The Best Affordable Custom Katana Available

Looking for a Custom Katana? Buy or Make One!

If you are on the hunt for an affordable custom katana look no further. Occasionally I’ll meet someone who wants to break out from the norm and buy a katana that is rarely seen anywhere else. Most people think that to buy a custom katana they’ll need to drop thousands of dollars….nope! Small batch custom katana forging is a huge trend right now meaning your chances of finding a unique blade at a reasonable price is pretty good.

Pre-forged Custom Katanas

The first option when shopping for a custom katana is a pre-forged one, meaning that it is already made yet wasn’t produced in large batches and usually doesn’t carry a brand name like Hanwei or Thaitsuki (want to have one made from start to finish? Read on I’ll tell you how you can). These custom katanas are usually made in smaller forgeries allowing them to determine the style of the blade the wish to create. I usually buy my katanas from SOTE but recently came across this new distributor which offers a pretty unique selection of various swords ranging from katanas and tantos to Chinese and medieval swords – Swords of Northshire.Senshi Custom Katana 2

The Senshi authentic Japanese katana is a beautiful sword with a unique crackled style wood saya. I am a huge fan of the brown as you already know if you’ve read my previous blogs, so this katana is right up my style. The 12 stage polished finish gives it a nice sharp look especially in contrast to the tsuba which has a more flat ominous looking style.

Aside from the looks of this katana there’s quite a bit of structural advantages to it starting with the composite. The sword features a hand forged T10 steel blade. When it arrived it was already sharpened and even after quite a few uses it has remained as sharp as when I got it.

If you’re still not sure which steel is better here’s a chart to help you determine the strengths of the various steel grades.

Additionally the blade is clay tempered full tang, meaning that the blade extends completely back through the entire tsuka. Full tang blade provide more durability and leverage than blades that start mid way through the tsuka. Not to mention they are a lot safer to use due to reduced chances of them breaking (something that happened to me earlier with my first katana). Senshi Custom Katana The weight on this sword has a great balance as well, it comes in at under 3 lbs. (2.8 to be exact) but the way it’s made the balance allows for easy maneuvering with it. This katana hasn’t had as much field testing as some of my other blades but so far I’m pretty happy with it, another beauty added to my extensive collection! Not to mention you can get custom engraving on it as well. If you’re looking to stand out on the battlefield (or class which is more likely than a battlefield) with a custom katana that very few will have, then I’d recommend going for the authentic Senshi katana.

UPDATE: I received a few emails asking where to find the Senshi, unfortunately Swords of Northshire has sold out of their Senshi custom katana and I’m not exactly sure when they’ll start forging another batch of them. They still do have quite a few other options if you’re looking for a custom katana though, some with some very beautiful saya woodwork engravings so I’d recommend browsing their selection.

Browse For a Custom Katana Here

Still Not Unique Enough for You? Make Your Own Custom Katana!

Swords of Northshire are the first sword dealers I’ve seen to do this…Create your own katana from start to end. I’m talking about selecting the blade forge you want, the groove, the saya, the tsuba, the finishings, everything is as you want it! I was ecstatic when I found this out, I really am able to get a sword that is one of a kind and at a very reasonable price. Below is a screenshot I took as I went through the process of buying my first truly made custom katana. Custom Katana

There are a vast amount of styles you can create and the great thing is you determine the quality starting with the blade compositions you select. Clay Tempered of course which is best (and most expensive) or you can go with the lesser priced Carbon steel. The starting base price for a custom katana is $190, from here the cost depends on how much you want to upgrade the blade, fittings, and saya. I’ll walk you through the steps of making your own custom katana using Swords of Northshire’s katana building program.

  1. Step 1 – Select whether or not you want the blade sharpened before it leaves the forgery or will it be a wall hanger therefore you prefer a dull blade for safety reasons.
  2. Step 2 – Choose a blade composition (what type of steel do you want it made from and the forging process):
    • 1060 Steel: A good balance between hardness and durability. Used on light to moderate targets (foam rolls, rolled mats).
      • Folded vs. high carbon steel: the folded steel requires a more lengthy process where the steel is folded over itself and hammered multiple times to spread out the carbon content which not only helps remove impurities but also develops a grainy pattern on the blade.
    • 1095 Steel: Hard steel, primarily used for cutting heavier targets yet it is more susceptible to breaking due to the lack of flexibility in the steel.
      • Folded vs. high carbon steel: the folded steel requires a more lengthy process where the steel is folded over itself and hammered multiple times to spread out the carbon content which not only helps remove impurities but also develops a grainy pattern on the blade.
    • 9260 Spring Steel: The same steel used in the springs supporting the suspension on your vehicle, this steel has an extremely high durability rating and can bend and spring back to the normal curvature with very little chance of breakage.
    • 1095 Steel: A very hard blade that will hold an exceptionally sharp edge however is also very brittle due to its 0.95% carbon content. If you go with this blade I’d suggest getting the folded steel version.
    • Clay Tempered Blades: Clay is applied to the blade before the quenching process causing the blade to undergo differential heating process, which creates a hard edge for heavy cutting yet a more flexible back for absorbing shock. This method creates a beautiful, genuine hamon line that most high quality custom katanas will have and others will notice.
    • Tamahagane: Made from an iron sand called ‘tamahagane’, these blade types are the most authentic samurai blades since they follow strict forging methods and usually take almost a month to finish the polishing. If you want a ‘real’ authentic katana then this is the blade type you want.
  3. Step 3 – Blade length, do you want a katana (28″), a Wakizashi (20″), or a Tanto (13″). Almost all my swords are katanas, I have a couple Wakizashi’s and one Tanto.
  4. Step 4 – Groove or no groove? Otherwise known as the ‘bo-hi’, a line carved out of the blade allows for the blade to be lighter weight. For some who are used to practicing with a non-grooved blade, I’d recommend staying without the bo-hi since the weight difference may throw you off for a bit until you get used to it.
  5. Step 5 – Hamon, or the ‘wavy’ line along the blade. You can have an artificial one placed on the blade for looks however the true hamon will come with a Tamahagane blade. I personally like the irregular style pattern seen below.Custom katana - Irregular Hamon
  6. Step 6 – Select the color of the saya (scabbard) for your katana. This is what the katana slides into when not in use, kind of like a sheath of a knife. There are 6 colors currently to choose from.
  7. Step 7 – Choose a color for the sageo (rope that ties around the saya holding it to your belt)
  8. Step 8 – Selecting a tsuba is one of my favorite parts when I have them make a custom katana for me. It’s one of the most visible parts of the sword that really allows for you to get creative with it. There’s a pretty big selection so just choose something that fits your style.
  9. Step 9 – The Habaki and Seppa are the components that prevent the blade from falling out of the saya. Nothing too fancy with the customization here.
  10. Step 10 – The Fuchi & Kashira are another one of my favorite parts to choose. These are the end fittings that go on both ends of the handle of the blade.
  11. Step 11 – The Same’gawa is just the wrap that goes around the handle.
  12. Step 12 – The Menuki fit under the tsuka and add some lift on the handle to allow you a better grip on it. There’s a few neat options here as well in terms of customization.
  13. Step 13 – Almost done, time for the handle wrap which if you’ve been reading all my other posts here you know what my preference is…yep brown leather!
  14. Step 14 – The final touch on your custom katana is the engraving, you are not limited to letters but they’ll also engrave designs, kanji symbols, etc.

So in just 14 quick simple steps that are very easy and pretty much self-guided through the custom katana builder program Swords of Northshire has you can have your one of a kind katana delivered to your door. Interested? I couldn’t resist and have my second one on the way!

Build a custom katana

Now for you Walking Dead fans, I have the perfect katana for you if you can get it before they sell out. Read my review on Michonne’s katana.

 

Michonne’s Katana from The Walking Dead

Battle the Walkers With Michonne’s Katana from TWD

My passion for katanas also extends into everyone’s favorite show, The Walking Dead!

My previous reviews were more focused on the actual utility of your average katana. I rarely ever find ‘novelty’ type katanas to be of any quality therefore don’t blog about them.

michonnes katana

Michonne’s katana from The Walking Dead is an exception to this.

The craftsmanship of this sword is great. The colors used in the wrap of the tsuka are stunning and as you know, I favor the leather wrap over the nylon. Not only is Michonne’s katana awesome to have as a memorabilia piece from my favorite show but the katana itself is built for functionality. The blade is sturdy and the wooden saya is quite durable and provides a carry strap.

The tsuba is made of bronze with a nice nickel plated covering that gives it a sturdy feeling. I think the design on it is pretty cool as well, almost a ‘biohazard’ type look to it, perfect for the zombie apocalypse theme.

michonnes katana tsuba

 

The only downside to this is that it does NOT come sharpened, so if you are intending to use it in practice for cutting bamboo or foam rolls you must get it sharpened.

I did end up getting mine sharpened because I was interested in seeing how well it cut, it actually is pretty smooth for a novelty blade. I’ve only used it on foam rolls so right now I can’t give you a feel for how it works with bamboo.

Overall I love it, here’s my break down on Michonne’s katana:

 

Breakdown

  • Length: 27″
  • Tsuka: 11.5″
  • Material: Tempered 1045 carbon steel blade
  • Take away: not only is the white & brown leather contrast beautiful but the replica is an amazing addition to any walking dead fan’s collection

 

If You’re Interested in Michonne’s Katana Get it Before They’re Gone – Only 2,000 Limited Editions Were Made

I luckily already purchased mine but I have heard that this katana was a special release and only 2,000 were forged worldwide.

I’ve seen it sell for $200-$300 and I have a feeling that once these 2,000 sellout that some will hold on to them while they increase in value and flip them for a few extra hundred. Just how memorabilia like this usually goes.

If this is something you are interested in I’d suggest hopping on this deal quickly before they sell out.

SOTE does have this sword on sale right now for only $170. The Walking Dead edition is just one of many feature film katanas made, which leads me to my next post on the top 5 movie katanas.

Get Michonne’s katana here before they’re sold out!

Step 4: Where Do I Find a Katana For Sale?

Step 4 - Katana for sale

I know what I want now where do I find a high quality katana for sale?

Now that I have shared my words of wisdom on finding the right sword, where did I find the best prices when searching the web for a katana for sale?Katana for sale

Well I bought from a few places and had various results. Once I know what sword I want, I browse the various merchants to see the reviews but always go back to the same merchant to purchase.

Though it can be easy to just buy from any merchant I learned the hard way that it doesn’t always pay off. Waiting endlessly for something I was supposed to have a week ago and arguing with customer service isn’t really my cup of tea…

The sites I have had great experience with are Swords of the East and Swords of Northshire. A ton of choices and the quality has been outstanding.

My list of sites to find a katana for sale

Swords of the East Review

Katana For Sale - Swords of the East Review

Wait, I thought this page was for katana reviews? I know I know but I don’t want to tell you where to find a katana for sale without letting you know the ups and downs of the places you may buy from.

The site where I bought my first ‘quality’ blade was Swords of the East, a great site where the owners place great emphasis in making their swords more affordable than other competitors. You may find a katana for sale here that is a few hundred dollars less expensive than you’d find at all the other retailers.

They started as a company focused on dealing Japanese samurai swords but quickly expanded to include Chinese katanas as well as medieval and military swords. Here’s my Swords of the East review on pros and cons:

Pros

  • Competitive prices, I’m all about high quality after my previous experiences but hey I also don’t want to give up an arm and a leg to get something.
  • Free standard shipping on all orders $300+ within the lower 48 states (USA)
    • If you are out of the US shoot them an email at help@swordsoftheeast.com and you may be able to reduce your shipping costs
  • You can browse swords by forge, steel, and price. Helps me get more specific.
  • If you’re into other swords (Tantos, Wakizashi, or even Medieval) they’ve got them too. Not to mention training weapons as well.
  • Flat out good quality and service on everything I’ve gotten from them so far

Cons

  • What don’t I care for about Swords of the East, well the only thing I’d say is there are a lot to choose from which may become overwhelming for some. If I’m faced with a lot of options my brain can go into overload, hence why I made this site to help prevent you from this fate as well.
  • They do have quite a few cheaper katanas for sale (don’t fall for the same mistake I did my first time buying). I just avoid these and usually set my price filters to $500+. Not saying everything that is over $500 will be exceptional quality but it does help filter out the ‘novelty’ style swords.

As you set off on your journey to find the sword that best fits you, you may find something that is more aligned with your personal preferences.

Katana for sale - swords of northshire review

My Swords of Northshire Review

Katana for sale - Swords of Northshire Review

The site is setup very similar to Swords of the East which makes it nice going back and forth between the two while looking for the perfect katana for sale.

Both specialize in asian swords (Chinese, Japanese, etc.) however they both offer some other forms of swords as well. They work with a forgery in Longquan China to create custom handmade high quality katanas from the ground up.

Swords of Northshire is a little bit more pricey than Swords of the East however their selection is more unique as well. You’ll find a lot of custom made and hand forged blades at Swords of Northshire that are produced exclusively for their company.

Something that is amazing with them is they offer the ability to create your own custom katana. You can chose the blade, fittings, color, right down to the saya. You can have your name engraved on it, have kanji, or even a design of your choice (see image below as an example), an amazing perk allowing consumers to have a one of a kind katana at a reasonable price.

Katana For Sale - Swords of Northshire Review

Also a major perk to those living in America is that the owner of the business is based out of Texas, USA which eliminates the issue of waiting for excessive delivery times, miscommunication through language barriers, or difficulty in matching up their business hours with time your free if you have questions. I actually used their chat function to track the progress of my swords which made it pretty simple.

Overall this merchant is my favorite and I will continue to purchase from them, especially when looking for a more unique katana for sale. To be honest this really isn’t the best Swords of Northshire review because usually in reviews you mention the pros and cons and I can’t think of any downsides with Swords of Northshire to date and highly recommend buying a katana through them.

Katana for sale - swords of northshire review

Katana Fire Review – New Dealer

Katana for sale - Katana fire review

Unfortunately I can’t give a full review of this katana dealer since I haven’t interacted with them yet. I wanted to list them though since I see they are a forgery gaining momentum in the handmade katana realm. Their prices seem pretty reasonable though their selection is somewhat limited, at least as of now.

They are also based out of the katana capital of the East, Longquan China, where they claim to have over 40 years of family experience forging swords both Japanese and Chinese. Looking through their site they appear to split their swords into four categories which also appear to correspond to pricing differences and skill levels.

  • Apprentice Katanas – $
  • Warrior Katanas – $$
  • Master Katanas – $$$
  • Shogun Katanas – $$$$

The reviews I am seeing on their site though all look to be 5 out of 5 star so those who have purchased appear to be very satisfied. Due to the nature of this site reviewing katanas, I was able to get a special coupon for them that works with ‘browse their swords’ button below. Click the button then enter ‘15off‘ once you’re ready to checkout if you find a katana for sale there that you like. The combination of the link below and the code will give you an extra $15 off, not much but every little bit counts.

They’re definitely a dealer I’ll keep an eye on.

 

Katana for sale - Katana fire review

KatanaForSale Review – New Dealer

Katana For Sale Review

Another new dealer I’m noticing offering unique katanas for sale yet haven’t bought from yet is Katanaforsale.com. They appear to offer katanas, wakizashis, samurai armor, and tantos. I haven’t been able to find much information on them around the web yet have seen them showing up in search results lately.

If anyone has any experience with them feel free to let us know on our forum. I’ll be keeping an eye on the web to see what other consumers are saying about them to ensure their quality upholds to be worthy of being on this review site.

Katana for sale - swords of northshire review

My words of wisdom: Get. What. You. Want.

Keep in mind that my advice and reviews here on what I (and my buddies) have for katanas and our opinions on them are just to help give you some insights around what’s available out there and happened to work for us. Talking with a sensei is truly the best way to determine what you will need. Finding the best katana that aligns with your style can be tough and I hope these past few steps of the Katana Readiness Guide have helped you narrow the options down a little.

Whatever you end up with is your decision but make sure you do buy it through a solid merchant. Now on to the final stage of the readiness guide, where to find a dojo.

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