Dynasty Forge Musha Katana

Canadian based sword importer Dynasty Forge have always had a reputation for high quality blades.

With swords sourced from the legendary Huano forge, owned by the legendary Chinese historian and scholar Fred Chen, they have been revolutionizing what is possible in the production sword market– mostly at the $1000 to $2000 price point.

So when they turned their considerable expertise to entry level swords we all love and cherish, their approach was to do away with differentially hardened hamon entirely and create one of the earliest 1060 carbon steel monotempered swords ever to hit the market - a machine shaped and polished sword that, in their own words: will be more forgiving in the event of "less than precise" technique.

In this glowing review by Ric Speak we look at one customers experience, but for the sake of balance also add in some other customers experiences, for while they are good, no entry level sword is ever perfect..


Dynasty Forge Musha Class Katana Review

Review by Ric Speak, United Kingdom


Steel 

Weight 

Point of Balance 

Price Range

1060 Carbon Steel

2.5lbs

6"

US$325-350

The second generation no-hi Musha is a 1060 Spring Steel Mono-tempered Katana costing $325-350.

I had 2 reasons for wanting to buy a Dynasty Forge katana, firstly their reputation for producing beautiful Katanas, and secondly their reputation for producing swords that perform exceptionally well.

”Reputation counts for a lot in the world of swords...”

When my sword arrived it was neatly and tightly packed, well greased, inside a blue sword bag, wrapped and taped tightly up in thick heavy duty bubble wrap, all secured inside a plain cardboard box.

At first i thought 'what? No fancy box?' but really - be honest, who here actually uses their fancy boxes?

Now onto the sword;

Here is the detailed description of the sword from the Dynasty Forge website:

Forged from extremely durable 1060 spring steel, this 28.5" blade is mono-tempered and machine polished. Forged without Bo-Hi, this blade is the most durable cutter in the 1060 line. The Shinogi-Ji is hand-burnished to a mirror polish, giving the blade a crisp geometry. The sword is fitted in Musashi themed Tsuba and Fuchi-Kashira with a pair of Buddhist sword Menuki. The Saya is finished in 11-layer natural lacquer taken to a high-gloss finish. The 11" Tsuka is paneled with genuine ray-skin and wrapped in black cotton Ito.

  • Mono-tempered 1060 high carbon steel
  • Musashi Theme with Buddhist Menuki
  • Blade: 28.5"
  • Tsuka: 11"
  • Overall: 40.5"
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs. (no hi)

I chose the no hi version because I wanted a better cutter, the hi version weighs in at 2.3 lbs.

Design, Fit and Finish

The Blade;

The blade of this sword is, in a word, amazing!”

With no etched hamon and some of the best polishing I have ever seen, it is almost as if you are not holding metal, but some crazy mirrored glass.

EDITORS NOTE: Another SBG member had this to say about the polish: "No surprise here. Machine polished, it's sharp but not scalpel sharp. Shinogi-zukuri geometry. Crisp, straight shinogi. Nice reflective polish on the shinogiji with a more satin finish on the ha. This is a working sword, and unashamed to show it."

This is echoed by a third member, Luis Curtis, who states "The cutting edge of the blade has a satin polish (maybe 400-600 grit) and the spine is mirror polished."

Satin polish on the cutting edge and mirror polish on the spine

Sharp? this blade defines sharp, sharper than any of my Hanwei practical blades (practical/light/XL light).

Seamless but no yokote line.. Machine polished kissaki

The transition from blade to kissaski (tip) is almost seamless.

Clean and simple satin machine polish
Polishing by machine leads to a better looking kissaki and can be done in a fraction of time required for hand polishing

At first, before cutting, I was worried about scratching this amazing polish job. I have now used it to cut various plastic bottles, some pretty tough ones, and a mat.

No scratches...
...At all.

This is not only a beautiful polish, but it is also a very hard wearing polish.

Ten! thumbs up.

The Grip;

This katana has an 11" tsuka, personally I think this is a great size, as I find larger tsukas harder to handle.

Everywhere states that the ito is cotton.

I am not in a position to argue with this, but I will say that if this is cotton, then it is FAR superior to all of my other 'cotton' ito tsukas.

Not so 'soft and fluffy' but ' hard, tight and grippy'

Excellent wrapping quality, tight and even.

My only single fault (if you could even call it a fault) that I could find is the two gold caps at the bottom of the tsuka ito don’'t just line up perfectly. But on the other hand, they are held so firmly in place I cannot move them a single millimetre or a fraction of one.

The Fittings

  • Musashi tsuba: material - cast iron.
  • Buddhist sword menuki: -– metal
  • Pegs (double): material – bamboo
  • Same: real –panelled

Some things, few things, require few words.

Plain but solidly assembled

Simple...

...Elegant...

...Quality!”

Handling

This sword handles very much like my Cheness Cutlery Tenchi, i.e. pretty damn well.

The only real difference is that this Dynasty Forge one basically just cuts BETTER...

EDITORS NOTE: to clarify, the balance of the Musha and the Tenchi tend to be forward heavy and balanced towards the tip and are classified as heavy cutters. They will not suit people who like fast and precise blades. To quote another SBG member "It's a little tip-heavy, so I don't have the precision I'd like, but it's got good power, turns well and stops on a dime."

Testing

Water bottles;

Water bottles? What water bottles?

This sword has gone through every type of bottle I have put in front of it with so little effort you might almost as well just be cutting the air.

Tatami mats;

VIDEO: Musha Mat Cutting

Effortless cutting and surprising speed and recovery for a  heavy solid bodied blade

As you can see, an excellent cutter.

This sword has instantly claimed its position as my favourite 'cutter' in my collection.

PROS

  • Incredibly sharp and effective cutter
  • Highly scratch resistant machined mirror polish
  • Quality iron fittings with tight assembly

CONS

  • Somewhat plain fittings and blade
  • A little above the $300 price point now, not always easy to source (sporadic production and availability)

WHERE TO BUY

Price and availability on these has fluctuated wildly over the years (sometimes for as low as $229!). But a long time stockist who has carried them whenever they are available is Kult of Athena, whos current price is $324.95 and who stocks them in their store here


I hope this review of the Dynasty Forge Musha Class Katana has been helpful. To return to A Beginners Guide to Authentic Japanese Swords from Dynasty Forge Musha Katana Review, click here


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