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Thread: Oni-Forge Shobu Zukuri...

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Oni-Forge Shobu Zukuri...

    I wanted to share with you guys my experience so far with this piece and hopefully draw from some of you some advice on how I should proceed.

    I received the Shobu a few months back when the pre-order stock finally showed up (month late). My initial impressions were very good. Everything seemed to be in order. The Ito is very tight and well done. The fittings are all tight and very basic which I like, not to gaudy.

    What struck me with my mouth open was the blade. It is absolutely beautiful. Thia is my first Shobu and I find myself really liking the geometry of this blade. The polish is very nicely done, no imperfections with the blade whatsoever and seems to be very sharp but I have not cut with it yet.

    So then the problems...I went to disassemble the tsuka from the blade and I noticed some damage to the tsuba and seppa. It looked like someone had hit the tsuba wrong or dropped it, I honestly don't know. Upon further inspection I found the black Same' on one side to be a very nice gloss black and the other side a very dull black. I'm not sure what's going on there.

    I emailed Loren about the Tsuba and Seppa damage and after about a month he graciously sent me a new tsuba and seppa. So now, I thought to myself I can finally disassemble it and fix it. So I ever so gently removed the tsuka core and what do I find...... a crack. right on the mune side of the tsuka, and a pretty big one to.

    So now that is two manufacturers I have found cracked tsuka on (we all know who else has this issue so i won't go there). I am really not sure what to do here, I am blinded by frustration at the moment.

    Anyone can offer some advice I would appreciate it, and I will also post the pics I took last night when I get home.

    Blackwell
    "You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son. "

  2. #2
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    Was the tsuka a super tight fit? Can you share with us your complete methodology for tsuka removal?

    Cheers

    Hotspur; have you contacted Loren yet again?

  3. #3
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    I, for one, am getting sick of this whole cracked Tsuka situation, its happening way too often anymore.

  4. #4
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    Pictures...

    Ok, once again I am armed with a crappy camera and no skill, LOL.

    The Blade...


    Kissaki...


    Parts... (note the length of the nakago)


    Tsuka Crack...I tried to photograph this but it was no use I could not get a good shot of it.


    Dull Same'...


    Glossy Same'...


    Tsuba...


    Blackwell
    "You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son. "

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    Was the tsuka a super tight fit? Can you share with us your complete methodology for tsuka removal?

    Cheers

    Hotspur; have you contacted Loren yet again?
    Glen,

    I have a small rubber mallet I use. I lightly tapped 360 degrees around the tsuba until removed. Took ALOT of taps to free it up. When I started it reminded me of my Cheness, that one was stuck on there good too.

    I also noted that the tsuka core is one whole piece. I could not find any seams where the two halves would "traditionally" be glued together. Probably explains the reason it was jammed on.

    No I have not contacted Loren yet. I am kind of at my wits end. Also my wife was forcing me to sell this piece, which is why I am being so picky about it. I will be contacting him, just wanted to run it by you all.

    Blackwell
    "You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son. "

  6. #6
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    Tell Loren you are sending it back and tell him why. I think he would understand.
    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares, usually end up plowing for those who don't" :Benjamin Franklin

  7. #7
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    Honestly I have had plently of swords with cracked tsuka. As long as you have a fuchi and a kahira and most importantly a tight wrap you really have nothing to worry about in my opinion. The tsuka won't break due to how a tsuka is on the nakago. The excellent design of how the pressure is around the tsuka, inside the tsuka, plus you have two steel rings (the F/K) holding the ends from "splitting". I would not worry so much about it splitting or breaking. It just doesn't look nice with a crack.

    As for the same', I have had that before when I do my own tsukas. It is supposed to be as glossy as the other side but it either was not lacquered as heavily or lacquered at all.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamTNesvick View Post
    I, for one, am getting sick of this whole cracked Tsuka situation, its happening way too often anymore.
    Well, see, there is part of my concern. How many are cracking on installation and how many are cracking on removal. I'm not sure where the rubber mallet on the tsuba routine started but it doesn't make good sense in applied physics. It may seem like the way to go but the broader faced the hammer and the wider the tsuba, the more leverage you have working against you. Would you guys consider starting to use hardwood blocks that will apply force against the seppa, alongside the habaki? A rubber mallet is also robbing you of energy. A good plastic faced or hardwood mallet, used in conjunction with a wood drift (block) against the seppa should be a lot more efficient. You can even make a tool (slotted board) that will apply force to both sides of the impact area (seppa). You can get the general idea of this concept by looking at the nakago nuki that Fred Lohman sells.

    When you tap against the tsuba, you are driving the opposite side up into the base of the habaki and the habaki up into the machi. I'm not saying all the cracked tsuka are a result of removal technique but have to wonder if some might be.

    I will freely admit my next would be my first but I'm speaking from experience in automotive and general machine repair knowledge. Anyone that has chased a bearing race down a shaft understands where I'm coming from. Anyone thinking about leverage and equal and opposite reaction should catch my drift (pun fully intended).

