One of Ryumon Sword’s simplest swords, this natural shirasaya hand-forged katana could also be one of the company’s best bargains. Though the unfinished katana demands some time and effort from the owner, it has potential as a good first sword.
Made at Longquan Forge in Longquan Village, China, this basic katana has some of the qualities of a more expensive blade, but the hamon has been etched and isn’t a real tempering mark. The full tang blade itself is 1065 tempered high carbon steel but without advanced edge hardening. What you’re actually buying here is the foundation of a functional cutting katana, since nearly everything else besides blade and handle would have to be added to transform this basic sword into an advanced weapon.
The saya (or scabbard) is plain, unfinished wood that matches the pinned wooden handle. Guarding the mouth of the scabbard is a koiguchi of black water buffalo horn. All other important parts — including tsuba and ito — would have to be purchased separately, and assembly would be a true lesson in swordsmanship. Anyone really wanting to learn the details of katana construction could start here.
The carbon steel blade with deep blood grooves presents 29 inches of cutting edge, and the sword has a overall length of 39-1/2 inches. Some touch-up may be needed, since blades from Ryumon have often spent considerable time in storage. That could also affect the fit of the unfinished wooden scabbard; the usual coating of dense lacquer protects the wood from moisture and prevents distortion.
Zatoichi-style swordsmen should be happy with this katana as it is. All it truly needs is some sharpening and a little polish.