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hi this is my first time here and am hoping I might be able to find help or advice about a Japanese sword I recently purchased. the sword is said to be made by a famous smith in Japan around 10 years ago but it wasn't up to the usual standard he produces so he didn't sign the blade and presented it as a gift to the person that sold it to me. I would love to find out who the mystery smith is if anyone has any ideas. I realize it may be a long shot but here are some pics incase somebody recognises the style of blade or anything else that might help me find out more. thank you

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This sword doesn't look to me like it was made in Japan: crude koshirae, no hada, very tight nioiguchi, uninspired hamon. Sorry for being so blunt, but it looks like an early Chinese production sword à la Hanwei.

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The way the handle is wrapped is wrong.

Sword is not from Japan.

 

Im sorry , hope You didnt give a fortune for it.

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I would think the same as Guido. My guess would be a sword from companies using Fred Chen/Huanuo from the early 2000's. That was long ago when I was starting my collecting as young kid so I can't remember all the models from to of my head.

 

My guess is it might be Cicada Forge or DGuertin. Both made good quality reproductions but both companies went under over 10 years ago (at least that is how I remember it). You can search their sites through wayback machine (Internet archive), and old posts at SFI.

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Thank you all for your input. The hada is konukahada with little itamehada but it might nog be easy to see in the pics I have. Will try get better pics up soon. The hamon is widely gunome. The koshirae is a bit crude but either way I'm just curious on people's thoughts as I really like this blade and feels great to use so want to keep it in my collection regardless of worth or lack of haha

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Hope you didn't pay too much for it... I agree with the others in that it may not be a traditional shinsakuto

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Because someone has to be in opposition :) 

 

I think a few better pics of the hada is important before making a call.

Personally I think in this case this might be a legitimate Nihonto. . .

The Koshirae is definately lowest (bottom of the barrel) grade possible for chinese junk. . . although I think someone might have had a shot at the tsuka. But the blade is of too high a quality to have started life in this tacky outfit.

sooo judging the blade on its own merit, the polish is good, bohi is good and not representative of standard chinese production. This style of hada does not appear on production blades. The notare hamon can be found on chinese blades as can a tight noiguchi. . . but I have seen a couple of Yoshihara blades with a tight noiguchi.

Nakago could have some better pics but from what I can see it isnt unreasonable to consider it might be legit.

 

Conclusion. . . need better pics without pixlation.

 

Kam

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The nakago patina looks like it was heated with a torch after yakire to soften it for drilling.

The hamon is so typical of a shopping mall knife store sword.

That being said better pics couldn't hurt.

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I think it's a good sword. I still think that it's made by Cicada Forge. They used Fred Chen, and I tend to like some Fred Chen blades.

 

Now that I got home I can provide some reasoning why I think what I think. I guess Cicada Forge died in 2007 but I was able to find some pics through the Wayback Machine.

 

At Summerchild Polishing, look at the hamon: http://www.summerchild.com/itemcom1.htm

FS, at Myarmoury, look at the hamon + same F&K: http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.8943.html

 

Some old pics of Cicada Forge line up: http://web.archive.org/web/20050204221611/http://liveblade.com/cicadaforge/iaiyoavailable.html, http://web.archive.org/web/20060805132858/http://liveblade.com/cicadaforge/liveswords.html Cicada Forge offered custom swords, wo you could choose the parts.

 

Many Fred Chen swords back in c.2005 had similar hamon style. I think the F&K might be Fred Chen "exclusive" as it can be seen on several manufacturers who used Fred Chen for example DGuertin/Oni/Kensei.

 

I think it's monosteel, so no hada. I believe that the effect you see on the blade is created by skilled hybrid polishing. Those skilled in that art can make "hada-like" surface to the blade. I bought an used Paul Chen PPK for 150€'s that looks like it has tight hada. See the pic attached. That is achieved by skilled hybrid polishing on a monosteel blade which in reality does not have hada.

 

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In general I think nihonto collectors give too little credit for these production blades, some of them are actually darn good for what they cost. I will say I have bias for them as I started with them as young kid.

 

Better pics will of course help, and I can and I will change my opinion if I'm proven wrong. :laughing:

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Hi Jussi

 

I agree with your general assesment of the quality of chinese swords and I most definately agree that there is a good chance of this blade being one (huano used to make some pretty convincing hada) . . . . but unless someone has given this a quality polish once it has left the factory Im thinking not likely. . . . .style of hamon is common to the many shinsakuto on the market.

