Quality of katana?
Sometime in the past 6 months, I was given a katana by an acquaintance who wasn't able to take the sword with him as he was moving. He used the katana for martial arts/training purposes, but it wasn't used in a long time. And though it may seem rude to check the quality of something given to me as a gift, I was just curious to check out the quality of it. He gave me no specifics when he gave me this sword but I was wondering if there was any distinct things that I can notice on the katana for a measure of the quality of it. Thanks
- LiondancerLv 73 years agoFavorite Answer
The easiest thing is to see is if the scabbard is wood or fiberglass. If it's fiberglass you got about a cheap (about $20) blade.
Next thing is to check the hamon (tempered line along the edge of a sword). If it is a real even pattern it is etched and again a cheap sword. Like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/BladesUSA-Japanese-Samurai...
If your sword has a clay temperline then you are starting to look at a little bit of quality there:
Also look at the history of the sword. Did your friend actually train in a structured class or did he learn from videos by himself and just played around? If he was in a structured class with a teacher it is also more likely that he had a better quality sword than if he he was just playing around. Teachers do require a minimum amount of quality on a sword to use in class for safety reasons.
There are other ways to tell quality of a blade but they require a little bit of knowledge and looking at many blades before developing an eye.
Also taking the tsuka (handle) off the blade will tell you a lot about the blade. Better quality blades are signed on the tang (the part of the blade that extends into the handle). With a cheap sword the tsuka won't even come off.
Post a picture of the blade and maybe some of us can give you a better idea of what you got. Besides, it is not wrong to look at the quality of a sword gifted to you. It is a matter of taking care of the blade actually as a more expensive blade will need special care and you do want to look into that if yours turns out to be a better blade. To take proper care of a sword that has been given to you would be a sign of respect. So don't feel bad about this.
- BonLv 63 years ago
A practice sword is just that - a practice tool. While some such swords are well made for that purpose, they were never made to the quality and standards of a real katana which will cost upwards of $4000. I seriously doubt your acquaintance is that generous.
A well constructed practice sword will have a good balance exactly or near that of a real thing. The fitting will be tight - no rattles. The handle (tsuka) and the wrap (samegawa) should be well bounded - not come undone or loose.
The quality of the metal will be hard to tell just from appearance, but the condition of the tang will hint at the quality (or lack off).