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4 Important Tips for Buying Your First Katana

Swords Of The East focuses on real functional katana for collectors and martial artists. The first step is determining your budget and browsing the site to see what swords you like. 

There is any number of reasons why you might want to buy a Japanese katana sword. Perhaps you are starting out as a sword collector and want your first acquisition to be one of the most famous swords of the east. Maybe you just loved watching “Kill Bill” and want your own katana as a display piece. You might be a martial arts practitioner or it could just be that you love Japanese culture.

Whatever your reason, there are a plethora of katana swords available to buy, some of which are good and some are not. Choosing the katana that’s right for you depends a lot on what you plan to do with your sword. Here are a few tips though, to guide you in your first katana purchase.

#1 Choose the Right Katana for Your Purpose

The first thing to know is what purpose your katana will serve and what types are available on the market. Essentially there are three types of katana, each designed for a specific purpose.

·        Functional Katana – A functional sword is one which you can actually use for cutting. If you want to use your katana to cut targets, water melons, or other (inanimate) objects, you should choose a functional katana.

·        Decorative Katana – A decorative sword is designed only to be displayed on a wall or a mounting. You should never even try cutting targets with a decorative sword. If you just want a display piece, the good news is that a decorative katana will probably be inexpensive to purchase.

·        Practice Katana – This is the type of katana to buy if you plan to use it for martial arts practice. The blade cannot be sharpened. Despite this fact, practice katana swords often look very good and can double up nicely as display pieces.

#2 Select the Right Material

A katana made from stainless steel or aluminum is only suitable for display or for martial arts practice. These blades will not stand up to the rigors of cutting work and can break, putting you at risk of being hit by a sharpened piece of metal. If you plan to use your sword for cutting, choose only one which is constructed from heat-forged, high-carbon steel.

#3 Ask How the Katana was Manufactured

A katana is likely to have been made in one of the following three ways:

·        Heat-forged and folded

·        Heat-forged without folding

·        Machine-stamped

If you plan to use your katana for cutting, steer clear of machine stamped swords: they simply will not last long in functional use. Heat-forged construction is acceptable, but the ideal construction for a sword that will see any use is heat-forged and folded.

#4 Full and Shortened Tangs

The tang is the extended part of a katana blade which extends inside the handle. A full tang extends the full length of the handle and this is the type you should buy if your katana is to be used for cutting targets. Shortened tangs are used in the construction of decorative swords to save on the cost of production. If you try using a sword with a shortened tang for cutting, the blade is unlikely to remain attached to the handle for very long.

Whether for functional use or display, the sleek, curving katana sword is truly a thing of beauty. If you just want one to display in your home, you can buy a display sword very cheaply. A well-made functional katana meanwhile, will cost considerably more but will serve you well and look amazing for many years to come.