Posts Tagged ‘Straight’

Straight swords, plain swords, and sword canes…

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Most of my regular readers will know at this point that I am somewhat partial to sword canes, Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes” as they are called. The reason is twofold. First because they are simple canes, and I’ve always enjoyed using “sticks” as some like to call them, or staff weapons. So throwing a blade into the mix for me, pretty much makes them completely and uncompromisingly awesome. It’s like bringing a sword to a stick fight. Dirty, but full of WIN. 😛

Blind Fury

Blind Fury

For similar reasons, I am also a great fan of Chokutō. Chokutō (or “Straight Sword”) are, as the name might suggest, just simple straight swords. But while Chokutō and Shikomizue are similar in appearance, the designs are not the same. And while they may both share structural similarities with Shirasya, (I have actually confused these designs on numerous occasions in the past) the three are actually very different in terms of design focus, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about them (I.E. go grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever, and get comfortable, before you continue reading. 🙂 )

Shirasaya, (or “White Sheath”) swords, regardless of form factor, were designed initially as a storage format for sword blades, and are generally distinguishable from other designs by a very simple, generally unadorned saya and tsuki. Compared to the complex tsuka furniture, mountings and lacquered saya finishes of traditional Japanese swords, shirasaya were stored, lightly pinned, in plain, un-lacquered saya, so that both the saya and tsuki could “breathe” and prevent the build up of moisture that could cause corrosion and or deformation of the blade and tang.

White Double Shirasya

White Double Shirasya

Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes”, are just that. Walking sticks or canes, designed to conceal a sword blade. The design focus here was the covert carry of a sword, without arousing suspicion. Featuring a featureless straight saya and tsuki, generally cut from the same piece of wood, or cut and finished to look like it was, this was a popular choice for ninjas and other warriors who did not wish to arouse suspicion, but still wanted to be able to carry a sword about them for offensive or defensive purposes.

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Chokutō, or “straight sword” design, on the other hand, was focused on neither conceal-ability nor storage. It was a design born in an age prior to that of differential tempering, and, in fact originated outside of Japan, in places like China and Korea. Differential tempering is a process that produces a hard edge, but flexible spine on a most traditional Japanese swords. It also imparts the characteristic curve to the sword, which was found to be a much more efficient sword design, when used correctly.

However before the discovery of the benefits of curved swords and differential tempering, swords were generally straight, and is here that the Chokutō design came from. A simple straight sword, intended for practical use, with no differential tempering, and no need to conceal the blade. The form of the sword simply followed it’s function and the limitations of the technology of the time. Or so the legends say…

So I’ll bet you’re wondering why I decided to bring all of this up. Well, here’s the thing. I am a fan of anime, one of them being Naruto. Or at least I used to be a fan of Naruto. Been a while since I watched any anime. But at least the first and second seasons were acceptably entertaining. If you are willing to disregard the many annoying filler arcs. :/

Anyway, In the anime, one of our eventual anti-heros, Sasuke Uchiha, wields what can only be called a monstrous black Chokutō called the Kusanagi Grass Cutter. As I mentioned in an earlier post on the topic, there is some disparity between the Anime version of the sword, and the Manga (comic book) version of this sword. In the comic, the sword is white, with a black stripe. In the anime, however, the sword is dark gray with a black stripe.

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Personally, I prefer the animated version of the sword. But, nonetheless, the most common versions I am seeing are the manga versions, a replica of which was the inspiration for todays post:

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

As you can see this is the Manga version of the sword, but despite it’s white saya, it actually looks pretty nice. And it has a sweet black blade. And it appears to of a much higher quality construction than the last one I posted about. So just thought, after my long winded post, that I’d share. 🙂

Now if only someone would make it in black… Actually never mind. I’ll probably just get this one, sand it down and give it the traditional Japanese black lacquer treatment…

Yeah… Go me! 😀

Sasuke Uchiha Chokutō – [King of Swords]

Pen Knives and Cutting Edge Lipstick…

Monday, October 19th, 2009

While perusing the endless sea of knives on the internets, I came across this little accoutrement…

Lipstick Knife (Hawkbill II)

Lipstick Knife (Hawkbill II)

Yes indeed. A lipstick knife!  A cool little hawkbill blade,  with a serrated edge, concealed within a rather innocuous looking black and gold lipstick housing. Now hopefully this is a full tang construction, because weapons like these are notorious for losing their blades otherwise. the alternative is to never use it, and keep it only for emergencies, but what fun would that be? 🙂

Now being the male member of my species, I would not be caught dead with one of these things, however I could certainly see the appeal this might have for those of the female persuasion. This way, a lady could carry around a knife without making it obvious that she is carrying a blade on her person.

