Thursday 10 April 2025 at 09:49 Posted by Shadley Hax 1 Comment

God that sounds posh doesn't it. 'Tsukamaki Services'. Very official and stuff.


But it's true. I'm now in a position where I can work, and work positively.

It's bright, clean, I have privacy and surfaces and most importantly, it's a fresh start for me. I've sat back for enough time now, and it's now that I have to push forward with my skills.

I know a number of people have been in touch with me about this. From rewrapping, to reshaping and even a little polishing work and it's about timeI got back in the saddle.

Click here to Jump to the details page.

Saturday 16 March 2019 at 16:18 Posted by Shadley Hax 1 Comment

This has been one of the simplest and yet demanding jobs in a while. It only took an afternoon and a morning to get to the point where I could look at it as a project that could be called finished as soon as I had tidied up a few bits and pieces on it and yet it was unlike many of the jobs I'd done purely because of the condition the component parts were handed to me in.

Monday 4 February 2019 at 13:53 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

A beautiful sword from an unlikely place

A lot of chinese companies get bashed for mass producing swords of dubious quality, and this particular sword comes from one of those companies that noone was sure of. I know that their quality control had issues years ago but since then, nothing bad was said.

(it turns out it's SinoSword. They have managed to come leaps and bounds since their beginnings)

And then a friend bought a sword from them and oh my god, he got a beautiful blade. He ordered a differentially hardened wakizashi with a double bo hi. the grooves start under the habaki and work their way up toward the tip, joining at their termination. That termination is gorgeous.


Thursday 4 October 2018 at 06:51 Posted by Shadley Hax 4 Comments

Please note: P&P PayPal friends and family or add 4%. 

UK mainland only

If you found this then its likely you did so on facebook. Contact the person posting it for more details.
click on through for photos and prices.

Sunday 10 June 2018 at 04:55 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

The hanwei practical plus XL is a beast of a blade. I mean, its long sure, but it's not amazingly long. the tsuka, is of course Hanwei. It's just Hanwei. Theres no getting away from that, however, because of the blade it actually works very well. The main aesthetic with this blade is the width of the motohaba. That is to say, its flipping wide. 

On the right you can see the untouched blade, the new tsuba, the untouched tsuka cores and the new red ito. All these are going to go together to give this sword a new lease of life. 

I took the time to get my Hanwei practical out for a comparison shot. (below right) Mine is either the first or second generation of the official Hanwei Practical Katana. That means that all the fittings are fine, theres no plastic habaki or koiguchi or whatever, but it's an old generation of an old sword albeit one theyre still selling as it's reliable and tough.

Friday 8 June 2018 at 06:48 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Wow! This tsuka is massive. I fully expected it to be unwieldy but not only is it actually a lot better balanced than I though, the width of the tsuka to the width of blade ratio is really aesthetically very nice.

I took this on alongside a repolish and etch of a wakizashi. This blade also got repolished and reetched at the same time and the results I felt were really very nice.

On the right is a sneak preview of the finished sword.

I'm not sure what this blade would be like to cut with for me personally as my experience has been less Ryu oriented and more freestyle or backyard cutting and my choice of tsuka went very quickly relatively speaking from the longer 12" or thereabouts to as close to 9" as I could comfortably get with the blade length of the sword in question.

Thursday 7 June 2018 at 12:51 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

The blade of this waki wasn't damaged in any way really, a couple of scuffs but that was it, however the typical frosted proprietary etched hamon was completely gone and it was my job to try and bring out the natural one that was there. I decided that being as it was a hanwei and I have had some experience with the steels they use, I would go with Lemon juice. 
To anyone who hasn't done balde etching before, this no doubt sounds very basic, slightly unnerving and utter nonsense... but bear with me, my story gets better.. ;)

at 07:00 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

First off, before we even get started, this is gonna be a shorter blog entry, I think I ended up enjoying this one a little too much. It all came together well and that saya! I adore that saya and sageo combo. I wish I had taken more pics of it to be honest. This blade is like a razor also. It's seen some action on the 1x30 obviously and the polish on it is etched on the ji and very polsihed on the ha as a result but it doesn't detract from the aesthetics which is nice.

