally Posted by Carvic Barrera View Post
    http://stores.ebay.com/SunpointUSA

    I cant speak for the quality of his swords now. But thats the guy i got my bamboo from.
    Yeah, they are not the same sword at all....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Järvenpää, Finland
    Posts
    3,241
    Quote Originally Posted by M.K. Ridgeway View Post
    If the ito were a bit more tactile , and the tsuka-ho better shaped , it would handle fine indeed.
    Indeed it does.

    I got one of the original batch second-hand on eBay for just under $50. I had to rebuild my MB's tsuka (and naturally wrap it), and as I wrote in another thread a few weeks back it's still my favourite sword to date.

    BTW, there is a thread somewhere on SFI about what my MB's tsuka looked like when I tore it apart completely.
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  12. #12
    Got mine for $75, and still have it. I second everything Marc has said about this sword.

    SunPointUSA has a website: www.handmadesword.com but this sword really was a diamond in the rough (while they lasted). The swords offered by SunPoint at this price and beyond are not nearly as good--not worth looking at, IMO.

    They are also known to be somewhat sheisty and dishonest sellers...

    But--despite that--the JinLong Bamboo was/is the bomb for sure!
    "Waiting is very much a sacred sword tradition."
    -Marc Ridgeway

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    66

    about sunpoint..

    wow wish i had been a member of this forum 3 years ago..after inquiring after info about furubushidoo blades from sunpoint (handmade swords) best answer they had was.."we know nothing except they are quality swords"..if thats not sheisty i dont know what the word means...so i continue my quest towards learning anything about the phantom company Furubushidoo..............nice review!
    Last edited by Bryan Dl.; 04-12-2009 at 12:15 PM. Reason: typo

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •