To be able to fully understand the depth of Japanese sword craftsmanship you have to realize that Japanese sword have gone through over 800 years of development.
Craftsmen who'd hone their skills and pass on their knowledge to the next generation are responsible for the exquisite quality that is found in the steel, furniture, wrapping and lacquering.
As a restorer of antique swords as well as martial arts grade swords, often it bothers me that modern reproductions are not created with that historical knowledge and that MANY details are overlooked or not incorporated. With Chinese made swords, this is often the case, as they are constantly struggling to meet the extremely low price demand from the Western market.
It's better to invest time in acquiring knowledge (i.e. by following our page ;) or buying a good book) before purchasing your first sword. With knowledge you'll be able to recognize the traditional way and thus, eventually end up with a better sword :)
If you are already an owner of a Japanese sword replica, I strongly urge you to have a look at the picture below.
I also added a small list of pointers to recognize the quality in a Japanese sword tsuka.
Basically it all comes to this; this is how the shape of a Japanese sword handle should look.
Regardless of the chosen material for the wrapping - in this case leather - it should NOT be able to move a millimeter. Not even the weak spot over the menuki should not be able to move.
Yes, it is correct that natural leather stretches more than other materials but with the correct tools and techniques, this will not matter in how tight the eventual wrap will be.
So without further a due:
1) Check for a proper handle length (anything longer than 27 cm / 10.5" is too long :) )
2) Seamless fit against the fuchi (collar) and kashira (pommel)
3) Good and slim oval handle shape
4) Alternating crossings
5) Even diamonds
6) Flat crossovers that are locked with each other
7) proper donut shaped end knot (on the correct side)
8) Stands are positioned smooth against each other (no bumpy edge on the sides)
- University Home
- All categories
- Sword steel
- Sword furniture
- Japanese Sword Craftsmanship
- Samurai fighting arts (bujutsu)
- Samurai culture and customs
- Myths and beliefs
- Practical hints and guidance for sword owners
35 users online | 35 Guests and 0 Registered
Recognizing quality of a tsuka
- Last update:
- 2015-08-21 12:18
- Jeff - The Samurai Workshop
You cannot comment on this entry
- A heads up on practical sharpening of your katana ... (86010 views)
- The open side upward diagonal cut - Problematic for ... (60862 views)
- Visual Glossary of the Japanese Sword (59295 views)
- Buying a iaito (47748 views)
- How do I display my katana or tachi? (39710 views)
- Training dual sword wielding - Part One. (35222 views)
- Dotanuki (34159 views)
- How the Japanese sword evolved into todays modern Katana ... (30544 views)
- Double cuts - Getting started (29893 views)
- Niku (hira-niku) and tameshigiri (26107 views)
- About signatures / mei (2015-08-21 13:04)
- Recognizing quality of a tsuka (2015-08-21 12:18)
- The Nekomata - (or Strange supernatural cat demons) (2015-02-03 11:55)
- What is Shobu Zukuri? (2015-01-22 00:25)
- What is Suriage? (2015-01-16 12:37)
- Higonokami (2015-01-15 22:31)
- Craftsmen of the Japanese sword (2014-11-26 20:09)
- Kata-te-Uchi (2014-11-18 22:45)
- Does the curvature of the katana really convey any ... (2014-11-12 17:01)
- Kogarasu Maru (2014-11-09 21:33)
- Cardboard tubes as an alternative target (2014-11-02 14:15)
- Are exotic folded steels better for cutters? (2014-11-02 14:14)
- The dangers of Nukitsuke and lapses of concentration. (2014-11-02 14:00)
- On taking some inspiration from Martial artists but still ... (2014-11-02 13:59)
- Stopping distance training (2014-11-02 13:54)