Wednesday 6 June 2018 at 14:33 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

As you can see from the picture on the left, this is another wakizashi but this time we're going to be doing something slightly different.

up til now, we've been using rayskin panels for the tsuka. This one is going to have a full wrap of samegawa. That is to say, the entire wooden core will be sleeved in the best part of the rayskin. Not only that, we will be able to display the emperor nodes of the skin in between the wrap itself.

Monday 4 June 2018 at 06:22 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Sometimes you get fittings that don't live up to the assumed notions of doing exactly that. My advice is really simple. If you have something thats either antique, hand crafted, not yours or can';t be replaced, err on the side of caution and modify the other side of the fitting. In this particular example, that would be the top of the tsuka.

However, if the fitting is an alloy, cheap repro, production line, easily replaceable or is yours and youre feeling lucky, sometimes a little 'adjustment' is all thats required.

Exhibit A)

at 06:09 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I received this new wakizashi from the client and now good friend, well wrapped in a 'will not get me nicked' box, all hidden away in bubble wrap and boxing material. the picture above is the cheat picture to show you what came of it all.... but for the work log.. carry on reading ;)

Tuesday 10 April 2018 at 09:30 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

As long as you dont count the ko-kat I did, which was actually suriage (shortening) of a longer katana length sword that had broken, this will only be my second wakizashi or wakizashi length sword that I have ever re-wrapped.

Wednesday 14 March 2018 at 10:33 Posted by Shadley Hax 6 Comments

My most recent kitchen accessory.

I made a saya for my Sabatier brand kitchen knife. Theyre not the best knives, but they are a notch or two above the usual crap you can easily buy and for around £20 you can't really knock em. It's made of X50CrMov15, which as far as I can tell is proprietary to Sabatier and it seems like a godo enough steel. It's survived a while with me so it passes the 'shad cant be trusted with a spoon' test at least.

Tuesday 6 March 2018 at 02:46 Posted by Shadley Hax 1 Comment

As you know, I've been rebuilding this wakizashi. The different thickness of the tsuba has caused a couple of issues, but these are all easily fixable and so I've gotten back to it.

I actually ended up going with a new tsuka core, being as the one I had for it was cracked and I didnt trust it. I wont be held responsible for someone swinging a sword, the tsuka failing and a long metal razor being hurled towards anybody.. or even at a wall. This is an expensive piece of metal ya know? ;)

So, after making sure the tsuka fit perfectly, and that it was cut to size, I ended up with this (the photos get better as I have a new phone now, this one is awful, but be patient :) )

Sunday 25 February 2018 at 00:57 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

This ones an interesting one. The blade is differentially hardened, folded steel but not cheaply folded like Damascus but very subtle and the geometry including the yokote is absolutely spot on, but the tsuka was too long for the clients needs and the wrap wasn't up to his standards. he also doesn't like the fittings. I agree, the fish menuki are massive for a wakizashi. so after my hiatus, it's off to work again.. hi ho, hi ho, etc etc ad nauseam.

Friday 16 February 2018 at 13:14 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Hope you all enjoy. I find myself creating this post from hospital after a particular horrific bout of depression, seizure and a very recent diagnosis of Bipolar Affective Disorder.

Sounds as horrible as it is, but this is a positive thing. Now I can get medicated and back on my feet. I only wish this could of been noticed about 20 years ago. but nevermind, glass half full and all that.

So... on with the pretties...

The Finished sword... but....

Ok, so this sword is a random folded katana from ebay. Now I know what youre all thinking, that basically means it could be any old shit right? Well I mean you're right, it could be, or it could be gold dust and the only way to know what you have in these circumstances really is to pick it up, swing it and cut with it. I wish I had before 

Monday 30 October 2017 at 12:04 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Ok. This is the bit that I've been dreading. This isnt a cosmetic habaki to demarcate the tsuka from the hamachi, this is to actually hold the damn thing together. Knocking up the blade was easy. Building a habaki was frustrating, disheartening, but eventually, it all started to come together. I thought I'd show you the yuk before the yay!

