Samurai Sword Sets – What to Buy & Why

In Western countries, the popularity of Samurai swords never ceases to grow since a lot of individuals have realized that these finely-made blades make great collections and decorative pieces. The sword sets are usually made up of the katana, a wakizashi, the tanto, plus a stand and these come in a variety of forms from the most ornate and decorative pieces, to the most simple and minimally-designed blades; so generally, there is something that will suit every collector’s taste and preferences when it comes to these well-crafted blades.

Some individuals assume that purchasing nihontos that come in sets would be cheaper than purchasing single pieces; however, this entirely depends on the type and quality of swords that you plan to purchase. A lot of these sword sets that are available online are considered cheap since the pieces are mass produced by machinery, and are not authentic nihontos since the blades haven’t been crafted by licensed swordsmiths. Also, the said swords lack the numerous basic characteristics and elements of a classic nihonto.

The Samurai Swords

Unfortunately, a large number of individuals do not really know that there are a couple of big differences between samurai sword sets and the functional nihontos. So when you are purchasing a samurai sword set, it is best to determine what you need first – do you require a decorative piece or a functional one?

Also remember that the low-costing sword sets usually appear cheaply-made and may seem perfectly finished to those with untrained eyes, though the pricier ones can look almost just like the authentic ones. When it comes to the authentic nihontos, these take a very long time to forge and actually complete; plus, these are also usually handcrafted by licensed swordsmiths; hence, why these pieces cost more money. If you are searching for a full and authentic samurai sword set, expect to spend a couple thousand dollars as the starting price.

For samurai sword sets that have been properly cared for, these will retain their value which may even go up as time passes; this is highly possible if the weapon was crafted by a well-renowned and respected swordsmith.

Functional vs Decorative Swords

There are three primary areas that separate an ornamental from a functional Japanese blade: the kind of steel utilized, its sharpness, and the handle’s structural integrity.

A real functional sword from Japan is made out of Tamahagane steel, while other functional blades from various of sword makers is using carbon steel or spring steel while the decorative ones are commonly made out of stainless steel; but vitally, the steel needs to be properly heat-treated to craft a blade that is flexible and durable enough to readily withstand harsh impact and can also hold an adequate edge. The samurai sword sets’ stainless steel blades are usually brittle and these usually snap on impact with really solid objects, it is not recommended to purchase them unless you going to put them just for beauty, and even so, It is still better to choose the higher level of carbon steel.

As for the handle, this needs to be constructed using the classic method – something that almost all of the samurai sword sets fail in. A lot of the decorative blades feature a rat tail tang which basically means it is a thin pole made of steel spot that has been welded to the blade which runs throughout the handle. Finally, something that is rather evident is that the major difference between a replica decorative swords and a functional one is the steel used and proper forging techniques such as differential hardening and proper folding. The real authentic swords have blades that feature a single beveled-edge or basically, the two portions of its cutting-edge meets smoothly and perfectly; when it comes to the sharp decorative swords, these feature a secondary bevel that is highly similar to that of a knife.

What Samurai Sword Set should you Purchase?

If you are planning to purchase your own samurai sword set, you are probably wondering which set you should buy. Basically, this all depends on your choice, taste, and preferences; if you looking for a real functional blade from Japan, then it is better to go there and choose by hand, or order from one of the reputable Japanese sellers, however expect to pay at least $2,000-$5,000 as a starting price.

Otherwise if you want to save some costs, you can choose some of the reputable sellers online which offer customization for your preference, you can visit and build your custom sword, they are reasonably priced and offer a wide selection of quality materials.

For decorative purposes, you do not really need to spend a fortune to get a really beautiful functional set – and if your primary objective is to just display the set, then it doesn’t really matter if the pieces are functional or not.