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Thread: Wallhanger Uncovered - a warning example

  1. #1
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    Wallhanger Uncovered - a warning example

    I thought I'd post this as a warning example to beginners searching this forum.

    I decided to take apart my $0.99 eBay "combat ready" katana which has "blood grooves" and is "fully functional", not to mention that it "can chop bamboo". Sounds familiar? In reality it has a fake hamon, fake same-panels, bad polish, and a double beveled edge (and it's still too dull to cut anything).

    The reason I blew this one apart was that I've began furnishing a REAL sword and thought that;
    a) this one has pretty nice looking koshirae (Bugei Dragonfly rip-offs) which could be re-used
    b) the cotton shoelaces that were supposed to be tsukamaki were horrible looking
    c) I thought I'd start practicing polishing using this blade as target practice

    Now even after removing the mekugi (real bamboo, imagine that..) the tang wouldn't come out of the tsuka, even with a hammer. So I guessed it's glued on. At this point I took out my trusty chisels and started busting the tsuka-core. The wood was soft, too soft to be used in a real sword's tsuka. Sure enough, after a while I hit iron. Problem is, this was about halfway into the core. So the tang wasn't even a "full tang". So I took my bit flat chisel and started banging the tsuka into pieces, which revealed that the tang was only half-tang, glued into place.. (the picture is pretty dark, sorry)

    To sell something like this as "functional" should constitute as fraud. What's more, it's incredibly dangerous to let people think the actually have a "real" sword and start swinging it or chopping stuff with it.

    But how could a complete beginner (or even an advanced user looking for a good deal) know these looking at an eBay auction? There are several guides out there but even with them you can't be sure. Auction descriptions are plain lies, usually with pictures of some other sword than the one you'll get. Certainly the seller won't say anything. I'd say the best guideline is "if in doubt, don't buy it". Or ask away here on SFI. If it's too good to be true, it usually isn't.

    Finally, some pics. Enjoy!
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  2. #2
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    A few more pics..
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the warning. The 99 cent price is one warning sign. As they have to make thier money some how, and usually they do it by charging enough in the shipping to pay for shipping and still make a profit. This may sound OK, as they have to make their money some how. But the problem is that if you want a refund through eBay or Paypal, you will not be refunded shipping costs, only the "purchase" price. Not to mention you still need to ship the item back which will cost you more then 99 cents. Which is one way they can sell junk and PayPal and ebay will do nothing about it, and the buyer is just scammed.
    http://www.fragmentsoflight.com - Photography site and blog. Mostly Landscape shots.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithM View Post
    As they have to make thier money some how, and usually they do it by charging enough in the shipping to pay for shipping and still make a profit. This may sound OK, as they have to make their money some how. But the problem is that if you want a refund through eBay or Paypal, you will not be refunded shipping costs, only the "purchase" price.
    Im shocked... How can one seller be criative in such a bad way at that point. This is stealing, nothing else.

  5. #5
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    Actually that IS against eBay policy but yet they do nothing about it..

    BTW, I'm not saying there are NO good deals out there some even at $0.99; I've heard that the Masahiro Bamboo originally sold at that price, and some newcomers still do this (like ZhiSwords) who want to get new customers. The real red flag here is high shipping costs; $79 shipped from China is usually a sign of a bad auction. $50 is more like it.

  6. #6

    Ebay Swords

    Hi Timo,

    Your statement is very enlightening, perhaps it's time to name names so that others won't get caught, I have purchased a couple of swords from "irtrading" on Ebay here in Australia, (I believe he trades under Lenkor in the USA) one was Kill Bill "Bill's Sword" and the other was a "Masahiro Dragon Sword" both were very sharp and had false hamon, I removed the Tsuka from Bill's sword and found that it had a full tang stamped with the makers name, which I wasn't able to decipher. The Masahiro I have not taken to pieces, both these sword cost me $195 AUD each including express post from the states. Fortunately I did not run into any of the problems you described in the above post. I must admit I was certainly looking at some of the cheap swords from China, but what turned me off was the seller had no feedback.
    As I said it might be time to start a register here on the forum of these dodgy sellers, if Ebay and Paypal won't protect us maybe it can be done here.

    Thanks again for the warning

    All the best.......Wayne Boon "Boony"

  7. #7
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    Wayne:
    I do agree with you. Sometimes all I wanted was a list of people not to buy from. Fortunitely even at Ebay I met nice people...