OK, so this is where it all started.
Firstly, it literally involved using a chisel and hammer to knock two large cuts into the back of the piece of cut copper and then clamping it to a piece of metal the thickness of the blade I'm looking at using with it.

Secondly, I used a combination of a lump hammer and a rubber mallet to attempt to convince the metal to form an L shape. By the time I'd done this, the damn thing needed re-annealing.

Monday 23 October 2017 at 02:04 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Here I am,s at in hospital for a lung infection that looks bad and Im blogging about this kwaiken style knife Ive just started. I often forget the before pictures so I thought I'd just add a small document for posterity.

Just a couple of pictures and as you can see, its a little terribad atm. the blue marks on the top of the kissaki are to remind me where the niku needs to be adjusted to keep everything uniform. It will more than likely a plain wooden shirasaya style design when finished. We shall see.

A little bit more altered and looking a little better apart from that damn tsuka. the channels are ok, but as you can see ive used paralell blanks to keep the ha side of the nakago against actual wood and tried to avoid potential break points.

Thursday 31 August 2017 at 17:43 Posted by Shadley Hax 5 Comments

As you may have worked out by now, I love repurposing steel. The idea of taking something that is actually made of a material that is decent for its purpose, but yet will be thrown away or allowed to rust to death in the shallows of someones garage or basement/cellar and breathing new life into it, really makes me happy. The more obscure the item the better to be fair. And so like the kitchen knife, this small paring/vegetable knife took shape.

Main differences, size. its small. like it should be. blade collar. it has a blackened and enamelled habaki,. this was tough. didnt think the nakago would be long enough to support the blade but I was wrong. its not a hack em up knife, its a small razor.

Saturday 24 June 2017 at 10:57 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Sometimes things go smoothly, sometimes they don't. This work log is about the latter.

First however, lets take a look at the sword before muggle-mits here got hold of it. 
 (This story ends happily, don't worry. Leave all that to me :) )

Thursday 22 June 2017 at 09:44 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

To quote American McGee's Alice and more specifically, the cat; 
'Every adventure requires a first step. Trite, but true, even here.'

Current condition. photo taken several years ago but nothing has changed :)

Wednesday 21 June 2017 at 16:12 Posted by Shadley Hax 1 Comment

So, it turns out you can patina brass fairly easily. I basically experimented as I am getting terribly bored with the cheap brass hardware that you get with most production katana. The thing is, Im pretty sure its because they can cast the habaki whereas with copper its more complex. Nonetheless, this is how to do it.

at 15:56 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Well, I'm no Togishi, however I have certainly polished more than my fair share of both my creations like the kitchen knife and tanto, as well as my own swords.

 It's just one of those things. My friend runs a business that deals with Japanese swords and high quality, premium ones at that. He is constantly busy and sometimes i think he would rather be doing other things than polishing.... especially when you take a look at the blades he wanted me to polish back up.

at 15:26 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

As I've mentioned before, this O-Tanto was gifted to me by a friend and I decided to change the look and feel of it quite radically and in an almost entirely non traditional fashion :)

This was the original, unaltered article.

at 15:26 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

A while ago, a good friend of mine donated 2 swords to me. This O-Tanto is one of those swords.

For those that don't know, the "O" prefix is simply the way we designate the weapon as being larger than it is usually. This tanto is quite large. With the addition of this new tsuka core I carved, it's now massive!

at 15:01 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

OK, so this is probably one of the shortest articles I've written but it needs to be said so I'll keep it short and sweet as I said.

Theres going to come a time when you need a burnishing tool and your first instinct is to open a browser and see if you can get one on Amazon or something.

Don't bother. Take a piece of steel, some scrap carbon steel from whatever will do, at least 2mm thick mine is just under 3mm. cut it to a nice rounded shape, bring it to a broad point and make sure thats sanded to a polished and rounded tip.