I have been working with a couple of chinese forges over the last 8 or so years in a seperate business so I am familiar with the work and the polishes that can be applied. . . .some pics attached

I have pretty well covered the points regarding the cheap and nasty koshirae. . . the fittings are common on the bottom lines from most of the forges and definately not strictly huano. A couple of thoughts on mono steel and hada. . . 5160 is a spring steel that shows some very interesting hada like activity including large nie particles and other atributes that can give it an appearance found on many shinshinto blades. depending on how it was smeltered w2 steel often gets a nashiji appearance and can display nie in the noiguchi depending on the yakiri. I am not convinced that what I am seeing on the OPs blade is a result of polishing alone. . .

Realisticly without clear photos of the nakago and hada we can only speculate.. . . and I think we all can reserve the right to be wrong. . . I mean really we can only guess.

 

Kam

 

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Lastly a Picture of shinsakuto. . note the hamon

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Ok Kam I'm doing my best to take some better pics. I've only got my phone camera and torch so it's challenging but will have some up today. Thank you

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Ok this is the only pics that didn't blur as its done with an old iPhone. may try for more later.  Thanks

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Hey Greg

Thanks for posting some more pics but I think I am less informed (if it is indeed possible to retro grade in information) of what this sword is.

I do think a few pics of the nakago would be helpful.

These pics imply a possible result of manufacture in which the large grinding marks are not fully removed as they skip from something like 80grit to 360 grit and then through each stone to the final 2000 grit (production pieces). On the other hand it may very well be hada that is visually distorted via the pics.

 

Kam

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that hamon is deader then christopher reeve's, legs.

 

im with the other posters, im sorry but not Japanese IMHO

 

regards H

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Hi Kam I will try for more pics including the nakago after work tonight. Cheers

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Hey Barry

Yep it is :/

Still not a make or break in either direction....I have seen shinsakuto with noiguchi with less life than a dried toad. And I have seen plenty of activity in mono steel like before mentioned 5160.

I am less inclined to make a call based on current info ..,ie bad photos.

 

Kam

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At the risk of sounding elitist... Why are we discussing a Chinese sword here. The Sword Forum is a better place, I think.

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Elitist or dismissive either way if you can make a definitive conclusion based on those pics then I am thoroughly impressed.

Stuck on the road I have just a ph and nothing else to do :)

Anyway as for dead Noiguchi how much life is in the following pic?

 

Kam

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Elitist or dismissive either way if you can make a definitive conclusion based on those pics then I am thoroughly impressed.

Stuck on the road I have just a ph and nothing else to do :)

Anyway as for dead Noiguchi how much life is in the following pic?

Kam

No doubt on that sword. But the one in the thread is a non Japanese made blade and has very little value.
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hhhhmmm, I get the impression that many would prefer if we just call it a chinese production blade. . . . .personally I think I prefer to reserve judgment on more evidence either way. This way we can learn as so too does the OP. . . I know of too many bad calls based on belief and not knowledge based fact.. . . but feel free to call evens or odds if you prefer.

I also think it important for the growth of knowledge to present information/diagrams/pics to explain or represent your view. I am yet to see anything either presented or discussed that would convince me of either possible origin. . . .oh and no a hunch is not evidence :laughing: but it is sometimes a good compass :thumbsup:  although in this situation I think some facts would be preferable :doh:

 

Kam

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One of the most prominent North American dealers - may he RIP - once declared a Paul Chen sword a shinshintō. When I pointed out to him the many things that made it unmistakingly a Chinese production sword (besides the mei ;-)) he answered "That might well be. After all, you are the expert on Chinese replicas, not me!" Not true of course, but a brilliant reply.

 

I always wanted to use that line; thank you for finally giving me the opportunity, Kam! :rotfl:

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One of the most prominent North American dealers - may he RIP - once declared a Paul Chen sword a shinshintō. When I pointed out to him the many things that made it unmistakingly a Chinese production sword (besides the mei ;-)) he answered "That might well be. After all, you are the expert on Chinese replicas, not me!" Not true of course, but a brilliant reply.

 

I always wanted to use that line; thank you for finally giving me the opportunity, Kam! :rotfl:

 

Guido. .a pleasure and I must say Thank you for the story. . struggling to keep myself occupied. . as for an expert :thumbsup: if indeed I am then least it isnt an expert of B.S. Although so far I seem to be the only one whom does not have an opinion either way (this does not mean that there are aspects of this that dont interest my curiousity :dunno: ) so I might have to wait a little longer before I can claim the tittle "expert :("

 

Kam :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

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Kam, you don't need to be impressed. My eyes hurt when I look at the sword in this thread. No offence meant to the owner. 

 

Here is how they make these swords. Mind you, the sword we are talking about is a high end piece, according to their nomenclature:

 

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Guys,

Remain civil! Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is to our own benefit to be able to spot modern fakes, and since we have no 100% proof of either, please allow people the time to post their opinions when presented with reasons.

The source might be an indication if this is Chinese..and if this is a common technique by the seller.

