Humble requests for listening to me whine and polishing advice (regarding Kaze)
QUESTION: Hi Paul,
Before i say anything, i make 3 sincere concessions:
1) You are by far the MOST honest salesperson with t' BEST customer service i've ever dealt with over the internet. If anyone i know intends to buy a sword i will literally stop him/her to consider your choices first
2) I am what people consider boneheads. Objective analysis/tallying shows that i have the combination of being: a)outspoken and b)without any solid evidence or even common sense. Pls do not be offended by my ignorance
3) I am unrealistically picky about even the smallest thing.
I bought a Kaze from you a year ago and it was the sweetest, most incident-free and QUICK deal i ever had. I was unable to open it until a few days ago, and when i did, i was immediately disappointed: it felt so, so unwieldy and heavy. But i said to myself, "Welcome to the real world, Caleb: you're no longer brandishing those wooden sword-models you've made, but REAL STEEL!" I also reminded myself that for a guy i am extraordinarily weak; eg i can't even bench-press 50lbs (something like that)
But i went to the mall and handled what i think is a Hanwei Tiger, and i instantly thought to myself, "There's the katana i was expecting!" It felt lighter, but more importantly, much, MUCH more able-to-change-directions. I looked up the specs, and it turns out that while Kaze is 2.9 lbs and indeed feels like 3 pounds, (btw, there seems to be a discrepancy on your site as to whether it's 2 pounds 9 ounces or 2.9 pounds) the Tiger is listed as 2.7 pounds (?) but feels like 2.2 pounds. No matter...
The main questions i wanted to ask was:
1) Be honest w/ me Paul (i'll keep buying your swords regardless): handling is not Kaze's strong suit, is it?
2) All the Katanas on your reviews that had its handling praised were around 2.2 lbs; you've never had a great-handling 3-lb katana, have you?
3) --most importantly--i am going to not only re-polish but re-geometry-ize my blade*. Do you have any idea as to how to improve the handling WITHOUT grinding the 2.9 pounding to a wimpish 2.2 pounds? (no, i'm not cutting Bo-hi's) Perhaps, your first reaction would be to increase its profile/distal taper(s), but my instinct actually tells me to REDUCE profile taper and grind the ~forte~ (first ~12" of blade from tsuka, as opposed to Monouchi) down so that i almost get a uniform-width Ha. The reason is, the centre of balance, at 6.5" off the tsuka, is okay to me. But it's just that, every time i swing the sword, the heaviest part that seems to stop direction changes is actually the meat in the forte. Any ideas?
* The reasons being: 1)The niku is execrably parabolic: flat towards the shinogi & rapidly convex, curving the terminal angle, that is the angle at the very edge of the edge, to as wide as ~40 degrees when the average angle of the whole Ha is ~25 degrees. 2) the Shinogi and Mune is dispicably curved, albeit the profile is reasonably straight: the shinogi-ji's width changes from 9/32" to 6/32" and back to 9/32" from Tsuka to Kissaki. 3)the bevel between Ha and Shinogi-ji is unacceptably rounded off. Nothing like sharp bevels of facetted crystal--which i give to my kitchen knives)
Still, the bottom line is: beautiful natural-hamon worth every cent i paid for it. Thanks for a great deal, Paul! And thanks for reading. Please, i'm dying for some advice.
ANSWER: Hi Caleb,
The thing about Katana is that both the Kaze and the Tiger are within historically accurate parameters. So what it boils down to is preference and style...
For me, I found that the Kaze was a very powerful cutter, and the balance on it is set so that it largely cuts by itself, as my friend in the video shows. But I have also handled swords like the Tiger and enjoy their speed (you don't need to spend $1,000 + on a tiger to get that same feeling, the new Hanwei Performance series Katana are very similar handling wise).
Anyway, as to changing the geometry and weight down to your preference, I think that the only way to do that would be to completely reshape the blade along the entire length to remove the weight from niku - doing it gradually to ensure that you do not end up with an undesired balance. The only way to know would be by very careful trial and error.
You might also want to experiment with different weight tsuba to see how that shifts the balance before doing any grinding...
Let me know how it goes.