Heat til non magnetic, quench in hot water, repolish, add a handle and there you have it. quick and dirty burnishing tool. Perfect for polishing up the shinogi-ji on a katana for instance ;)

My super hi tech burnishing tool with premium electrically insulated handle. :)

at 14:41 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I have wanted this sword since the moment I first saw it, in fact it was going to be my first sword but I was like, almost 80 quid short and so it made more sense to go for the Hanwei Practical. I was over the moon when I got my Hanwei and I still have it, in fact I will never be selling it because I am so attached to it.... BUT

Friday 12 May 2017 at 08:30 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

This is what can be accomplished detail wise, with recycled cast steel and a decent and planned ferric chloride bath. The pooling of the cast steel leaves amazing patterns that are just dying to be revealed with some decent polishing and a lot of patience.

Thursday 4 May 2017 at 23:41 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Ok, so this sword is a random folded katana from ebay. Now I know what youre all thinking, that basically means it could be any old shit right? Well I mean you're right, it could be, or it could be gold dust and the only way to know what you have in these circumstances really is to pick it up, swing it and cut with it. I wish I had before 

Originally it had an 11" tsuka in hineri maki and it was the standard, quickly done, no hishigami, cheap cotton ito I usually delight in stripping off and throwing in my bits box which of course I proceeded to do.

Sunday 16 October 2016 at 00:34 Posted by Shadley Hax 2 Comments

Sometimes tanto were mounted without the wrap, favouring a full clean wrap with rayskin. In these cases, it is necessary to directly attach the menuki using pins. Normally the menuki do not actually have these pins or even the little metal button you sometimes see and you have to attach your own.

Thursday 4 August 2016 at 08:41 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I like to document the process of any important rewrap, not so much because its pretty, but because I like to be able to look back on things and show the people Im doing the tsuka for progress pics. For this reason, I'll keep the monologue as short as possible :)

First off, we have the typical raptor tsuka, kinda haichi in shape and fairly overbuilt. :) I think I'll have plenty of material here to work with. 

Friday 22 July 2016 at 13:37 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

When I was last up north, both Leon and I decided to get rid of some of the bottles that had been building up courtesy of my friend Simon. This is Leons first time with a sharp, not only that, he was using a full sized blade. I think he did really well.

Leon started with bokken when he was 6 years old and ended up using a cut down katana in unokubi zukuri for a while before he got his hands on something potentially dangerous. He was taught to handle even the wooden one as if it were sharp and this way, when he progressed to a live blade, he was in a perfect condition to start learning the cutting mechanics without injuring himself.

Even so, I still supervise him, I mean anyone can mess up no matter how much you train or how old you are. It's all about lessening that likelihood.

Saturday 28 May 2016 at 07:34 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

It's been almost two years since I last swung a sword and so I was keen to get back into it. As you can see however, the lack of practice does really show. It's not something that you lose altogether of course but once you put down a sword, the muscles that you worked in order to be able to heft a sword around relax and return to normal and the motor memory, grip, transitions and small alterations you made to your technique have been all but forgotten. Of course you pick it up again fairly quickly, but one session in two years isnt going to return you to your previous glory.

With this firmly implanted in my brain, I decided to not beat myself up over my crappy cuts and just get on with it. I had fun, but it was clear from my practice that I would have to be cutting more often if I wanted to get good again.

So, Here are three little sessions I had whilst up north in Tewkesbury. Click on through to see them.

Sunday 16 August 2015 at 13:16 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Huawei were one of the first ebay companies I ran into doing semi custom work at a fairly affordable price. I mean there were and still are plenty of alternatives, but of all the sellers out there, Huawei seem to produce the best blades for the money you pay. A client and now a friend (henceforth referred to as Stefano) wanted a the tsuka for a sword from this company rewrapped and I agreed to do it. The thing is, I was up against some pretty good work to be fair, althouth it wasn't the best wrap I had seen by a long stretch, it used Hishigami in the maki and was tight enough to not worry about it slipping around like you do with a lot of ebay sellers. Having hishigami in a production sword is becoming an increasingly rare affair and so it's nice to see one of them going that extra yard to make sure that the product they put out is genuinely safe to use.

