Post by shawshank on Dec 11, 2022 2:19:04 GMT
insert code hereHello SBG Community,
Today, I have a prolific sword model: to review, and share my thoughts with the community. An Evolution Blades, Motohara LMC (light mat cutter)
Disclaimers: This is my first attempt at a formal review on this forum, please leave helpful criticism in the comments. I am not a practitioner of any martial arts involving swords, I am just a collector, sword enthusiast that has been in the community for close to six years. I have owned several makes and models, mostly katana. This will review not be from the prospective of a practitioner, or an collector of antiques. Further I purchased sword from a member of this community, there is already one review on this particular sword, whom has given me permission to use a few of the notes from his review. Also, their was no cutting for this review. Lastly I am not affiliated with Evolution Blades, they are not asking me to do this review.
Brand: Evolution Blades/ Motohara
Model: Light Mat Cutter
Steel Type: SKS3
Geometry: Shinogi Zukuri
Tempering: Differentially Hardened
Weight: 2.4 LBS
Not great with japanese terms of measurement Got the previous owners consent to use his measurements.
Distal taper 27%
Tsuka length 10.5 in (26.7cm)
Nagasa 29 in (77.66cm)
This katana was manufactured by Evolution Blades, which seems to have practitioners in mind, when making their products. While traditional construction may not be their primary focus, I do not believe, you will notice anything too far away from historical Japanese Swords. From what I understand, every sword from Evolution Blades is made-to-order. So there are not reproduction models to purchase, unless you specifically ask for a katana similar to what they have already made. My purchase was second hand, so I can not give first hand experience on the ordering process. However I have contacted them myself with questions, Evolution Blades were quick to respond with inquires on pricing, or any other question you have for them. Further, the feedback I get from the sword forums is that they are great on their customer service. Let's move on to the quality of the sword components, will start with the koshirea, then to the blade.
Simple hammered texture, with Mokko shape, giving it dimension. appears to be iron, which I would indicate as a sturdy piece, not the most stunning, but has a charm of it's own.
The Kashira seems to be iron or bronze fittings, in a handachi style, the lines are distinguishable, but not very crisp. With the target audience being students or instructors who use the sword regularly, this offers an appealing look, without rubbing your hands raw. all in all good quality, in aesthetic and sturdiness. It has dimension as well, which adds appeal to it's otherwise simple look.
The Fuchi matches the Kashira, with what appears to be a hammered look with bronze lining, simple with character. sturdy, and transitions well with the Tsuka so that your hands do not catch or snag while the sword is in hand, also transitions well with the Koiguchi, so the Saya and Tsuka look uniform.
Fits very well with the Koiguchi, so much so I can actually hold the Saya upside down (with my hand on the Tsuka of course) and the Habaki still holds tightly, yet moveable enough to push it out with my thumb on the Tsuba. material used is copper with a rokusho patina which i personally love. Their is a downside, may be the wrong term but I believe the patina is oxidizing. it is turning green almost like a US penny that sits around too long and gets oxidation spots on it. Further it is engraved with a rain pattern, which in my book is more attractive than a simple stamped habaki.
Copper construction matching the habaki in material, however the oxidation looks worse on the seppa than the habaki. Almost to the point it does not look copper in coloration. In functionality, works fine, keeps the habaki and fuchi tight.
The Ito which appears red silk, is very tight, would take a lot pressure to move. With proper use, the ito should provide many years of service, and appealing. As par for the course with colored ito, discoloration will occur with regular use. Menuki appear to be in the correct placement, however the mask used in this model are not my favorite, however that is a subjective observation. Samegawa is nice quality, panels were used instead of full wrap, I would prefer full wrap in this price point, however it gives me no pause in using it. The entire package is completely solid.
The saya is a ishime black, light weight, and very thin in profile, the Koiguchi, Kojiri, and Kurikata do not appear to be buffalo horn, it feels like a hard resin or hard plastic. With the thinness of the saya and the weight, I would have guessed it would dent, or take lacquer damage easily. However it is surprisingly robust. I have knocked the saya into objects while using, and found no noticeable pings or dings in the lacquer. Further the Kojiri seems to jut out ever so slightly from the saya, which my first thought is, that it would snag in an obi. However i regularly used it in my belt with no catching when I would slide the saya in and out. Perfectly functional, but would have loved to seen a better transition on the Kojiri. The blade glides out of the saya amazingly, very quiet, feels like the blade glides on rails.
The blade is geared specifically for tatami cutting, very thin spine, and very wide blade profile. Light weight balanced, easy to control the tip. polish is appealing in it's own right, If you are looking for something bold right out of the box, this is not what you are looking for. Great for practitioners who do not want any pause, because of the amazing polish. Hamon is primarily suguha, with ever so subtle midare. Which I actually prefer of traditional suguha. Kissaki is about three inches long, making it the longest o-kissaki i have ever owned. a bit much for my preference, but done tastefully, others may like it better than myself, again these are made to order, if you order from Motohara, you can communicate what size kissaki you prefer.
Entire package is tight, minimum to no rattle
unique style hamon
profile excels in tatami cutting
best transitions I have seen in a katana
no noticeable snags
Not great for other targets besides tatami, heard of them taking damage from water bottles
oxidation on the copper fittings
Kojiri juts out on this model
polish makes the hamon hard to see
As a functional blade, this is an over quality package, no noticeable rattle, blade glides in and out smoothly. However this seems to be geared to a particular audience. With that being said I will go to the next question, is it worth your money and consideration?
Is it worth the cost?
Again i purchased this second hand, so i did not pay msrp, however I believe the first owner paid $2,300 for this particular sword so i will frame my opinion from that price point. For someone who practices iaido, tameshigiri or any form where you regularly practice drawing and tatami cutting and you want something that absolutely excels in those categories. Yes, I believe $2,300 is reasonable price tag. I know that is not a small amount of money, but in comparison with the rest of the market, i can not name another company that will give you this kind of quality and you can commission it to be more be spoked to your liking with theme, material, and coloration. If you are a collector who wants something that handles like a dream but mostly for decoration, and you don't mind the cost, Motohara LMC is a quality package for the money. For someone as my self a collector, who likes to enjoy some backyard cutting, this blade is not for me. I have a Huawei that I had customized, to my liking which cost me roughly $1,000
for mw I would rather spend my money on something less expensive and holds up to harder targets. Do note: Evolution Blades offer many different geometries which can perform in other area's besides tatami cutting. As for the Practitioner, the LMC is worth the money, for a backyard cutter not using traditional target i would recommend a geometry better suited for the task
I hope everyone enjoyed the review, if I left anything out please ask in the comment section below.