Cheness 9260 Spring Steel O-Katana
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Massive 33" Blade, surprisingly agile blade. Available with Blue or Brown Ito Wrap.
With a massive 33" long blade made from the extra durable 9260 Spring Steel that Cheness Cutleries has become famous for, the aptly named O-Katana ('Greatsword') is a monster of a sword - without a corresponding monsterous price tag!
Lightened by a bo-hi (fuller/blood groove) down to a surprising 2lbs 7oz (3lbs 7oz with saya/scabbard), and superbly balanced, the additional 5" of blade give this sword an awe inspiring presence, not to mention one of the loudest Tachi Kaze (lit. 'Sword Wind Sound') of any Katana on the market, it's extra long blade allows it to generate frighteningly effective leveraged cutting power.
Especially at home in the hands of someone over 6' 3", it is also great for anyone who simply loves an especially long blade (though people of average height, such as myself, should use extra caution when wielding this sword as the tip of the sword touches the ground in a natural standing position).
Exceptional value for money and a sword that pictures simply cannot do justice to. You really do need to see one of these first hand to appreciate just how much sword it is...
For more information, pics and to see some test cutting results, check out the full review of the O-Katana here on SBG.
MUST READ NOTE REGARDING CHENESS CUTLERY SWORDS
Cheness Cutlery Swords are designed by Martial Artists for Martial Artists. Their goal is and always has been to simply offer an affordable entry level practice sword to beginners in iaido and iaijutsu and when first released in 2005 truly revolutionized the sword market for until that time, there were few to no entry level Katana.
Cheness swords were never meant to be collectors pieces, display pieces, or art sword quality. There are numerous other manufacturers and individual smiths in the industry that serve those needs (click here for our full selection of Japanese swords). The reason being the same as with all other hobbies, refinement will come with a price.
Because of this, certain shortcuts must be taken in the manufacturing process and are NOT considered to be defects. Because of this, we will not accept returns on any swords that have the following features:
- The polish of each sword is a working polish known as a 'Tameshigiri' polish and is somewhere between 400 to 600 grit. As they are handmade and subject to extensive handling, they do get scuff marks and minor stains on the blade and components.
- Each blade is hand hammered, shaped to the eye, and then tempered and quenched. This process causes all types of steel to contract, twist and warp to some degree -with 9260 being one of the hardest steels to keep straight - so you should not expect the blade to be perfectly straight like a lazer. Even if slightly off center or imperfect, it will still cut perform for Tameshigiri and you can be confident in the tempering.
- The blades have considerable hira-niku (meat) on them for heavy cutting and will generally feel somewhat dull to the causal observer. It will not slice paper or shave hair off your arm. It WILL cut tatami mats or bamboo or other targets that were traditionally used to simulate human limbs. With only a little work however, it is quite possible to sharpen it to any degree desired.
- The cotton ito wrap is tight enough for use, but is not going to be as tight as silk or leather. Habaki, Seppa, Fuchigashira, etc are free floating and pinched into place by friction forces like a traditional Katana, but some minor adjustments may be necessary out of the box.
- Mekugi pegs are angled by design to create a wedge and optimize the double mekugi configuration. The bottom peg is made of brass, the top, bamboo which results in an overall stronger design and was recommended by a senior Japanese JSA Sensei.
In short, you should not expect an art sword or something perfect out of the box. You will almost certainly need to make some adjustments or even a complete DIY overhaul (we have many free tutorials on how to do this right here on the main SBG website). But for those of you who don't mind a rough and ready sword, or who wish to take it to a higher level, you will find these blades to be extremely long lasting, tough and worth every penny.
In summary, Cheness puts it like this:
The issues can all be addressed by the end user if they so choose. After receiving the sword, you can adjust the components, add a high-grit diamond paste polish, deburr the blade to slice paper, polish the components, etc. to make it as refined as you choose. However, these are not the features we strive for and should not be expected of the sword out of the box. If a highly refined sword is what you are after, you will either need to be prepared to perform these refinements yourself or should purchase a higher end sword from a different manufacturer.
Please note, as to be expected issues like cracked blades, broken handles, etc are of course subject to our standard warranties and return policies.
How to Use
Materials and Construction
Featured positive reviews:
Like many others mention, the overall fittings leave something to be desired, but the blade itself is rather impressive.
The habaki is brass, the seppa are copper, the tsuba is painted black steel, I'm not sure what the fuchi-kashira material are (brass?), and cotton ito. The fuchi-kashira, tsuba, and habaki are a bit scuffed up and the black paint is scratched off in a few places on my tsuba. The cotton ito feels really nice in my hands and are very tight.
The polish, despite what is described, is very nice and I can see the iris of my eyes in the blade. The kissaki is the only place where the polish is a touch rough, but not as rough as my Ådachi technique.
I was pleasantly surprised to see my blade has no warps or bends whatsoever, contrary to what Cheness describes. The deep sori (curvature) of the blade is an absolute feature of beauty. I plan to show all my friends that I can slide my hand under the sori of this blade because that's why anyone thinks a katana is cool... right?
The bo-hi is uneven in a few places, but not noticable until you're cleaning/oiling the sword.
The blade is an absolute tank! I'm not worried at all about breakage or damaging the blade. Unless you're taking it to a junkyard to cut the doors clean off a car, you could probably chop down your Christmas tree with it and still cut slices of the holiday ham with it.
The balance of my O-katana is 8.5" above the tsuba making it very forward balanced and (by the way, I'm only 5'6"!) a bit unwieldy, but a beast of a cutter. If I have my way, I plan to replace the fuchi-kashira with iron and a solid iron tsuba to help pull the balance a touch closer to the handle.
This is by far the sharpest sword I've received without additional sharpening. Learn from my mistake and be careful!
Overall this is a very practical sword and came to my door for about $350. Much like my first impressions, the fittings are a touch underwhelming, but the blade is worth every penny.
Featured negative reviews:
I purchased this sword because my iaido master said I should get a longer sword for my size. I'm 6'3" and the musashi sword 2lb 5 oz that I was practicing with seemed short 28"? . The hanwei elite xl light 2lb 8oz, that I have was doing the job, (tachi kaze, wider and sharper blade, length, etc.) but it's a wide sword and re-entry needed to be adjusted a little. After playing with my 2 other practitioners' Tenchi, and reading the review of this sword's description, I thought this was just a longer and louder version. I was excited up until I unsheath the sword.
It came in a nice decorative box (cracked) but nonetheless nice box. The sword looks awesome from exterior point of view. (Got the brown). It felt heavy but I thought I can handle the weight. I drew the sword and it was definitely front heavy and long. I was barely able to draw with full arm extension. But I still thought as long as I practice more, I may get used to it. The issue came when I was trying to slice, seeing. I could barely make out tachi kaze. At first I thought it was me not used to the sword. I swung and swung, but barely audible tachi kaze. I was worried so I took it to my practice and let my master try and let another practioner try. Neither one of them could make the noise. And did that it is way too front heavy. This sword was made to be a hacker as in nearly swinging like a bat. The site stated that it's 2lb 7oz and 3lb 9oz with saya. I think it's 3lb 9 oz like the cheness website states. Most sites quote the weight of the sword. This was in no way lighter than my hanwei, which was already about an oz or two heavier than the tenchi.
I've since contacted SBG on day one and they in prices of exchanging it for another that would fit my needs for my class.