Thursday 1 January 2015 at 06:25 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I've seen people attempt to cut these tubes and fail and so I thought I'd give it a go to see what it was that was stopping them from making the cut. I've worked it out now of course. Given that these things are very difficult to secure, you can only get so far through the target before the imparted energy from the cut starts to move the target and then of course youve lost the majority of the force of your cut as the target moves with the sword. This and the fact that the moving tube changes the angle of the tube and the sword along with it, edge alignment with the moving angle simply stops the cut dead. You'll see ;)

Is this challenging? Abso-bloody-lutely. Will it wreck your sword? There is a possibility of mild edge damage so be careful. If youre using 1045, it will bend. So dont. Use 1060 or some other 'spring' type steel. anyway, enjoy my fails ;)

at 06:17 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

There's not a lot of info out there or explanations on how to effectively wield a two handed sword with one hand. The Katana is a two handed weapon despite what you've seen in films and pop culture. I mean it can be wielded with one hand but it becomes a lot more tricky because of the length of the tsuka and the weight distribution of the blade.

 I've carried on for what seems like a million articles both here and on the Samurai University site espousing the benefits of suburi and te no uchi but with one handed techniques you have to forget all of this. The only thing you can concentrate on is that the grip of your one hand is correct, There's no 'wringing' of the tsuka because you don't have the other hand to twist against. All of this makes for a very awkward feeling I've found when you first start out and I myself am indeed just starting with one handed.

Tuesday 21 October 2014 at 03:02 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I've been meaning to do this for quite a while but of course finding cardboard tubes like this is difficult. For this reason, when the opportunity arose, I leapt at it, like some kind of cardboard hungry leopard. The whole article is at but I've posted the video here for convenience.

Do check out the whole article as it raises a few extra points that you may find interesting.

I've wanted one of these for quite a while but you know what money is like? hehe. Well A friend ended up sending me one because he's just that awesome and I said that I would do a video on how to tie it properly.

Everyone who doesnt already know will hopefully find this useful of course but I have gone the extra mile and tried my best to break this down as best I could so as to make it understandable by as many people as possible. I've used two camera angles so you can decide which one is best for you.

Friday 29 August 2014 at 02:28 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Ok, so my stuff tends to be all related to the Japanese sword, its use and maintenance but every now and then something else comes along that I feel deserves a look see. I've recently replaced my EDC or Every Day Carry knife with something newer and far superior.

I chose the CRKT Heiho. Made by Columbia River Knife and Tool its a solid spring assisted lock knife designed by James Williams. This guy is ex forces and quite something else. Google for him if you're interested but the result of his design work ended up with a handful of blades of different lengths and styles being produced, the Heiho being one of them.

I wrote about the upwards diagonal open cut a while back in an article I did for the Samurai University. That article has since reached 20,000+ views and so I decided to follow it up with a "video response" style article. Click on through, check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday 31 July 2014 at 03:17 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I recently wrote on a subject called nukitsuke, or in laymans terms, drawing and cutting with the sword in one smooth motion. It's difficult to get down properly and the only... THE only way to do it is to repeatedly draw, cut, resheath and repeat until you are utterly bored ;) But as soon as you get the idea it gets a lot easier and a lot more fun. Click the image and head on over to the Samurai University for the article and video.

at 03:10 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

As part of my mini series on training dual wielding, here is a short video on two important subjects. The oft-misunderstood Suburi and of course the absolutely mandatory Te-no-uchi. Skip over to the Samurai University for the full article with more video.

at 03:07 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Since I started writing for the Samurai Workshop I feel I have been neglecting this blog which is a pity but the sort of things that I would be posting on here are ending up of TSW site instead. TSW has given me the motivation to write a lot more and also to involve a lot more video as well which has always been something that I haven't been entirely comfortable with. It seems that now I have a reason and also I have the trust of the people that I'm producing these articles for, I have almost overcome this.

 But without boring you for too much longer, this means that this page will probably only contain my personal updates for things like my cutting videos and my customisation/tsukamaki and so on. I'll do my best to provide snippets of the samurai workshop stuff as well along with the links to the full article. We'll see how it goes. Just know that I havent forgotten my page, I'm simply working a lot on other things.

Friday 27 June 2014 at 05:30 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I've been looking at the new X curriculum with a mixture of wonder, fear and dread :p But since actually giving it a go i've found it's not actually that impossible. I'm not saying that it's not difficult, I mean the reversed angles are all kinds of strange to me and the combinations of movements are definitely different from what I've been used to.