 

Brian

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The hada reminds me of thermal alloy banding that can be produced by certain methods better left unsaid. I am not stating that it IS definitively, of course! :laughing:

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Mariusz have you checked your eyesight lately as I think you might have something in your eye if it hurts? :laughing: Just kidding mate. You can hear crickets chirping at the SFI Japanese sword section, heading to SBG is the logical thing nowdays. While I agree that the Chinese made production stuff is not in lines of nihonto forum I still think it's sometimes nice to discuss them even in here. No these are not art swords but cheap and affordable user blades.

 

But I really think this is above average production sword, heck I might buy a blade like this for 400-500€'s. I think it will be a nice cutting sword. I've cut with plenty of Fred Chen swords over the years and I think they are pretty good cutting swords in general. The more pics I see of it the more I'm thinking about Fred Chen & Cicada. There are multiple big names in China, Paul Chen (Hanwei) and Fred Chen (Huanuo) are the most well known. In my opinion currently the best forge in China is Kaneie, the Zhejiang Zhengs that Mariusz linked above is low-mid tier maker in my books. Here is the Fred Chen website, and yes they sometimes even sell nihonto: http://www.huanuosword.com/

 

I think one of the major issue to us who collect nihonto is how to call these. Like Kam I think Chinese production blade is pretty good term. These are not fakes as they are not even sold as genuine Japanese swords in most cases (but apparently in this case this was but it was not from the source in my opinion). Historically there weren't problems as other nations had their own swords. Now you have European, American, Chinese etc. smiths producing Japanese style swords. So it gets somewhat complicated.

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For what it's worth, I learn just as much reading posts like this as I do from those dealing with real Nihonto. Maybe the forum needs a seperate forum section for reproductions/fakes? Its' a great learing opportunity for guys like me!

 

I'm embarassed to find out how far removed faux-katanas are from the real thing... It wasn't long ago that I thought the stuff comming out of places like Cold Steel or Paul Chen were virtually equivalent to antique Nihonto blades but after learning more I've gotta kick myself for spending hundreds of (if not thousands over the years) on souless reproduction blades instead of focusing my efforts on the originals.

 

One thing I'm greatful for is that there's a pretty good online market for reproductions... I sold my last Paul Chen sword a couple months ago for almost the same price bought it for in the early 2000s. :)

 

I still think there's a place for reproductions and that China probably does them best but there is definitely a special place in hell for those who peddle fake Nihonto as the real stuff... and since the real stuff is hard to come by for new guys on limited budgets, learning what's wrong with reproductions/fakes is extremely helpful. 

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good to see the dust masks in the video, iron dust on the lungs can be a real drag hahahhaha

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Ladies, Gentleman, I generally avoid forums due to time restraints and the fact that a lot of threads go from an informative and progressive playground to a retrograding arrogance laden conservative battleground. It seems people are most comfortable within their 4 walls of "facts" (sometimes these facts turn into urban myth) and are uncomfortable with the unknown. I have a rather diverse background that has allowed me to aquire information about a wide range of subjects that I am always happy to expand on and learn more. . . . but thats just me. In regards to the Chinese production sword market yes as a default of my occupation I have seen many (tooooooooooooo many). A client used to joke that I could smell the fakes before he had taken them from the bag (he used to buy large bundles of swords from auction houses). I have also acquired nihonto for next to nothing because the seller was wrongly informed (on some forum ;-) ) that it is a chinese fake, this includes a masamori hosokawa (now with nthk papers) and a Ono kenpaku yasutoshi. I also know too many stories of Gendaito being destroyed back in the 80's etc based on the then believed "known fact" that they are "NOT nihonto :steamed: " just "oil quenched" trash.. . . .how opinions have changed :clap: .

An informed opinion with facts. . . is just that an "informed opinion" welcomly received.  An informed opinion without facts. . is well just an opinion. . . or for some maybe just perceived arrogance, which just discourages discussion and stiffles growth of knowledge.

I am not concerned about being right or wrong just a desire to always expand my knowledge and to encourage others to share so we can all enjoy this hobby. . . I wonder how many newbies have been put off from the attitude of so called knowledgable forumites :-? .

 

In regards to the said blade I have offered some pionts with referances as has Jussi (thanks bud :thumbsup: ) but considering the amount of posts the rest are just opinionated comments. I have a few more points to make based on the first lot of pics but might wait and see what else is offered in the way of info.

 

Lastly (getting a bit close to becomming a rant) it does not affect anyone but the owner of this sword whatever this turns out to be so lets try to at least be informative.

 

. . . Im sure I felt a couple of toes being stood on as I was typing this so I expect a few may not be happy, , a bit like Stewie from Family guy "I dont like change" so like Joe from American dad all I have to say (as I put on my fire retardent suit) is "bring it on". .. :laughing:

 

Kam

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