Ronin Dojo Pro Katana # 18
Standard Dotanuki Blade
Model 018 of the Dojo Pro series is the 'Morinohana' - or forest flower, featuring a rich green silk ito wrap and sukashi tsuba featuring 4 circles, the symbol of the fragility and beauty of life expressed by the forest flower.
Like all the fittings of these swords, the tsuba is solid iron – but so is the fuchi (band at the top of the handle) AND the kashira (end cap) – all acting in harmony to strongly reinforce the structural integrity of the entire handle in a way that is almost never seen on other swords under the $500 price point (nevermind on swords under $300!).
The tsuka/handle assembly itself is exceptionally tight and well put together, double pegged with green silk ito wrapped over REAL rayskin, wrapped around a quality wooden core in the traditional alternating style to ensure it remains tight despite frequent usage.
Furthermore, as you can clearly see from the picture above, the handle is also properly ergonomically ‘shaped’ to follow the curve of the blade AND fit comfortably into the hand, creating a safe and firm grip - another rarity at this price point.
The saya (sheath) itself thick and made from quality wood - lacquered a deep and rich black which - along with the Kurikata and Kojiri, are made of hand cut and polished buffalo horn, finished off with a hard wearing length of black synthetic silk sageo (cord) so it can be secured to your obi (belt).
The strength of the fittings ALONE are head and shoulders above any other sword maker anywhere near this price point, but the 28” blade takes it to a whole new level again..
These 1060, through tempered, no-nonsense monosteel blades are exceptionally HONEST and RELIABLE.
Hand forged and solidly built, there is not a trace of pretentiousness about them – no fake hamon, no bo-hi and no BS.
They are quite simply just extremely practical, utilitarian blades made according to the Dotanuki forging tradition – a school of sword making that made simple ‘maru’ lamination blades with a reputation for being plain, practical and to the point (speaking of which, the kissaki tip of the blade is reinforced with a diamond shape for added durability and transitioned much nicer than most other hand made monotempered blades at this price point).
Weighing 2.6lbs with a point of balance 5” from the tsuba these swords are designed for the CUT, not fluffing around with. In short they are serious blades with serious fittings designed as SERIOUS dojo workhorses..!
How to Use
Materials and Construction
Featured positive reviews:
I received the Dojo Pro #18 today. I don’t have many examples to compare it against, but from what I’ve seen, it’s definitely of a good quality. It does have a couple of visual flaws, such as the mekugi pins being a little rough (though not bad), and the ito being a little bit uneven in the diamon pattern (also not bad, just not perfect.) my biggest gripes come from the saya. Mine had a few light scratches upon opening the box, but I maybe able to buff them out with a little bit of elbow grease. The saya has some kind of waxy residue in it that sticks to the blade upon drawing it. My guess is that it is some kind of moisture protection. It’s easily wiped off, so it’s only a small pet peeve. I also noticed that there is a type of krinkly noise when the katana is almost fully inserted into the saya, almost like it’s got plastic wrap at the base to cushion the sword. It doesn’t negatively impact the blade or it’s ability to be inserted fully, and the fitup of the blade is still good, nice lockup at the top. There is a little rattle if you shake it back and forth, but nothing excessive. I had to shake it quite vigorously to make it rattle, but I doubt the rattle would occur unless you went out of your way to make it happen. Overall, I’m pleased with the sword. 4/5 stars on the product (I rarely give 5/5 to any product, unless it exceeds expectations.)
As far as shipping goes, Sword Buyers Guide transaction was mostly smooth, and was no fault of the company. The only issue I encountered was technical in nature, where the confirmation email ended up in my spam folder and thus went unnoticed. I contacted them via email last night, and received a reply this morning. I ordered Dec 18, the sword arrived on Dec 23. I did not pay for rush delivery (it was a gift to myself, so I wasn’t in a major hurry), and was shocked that it delivered so fast, despite being one of the busiest Christmas seasons on record. As far as Customer service goes, 5/5 stars, hands down wouldn’t hesitate doing business with them again in the future.
Our responseThanks for your review - just a quick note on the 'waxy residue'. This is mentioned on our page for Ronin Katana in the Sword Buyers Dossier here and is described as thusly: "[T]he swords are coated in lithium grease to protect the blades while in storage, and the first few draws will often have this residue appear on the blade. This does go away with time or can be removed with a gun cleaning rod, and is certainly not isolated to Ronin Katana – just they use more grease as they prefer a slightly waxy blade for the first few draws than a rusty sword sent to a customer." So it is only a temporary thing with a new Dojo Pro and will resolve itself in due course.