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#341128 - 05/13/07 12:51 AM hypothetical
fatguy Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 146
a little hypothetical question for you guys, tell me what you think.

Lets say you had the available money to buy the best of top quality iaito/shinken from a Ningen Kokuho.

Would you train with it? or use it ever for that matter?

This question came up because I was talking with someone about me purchasing a good 4 or 5 thousand $ shinken. And she said, "Well you would just use it as decoration right?"

At first my thought is, "Of course, I wouldn't possible afford to train or demonstrate with that sword from the fear of even breathing on it wrongly." but then I was thinking whats the point in owning something like that if its not gonna be used?

Its like buying a $100,000 car and rubbing it with a diaper for the rest of your life. I mean whats the point if its not gonna be used?

[edit] Ok, well maybe Ningen Kokuho is too strong lets just say a 4 or 5000 $ shinken.


Edited by fatguy (05/13/07 12:52 AM)
_________________________
Saya no uchi de katsu

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#341129 - 05/13/07 10:33 AM Re: hypothetical [Re: fatguy]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Somewhere else I mentioned that a true and valuable shinken requires as much attention as a child. Let any rust appear or any ding and you are facing a monetary loss.

They are beautiful to look at and thrilling to hold, but I would choose to let someone else worry about their preservation.

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#341130 - 05/13/07 12:31 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: fatguy]
pgsmith Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Texas
There is a large gulf between collectors and users. 4 or 5 thousand would net you a user grade shinsakuto from a decent smith. Nice, but made as a user sword. To purchase a true collecter sword in good polish from a good smith, you've now raised the cost into the tens of thousands. Something along those lines should be preserved for its historical value. You also have to throw in the fact that if you've been practicing long enough to exclusively practice with a shinken, then you would know how to properly use it and care for it so as not to be in danger of destroying it.

Truth to tell, 4 or 5 thousand would only net you a user grade shinken from a low grade smith or apprentice and a user grade polish.


Edited by pgsmith (05/13/07 12:33 PM)
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#341131 - 05/13/07 12:56 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: pgsmith]
fatguy Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 146
So if you were to purchase a katana of that price range you would train with it?
_________________________
Saya no uchi de katsu

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#341132 - 05/13/07 03:24 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: fatguy]
A.J. Bryant Offline
Member

Registered: 02/28/03
Posts: 98
Loc: Indianapolis, IN USA
Quote:

So if you were to purchase a katana of that price range you would train with it?




I have a ±$3,000 blade that I cut with regularly and a ±4,000 blade that I'm a bit more partial to and I just do iai with, so yes, I use mine.

Both are made by well-known American smiths. They're made as user swords however, and as you cut with them, the value plummets. However, that's what these swords are made for--they're tools to be used and that was the intention when forged.

As Paul said, a nice collector's piece will run you in the tens of thousands.

Just my opinion, other’s mileage may vary...
_________________________
Andrew Bryant Rishinkan Dojo Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu Iaido Dentokan Aiki Jujutsu

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#341133 - 05/14/07 10:04 AM Re: hypothetical [Re: fatguy]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Quote:

So if you were to purchase a katana of that price range you would train with it?




Yes. I fully intend to purchase one somewhat more expensive than the $5000 range and use it for training in the next decade or so. Would I use a genuine art sword for iai? No, but I couldn't afford multiple tens of thousands for one anyway.
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#341134 - 05/14/07 10:20 AM Re: hypothetical [Re: fatguy]
pgsmith Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Texas
Quote:

So if you were to purchase a katana of that price range you would train with it?



When I can afford it. My current shinken that I use for kata was only $1500. The one that I use regularly for tameshigiri was $3000. Once my kids are out of college (and the debt is paid off), I'll start thinking about getting a good sword. I know a number of people whose every day swords cost them between 5 and 10 thousand.
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Paul

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#341135 - 05/14/07 04:32 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: A.J. Bryant]
howard Offline
Member

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 43
Loc: Clifton NJ
Quote:

They're made as user swords however, and as you cut with them, the value plummets.



Assuming that you don't damage the sword through cutting, why would that be?

Thanks.

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#341136 - 05/14/07 05:13 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: howard]
A.J. Bryant Offline
Member

Registered: 02/28/03
Posts: 98
Loc: Indianapolis, IN USA
Quote:


Assuming that you don't damage the sword through cutting, why would that be?

Thanks.




Well, you wouldn't think so, but that's often the case from what I’ve seen and experienced (admittedly very little). IMHO, it might be because these are mid-priced user blades, not art pieces for the most part. The market is smaller, and the people who are "collecting" these swords generally want pristine display swords. Users would rather have a custom sword of their own forged over buying a used blade at the same price. A decade from now, who knows. Even now, some US smith’s swords are appreciating quite a bit due to rarity, or demand, such as Bob Engath’s and Howard Clark’s blades. Others are not.

I’ve recently seen two custom swords (never used) made by the smith who made one of mine become available and never sold--at prices below what I paid (same steel, similar mount, etc.). Heck, I tried to sell an $1,800 wakizashi and couldn’t hardly give it away at $800.
_________________________
Andrew Bryant Rishinkan Dojo Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu Iaido Dentokan Aiki Jujutsu

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#341137 - 05/14/07 05:17 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: howard]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5819
Loc: USA
Howard

Because its "used."--no matter how good the conditon, its still used.

Back in the day swords which could not be sharpended anymore were sometimes called "tired"---if memeory serves.
Besides, steel, no matter how good it is steel a metal and subject to stress.

Cutting puts tremendous stress on a blade, micro cracks can develop that can't even be seen with the naked eye.
Poor sharping over time can harm the edge (which are often polished/ground on as opposed to more common sharpening techniques)
Repeated use also puts alot of stress on the handles as well.
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#341138 - 05/14/07 07:05 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: A.J. Bryant]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< Even now, some US smith’s swords are appreciating quite a bit due to rarity, or demand, such as Bob Engath’s and Howard Clark’s blades >>

I have hesitated to inquire about Bob Engnath and Blades 'n' Stuff. Some folks on these forums are a bit abrupt when talking about Yankee (CA) smiths.

Eleven years ago my first iaito, a $300 cheapo, snapped immediately in front of the tsuba from metal fatigue, the blade rolling away like a hoop. No one was injured. I was alone in a raquette ball court. I was shocked how easy it was to bend straight.

Because all the furnishings were in great shape, I wrote Bob Engnath asking if he could forge me a rough blade that would fit my scabbard and furnishings.

He did a great job. The fit is perfect. I simply never have had the time or courage to tackle a full length polishing job. Assembled, it feels great to the hand and is viciously sharp. It had been treated to resist rust and looks the same today as when it arrived.

I would rather keep it the way it is in rough grind than risk ruining it. Bob would never forgive me.

He is sorely missed.

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#341139 - 05/14/07 08:22 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: iaibear]
A.J. Bryant Offline
Member

Registered: 02/28/03
Posts: 98
Loc: Indianapolis, IN USA
Yes, he is. Thanks for sharing the story!

- Andy

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#341140 - 05/15/07 06:17 PM Re: hypothetical [Re: cxt]
howard Offline
Member

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 43
Loc: Clifton NJ
A.J. and cxt, thanks for your replies.

Your replies make sense in general. I guess one problem when buying a sword second-hand is that most potential buyers will not know the seller, and will have no idea of their level of knowledge of sword use. So, as a potential buyer, unless you know the seller and the history of the sword, I suppose it makes sense to err toward assuming that the blade has suffered some level of stress and damage.

Thanks again.

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