Cheap sword purchase with the same benefit?
Anyone who comes up with the idea of buying a real katana from Japan will be impressed by the extreme prices. If you have the opportunity to buy a real forged sharp sword there are also customs- and export-/import fees in addition to shipping costs. One also hears that swords come from Chinese production, which are sold under Japanese labels.
Aliexpress got it
A sword lover has dared to order directly from chinese sources and shows the ›unboxing‹. For $ 700 not a bad buy at first sight. Can an Iaidoka get a real bargain? If you look closely, weak points become clear:
Some weak points
- the instructions for use (minute 2:00) are complete and provide some information.
- a correct certificate (minute 3:25) is part of every decent blade. This looks a bit ›home-made‹.
- a beautiful sword knife (Tsuba) may blinds the buyer (minute 4:40) but it is too uneven for practical purposes.
- the wooden locking pins (Mekugi) are delivered with a bundle of spare pins (minute 4:47). You will need it because the wooden material is untreated (completely dried out) and will quickly shrink, maybe break = highest risk!
- dhe sword scabbard (Saya) seems to be coated with sanded ray skin, but this cannot be verified because of a thick, shiny layer of varnish. Will not be ›real‹ at the called price.
- the sword band (Sageo) will be too short and is probably made of short-lived synthetic fiber (minute 6:04). One end ripples by itself.
- the handle (Tsuka) looks okay. It is not possible to check whether the winding (6:25 minutes) is durable.
- the handle is way to long compared to sword length.
- the Saya opening contains a stylish metal cover (minute 6:36) which was glued on completely inappropriately.
- the blade (minute 7:04) is perhaps forged but in my opinion (see ›hardening line‹) not traditionally hardened.
- of course, the handle bar is not marked with a blacksmith sign (minute 7:25).
- the grip fit to the blade is not correct (minute 8:25) and must be forced when assembling. Not a good sign.
- that hardness line (Hamon) is fake — just a wavy bevel (minute 9:20).
- it is doubtful whether the blade was folded during forging (minute 9:40).
- the Saya fits too tight (10:30 a.m.) so that reworking is necessary.
- at least: ›the good old paper test‹ for checking the sharpness (minute 10:50) is not great.
None of all sounds good to an Iaidoka. The sword is not very suitable for practicing Iaido (safety, fit). Perhaps you can try cutting tests, after all, the scarf is missing in the blade. But danger is imminent if the Mekugi fails to hold the blade. I advise against buying.
Here is the whole film of the ›unboxing‹.