Swords of Northshire / 1095 clay tempered blades able to cut bone and wire?

by Judson
(Charleston S.C. )

I am looking to buy my first katana and have read a ton of information on this wonderful website and other places. I want a sword that is capable of cutting more than just paper and plastic water bottles but does not exceed ~$400. At first I thought that a blade made of 1060 or 9260 spring steel would be the way to go but the more I have read I'm now completely at a lose on what I should be be looking for. I read on the Swords of Northshire website in their product descriptions that 1060 and 9260 are good for bamboo and rolled practice mats while for heavier cutting such as bone and wire they recommend clay tempered 1095 steel. My main question is if I would want to cut heavy targets like a slab of meat do I need to get a clay tempered 1095 blade to do so? Also I have read that 1095 steel can be brittle on heavy targets so that has just confused me further. Also has anyone had any experience using the 1095 clay tempered blades from swords of northshire to cut heavy targets?

Many Thanks,


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Long and Short of it
by: Paul

Hi Judson,

Basically, there are two types of replica Katana that are suitable for cutting 'beaters' made of 1060, 9260, 5160 steels that are monotempered and traditional Katana made from T10, 1095, etc.

What swords of Northshire have written is kind of wrong and misleading - heavy targets or borderline abusive targets are best suited to monotempered 'xx60' type spring or carbon steels such as those we review and talk about on our site here

These swords are very versatile, and forgiving of bad cuts. But the edge is not quite as hard or sharp as a traditional blade, which we talk about on our site here

So if you want to cut meat, bone, and wire - both swords will do it, but the traditional swords that have been differentially hardened may cut slightly better, but can be bent out of shape on a bad cut.

Both sword types can cut a wide variety of targets, but for 'heavier' targets, you are probably better off getting a 'beater' grade sword first as it will tolerate bad cuts better. Then when you have built up some decent technique and have good edge alignment, try your hand at a traditional blade. They do cut better on traditional targets, but are less versatile than the beaters.

Both will handle much more than water filled bottles and paper if well made. But anyway, my recommendation is to start with a beater first, get some experience at cutting, and then try a traditional blade to see the difference first hand.

Hope this helps.

Steer from SotNS
by: Anonymous

You came to the right place . Bag is a great wealth of beginner sword knowledge. And while you are given many options for swords, much isn’t really explained about sword construction or metallurgy. But I will tell you what I have learned but first:
Stay away from swords of the northshire, ryanswords, trueswords.com, budk.com, handmade swords.com or many other eBay sellers. They are all warehouse katana builders that use rejected or overstocked blades from random forges and no quality control. Real hit or miss and more miss than hit. Trueswords and budk don’t sell any real swords.
And to not make this too long
T10 and 1095 are basically the same with only slight chemical differences. T10 is the Chinese tool steel that is easily compared to 1095. Both when dual tempered have an edge that is very hard and resemble aspects of traditional Japanese katana so are used for its look and strength.
9260,5160 are very strong when only one temper runs through them. 9260 has a silicone element that actually helps to bond the metallic molecules meld better and you get a more even temper throughout. These are known as spring steels and are loved because they can be tempered to a harder hrc that is very high and would make normal metals shatter but because it is an inherent spring to it, it is able to flex, therefore no shattering. They will bend but it is very difficult to do and frankly so is a dual tempered one. I’ve only ever bent a dual tempered blade on a five roll tatami. But it was in a bad cut so it was my fault not the swords. Until your edges are constantly spot on, I’d get a monotemper blade. Sbg sells all cutters and for the prices you are looking for.
Also, today’s general standards are higher than in the past and so most all come with the edge ability to cut bamboo or wood dowels (hard targets). Even monotempered blades will do it and better. I have many different types and have yet to have to sharpen any of them even after using them repeatedly. Your price point is right at the magic point too so you should be able to find a large selection. So while steering clear from bogus sword sites, you can find a sword within your budget that will do what you want it too. Soon you will be less concerned with the blade and much more about how everything feels and is put together. Then your really in the sh@t! Cause that’s a whole nother thing altogether! Good hunting!
Dual tempered blades will have a harder edge, but will chip and bend on bad attempts. Monotempered blades will

Thank You
by: Judson

Thank you Paul,

That makes perfect sense. I thought their wording was misleading but I'm new to this so I was not sure. I'm going to take your advice and get either a 1060 or a 9260 blade first. Thanks again for the advice!

Many Thanks,


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