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  1. This photo is from my visit on Kagoshima at 2013. Taken from Meiji Restoration Museum (which houses His tabi, armor, letters, etc.). It's a subject of debate whether or not these swords are Saigos originals. Still great examples of original Satsuma koshirae of the period (preaumed Naminohira-school). P.S. photographing was not allowed, but the curator gave me a permission to take this one photo.
  2. This whole Tenshin Hyoho Ryu is complete bollocks. In real martial arts it's the same as murata-to compared to Nihonto. Nothing to see here.
  3. Also rayon is glossy (like your sword on another thread). Silk and cotton are matte in nature. Although they get a bit glossy over time, but it takes lots of use and sweaty hands. Still not as glossy as rayon, which on the contrary loses it's gloss when used.
  4. Silk feels slightly warm when squeezing it tightly for a while. Rayon on the other hand feels more like cold plastic. Also if you scuff the surface you notice that cotton and silk tend to peel or get rough and torn into fabricy surface (small "hairs" are coming off). Both also feel soft. Rayon on the otherhand makes more rough and rattling sound and you get more cleaner and harder peel. Rayon feels hard compared to silk or cotton. It's hard to explain in text, but when you see different ito materials on hand it's really obvious to tell the difference. Generally ito made of rayon is also larger in structure, meaning the single lines of which the weave is made are thicker. Worst part of rayon is that when doing tsukamaki or training with, they actually give you burns on your hands. Cotton is more forgiving and silk is of course the most gentle.
  5. I use a fabricated piece of "nakago shaped" metal bar in my jig. Problem with cut off piece of existing blade is that they all have different dimensions (Except for Iaito-blades). You would need many different types of nakago, or one that is so small and short that it fits all. Instead making slim, tapering and round cornered steel bar enables you to get tight enough fit when wrapping tsuka-ito. When wrapping the ito, using hishigami is must if good result is desired. Especially when making folds over menuki. Without the hishigami the the higher the menuki the more wider "diamonds" you get. Also as said earlier, oak is a bad choice for tsuka material. It affects nakago patination and might expose it to rust. Also in practical point of view, oak is so hard that it can't handle the stress of using the blade, plus it's pain in the kojiri to work with. This is of course not a concern on 99% of blades which are preserved and displayed. When making tsuka core the most important factor is absolute fit inside. I use very very soft graphite powder dusted on the nakago. When clamping the two tsuka halves together and sliding the nakago in you can see where the nakago "floats" on the wood. When removing those parts, you get closer and closer to good fit. The fit has to be on all 4 "walls" and on the whole length of the tsuka. If nakago has any gap or movement inside the tsuka, it's not safe to handle, since effectively the only thing keeping the two halves together is rice glue and in some extent tsuka-itos pressure (Only in new wraps, old one's tend to get loose). Fuchi and kashira have very little in the ways of preventing separation of tsuka. Fuchi should be "snap tight", but not glued. It's purpose is to give flat, straight and hard surface against the seppa for tightening (plai wood surface would compress too easily), not to reinforce the tsuka. On some Japanese made koshirae I have seen kashira that have been glued with sap-like substance. Samegawa on the other hand can give huge improvement on rigidity. If full-wrap is made correctly, it can keep the tsuka together almost by itself. Panel style doesn't of course have this advantage. Photos for attention
  6. Ryubiken

    Gifted Sword

    The blade has typical chinese factory polish, hence the whitish line following the highest parts of the hamon's peaks. Mekugi is quite crude, like most repro-swords (acceptable on old blade, but not in modern one) 2x mekugi is somewhat rare on Nihonto. Chinese tends to prefer them on almost all blades (easier to get tight fit with misfit tsuka) Same is coated with black paint (lacquer preserves same's texture better and has less gloss) and made of panels (you can see the tsuka's wood on certain spots). Tsukaito's texture and mostly gloss finish give it away as rayon (synthetic silk alternative). Also tsukamaki is quite off compared to professional wrap. No hada and hamon/nioiguchi is typical on mass produced blade, although bit better than an average wall hanger. Saya's koiguchi is unbalanced and cut oddly. Also kurikata is way too far from koiguchi. Saya's wood texture is quite far off (rough texture and color) from modern honoki saya. Fitting seem like modern cast fitting (better than chinese copper dangys), Same ones that are used in iaito / mogito. All in all, good example of about 150$ chinese repro. If nagasa is really 33", then it may be special or custom work (33" is 83,8cm or 2.77 shaku, making it almost an odachi).
  7. Seems like a Chikei coming out on the borderline of shingane & kawagane (lamination oxide makes quite optimal place for chikei to form). Next polish will be quite likely to remove them and expose core steel. Basically it's not by-the-book chikei, rather in between O-hada & chikei.
  8. That nakago gives me a feeling of fire damage. Also yasurime seems a bit off. I would say it's either a bad saiha made after fire damage or non-nihonto blade.
  9. I'm quite certain (convinced) it is past the due date. Although impossible to say without seeing it on hand first. If you're interested on selling it onwards, I would need a good example of abused blade in my collection.
  10. Nakago looks to be in odd condition to my eyes. Otherwise I don't see any big issues on the blade itself. That polishing is most likely old and/or hastily done uchigumori-hato or hazuya. Most likely fast cleanup to see if there's hagire or other flaws. If you have the blade, I would check for hagire. I don't see any acid effects (at least from current photos). Rest of the package is quite crude. Judging from the pictures the first mekugi-ana could be punched. Second (higher) is quite surely drilled.
  11. I have this kumoryu, which I'm totally fond of.
  12. Regarding swords made outside of Japan, I have been studying quite a lot of them in the sense of tameshigiri swords. While usually not close to real thing in terms of handling or quality, chinese top-end swords beat american smiths in almost every aspect. In my personal opinion the best/only smith that I would consider of commissioning a blade would be Anthony DiChristofano. You can take 1000€ chinese sword and compare it to 6000€ custom sword from US and there's no contest. Regarding your Nihonto, I think it is better than 70% of swords people usually start with.
  13. I would assume that spot is tired portion of the blade and hada loss is possible indication of shingane showing through. But very nice tanto either way.
  14. I have this showa-stamped gunto. I think the signature is "Showa niju nen roku gatsu" (1944) - "Kiyotsugu". The sword is in type 3 gunto mounts and beaten up beyond salvage. Someone made new tsukamaki for it and "polished" it with steel wool. I don't have any books regarding modern day smiths so I'm asking any info on this particular Smith. Only reference I could find was christie's auction with 5 bundled guntos. Regards Kimmo S
  15. 'ello Been trying to identify this tsuba, but the world of tosogu is quite uncommon to me. Tried to translate the mei and the papers and came up with 入道正久 - Nyudô Masahisa. I could just and just understand the dimensions mentioned in the papers, but the "comments" section remained completely mysterious. I tried also to figure the school to which it belongs and my uncertain guess is choshu. My understanding of the paper (NTKK): Tsuba Mei: Nyudô Masahisa Kumoryuzu (Represents dragon in the coulds?) Material: iron and something? Date: Late edo period Dimensions: Width: 85mm, height: 79mm, thickness mimi: 5mm, thickness seppa-dai: 2,5 mm Comments section: complete mystery And lastly "proven legit, our educated guess, signed by, etc. etc." Dated: Heisei 26 nen 10 gatsu 7 hi (7th day of october 2014). I could find one tsuba signed similar, but mei was chiseled differently. Missed anything? Comments about the tsuba, worksmanship, maker, etc.? All information is welcomed open arms.
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