    But putting names here wont cause troubles to SFI? I do think bad dealers should be marked as so, but wont people hush to start hateful threads if a dealer takes longer than the usual to reply an e-mail?

    Still i think a black list should be somewhere...

  8. #8
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    Hello Timo,

    I too have bought a few beater katana from ebay, but have not had the misfortune of anything as horrible as your example. That nakago is HORID!!! Sorry you got such lemon.

    On a bright note. I probably would have bought the same katana just for the fittings and tsuba. I searched high and low awhile back for that exact tsuba with no luck. I would have paid the shipping for it alone at the time.

    If you should decide to part with it, I am still interested in the tsuba and fittings. As you know, I have menuki and possibly some fittings to offer as trade as well.

    Thanks for your post. This example is exactly what the more experianced collectors are constantly trying to warn us newbs about. A blatant example for sure.

    Buyer beware out there. Allthough I am convinced decent deals can be found on ebay, one must be very carefull not to get taken. This example goes far beyond shoddy work. It is down right dangerous!!!

    Skip

  9. #9
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    Hi Skip, the koshirae is why I bought this one. I'm thinking of remaking this sword with a new tsuka, rayskin panels and a new wrap. Should make a nice wallhanger. After I've demolished the blade with my first polishing practice I might just throw the blade away, though, depending on how bad it will look. If I let the koshirae go you're the first in line, mate.

    (I'm really confident about my future polishing, can't you tell? )

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    Actually that IS against eBay policy but yet they do nothing about it..

    BTW, I'm not saying there are NO good deals out there some even at $0.99; I've heard that the Masahiro Bamboo originally sold at that price, and some newcomers still do this (like ZhiSwords) who want to get new customers. The real red flag here is high shipping costs; $79 shipped from China is usually a sign of a bad auction. $50 is more like it.
    Hi Timo
    I just recently bought a no reserve Tameshigiri katana from Zhi Swords on ebay, arrived 5 days later trackable parcel, on opening the well wraped package i was very suprised, very well put together katana, through hardened mid carbon steel hand forged blade, very sharp, nice bohi, tsuka fit was spot on no wobbles or rattles, saya fit was very good, overall a better fit than my shura was, the only thing i dont like about it is the hand applied hamon, took it apart nice full tang, ive put it in a vice and bent it 30 degrees left and right and it returned to original position, a good backyard cutter ok for pool noodles and water jugs, i am going to customise it a bit. I thought i would try a cheap blade first before ordering a more expensive blade from him.
    Go on, Cut It!
    If you at first dont succeed get your Dadao!

  11. #11
    Hi Guys,

    Further to my last post, perhaps it would be more savoury to create a list of good sword people to deal with on Ebay, that way we would not offend the shonky dealers, however their names just wouldn't show up on the list.
    For what I paid for the two swords I purchased from "irtrading" I am happy with them and his communication and postage speed were both excellent, I would certainly deal with John again.
    These two were my first serious sword purchases, I have since purchased a "Musashi Bamboo" privately and for the money I paid, it's a nice sword very highly polished and in a nice display case, the biggest killer here in Australia is the cost of postage, usually around $70 USD ($84 AUD) from the USA.

    Regards....Boony

  12. #12
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    please avoid

    gimmicky sales pitches like " can chop iron " or " cuts bamboo" in the title -

    it goes on to show the same pics of a chinese guy hacking down thin bamboo -
    bare chested , ciggy hanging out of his mouth -

    these pics turn up all the time on auction sites - heres an ecxample of one to avoid -

    "JP butterfly Iaito , chops iron" - or something similiar , or you'll be buying something like timo's dragonfly knock off .


    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

  13. #13
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    It get's weird when they start ripping off rip-offs. This POS had fittings identical to those of Topicool's Dragonfly rip-off (based on the pictures).

    It's funny, the nakago-ana of this sword's tsuba was way too big for the "tang" of the blade, and was filled up with glue. Same for habaki, the lower mune part of it was filled with glue to prevent movement due to the weirdness of the "tang". I'd say whoever made this has found the person who supplies the Dragonfly-koshirae to Topicool and ordered the whole lot without worrying about anything not fitting. Well, good for me, since I now have a set of pretty nice looking fittings at $0.99.

  14. #14
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    These are not hard and fast rules. For example this one says "can cut bamboo" in title, but it doesn't appear bad to me in the pictures, and out of 277 transactions 99.3 are positive. Can Cut Bamboo

    But some things to look for are high shipping and low product cost. But sometimes it has high shipping and 99 cent product costs but it is legitimate. As sometimes they do this to see how much a sword will sell for.

