The Masahiro Empire Wheel Samurai katana goes well past display quality, giving collectors and recreational users a beautiful weapon capable of tamashigiri, or functional cutting practice. The details of this starter level sword from Fully Handmade will impress blade lovers.
Fully Handmade does produce traditional hand-forged blades using the old and very complex Japanese method of layering and folding different types of steel into one multi-talented blade. The model #239 is not one of those, having been built with a much simple and more modern forging process. The full tang sword blade of high carbon steel — not stainless steel — does undergo considerable hand polishing and hand sharpening, but is forged from one bar of single layer stock. The blade does have a long hi or blood groove on each side and is also fully tempered, but the hamon is hand polished and doesn’t represent the actual tempering process.
This is still a good cutting katana, built with pride and attention to detail. Traditional materials include genuine rayskin laid over the hardwood handle and wrapped with a black ito grip of Japanese cotton. The signature of the sword smith who made this katana will be found etched on the blade. Other decorative touches are very simple and strong enough to be functional — the brass tsuba’s multi-spoked Empire Wheel motif lends some flair to the sword’s look but still provides strength.
At 2-1/2 pounds without the sheath, this 42-1/2-inch katana is both fast and well-balanced. Kept sharp and swung accurately, it will give satisfying action on tatami mat targets and other traditional training tools. Storage box, maintenance kit, carrying bag, and wooden display rack all come with the sword.