    One could conceivably use my technique with sword and block in one hand and the mallet in the other. Yes, watch your fingers and palm on the edge (even wrap the whole mess in a rag). I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly but I think it is Keith that has a special name for the fork gizmo.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; someone did report botching a habaki in overzealous tsuba thumping
    Last edited by Glen C.; 05-08-2007 at 08:45 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    Well, see, there is part of my concern. How many are cracking on installation and how many are cracking on removal. I'm not sure where the rubber mallet on the tsuba routine started but it doesn't make good sense in applied physics. It may seem like the way to go but the broader faced the hammer and the wider the tsuba, the more leverage you have working against you. Would you guys consider starting to use hardwood blocks that will apply force against the seppa, alongside the habaki? A rubber mallet is also robbing you of energy. A good plastic faced or hardwood mallet, used in conjunction with a wood drift (block) against the seppa should be a lot more efficient. You can even make a tool (slotted board) that will apply force to both sides of the impact area (seppa). You can get the general idea of this concept by looking at the nakago nuki that Fred Lohman sells.

    When you tap against the tsuba, you are driving the opposite side up into the base of the habaki and the habaki up into the machi. I'm not saying all the cracked tsuka are a result of removal technique but have to wonder if some might be.

    I will freely admit my next would be my first but I'm speaking from experience in automotive and general machine repair knowledge. Anyone that has chased a bearing race down a shaft understands where I'm coming from. Anyone thinking about leverage and equal and opposite reaction should catch my drift (pun fully intended).

    One could conceivably use my technique with sword and block in one hand and the mallet in the other. Yes, watch your fingers and palm on the edge (even wrap the whole mess in a rag). I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly but I think it is Keith that has a special name for the fork gizmo.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; someone did report botching a habaki in overzealous tsuba thumping
    Glen,

    I don't feel that it was anything that I have done, but you never know. I used the term mallet because it was general and most could relate. I actually used a small Snap-On dead blow hammer (long time Automotive Technician myself as well ). The dead blow is small enough to bring the strikes very close to the center of the tsuba. I have considered making a wood block like the one on fred's site but I have not got around to it. Actually my Matco dealer has some plastic drifts I can pick up..hmm those would work perfect

    Glen, thanks for your input. I will contact loren and see what he has to say. I think I will make a project out of it, we'll see.

    Blackwell

    P.s. If I was a "flat-rate" tsuka technician, I could see a few cracked cores, but I am very meticulous and careful with my baby's
    "You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son. "

  10. #10
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    I hate to suggest this, but could the rash of cracked tsukas be related, at least in part, to the profusion of cheap swords?

    I have no idea if the particular sword in question is a cheap sword or not, but frankly the swords that this seems to be occuring on are, well, cheap.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Tinker Pearce View Post
    I hate to suggest this, but could the rash of cracked tsukas be related, at least in part, to the profusion of cheap swords?

    I have no idea if the particular sword in question is a cheap sword or not, but frankly the swords that this seems to be occuring on are, well, cheap.
    Seems to me it's looking that way. So far that is all I own, but very very soon I will have in my hands some higher end stuff So until then, I got what I paid for.....

    Blackwell
    "You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son. "

  12. #12
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    I have asked the same questions to the forges and they seem to say that the % of moisture in the wood when it is made over sea's changes. So when it arrives in the States most have shrunk as well as the saya rattle. Or it could be due to the fact that many tsuka core are just not made to each nakago and tapped on to pressure fit but splits the wood. Just my two cents.
    Regards
    Brian

  13. #13
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    The climate in Finland is so different than say China that I'm starting to consider making a new tsuka for all my katana if I start to get it right.. (still searching for the proper wood to use).
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Dreier View Post
    I have asked the same questions to the forges and they seem to say that the % of moisture in the wood when it is made over sea's changes. So when it arrives in the States most have shrunk as well as the saya rattle. Or it could be due to the fact that many tsuka core are just not made to each nakago and tapped on to pressure fit but splits the wood. Just my two cents.
    Regards
    Brian
    If that was the case, Iaito's would have the same issue wouldn't they? Most of the cost of Iaito's are the crafting of the Saya and Tsuka.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mat Rous View Post
    If that was the case, Iaito's would have the same issue wouldn't they? Most of the cost of Iaito's are the crafting of the Saya and Tsuka.
    The tricky part of making saya and tsuka is to know where they will be sent to, and taking that into consideration. Climate-changes WILL affect the wood; whether it's a big or small change, combined with the type of wood used determines how the wood reacts. If the wood is good, and the saya-shi/tsuka-shi has taken the climate change into consideration the fit will be perfect after the climate change has taken full effect on the wood. This is something that cannot be done with production katana. They do what they do and hope for the best.
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  16. #16
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    Yep...I'm just waiting on that L6 Bainite blade that is mounted in a carbon fiber tsuka core, wrapped in real kevlar ito.

