General Question

Deshi_basara's avatar

Usable Katanas?

Asked by Deshi_basara (396 points ) December 5th, 2012

Does anyone know where I can buy a usable katana? I don’t want a wall hanger, I’m looking for something that would be up to spec. with things that were actually used.

Before I get lectures and other such responses, I do have about 2 years of formal training and countless hours of self pratice under my belt. I can’t rationalize why I want a usable katana, I just do.

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27 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

There seem to be a number of places on line. Or look on eBay.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I saw one in Japan, while on business, twenty years ago. It was appraised at $250,000 USD. Replicas can be had for some thing between $100 and $500 from a sword and knife shop.

Edit: How old are you and where do you live? Sword ownership in some states is 18 or 21. Also there is question of transportation of the sword to class from home and back.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@zenvelo @Tropical_Willie I’ve seen most of the replica stuff online, but they never tell you anything about the forging process they use. Sure they will tell you what it’s made of, but the lamination process and tempering process is what makes a sword. Heck, the Japanese made some of the strongest swords in history from impure iron. Let alone if they had modern steel, ya know?

@Tropical_Willie 250k… Wow. That must have been truly authentic, made a few thousand years ago or something.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Yes it was 500 years old, I think.

Ask your sensei.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I really wish I could. He had some really nice ones that I would have loved to have. Unfortunately, his real first name was not Tim, and he sold the “dojo” he had in my home town. I dont know how to get a hold of him. =/

tedd's avatar

I suggest trying this

Deshi_basara's avatar

@tedd you are so origional. Like man, where did you ever come across that novel idea….....

ಠ_ಠ

LuckyGuy's avatar

I assume you want something that you can swing outdoors and slice things like a melon. You want to be able to sharpen it yourself without feeling like you are destroying a piece of history. Right?
I see two approaches you can take. 1) Buy a new one from Ontario Knife in Franklinville NY. They are generally black, powder coated, made of modern strong metals that can be sharpened to a razor edge. They have a solid feel and are relatively inexpensive. Go to their website and look around.

Or take the second approach: Go to a gun show. Most large cities have them in the US There are two in my area every year. There are always people buying and selling the WWII Japanese swords. They were mass produced by the millions and are not that expensive. Soldiers and later generations have sharpened them with stones, used them as tools, beat on them, but they are usable and still have the feel of history.
In my opinion anything that is over 150 years old (pre-Meiji period) deserves to be put on a wall or shelf and be allowed to retire. Think of it like an 85 year old 10th Dan karate master. He has already earned our respect and no longer needs to prove himself.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@LuckyGuy You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. Thank you for your response, and I share your sentiments.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I didn’t see your edit until now. I am 22, and the law in my state is that I cannot have a “knife” with a blade of over 3.5 inches in public. I can however, state that the sword is for replicative purposes, and only brandish it in private establishments, which your car is considered to be private property, so as long as it is in plain site I can transport it without issue. I do appreciate your concern though.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Deshi_basara You’re familiar with basic sword construction so you will easily know the difference. Also the price is a good indicator :-) . . The WWI and later swords usually have a metal mekugi (retention peg or screw) in the handle. The old ones (that you don’t want.to use) have a mekugi made of bamboo. Before battle the samuri would take a swig of sake and spit it on the peg so it would swell up and be tight.
They fall apart when you push them out to remove the blade from the handle to read the inscription. It is said when you pull the pin and remove the blade, you are releasing the spirit of the original craftsman into and around your body. (Obviously I have no proof this actually happens.)

If by some miracle you wind up seeing a sword with a bamboo mekugi, please leave it for someone who will never use it.
Consider any katana that old as sacred and meant to be passed down to future generations like the remembered skill of a 10th Dan master.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 HAHAHAHAHA I looked at one of those before I got my Gsx-r. =p

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Deshi_basara You may have to transport it in a locked trunk in the car.

Symbeline's avatar

I’d have no idea where to find a real katana, but since you got training, if you still keep contact with your instructor(s) maybe they can have leads for you? Anybody who teaches that stuff must forcibly have an idea of where to find the swords.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Ask at the dojo, someone may know where he went to and an address.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I love where your head is at. Great advice, truly. But my old dojo is now a paint your own pottery place lol.

@PaulSadieMartin….. Try Shoju, Kenshin, and Sephiroth. TWD is a great show/comic. But my love for blades came from my adolescence.

Response moderated (Spam)
LuckyGuy's avatar

I see that Ontario Knife no longer makes the Black Wind Katana. Here is a write up on it.
Maybe you can find an older one somewhere.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@LuckyGuy Interesting…. Though who in their right mind would take a precision tuned tool made for killing in the quickest and least degrading way possible and smack it up against a tree is beyond me….

tedd's avatar

@Deshi_basara I aim to please :)

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ontario Knife has been in the business for a long time and is populated with gray bearded metal working masters. When they make something it does what it is supposed to do.
I own one of their older indestructible Spax emergency tools (for EMS workers). It can be used for automobile extrication, turning on fire hydrants, shutting off gas to buildings, breaching doors, etc. I keep it in my truck. If your car is ever upside down with the doors crushed, I can get you out.
I also have a beavertail machete that cuts in both directions when walking in heavy brush. Genius.
They know how to get the most from metal alloys and know which one to use for what application. Have you ever seen a catalog that allows you to sort by metal alloy? They figure you know what your application demands and, if you desire, let you work out the tradeoff between hardness, ductility, corrosion resistance, toughness, stiffness, appearance, yield strength – and price.
They are one of the most under-appreciated companies on the planet.

If they made a green Zombie Armageddon sword out of the cheapest junk steel possible, they’d probably make a fortune. If you want one, relax, china will have it on the market 15 seconds after I hit the “Answer!” button.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@tedd lolololol

@LuckyGuy You appear offended… If so I guess I’m sorry? I’m not sure what for though.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m not offended at all. Not sure where you got that idea. I was just espousing the wonderfullness of Ontario knife and assuring you that even if you found a used, old Black Wind it would be very good.
I get frustrated by the large quantity of low quality chinese junk out there.

Ontario knife and that town is an interesting place to visit if you ever get the chance.

_Whitetigress's avatar

There are sellers who specialize in Daggers, Katanas and Swords who set up shop at Comic Con San Diego every year.

There’s your lead!

Deshi_basara's avatar

@LuckyGuy Got ya. I just didnt want to step on your toes and for some reason when I read your response I felt I had.
After getting the info on my metals right I saw the error of my ways. For some reason I had my mind set to thinking that 420 SS was decent, but that was not the truth. I can be a big of an air head at times. So I’ve been looking around, yet all I can find are Maru lamination types. It isn’t my first choice, but I suppose it may have to do. Have you had any issues with this style?

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