BUYING A KATANA FROM CHINA O.K.

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FIRST THING TO REMEMBER WHEN BUYING A KATANA ON EBAY,YOU CAN BUY VERY GOOD QUALITY,PRACTICAL,FUNCTIONAL BLADES AT VERY REASONABLE PRICES ON EBAY.I AM WRITING THIS GUIDE MAINLY TO DISSPELL THE MYTH THAT KATANAS MADE ANYWHERE BUT JAPAN ARE RUBBISH.THE JAPANESE KATANAS ARE WITHOUT A DOUBT FANTASTIC AND CONSTRUCTED TRADITIONALLY WHICH IS WHY YOU WILL NOT FIND THEM ON EBAY AND IF YOU DO EXPECT A FOUR FIGURE STARTING PRICE,ANYTHING LESS AND IT IS NOT JAPANESE.I FEEL THAT THE TERM JAPANESE COULD FAIRLY BE USED TO DESCRIBE THE STYLE BUT NOT THE ORIGIN.ABOUT 99% OF KATANAS ON EBAY ARE MANUFACTURED IN CHINA,HANWEI,ONI FORGE,CHENESS,COLD STEEL TO NAME A FEW.REMEMBER THE CHINESE WERE MAKING BLADES LONG BEFORE THE JAPANESE SO THE HISTORY IS THERE,SADLY ABOUT 10% OF THESE ARE ANY GOOD,THE REST ARE VERY GOOD DISPLAY SWORDS AND THATS IT.

GOOD KATANAS ARE NOT AVAILABLE UNDER £100. BLADE SHOULD BE FULL TANG,IF NOT SURE THEN ASK,A TANG THAT IS ONLY HALF THE LENGTH OF THE HANDLE IS VERY DANGEROUS. THE TANG SHOULD AT LEAST HAVE A MAKERS MARK AND IDEALLY THE MARK OF THE SMITH AND THE POLISHER,ASK FOR PHOTOS BEFORE BUYING.THE BLADE SHOULD BE HAND POLISHED AND NOT MACHINED SHARPENED WITH A SECONDARY EDGE,RATHER LIKE A CHEAP KITCHEN KNIFE,YOU CANT EASILY SHARPEN A TRUE FORGED BLADE YOURSELF.AS FOR SHARPNESS REMEMBER,IT IS EASY TO MAKE ANY BLADE SHARP,THE TROUBLE IS,WILL IT STAY SHARP? CHEAP STEEL WILL BLUNT VERY QUICKLY.THE BLADE SHOULD BE HAND FORGED,NOT PRESSED OR ROLLED, THE TANG MUST BE DOUBLE PEGGED IF YOU WANT TO USE THE KATANA FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN HANGING ON YOUR WALL. THE WEIGHT OF THE BLADE DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU WILL USE THE KATANA FOR,A SLIGHTLY HEAVIER BLADE OF ABOUT 2lbs 8oz WILL BE IDEAL FOR TAMESHIGIRI BUT FOR KATA YOU MAY WANT A SLIGHTLY LIGHTER BLADE,BUT AS WITH ANYTHING THIS IS A PERSONNAL THING.THE STEEL USED TO CONSTRUCT THE BLADE IS VERY IMPORTANT AS MANY KATANAS CLAIM TO USE VARIOUS SUITABLE STEELS BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY AND UNFORTUNATELY SOMETHING YOU CAN NOT TEST IS THE TEMPERING AND,OR THE HARDENING PROCESS USED WHICH BASICALLY WILL DERTERMINE WHETHER OR NOT YOUR KATANA WILL BE SUITABLE FOR TAMESHIGIRI OR JUST DISPLAY. WITH REGARDS TO THE HAMMON THIS IS PRODUCED BY CLAY TEMPERING OR EXPOSURE OF THE INNER CORE ON A SAN MAI TYPE BLADE,I DO NOT KNOW OF ANY KATANA THAT RETAILS FOR LESS THAN £150 THAT HAS A TRUE HAMMON AND SADLY IT IS A FACT THAT THESE HAMMONS WILL BE EITHER WIRE BRUSHED OR ACID ETCHED,IT JUST IS NOT VIABLE TO PRODUCE A TRUE HAMMON CHEAPLY,EVEN IN CHINA.YOU MUST ALSO REMEMBER THAT DEPENDING ON THE STEEL USED A TRUE HAMMON WILL NOT MAKE THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE KATANA ANY MORE DURABLE AND OFTEN THE HARDER EDGE PRODUCED BY A CLAYED HAMMON WILL BE MORE BRITTLE THAN A PROPERLY TREATED CARBON STEEL BLADE USING SAY 9260 CARBON STEEL.THE PRESENCE OF A "NATURAL" HAMMON IS OFTEN USED AS NOTHING MORE THAN A SALES GIMMICK AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT IS A FAKE.THE MOST COMMON GIVEWAY IS THE UNIFORM WAVY LINE WITH FINE VERTICAL BRUSH MARKS,SEE BELOW,REMEMBER THAT TRUE HAMMONS DO NOT COME CHEAP.AS FOR THE FITTINGS ON THE KATANA THESE REALLY ARE A MATTER OF YOUR OWN TASTE BUT ALLWAYS REMEMBER THAT LOOKS CAN BE VERY DECEIVING AND WHEN BUYING A KATANA THE CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST CONSIDERATION,MANY KATANAS AVAILABLE WILL USE TSUBAS THAT ARE THE SAME AS THE MORE REPUTABLE COMPANYS USE AND TRY TO PASS THEM OFF AS SUCH,EVEN CALLING THEM THE SAME NAME,AS THE SAYING GOES,YOU CANNOT MAKE A SILK PURSE OUT OF A SOWS EAR.ALSO BE VERY AWARE THAT REPUTABLE FORGES SELL OFF BLADES THAT HAVE MINOR FAULTS AS FACTORY SECONDS,WHICH BASICALLY MEANS THEY ARE NOT SAFE,SO IF YOU FIND A KNOWN KATANA CHEAP BE VERY AWARE,A FAULTY BLADE IS A DANGEROUS BLADE,CHECK THE ONLINE STORES FIRST TO GET A PRICE GUIDE,AND ALLWAYS CHECK THE SELLERS FEEDBACK,THAT IS WHY ITS THERE.ANOTHER SIGN OF A QUALITY BUILT KATANA IS THE TSUKA,THIS SHOULD BE CONSTRUCTED OF WOOD, HAVE A SLIGHT TAPERING IN ITS LENGTH AWAY FROM THE TSUBA AND I FEEL SHOULD BE WRAPPED IN A GOOD QUALITY COTTON.THE PICTURE BELOW IS OF A CHEAP KATANA AND SHOWS THE WIRE BRUSHED HAMMON AND SECONDARY EDGE,!!AVOID!!

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