    Of course, all the fittings, f/s, tsuba, mekugi and menuki will be made from the highest quality titanium, with that nice "rainbow" finish.

    Closest thing to a light saber.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    This is something that cannot be done with production katana. They do what they do and hope for the best.
    Iaito are by definition, the equivalent of production Katana. Only the blade is "Non-traditional". As I said, the cost is in the workmanship of the furniture. The blade is a tiny fraction of the total price.

    It's one of the downsides of production blades - you have to accept that they are not constructed to the same levels and any flaws/issues are a result of that business model.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Blackwell View Post
    So until then, I got what I paid for.....

    Blackwell
    I couldnt read comes with cracked tsuka on the sword specs. So no, you didn´t pay for that.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubem Bastos View Post
    I couldnt read comes with cracked tsuka on the sword specs. So no, you didn´t pay for that.
    LOL
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  20. #20
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    Please dont take it as if I mocked Mr Blackwell situation. I was on the same shoes a couple days ago and he´s one of the few I shared my case with.

    I encourage him not to tell himself that´s because it´s a cheap sword or this series has focus on blades.

    It was suposed to be safe to use...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Dreier View Post
    I have asked the same questions to the forges and they seem to say that the % of moisture in the wood when it is made over sea's changes. So when it arrives in the States most have shrunk as well as the saya rattle. Or it could be due to the fact that many tsuka core are just not made to each nakago and tapped on to pressure fit but splits the wood. Just my two cents.
    Regards
    Brian
    Brian,

    Thanks for your Input I appreciate it I really honestly think both of these facts need to be considered.

    It is obvious that the tsuka is not matched to the nakago, so to me it seems the only way to fit it, would be to file then hammer like we all saw on the cheness forge videos.

    Now what Glen says makes sense too. The stress from tsuka removal has to be factored in as well.

    I think the combination of all those variables = cracks.

    Weird part about this crack is it's on the thickest part of the wood. I know the picture sucks, (trying to get a better one) but the crack is on the mune edge of the nakago-ana. With my cheness it was on the corner of the same' channel where it was very thin.

    Anyways I contacted Loren last night, we'll see what he says. Thank you all for your input

    Blackwell
    "You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son. "

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Blackwell View Post
    Weird part about this crack is it's on the thickest part of the wood. I know the picture sucks, (trying to get a better one) but the crack is on the mune edge of the nakago-ana. With my cheness it was on the corner of the same' channel where it was very thin.
    My guess is that it could be a defect in the wood where it split, or it could be that the nakago-ana is wide enough / too wide on ha and mune sides, so there's no pressure there.

    Other thoughts?
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  23. #23
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    It is for exactly this reason that I am now in the process of making my first tsuka, in this case, to remount a PC Busido tanto blade that I extracted from it's painfully fugly brass tsuka(which at least wasn't cracked ).

    (sidebar: the gold mekugi/button thingies on the Bushido tanto are made of <gasp> plastic glued to a bamboo pin)

    Had I access to an industrial lathe, band saw, router and belt sander, the project would already be complete. Unfortunately, I am having to go about this task entirely with hand tools [read: old-school/traditional] including a saw, planes, wood chisels, rasps, sandpaper, etc. I bought a new hickory maul/sledge replacement handle and will be giving the completed tsuka a full same' wrap. I even considered applying a thin, full wrap of fiberglass fabric/liquid/hardener around the wood for strength beneath the same' wrap but decided against it out of fear of making the resulting handle too thick or difficult to fit with f/k.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Buck
    Honestly I have had plently of swords with cracked tsuka. As long as you have a fuchi and a kahira and most importantly a tight wrap you really have nothing to worry about in my opinion. The tsuka won't break due to how a tsuka is on the nakago. The excellent design of how the pressure is around the tsuka, inside the tsuka, plus you have two steel rings (the F/K) holding the ends from "splitting". I would not worry so much about it splitting or breaking. It just doesn't look nice with a crack.

    As for the same', I have had that before when I do my own tsukas. It is supposed to be as glossy as the other side but it either was not lacquered as heavily or lacquered at all.
    IMHO I would send it back and either ask for a replacement or a refund. Nice blade though.

    Jeff
    "It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience." Julius Caesar

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Dreier View Post
    I have asked the same questions to the forges and they seem to say that the % of moisture in the wood when it is made over sea's changes. So when it arrives in the States most have shrunk as well as the saya rattle. Or it could be due to the fact that many tsuka core are just not made to each nakago and tapped on to pressure fit but splits the wood. Just my two cents.
    Regards
    Brian
    I'm in full agreement with Brian on this, thats the reason my Shura went for a new core and rewrap. Damn cracks (Thats twice now, on the Cheness "redesigned" Tsukas)

    I would happily pay $50 more for the Tsuka to be fit RIGHT, its not that hard folks, C'mon.

    Oh well, I guess I will just have to buy swords from Brian himself then. He does do nice work...


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