Sharpness and Sharpening a Katana

Many beginning collectors tend to think that the Katana is both an extremely lightweight and razor sharp sword, but this is not necessarily true, nor a good thing.. While there are some swords on the market that are both lightweight and super sharp, they tend not to be very good cutters while swords that may feel heavy and surprisingly unsharp to the casual touch could theoretically cut someone from shoulder to hip clean in half with a single swipe..

All of the Samurai Swords we sell at the SBG Sword Store are fully functional and as sharp as they should be for cutting traditional targets in tameshigiri. Some may not feel very sharp to the touch as they have significant niku - which is like an appleseed bevel and is designed to strengthen the edge when cutting through heavy targets. Be extremely careful and never underestimate a swords cutting ability, some swords that feel a little dull will cut extremely well when in motion or if run across the skin with a slicing motion, the blade will cut down to the bone (we have had people in the past carelessly end up in the emergency ward due to underestimating a katana's slicing power).

Conversely, some swords that feel really sharp can barely cut anything at all and will chip or break on harder targets. But rest assured that the swords we sell are as sharp as they should be and suitable for serious dojo applications and tameshigiri.

Sharpening a Katana

Over time a katana will eventually need to have the edge touched up. All of the swords we sell, especially the differentially hardened katana with real hamon, tend to need sharpening less often than their monotempered cousins, but eventually - after months or years of cutting, the edge will naturally start to lose its sharpness and need a touch up.

As there are no affordable commercial sword sharpening services (most cost the same or more than simply buying another sword) it is strongly advisable to learn how to sharpen a Katana as part of being a sword owner. There are various techniques available, and these are all discussed in more detail on our website here, but for the time being here is a good video guide on how to sharpen a Katana with a cheap $10 whetstone.

You can also use this technique if, for whatever reason, you wish to increase the sharpness of the blade from the default factory edge. But as stated at the outset, it is not necessary with the swords we sell at SBG.

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