View Full Version : Handmade Katana

23rd January 2003, 18:11
I got a new Rob Criswell katana it is very nice. When i use it for forms it is very good. Changed the saya to a wood one though instead of the kydex outside sheath. Rick Duke

Paulo K. Ogino
27th January 2003, 05:46
First of all, congratulations for your live blade purchase. Do you practice Iaido? or something else? I saw the "katana" in a web site, and I found it a little bit pricey for what you get.... If it works for practice... good... but you can get more "traditional" style katanas just for $100 more or even cheaper. Take a look at the practical plus Katana from Paul Chen (http://www.shadowofleaves.com/practical_plus.htm), for example. In my opinion, if you're going serious on Katana, you should get a "Katana", not a "katana style" sword. I do not question the quality of the Rob Criswell katana (I've had excellent reports on cutting capabilities), only that the design isn't the proper. And again, if it works for you, and you do a lot of tameshigiri, good :smilejapa, and practice a lot, since practice is one of the most important parts of martial arts. Good Luck!!!! :D

Jason Arnold
29th January 2003, 21:08
I use a practical katana in my kenjutsu class. A good recommendation. Works fine till I can get around to just making one of my own.

31st January 2003, 04:48
Its a Ahh---some sword, i use it for iaido and all types of cutting, it puts Paul Chen to shame, Paul Chen is ok but Criswell kicks butt. The big thing is its 1060 harden steel, a 60 on the hardness test and it shows when cutting mats. I have broken the Paul Chen blades but this sword is meant to be used. You are right it is a techo style but in sword arts its whats works for the iaidoist. Rick Duke

31st January 2003, 06:45
The ha of Chen's blades actually Rockwell in the 60's as well. Quick question though, Mr. Duke..if this is the sword I'm thinking of, it has no habaki - how is it secured in the wooden saya that you substituted? To be honest, I'm kind of surprised that your sensei lets you use this type of sword.

Paulo K. Ogino
31st January 2003, 13:26
Rick, yes your sword is a good cutting one. What I tell you is that if you're going serious on Iai, as you go deeper in the art, you'll see that a Katana is not only a chop-cut-it-all-unbreakable-big-stuff, it's the heart and spirit of the samurai way. So you'll learn that a Katana has many parts and many styles (that you won't see in this particular model you have), as there are many schools of swordmakers old and modern. Remember that in the Rei-Shiki you salute the sword, showing respect to it. So I suggest you that in the future try to get some money and get a traditional good quality sword. :smilejapa

By the way, in liveblade.com you can get a good quality katana for aprox. $700. Or check the Shinto Katana from Paul Chen. Or the Cold Steel Katana, but get it re-wrapped before practice.

31st January 2003, 16:53
Those swords are ok, but not in the same ballpark as a Rob Criswell sword. Rick Duke

31st January 2003, 16:57
it fits nice with the Paul Chen saya Rob left a little piece on mine so it fits well and draws very nice. My teacher likes the blade very much and told me about it. Rick Duke

Paulo K. Ogino
31st January 2003, 17:49
Ok, If he says so... shall it be... :)

31st January 2003, 17:57
Hi Rick,
I've heard that the Criswell swords were really good cutters. I am interested in your statement that you have broken Chen swords? I have only heard of one breaking, and it was determined that it had a welding flaw in it. Which model swords were they that broke on you, and how did they break? I like to keep abreast of these kind of things.


1st February 2003, 07:08
Mr.Smith, my Paul Chen Practical Katana snapped 8 inchs off the tip down, it fell to the ground and did not go flying off. I was cutting beach mats [straw] hit the wooden pole missed the mat,and it snapped. Also the Paul Chen Shinto has been known to snap at the handle my teacher snapped one, 1 year ago. Rick Duke

1st February 2003, 07:21
I am surprised that the practical broke.

One of my students hit the metal peg I used to have in my Tameshigiri stand. it only took a small chip out fo the blade, and left a good deep cut in the metal peg.

I was impressed that it actually cut steel

1st February 2003, 07:30
we put a 45 degree tip at the break, and cut the saya down i use it as a short sword now. Rick Duke

1st February 2003, 07:36
Im not pushing his sword i just like it very much and it is made very well, it has a sleak look in the Paul Chen saya and boy it cuts as good as any bugei sword. All so the price of 400 dollars is not to bad too. Rick Duke

1st February 2003, 14:45
Sounds like a good blade. A shame it isn't a bit more traditionally styled, I'd give it a try.

18th September 2006, 22:20
Criswell is still making Katanas!

About this time last year a naughty rumor was passed that Rob Criswell
Was getting Carpal Tunnel and had to quit. It did not happen that way. Yes he did get sore and decreased production. He changed the ergonomics of the set-ups and now is back to making knives and even made an Art Piece or two.

For any of you that wish to see current product. This is his new home: http://www.weatherlycustomdesigns.com/robb1.htm

I run emails out to him while he is here grinding swords. If you have questions, Please email me or use the format on the web site.

(Just the Makers Gopher)

26th September 2006, 17:58
eh! as an artist and painter to me they look ugly not even near techno or futuristic, it looks like an unfinished artwork with Koshirae ( or at least an unfinished koshirae ) just look at the brilliant detail in a Shinken and you'll know it's importance. for me the detailing outside a JBld tells you about the hard work the put on the forging of the blade. MHO. but keep on training.

26th September 2006, 20:26
We are all Artisans in this household and what I have learned is this:

As with all things in this world, people have varied opinions and appreciation levels. Thanks for sharing yours, I Think. :rolleyes:

26th September 2006, 21:55
Anytime! :)

it's always good to see different points of views.