But never you fret guys, there is something here for you too:

Ink Pen Knife - Black Finish

Ink Pen Knife - Black Finish

Aha! Here we have an actual pen knife. A pen with a blade. Would you look at that! has a straight blade, as opposed to a hawkbill, but then again you have more room in a pen than a stick of lipstick for a blade. And of course the ladies can use this too. And for the fashion concious among you, this also comes in black and gold, with a serrated edge, just like the lipstick:

Ink Pen Knife Black and Gold - Serrated Edge

Ink Pen Knife Black and Gold - Serrated Edge

Again, the warning against hard use stands. Because most ink pen knives are generally designed to also retain a functional pen, they do usually have an ink tube (albeit a shortened one), and can therefore not usually a full tang construction. Those desgined this way will generally do not hold up to daily use. So again, only use them when necessary.

I only have one other caution. Please don’t get one of these and decide to go James Bond/Emma Frost on anyone. You may not like the consequences.

Trust me.

Of Straight Razors and Demon Barbers.

Monday, May 25th, 2009

You know I have never really been a fan of straight razors. Don’t really know why. Apart from those rare occasions when they are ground into claws, brazed to copper pipes and attached to the fingers of leather work gloves, they just never really appeal to me. Normally, I find such evil and dangerous implements fascinating.

And straight razors are indeed evil. Unintentionally evil, grant you, but evil nonetheless. They are one of the few, relatively large, non surgical blades whose edge geometry is specifically designed to allow them to hold one of the keenest edges known to man. Even at the cost of strength. But in spite of my being intellectually aware of this, they just don’t *look* the part. Yes, they usually do have a little flair, but for the most part I find them waaaay to functional looking.

They are almost like box cutters to me. Equally dangerous, but they just don’t carry an aesthetic that evokes that primal awe that so many other blade designs do. Now I bring this up not for idle chitchat, but rather because I had occasion to analyze my thoughts about such a razor. Specifically a replica of the razor used by Johnny Depps character Sweeny Todd  in the movie “Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”:

Straight razor of Demon Barber Sweeney Todd

Straight razor of Demon Barber Sweeney Todd

Now this is a nice looking razor. I’m not saying it isn’t. The thing is, it just doesn’t speak to me. I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know if there is any real significance to it, but on the surface, it looks to me like the miniature equivalent of a machete. Just like any other razor. All go, no show. Well maybe a little show. But not quite enough show.

The funny thing is that, shortly after Sweeney Todd came out, having been glamorized by the movie, there was a sudden surge of custom straight razors on the market. Here’s another example I found somewhat more attractive:

Tom Anderson Raze Tac Custom Straight Razor

Tom Anderson Raze Tac Custom Straight Razor

Arguably a much more modern design approach to the straight razor, and it certainly looks the part..  Black micarta scales with beautiful shiny accents, all rising up into what looks like it’s gonna be a sweet looking blade, and then… disappointment. It still looks like a folder horribly abused. So horribly mutilated that the doctor recommended that the tip be amputated. Sigh.

Here’s an arguably more cutting edge design:

Custom Straight Razor - Blue Widow Web

Custom Straight Razor - Blue Widow Web

So now maybe we’re getting somewhere. This design eschews the classic straight razor grip for a contemporary designer folder grip. Not a bad look. Personally I thought it could have done without the spider web  motif, but hey. But yet again… as my eyes travel up from the hilt, that sinking feeling returns. Dagnabbit!

OK, so I admit I am biased towards points. And curves. And organic shapes. Perhaps with a few more curves or something, I might find straight razors more appealing. But that would defeat the point of a “straight” razor. And in any case, I think it’d be like lipstick on a pig. I dunno if it’s possible to gussy up a straight razor enough to make it look good,  without changing the very things that make it a straight razor.

But who knows. Maybe my expectations are a little high…

Tom Andersons Raze Tac – [True Swords]
Sweeny Todds Straight Razor – [True Swords]
Custom Straight Razor – Blue Widow Web – [True Swords]

Log In

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 159,207 bad guys.

Your Weapon Sir?
The Raiders Almanac
May 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  
Surf the Sands of Time:
Phyreblades Site of the Month!