At Swords of Northshire, we’re proud to encourage our customers to participate in the creation process of our traditional Japanese swords. Through our Custom Sword Option, you can collaborate with our master craftsmen to create a piece that’s one-of-a-kind. To help you understand each part of the process, our experts are here to break down the different terminology and what they mean for the creation of your blade. Read on here to learn more!
The length of your blade is actually a major determining factor in what type of sword you order. Are you looking for a longer blade? Opt for a katana. Want something short and tactical? The tanto is the shortest blade in a samurai’s arsenal. Here are the standard blade lengths for the most common Japanese swords:
Katana: 71 cm or 28 in
Nodachi & Ōdachi: 90.9 cm or 36 in
Tachi: 60.6 cm or 24 in
Wakizashi: 51 cm or 20 in
Tantō: 33 cm or 13 in
We currently only offer sword customization for katana, wakizashi, and tanto lengths.
The bo-hi, also known as a fuller or a blood groove, is a rounded or beveled slot on the flat side of a blade. It runs down the entire length of both sides of your sword and makes the weapon lighter and easier to swing. By altering the weight and balance point of the sword, you can move faster for lighting-quick slashing and striking. The bo-hi also frequently makes a slight whistling noise when swinging the blade.
The hamon line is the temper line of a sword and can often distinguish which blademaster crafted your weapon. Many bladesmiths work for years to perfect their signature hamon line. At Swords of Northshire, we offer four different styles of hamon lines including:
Notare: A Wave Shape
Midare: Irregular Design
Sugu: Straight Line
Natural: For Clay Tempered Blades
You can also choose to forgo a hamon line completely for a single toned blade with no naturally occurring design.
A saya is one of the included accessories you receive with your blade. Once you’ve chosen your preferences for the weapon itself, you can move on to customizing the scabbard. At Swords of Northshire, we create the scabbards from lightweight wood and then lacquer their exterior to add shine and color. Choose from matte black, lacquered black, red, natural wood, gold, and more.
This embellishment on a Japanese blade is for more than just beauty. It actually serves to attach the blade to a samurai’s belt, or obi. We allow you to choose the color for your sheath cord and you can even match it to the handle wrap of your hilt. Some of the colors in our selection include black, dark green, purple, blue, and dark brown.
The tsuba is a very important part of your weapon. This is the circle guard that we forge onto each sword. They protect your hands while parrying and keep your hands from slipping off the hilt when thrusting and swinging.
Our tsuba material options range from iron and brass to copper and alloy. You can also browse a variety of Japanese-influenced designs — from minimalist to intricate.
In addition to choosing a tsuba style, you also get to choose the habaki and seppa. This is the metal collar beneath the guard and the fittings that secure it in place. Options include brass, black, or silver.
Our same'gawa is made of rayskin. This is for the handle wrapping of your sword and is placed right beneath the ito wrap. We offer several color options including white, black, green, blue, red, and gold.
The ito is the top layer of the handle wrapping material. To ensure the longevity of your sword, we hand wrap these as tight as possible. Most ito wraps are a thin cord made of silk. Colors available in silk include white, black, dark brown, purple, green, blue, and red. For those who prefer leather, you can choose an ito wrap in brown or black leather.
Generally placed directly under the ito wrap along the hilt of the sword, the menuki provides a better grip while wielding it for battle or practice. We offer several menuki materials including brass, alloy, and copper, plus a variety of designs that incorporate Japanese themes like dragons, fish, snakes, and lotus flowers.
Engraving is the last element of personalizing your sword. We do laser engraving on the blade of your sword near the habaki. You can choose engraving in Kanji, Chinese, or English characters or engrave a symbol of your choice. If you need to translate your engraving from English, we are happy to do it for you.
Start Customizing Your Sword
When you want to collaborate with a swordsmith on the creation of your blade, nothing beats our customization options. Ready to get started? Choose to customize your katana at Swords of Northshire today!