    Also as usual look at the ebay sellers rating, and there are tools that will show all the negatives for a ebay seller. I always look at just the negatives to see what the typical complaints are. And of course if they have no ratings this is bad as they are too new to tell. And they could have a high rating but the most recent comments are negative, this may indicate a recent trend or a compromised ebay ID.

    Things like private auctions are a waring sign, as they are sometimes private to prevent other people from warning the bidders.

    Lack of details can be a warning too. For example if they don't list the steel type, or the ito/wrap type, etc. Or misleading details, like if they sell hundreds and they say the item pictured is the exact one you will get. If they sell hundreds they usually don't have time to take a picture of each one but can only take a picture of the model line. Can cut iron, or battle ready are types of things that are misleading and are warnings. I won't list cutting bamboo as misleading because many good sellers do show their swords cutting bamboo, and they can do it.

    There are other guide out there for buying antique Katanas, so if you are looking at one of those, look for those guides as ebay is full of frauds and fake aged looking.
    http://www.fragmentsoflight.com - Photography site and blog. Mostly Landscape shots.

  15. #15
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    Even feedback isn't reliable; many sellers hold feedback "hostage", and retaliate if you leave them negative feedback, thus disputing your feedback. Also, most of these kind of swords are sold to n00b's (like me way back when I bought this POS) and think they actually have made a good buy. Heck, I was perfectly happy with my purchase before I got into iaido and got hold of SFI..

  16. #16
    Wet blanket time...

    Today, I'm gonna just pick on ONE problem with the "Beater" katana market in general- (masacheneszhihiros etc...)

    NONE of the swords you are discussing use a full same wrap.
    Not just "real" rayskin in panels, but one piece of rayskin wrapped all the way around the tsuka core (and done properly).

    This means that they are entirely reliant on the strength of their ito and mekugi and tsuka core fit to keep the blade from becoming a projectile. (projectiles are BAD)

    As to the quality of those items... oh, right. One thing at a time...
    Michael Mason
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    www.brooklyndojo.com/shinkendo

    "Things are more like they are now, than they have ever been before" - JCK

  17. #17

    $0.99????????

    I find it quite amusing that people are shocked that you didn't get a real sword for 99 cents. Despite the fact that the seller was clearly a liar, havn't you ever heard of the phrase 'you get what you pay for'? I have never trusted non branded ebay examples.

    I think $0.99 is a good price for a crappy wallhanger. They should all be that cheap. At least it would look good on your mantelpiece. Or you could sell it on to a chav for a fiver. The stainless and wood its made out of is probably worth more that $0.99. 99 cents barely buys a chocolate bar where I come from.

    I presume you got hosed for postage? I cant imagine them making much money without doing so.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithM View Post
    These are not hard and fast rules. For example this one says "can cut bamboo" in title, but it doesn't appear bad to me in the pictures, and out of 277 transactions 99.3 are positive. Can Cut Bamboo

    This may not be the best example?? Look at the tsukamaki, Look at the kissaki. I see really obvious problems with this piece which makes me wonder how the blade was constructed and what other problems are to be found with it? Who's to say he's using that exact sword in the video as well, I call B*llsh*t. Basically the cost for me to buy this sword would be well over 100$. F*ck that!!!

    We don't need a list of sellers to avoid, we need a list of "Reputable Forges/Manufacturers".

    Stick to that and all beginners that choose to be knowledgable will benefit, guaranteed. Actually there is a list floating around here somewhere

    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. "

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    Hi Skip, the koshirae is why I bought this one. I'm thinking of remaking this sword with a new tsuka, rayskin panels and a new wrap. Should make a nice wallhanger. After I've demolished the blade with my first polishing practice I might just throw the blade away, though, depending on how bad it will look. If I let the koshirae go you're the first in line, mate.

    (I'm really confident about my future polishing, can't you tell? )
    Hello Timo,
    No problem with the tsuba and fittings. I have found a source for the tsuba thanks to Mick Picked it up for around $30 shipped. Matches my katana tsuba perfect and will some day be mounted on a wak.
    I found a source awhile back for the fuchi/koshira and will pick them up sometime after next pay day.

    On a serious note here. There are quite a few experianced collectors here who warn over and over about buying these lower end katana. I have found from experiance that their words should not be allowed to fall on deaf ears. Many have gone down the same road themselves and only hope to impart their experiance to the rest of us noobs. ( Which I still am )

    Because of my purchasing junk, and reading the advice of more seasoned collectors, I have come to the realization that sticking with well known sources is your best bet.