 If you give it a go though, you'll improve in pretty much the same way you did with the FSC curriculum. It just takes time and practice.

Something that I thought might help however, was diagrams of the cuts for X1, X2 and X3. I've knocked them up in simple graphics with the first and second bottles to cut numbered and the angle and direction of the cuts illustrated as clearly as I could. To avoid ambiguity I will point out that they are all drawn as if they are actually the targets in front of you.

Finally, as a note to the group: If you see anything that I've messed up in the diagrams, just let me know and I'll fix it ;)

Tuesday 17 June 2014 at 15:01 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Yes, This is my entry for the first part of the X-Tameshigiri curriculum. I've made all the cutting patterns required and as usual I've endeavoured to make them happen multiple times in order to show that I'm not just fluking the cuts.

This was not my best cutting session to be fair and I found these cuts quite difficult due to the extreme changes in the mix of angles. The original bottle curriculum tended to use the same plane on the cuts regardless of whether or not they were returning or normal double cuts, whereas these ones require the sword to be whipped around the target as it drops and realigned on an almost opposite angle. Tricky tricky tricky.

but doable..

Saturday 14 June 2014 at 15:04 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I have recently been asked to join another group called X-Tameshigiri. It's similar to the Freestyle Cutters and has members from that group but it's a lot more active. unfortunately, FSC seems to have taken a nose dive. I believe that this was because its leadership was centralised and because those people then ducked out of the group to pursue other things in their life, that left a big black hole in the centre of the groups organisation. For whatever reasons, I'm still a member of the FSC but I've completed the curriculum cuts there and now there's nothing more to do. X-Tameshigiri is a different group with a different angle on things and much more challenging cuts. I don't know if I'm going to be able to make these grades or not, but it should be fun to try.

At first glance, the cuts here don't look very much different to the sort of cuts that turned up on the FSC grades 2 and 3 as they're all double cuts from an unsheathed position on two stacked bottles but if you take a closer look, these cuts require the cutter to shift the sword around the bottles after the first cut as well as reangle the blade for the second. The movements feel weird at the moment but then, so did the others, especially the returning cuts of FSC Grade 3. I suppose these ones will get easier.

Saturday 10 May 2014 at 06:44 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Now I'm not suggesting we all go "Abbot-style" and refine our cuts so that they are the barest minimum, containing the smallest movement possible and removing all fun from our odd little activity, BUT, being able to stop the sword when and where you want it stopped is deceptively tough and needs practice. I mean what you essentially have is about 2 lbs of metal, pivoting on your right hand and controlled a few inches down by your left. Trying to get the weight around that fulcrum to stop where you tell it requires practice.

So every now and then I go out and I train _just_ my stopping distances with single cuts, nothing flash, in order to keep it focused. In a perfect world, with a full swing behind the cut, I would like to be able to stop the blade about 3 inches after it's passed through the target. I haven't reached that point yet, not with any reliability anyway.

Armchair sword enthusiasts will probably bang on about how it's not that tough. I refer them to Eric's video on aquariums. (no seriously
Having said that, heres a session training just stopping distance.

Sunday 4 May 2014 at 08:54 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I said I'd redo these cuts but all in one session. It shows that I didn't just fluke them the last time and it's practice. I am by no means confident with these cuts the same way i am with the earlier parts of the curriculum but I can do them so here they are.

Friday 2 May 2014 at 05:52 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

After I finished the bottle curriculum, as much as I wanted to do another video that showed all the cuts being done one after the other, I admit I did want to try something new. That last set of cuts was tricky so something fresh was needed. I decided to try multiple cuts on the same bottle. The way this is done is to place one bottle on top of another, cut the top bottle into two pieces, select a piece that you like the look of and then cut it again before it hits the ground. Sounds hard because it is, but I thought I'd give it a go.

Short story, heres the video ;)

Tuesday 29 April 2014 at 05:48 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Yeh, well I didn't expect this to happen, but a) a friend of mine bought me a load more bottles to cut which helps no end so thank you, Simon. and b) I tried a few cuts and found that I'd managed to build the sort of control required to be able to pull off the last part of the curriculum.
This realisation was a fairly hefty deal for me and it has really helped my confidence with the cuts so hell with it I thought. I'm doing this!

