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:
All of the reviews and guides on the website are very helpful. My katana arrived promptly, and for the most part is exactly as advertised.
For the model 18, the green wrapping may be a different material than the standard black. It melts when I take a lighter to the ends making me think it's probably not silk as advertised. Personally, I don't really care either way, so that's fine.
As far as appearances, it's as attractive or more than the photos. The kashira was a little loose. I undid the knots, tightened it, and selected a traditional, but less decorative knot from a tsuka-ito website to retie it.
For cutting, I've gone through pumpkins, cardboard, and lots of #1 and #2 plastic bottles. Very little scratching, which was mostly from the cardboard I suspect. No edge rolling or nicks.
The ray skin could be wider. Occasionally you'll see the light colored wood peek through if the wrappings shift. Alternatively a dark coating on the tsuka wood would make it less visible if that occurs.
The sageo is wrapped to prevent fraying, but it didn't hold on mine. It frayed, I had to cut and rewrap mine.
The lacquer on the saya is rather thin and delicate. I chipped my pretty quick, but was able to repair it with some matching gloss enamel.
So mostly trivial issues related to the fittings. The blade itself is durable, sharp, and cuts like a light saber.