    I will still pick up the odd piece from time to time, but at least now I have a "better" idea of what not to waste my money on.

    For the most part, I will be sticking with products I can both afford, and have an established track record. A few come to mind real quick;

    Chiness
    Pual Chen
    KC
    Zhi
    (In no way a complete list of good options, but a place to start for sure)

    One day, I will end up spending alot more and getting something made by a true artist. For now, I am enjoying customizing less expensive quality production pieces.

    Skip

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Coates View Post
    I find it quite amusing that people are shocked that you didn't get a real sword for 99 cents. Despite the fact that the seller was clearly a liar, havn't you ever heard of the phrase 'you get what you pay for'? I have never trusted non branded ebay examples.

    I think $0.99 is a good price for a crappy wallhanger. They should all be that cheap. At least it would look good on your mantelpiece. Or you could sell it on to a chav for a fiver. The stainless and wood its made out of is probably worth more that $0.99. 99 cents barely buys a chocolate bar where I come from.

    I presume you got hosed for postage? I cant imagine them making much money without doing so.
    Did you read post #5? Good deals (even @ $0.99) do exist, they're just hard/borderline-impossible to find these days because of all the crap that's out there. But not trusting non-branded eBay sellers IS a sure-fire way to avoid fakes..

  21. #21

    Smile

    I must confess I didn't, which was silly of me.

    That does quite suprise me. I think it would take a braver person than me to go that low in price. Although....

    At that low you cant really go wrong, can you? Even if you end up with a pile of crappy wallhangers you could take them down to a scrap metal dealer and double your money

    So long as you dont get had on the postage...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Qvintus View Post
    Actually that IS against eBay policy but yet they do nothing about it..

    BTW, I'm not saying there are NO good deals out there some even at $0.99; I've heard that the Masahiro Bamboo originally sold at that price, and some newcomers still do this (like ZhiSwords) who want to get new customers. The real red flag here is high shipping costs; $79 shipped from China is usually a sign of a bad auction. $50 is more like it.
    The reason for the outrageously high shipping cost? It's because PayPal will refund for the auction itself, but NOT for shipping. That is how many of the unsavory folk on eBay get away with selling cheap junk. They may get a lot of unhappy buyers demanding a refund, but the buyer would only get $10 (i.e., the winning bid) - and not the $79 shipping.

    My piece of advice? Avoid auctions with outrageous shipping costs like the plague. I would also stay away from auctions that rely too heavily on "buzz words", or don't tell you *who* made the sword.
    "Impossible" is a word that humans use far too often.
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  23. #23

    Another reason for high shipping...

    Sellers will also go low on product and high on shipping because of the percentage that they have to give to ebay when the auction is all said and done. It's kind of a loop-hole that sellers figured out a while back. Ebay will take a percentage of the profit on the item, but not the shipping cost. That's just another reason why a lot of things on ebay go for around .99 but the shipping is outrageous.

    By the way, I'm new here and it's very nice to meet everyone.

  24. #24
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    Michael said "NONE of the swords you are discussing use a full same wrap.
    Not just "real" rayskin in panels, but one piece of rayskin wrapped all the way around the tsuka core (and done properly).

    This means that they are entirely reliant on the strength of their ito and mekugi and tsuka core fit to keep the blade from becoming a projectile. (projectiles are BAD)"

    I don't see how ray skin panels are more unsafe then rayskin wrap. Obviously either one could be made badly and unsafely, but I don't see how panels are definitely unsafe. And don't you rely on the ito, mekugi, and tsuka core of every katana, or actually mostly the mekugi?
    http://www.fragmentsoflight.com - Photography site and blog. Mostly Landscape shots.

  25. #25
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    Well....

    As I understand this, the rayskin Panels are just there for "looks" and conversly, the full-wrap actually adds strength and support to the tsuka......kind of like wrapping it with rawhide and letting it dry..........I'm not sure if a better quality of wood would make the rayskin full-wrap redundant or not, but it certainly seems that a good dense grain wood like curly maple or somethihng similar would seem to help......I do not know this to be factual however, never having tried it.....maybe someone else could give a better explanation and some options ??....I do believe that the full-wrap is necessary when traditional wood is used , as it is part of the structural strength of the tsuka......
    Onward, Ever Onward......Skip Allen

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