How do you fit an aftermarket tsuba?

by Phillip
(North Carolina, U.S.A.)

Is it possible to remove a Tsuba from a Katana without destroying it?, specifically, I was planning on buying either a Mushashi Rosewood Shirasaya or a Zetsurin Katana, and fitting it with a tsuba. If I buy one,I plan to use it for test cutting, but would not be above using it for self-defense should the need arise. Also, If I bought the Shirasaya, would fitting it with grips made of cow or deer bone hurt or help its performance as a test cutter, verses Same and a normal handle wrap?

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A quick run down..
by: Paul

The swords you are considering might not be the best choice as the hilts are epoxied in place, and you would need to destroy them and spend a long time trying to get all the epoxy and wood off.

But assuming you do - its fairly easy to fit an aftermarket tsuba in this case. Most come with a fairly narrow nagako-ana (hole in the center of the tsuba where it fits to the blade) and this is on purpose as each tang will be different in thickness and width - so it allows you to file the inside of the tsuba with a steel file and keep on adjusting until it slides on nice and snugly (placing the seppa - spacers, either side).

This does not necessarily apply to ALL tsuba and all swords, as they also vary in thickness and new holes may need to be drilled to get it to fit to the tang again.

It takes a fair amount of patience as manually filing a good tsuba takes many hours, but it is rewarding when it is finally done.

As far as fitting the hilt with cow or deer bone goes, bone can be a bit slippery if you start sweating and really needs a 'pommel' or rougher surface to ensure it does not come flying out of your hand at the worst possible moment. Otherwise though, it is theoretically possible.

Hope this helps.

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