View Full Version : Katana and Saya

7th February 2007, 08:25
i was looking around and could not find an answer for this. and i found this to be the best spot to psot this question.

i just bought my first REAL katana. real meaning full tang..folded metal ...held in with pins.

id love to psot some pictures some time and get some pros to comment on things.

but back to the point of my Post.
with this katana...when i first bought it. pulling it from the saya was extremely hard. infact. my family members couldnt even pull it out lol.

first thinking it needed to be worn in. i commonly would pull it out.
upon doing so. it removes much easier now. but still harder then i would think is proper.
also durring that i noticed some (for lack of better words) "stress points" where it looks like the blad was draging against the nside of the saya.

is this normal...i thoguht the sword was held in by the habaki (collar)
even when the habaki is exposed it holds. is this a saya defect?

thank you

7th February 2007, 08:59
Well first things first. Are you a martial arts practitioner of any sort? iaido? Batto of some sort?

If the answer is "yes" then you should ask your Sensei post haste.

If you are not any sort of MA practitioner, then I would advice not to mess around with a "real" katana, and by real I'm assuming that it is a sharp katana. Even Iaido practitioners of 20 years can still make a mistake and cut themselves, so I wouldn't mess with the sword or allow your family members to handle it either if I were you. If it is a non-sharpened iaito then it's (barely) another matter.

Second, if you are a sword-collector, which is a very nice hobby, I would recommend you go to www.swordforum.com. They have both Martial Arts and regular sword-collector threads and tons of experience.

Third: I hope you havent bought a 20$ sword from a supermarket. That is wrong for sooo many reasons.

7th February 2007, 09:20
thanks for the quick reply.
sword collector...yes
as for a dojo no. im in love with batto. i would love to learn. however there is no school i know of in my area yet. but im looking.

as for the katana. from what im reading its an iaito.
it has a blade. dull but there none the less. there is a heck of a tip tho.
and the sword is a $150 sword.
it looks like alot of the swords i see in the "Whats in your Obi" thread ..

is there a way i can fix the Saya? im new to caring for a sword. ive only had junkers over time (wall hangers)

P.S. im not just swinging the sword around wildly lol.

Brian Owens
7th February 2007, 11:40
i just bought my first REAL katana. real meaning full tang..folded metal ...held in with pins.
and the sword is a $150 sword.
A full tang, folded steel blade for $150? Alarm bells are ringing. Something does not compute.

...even when the habaki is exposed it holds. is this a saya defect?

A few possibilities:

1) The curve of the blade and the curve of the saya's channel are different.
2) The saya has one or more swollen "nodes" that are rubbing on the side(s) of the blade.
3) The blade itself is warped or otherwise deformed.

Only a good examination by someone with some experience can really tell what's up, and what -- if anything -- can be done about it.

8th February 2007, 05:47
here are some pics of it.

you can see the "stress" mark near the base of the blade. but..this is my new katana
Here you can see the pins so it is full tang. as for being folded perhaps they lied to me lol. i dont know how to check for that.
here you can see the blade is straight. so im pretty sure that the saya is the issue. i tried to get the sword as straight as i could for this shot.
This is another shot of a "stress" mark..but the flash coverd it. but atleast you can see the tip and a bit of the Hamon
once again...this was ment to be a shot of the "stress" mark.but bad lighting/skill prohibits that lol.

What is the E-Budo conclusion on my katana?
a great deal for 150 (shelf price) that i actually got lower than that.
or a pc of turd? lol

Oh! and i also found a local Battodo Dojo around here im going talk to.
I REALLY wanna join it.

Thanks alot guys. you have ben helpful.

Brian Owens
8th February 2007, 06:08
...you can see the tip and a bit of the Hamon
...What is the E-Budo conclusion on my katana?
Well, you are correct that it's an iaito (AKA mogito). That "hamon" isn't a hamon at all, but an etched pattern simulating a hamon. Just guessing from here, but I suspect that it's an aluminum alloy blade, and not steel -- let alone folded steel.

That said, I can't tell just from the pictures what the quality level of your sword is; iaito can run anywhere from $100 - $200 for an entry level, all the way up to $700 - $800 for a higher level one. Steel iaito from SwordStore.com, and limited production alloy ones from other reputable sources can easily run well over $1500.00.

So you may have a good one. Or not. It's hard to say.

Now, about the rubbing: if the "stress marks" are always in the same spot on the blade, and if they are short, rather than running up and down the blade, then it's unlikely that the saya is the only culprit. It may be the the blade is slightly thicker at the sections where the marks are. Checking it with a micrometer at several points along its length would confirm this or rule it out.