My favourite cut so far was also the one most people have problems with and the one I found the easiest.

Now I've done all the cuts required however I'm going to do new cuts in one session and put them into one big video at some point. For now you'll have to do with these two mini sessions :)

The first half of my attempts.. 

The second half once I'd realised I was able to actually succeed! 

So yeah.. I'm well happy. It's taken me over a year to confidently manage all of the curriculum but I've gotten there eventually. Time to clean up those cuts and do a rerun of this last bit.

Wednesday 16 April 2014 at 09:03 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Well bloody hell, I went and did it. It took a long while to be able to exhibit the sort of control over the blade that I needed in order to complete this but I managed it. The quick looping movements but with straight sanpping slices that you need for returning cuts are anything but instinctive but with practice, anything is possible.

This was all done with my newest sword, the review for which you can find here as well as the samurai workshop site. It's an amazingly responsive sword, far superior to my other blades and it seriously helped with this part of the curriculum. It's supposed to be a fairly heavy sword but I've found it a lot more manageable than even my hanwei practical katana and definitely on a par with my old lightning fast unokubi zukuri.

I've learned a lot with this particular section of training, such as the amount of force that you really need in order to cut a bottle isn't that much, it's the speed of the blade as it hits the target that matters. Once you've pierced the flesh of the bottle, the rest should slice easily enough as long as your edge alignment is spot on, but hey, enough natter, heres the video.


Saturday 12 April 2014 at 13:20 Posted by Shadley Hax 3 Comments

Please note that although I've posted this review to my blog, it was written by me originally, specifically for the newly opened Samurai University website. I'm writing for them regularly now so as much as I'd love to keep you on my page, pop along now and see what all the fuss is about. It's pretty awesome.
For anyone interested in buying a sword from The Samurai Workshop and indeed anyone who was curious at all, here is my review of their Batto range. This is their entry level series for martial artists and backyard tameshigiri/freestyle cutters alike.
I'm based in the UK and sometimes, customs can be a little tetchy and getting a sword into the country can be more problematic than any of us would like. Fortunately, Jeffrey works closely with the couriers and made absolutely sure it got from his hands and into mine not only in a short space of time but without so much as a squeak from customs.

Batto 1

Wednesday 2 April 2014 at 09:30 Posted by Shadley Hax 1 Comment

My new sword turned up a while back. I posted to youtube but forget to link it on my blog. Everything else aside, This is the unboxing, for what its worth. There is a review, but it's going to be published to the new SW site, the "Samurai University", so when that happens I'll link you in but for now.....

Like I said, review has been done but it'll be a while before it's up. I'm working on a cutting video atm too so expect that soon.

Saturday 22 March 2014 at 12:12 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

The blog I was talking about a while ago has actually started to happen. I now write regular articles for it on the subjects of sword customisation, backyard tameshigiri/freestyle cutting or whatever the hell you wanna call it and everything in between. I've been officially welcomed into the team by an energetic young man called Jeffrey and his wife Bonnie and I feel right at home.

The page isn't actually live yet as we've been working hard to fill it full of quality material before it's properly opened to the public, but watch this space or indeed my facebook page for news on when that's going to happen. It's going to be soon and it's evolving at quite a fantastic rate so it's an exciting time.

Finally! It's been a long project because finances have been rubbish but I eventually got there. This is the finished project, a Hanwei Raptor in Shobu Zukuri taken from rusty and with poor fittings to completely refitted with a freshly carved tsuka, full same wrap and handachi style koshirae with leather ito.

These are what I'm going to be using for the menuki on the raptor. Here they are elastic banded into place so I could see how they would look.

Sunday 5 January 2014 at 10:00 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

It's been a while since my last update on the tsuka for my Hanwei raptor and the reason is that I've just had so much on I've had no real chance to think much about it. However, now that Christmas is done I decided to take a look at the next step in creating an elegant style tsuka for a sword that has been described as having a handle like a baseball bat.

