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Is a folded tip conclusive of heat-treat problems? (Wak I’m looking at)


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Hello All!

A fellow online is selling this wakizashi and as he tells me he’s open to literally any offer, I thought I’d share his pictures here in hopes that some of you would share your impressions with me.

Mr. Singer was kind enough to help me translate the mei—“Morihisa”.

Even from the blurry photos I can see what look like some sizable ware, but most alarming of course is the tip, which appears to actually be folded back on itself. My initial thoughts were that this blade was either never properly heat-treated or had been through a fire or something, as no hardened steel would just fold like that.

But then I remembered I know bugger-all about nihonto metallurgy and would do well to at least run it by youse guys before I simply dismissed the blade.

Is there a ghost of a hamon visible? I think I can make one out in the close-up pictures, and it even looks like sufficient boshi that the damaged tip could be repaired with room to spare—but I still can’t get over that folded tip.

Can’t make out any hada.

The shape seems odd, too—like it started out shobu-zukuri and then someone decided to add a yokote. Hard to make out sugata or sori from these pictures...

As far as the nakago goes, I can’t make out any yasurime—or maybe a hint of Kiri? The nakago-shinogi looks like it makes a little wiggle as it leaves the nakago, so, o-suriage (and I’m just imagining the yasurime?) The nakago-jiri makes me think o-suriage as well...

And I’m puzzled that this wakizashi is signed katana-mei. The only Morihisa I can find are not Hizen smiths, so what’s his name doing on the wrong side of the blade? The patina seems pretty good at least, right?

There could be big ol’ hagire all through this thing, of course. But it would be a looong car-ride to get it in hand—and I just can’t get over that folded tip...

Thank you All so much for being so generous with your expertise!

Regards,

Richard

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Eh... if it were hardened steel on that tip, it'd be broken off I'd think. Can you make out a hamon through the boshi or does it appear to run off? If it runs off, that indicates that perhaps the original tip snapped off and it was reshaped into a new kissaki. That then means that this blade is effectively dead as that's considered a fatal flaw. That sort of goes along with you observing that this blade is signed katana-style. (Although I don't truly know the difference myself). The fact that the person is willing to accept any offer sends off a red flag. This thing feels like someone has significantly tampered with what was a dead blade that I wouldn't be comfortable offering for it.

 

Also, I could be wrong but Morihisa is a BIG name smith from what I remember and a likely target of gimei. There's just too many red flags. Of course, I am no expert and I would wait to hear from someone far more knowledgeable. These are just my initial impressions.

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Probably just wishful thinking, but:

I’m no expert, but that looks more like where two different steels were welded together. I don't see any hamon in the kissaki. It looks to me that the hamon runs off behind the kissaki, but it’s hard to tell from those pics.

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Although logic says a hardened tip would break before bending, I have seen more than my fair share of healthy blades with identical tips. Have seen someone drop a sword point first on a carpet and it bent like that too, and another that curled.
Can't explain why, but it can happen.

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Although logic says a hardened tip would break before bending, I have seen more than my fair share of healthy blades with identical tips. Have seen someone drop a sword point first on a carpet and it bent like that too, and another that curled.

Can't explain why, but it can happen.

Wow—I knew Nihonto was deep waters, but still, that’s amazing!

 

I’m guessing Chris and Jason are correct and this wak was maybe fashioned from a broken katana, given the katana-mei, the inelegant nakago, the foldy tip and strange kissaki, and the boshi that resides only in my fond imagination... Even IF flipped coins do apparently land on their sides from time to time and the folding isn’t conclusive evidence of lack of hardening, when coupled with the other problems it doesn’t bode well, does it?

 

Thanks for the input guys!

 

Richard

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No, not o-suriage—just suriage. That’s the original mei on the katana, and whoever fashioned the tip for it in its new life as a wakizashi also shortened the bottom of the nakago to hide that it had once been a katana. So they had to raise the machi to compensate, and that’s why the shinogi goes weird there. But whoever did all that went out of their way to preserve the mei, figuring it was a sufficient selling point to compensate for it being on the wrong side...

Am I way off base here?

Regards,

Richard

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