Don't try to enlarge the channel in the saya by running snadpaper down there. Some particles are bound to fall off the paper and get wedged in the wood, and they'll scratch the heck out of your blade. If you do join an iai dojo, someone there may now how to disassemble a saya, and they can then use a small plane to correct any high spots, if there are any.

If you can't find a way to have the saya disassembled, it is possible to make a metal "scraper" that can reach down into the saya through the koiguchi, but it's a bit more risky.

Good luck with your problem, and if all else fails you can just live with it while you save up to buy something better once you learn what to look for.


Brian Owens
8th February 2007, 06:26

...someone there may now how to disassemble a saya...
Gad, where're my typing and proof reading skills tonight.

"Sandpaper" and "know how to..."

8th February 2007, 06:55
Thanks for the reply once again really helpful. im not new to swords...how ever i never learned about them (if ya get my drift...i gues however that still leaves me on square 1 lol) so you have been extremely helpful.

i also notice that the "stress marks" are mostly in one spot and it does drag..kinda all over the blade lol.

i cant blame it fully on the saya. a mic would be the best way to find out.
tho the lade is thicker at the base...which i am assuming is normal.
i am not going to try to hoan the saya at all tho...i dont want to damage it
and i have read of the sand paper thing...
so in worse case it will be just another wall hanger / toy in the long run till i can find my self a real winner lol. for now it will do tho. (not like i do anyhting with it at this point lol)

and for grammer..lol its ok..i lack in grammer so i never see flaws lol. >.<
thanks again..

Brian Owens
8th February 2007, 07:10
...im not new to swords...how ever i never learned about them...so you have been extremely helpful.
Glad I could help.

I can recommend two books as a good starting point in learning about swords. The Craft of the Japanese Sword by Leon Kapp, Hiroko Kapp, and Yoshindo Yoshihara (which I own); and The Connoisseurs Book of Japanese Swords by Kokan Nagayama (which is on my "Buy Soon" list).

Here are links to Amazon.com for more information:

The Craft of the Japanese Sword (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/087011798X/ref=pd_cp_b_title/102-4774317-0405720)

The Connoisseurs Book of Japanese Swords (http://www.amazon.com/Connoisseurs-Book-Japanese-Swords/dp/4770020716/sr=1-1/qid=1170921696/ref=sr_1_1/102-4774317-0405720?ie=UTF8&s=books)

Others may post other favorites, but these are two of mine.

8th February 2007, 08:13
thanks ill have to check those books out...befor i buy another "Folded steel" sword that is hard to remove from the saya lol

21st February 2007, 04:54
Hi there.
Brian, I agree with your assessment that it is definitely not a folded steel blade. From various things I noticed in the photos, I was also guess that it's not Japanese made, but rather a Chinese made "wallhanger".

I don't know if this would be suitable to be used for iaido at all. I would have the sensei disassemble it before using it or swinging it around at all (in front of other people) and do a thorough safety check.

I'm sorry to say, but even the low end budget iaito made in Japan look to be higher quality than this blade. I think you may have been taken on this one.

Please have it looked at and inspected if you intend to use it for anything besides "hanging on your wall" so to speak as that is what I think it was originally intended for.

As for fixing the saya, I wouldn't break it apart as that would ruin the finish and might not even be a clean "break." I do know that you can use long files or other kinds of abrasive material to just slightly scrub the inside of the saya where you think it is rubbing. That would be one solution - just make sure you tap out the sawdust after you do it. If the blade is lightly oiled, it shouldn't cause any rusting - especially on an aluminum/alloy blade.

Another idea would be to just repeatedly slide the blade in and out hoping that the blade will "wear" or "cut" the areas that are rubbing. Again, tap out the droppings when you're done.

Good luck!

26th February 2007, 00:59
hey. thanks for that asessment. i have done more research aswell and discoverd that this sword is nothing more than an expensive toy.
i have chopped things with it...just cardboard...alone in a room where it was more safe just to see what it can do.
for a dull blade it cuts decently

i plan to buy another ...ill post pics of it first so ill know if its good or not. its about $270 or so.. i held it today..feels lighter than the one i have now. pulls from the saya smooth and clean. the tip is also formed properly from what i see...i still suck at telling of the hamon is emulated or not...

also sorry for the long time away..just got net back...yay for DSL

once again...thank you for your input.

26th February 2007, 01:05
oh yeah...and it is made in china...its stamped on the blade on the other side >.<

its heavy too...as i stated befor