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EastCoast

Something in Tsuka?

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All,

 

I was cleaning a tsuka today and noticed something rather odd. When shaking the tsuka there is a rattle/sliding sound. I looked in the handle and I see nothing. Everything is tight, so it is not the fuki making noise. I took a neodymium magnet to it and didn't get a pull. What the heck could this be?

 

Best,

James

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A paper with the location of the Honjo Masamune (three pace from the large pine...)?
 

I remember a Pawn Stars where MY showed a saya with a hidden compartment to put some coins. Could there be something like that in a tsuka? Try removing the Fuchi.

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All,

 

Here are some photos.

 

1. Looked for a lose shim and didn't see it.

 

2. Nothing is lose. All pieces are very tight.

 

3. The sound in coming from around the center. A friend says it sounds like beads.

post-4338-0-23957300-1591646041_thumb.jpg

post-4338-0-50245000-1591646058_thumb.jpg

post-4338-0-24996500-1591646067_thumb.jpg

post-4338-0-42900200-1591646081_thumb.jpg

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Could there be something inside one of the Menuki? Scrap metal or something? BTW, love those menuki !

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Dear James.

 

As you have ruled out all the obvious, perhaps some of the filling behind the menuki is loose and rattling?

 

All the best.

 

(Snap! Jean Pierre.)

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JP - Thanks. Yes, it could be.

 

Geraint - I think I'm just going to have it xrayed.

 

It could be anything I suppose, just never seen(heard) something like this before.

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James,

these are probably cheap mass-produced EBI MENUKI, made from thin copper sheet; I had a similar pair. It is indeed possible that one of the little soldered studs inside came lose and is now causing the noise.

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 That tsuka looks to have shims up both sides, so it's a bit of a refit anyway. One possibility is decayed resin glue within the menuki.

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James,  I once had a tsuka I bought for the menuki and found a lead weight in a cavity carved at the kashira end. Maybe your is similar.

Ian Bottomley

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I agree with Ian. I also had a lead weight in a kashira, & it took me forever to figure it out! Hold your finger over it, & shake it - that's how I found mine, from the vibrations.

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If a sword is too light adding weight in the Tsuka improves cutting power. For many cutting tests on criminals the Yamada family utilized special weighted Tsuka & Tsuba to improve cutting ability.

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James, Markus Sesko wrote an excellent book on tameshigiri. Her's one of the articles on his site (highly recommended reading, all the articles!) about a waki used in tameshigiri. in it you'll see the kind of tsuka used by the Yamada family:

 

https://markussesko.com/2019/05/03/tameshigiri-with-a-ko-wakizashi/

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From what I've read adding a rather unusually heavy tsuba was added to swords to perform the cutting on dead bodies. If you add weight to the kashira, you'll find the blade will be easier to swing as its bringing the POB closer to the kashira, usually this is done to top heavy swords.

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A bit off topic but there is a set of near matching menuki on ebay UK for that set you have on the tsuka. At about £45 when I last looked. Regards Adam

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Adam,

 

Thanks for the heads up.

 

There was a full set on AOI (F+M) a few weeks back I missed out on.

 

Best,

James

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James,  As Jeremy has said, adding weight to the kashira end of the tsuka alters the whole balance of the sword and gives the impression of handling a lighter blade. There is a relatively short sword, you might say a long wakizashi, in the Royal Armouries mounted with a really eclectic assemblage of copper fittings, but in the hand you feel as if you could perform difficult abdominal surgery with it, it handles so beautifully. I suspect we get too uptight about the lengths of blades, accepting that katana had to be this length and wakizashi that, whereas in practice the owner of a sword chose the length and its mounts to suit his physique. This is evident from the response I have had from Japan on my recently acquired daisho, the daito having a blade with a nagasa of only 56cm. I was envisaging it having been made for a special purpose, and yes it was, for someone of small stature,

Ian Bottomley

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I had an old Tsuka once when I changed the ito and opened the wood apart it had lead in it mabe it is this 

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