Custom Sword Recommendations

pgsmith

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So is the consensus that I should stick with Bugei if I need to stay in the under $2,000 range?
Not necessarily, it really depends more upon what you plan on doing with it. Bugei's blades all tend to be very hefty, and I don't recommend them for daily kata although they are sturdy tameshigiri swords. Nihonzashi is a Chinese sword reseller among other stuff (mainly Hanwei I think), but Mike Femal has his own dojo and a lot of experience, and will inspect it for you before shipping it if you tell him what you want it for. Kim Taylor at SDK Supplies used to sell sharp Chinese made blades that were appropriate for daily practice, but I can't get to his site from work (dang net nanny!) so I don't know if he still does. My daily use sword is from Citadel, which are made in Cambodia. I don't know who sells their swords now, but they were a bit pricier than the Chinese swords. However, the balance is wonderful, it's lighter than my Swordstore iaito, and it cuts very well.

There's also nothing wrong with ordering a less expensive ($1000 range) Chinese made sword as long as you do so from a place with a very good return policy, and you know that you may have to send several back to get one that is well made enough for regular practice.
 

Tames D

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I should not have taken offense so easily. I did not take into account that I would obviously not be recognized as a frequent contributor to the forum especially after changing my name and avatar and being absent for a year.
I wasn't aware that you changed your name, but seeing you've been a member of MT since 2006 and with over 1500 posts, it was pretty obvious to me that you're not a newby here.
 

Chris Parker

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Paul has answered these pretty well, but I felt I might add my perspective to his…

I don't understand why you wouldn't want your iaito and your shinken to be as identical as possible. To me it would make sense to have the iaito be heavier like the shinken you described so that when I progress to more cutting, I would have a better understanding on how to handle it properly. Do you not find it awkward to adjust between swords of different weight and design?

In some cases, you might… but not all. As in everything, the right tool for the job comes into it a lot… so you have to look at what the purpose for the weapon is. An Iaito is used, as Paul said, for many, many repetitions… so a heavier, and particularly a sword with a balance skewed towards the kissaki, will simply make it a little harder to handle, especially on the single-hand cuts and draws, and lead to a range of potential stress-related injuries. When looking at a cutting sword, on the other hand, the first thing you have to look at is who is going to be using it… in my case, it was for myself, but also for my students… who don't do anywhere near as much cutting as I do. In that instance, you want a sword that will make cutting easier (a heavier blade weighted towards the tip…), while reducing the chance of damaging (warping or bending) the blade (which will make it a thicker, wider blade as well). So that's exactly what I ordered… and received. My second Shinken, on the other hand, is lighter, more slender, with a thinner blade… and that's really just for me… and it's closer to my Iaito, for the record.

So, why would you want them to be different? Because you use them for different purposes. It's like asking why you would use a people-mover for taking a family on an outing, but use the sports car on the track… and not vice-versa.

So is the consensus that I should stick with Bugei if I need to stay in the under $2,000 range?

As Paul said, not necessarily. There's really little to add to his comments, save to give you the link to Kim Taylor's offerings… which are well worth checking out. If nothing else, the FAQ is a fun little read… SDKsupplies, unique and custom martial arts equipment, books, videos and uniforms Cant' find the shinken there presently, but keep checking back… or, better yet, send Kim an email.
 

pgsmith

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Let us know what you decide upon, and what you think of it.

Cheers,
 

Ken Morgan

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Wow! I disappear for a year or so and Chris is being nice to everyone! (Insert Twilight Zone theme here).
I bought one of the first Chinese Shinken Kim sold, after ten years I still have it and still love it. No idea if he still has them or not.
 

pgsmith

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Hmmm .... You've not been posting and Chris being nicer? Coincidence? :D
Nice to see you're still around though Ken!
 

Ken Morgan

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Funny how that has worked out!
I've been outside of North America for a few years now, training on my own or with a few willing victims....
.
 

shima

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I've had good luck with Tozando for customer iaito personally.
 
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Aiki Lee

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It's been a while, so I thought I would update anyone who cares about this thread I started.

Financial concerns (nothing serious, just the everyday expenses incurred by lower middle class Americans) prevent me (and my wife!) from justifying any expensive purchases. So I ended up getting nothing.

I am finally in a position to start saving again and very much appreciate the views you have all shared with me.
 

pgsmith

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Cool!
Thanks for the update! More time saving just means more time for research. :)
I've been saving up to have a custom blade polished and mounted for about six years now. I still haven't settled on a tsuba for it, although I have everything else.
 

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