I actually ended up painting the rayskin because I wanted it to look more unusual than what I'm usually accustomed to seeing. This may mean that it ends up looking a little bizarre. It wont be the first time I've made this sort of slip up and it more than likely wont be the last but there you go. This whole thing is a learning process for me and this is the first time I've gone from making and preparing a wooden core with a full rayskin wrap to actually doing the tsukamaki. apart from the fittings this is all me so hopefully it'll come out ok.

Being as I've only got _this_ to compete with, if it turns out worse then I may just cry.

(photo of a raptor tsuka taken randomly from the web)

I've been asked to write articles for a well established website by a friend of mine. I've just started and due almost entirely to my lack of practice in writing in a semi formal capacity, it's at a whole "oh my god!" level of difficulty. Getting the words out and getting them out in the right order, is much more of a challenge than it used to be at school. Either that or I don't remember school correctly which is also entirely likely.

Anyway, I've been asked to write short articles on katana and freestyle cutting. This is a fantastic challenge for me and hopefully will allow me to develop as a person as well as writing on a subject I am the most passionate about. Writing on this broad subject matter is awesome in a handful of ways and the way that I've obviously noticed the most, is that once again I'm reminded that I don't know nearly as much as I should.

This is good, because I love to learn ;)

This has made my Christmas,
    wish me luck.


Tuesday 3 December 2013 at 10:35 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Someone I met on Facebook was nice enough to send me some leather. It's rough and unprepared at the moment and will require work to get it all the same width all the way along but I have a purpose for it. I recently fell in love with one particular type of katate maki and have seen it used exclusively on tensho style tsuka which as far as I can tell are usually of the rikko or hourglass shape.

This leather has the right dimensions to be used on a full same wrap in the katate style. It's not a very popular style but you may have seen it before. Here is a picture of a particularly nice katate style..

And because I'm not completely ignorant and I feel peoples work should be appreciated, here is the website link to this persons exquisite work as well

So.. Thank you to the kind person who sent me this ito, it will be put to good use. :)

at 10:19 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

It's been a slow ride this one but I'm trying my best to change a sword, in particular a heavy cutter that people have described as thuggish, ugly, pickaxe handled and even 'cheaty' because of the steel used, into something graceful and pretty. I have no idea if I'm going to be able to pull this off but I'm giving it my best shot so I'm taking my time.

Some successes, some fails. Then I ran out of bottles. Ive got a long way to go here, all my cuts feel a little forced as I havent been able to complete these with the same confidence that I did the previous time with 2B. I need more bottles and more practice, but for now...

Sunday 8 September 2013 at 03:00 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Theres one problem with the Hanwei Raptor (I have the shobu zukuri version) and thats the tsuka. Its very big. Very big. its also tree trunk thick so I decided to tailor mine so its actually more useable. I mean the blade itself is made of a decent and very forgiving 5160 spring steel and therefore, with a new core, this would be awesome and pretty. So I set to it. Heres the newly shaped core.

Monday 2 September 2013 at 09:30 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I eventually started back on the bottle curriculum and took my next step along it. :) I wont bore you with words, here's the video.

Happy cutting peeps :)

at 09:28 Posted by Shadley Hax 1 Comment

Ok, so its been a little while since I received my 'koto katana' and I'd like to say a few words on how its holding up.

So far, the fact that its 1045 is actually showing a lot more than I thought it would. After cutting a number of bottles, probably around the 50 mark it has definitely showed signs of dulling. I've carefully honed the edge back to what it should be and its working fine again but obviously for bottles, 1060 is probably a better grade steel to use if you're going to be using it for any extended cutting no matter how light the target.

This isn't the problem however. This is.

I got the blade only recently and I've only been properly cutting with it for the last few days. None of my other swords suffer in this way. I noticed a little give as you'd expect from a production sword, but this is silly. Not only that, its dangerous. The omote knot has actually come undone. :/ I dont believe there is any wadding in either knot to stop this from happening.

Basically put, this will have to be rewrapped completely. Another black mark for koto. I only hope that the recent acquisition of the company by a firm in the UK will improve their product. This unfortunately has been an expensive mistake. Having said that, after I've finished rewrapping it, It'll probably still get me through the bottle curriculum.

You live you learn eh?