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My Arms & Armor

"Dagger Dan" Heinecke Katana

purchased in 2004

This was my second "Dagger Dan" piece. Dan Heinecke is primarily a knife and dagger maker who, as far as I know, only sells his finely crafted wares through his booth at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. His work has become well respected amongst the patrons at this renfest.

Light and agile, sharp as a razor, and a mirror finish make this piece a beauty to behold. The blade has multi-zone tempering, and the hilt consists of exotic hardwood (Cocobolo I think) and brass fittings cast directly onto the tang.

The balance is remarkable, being one of the most lively and agile feeling of my two-handed swords. And it performs very well. At the cutting party I had taken it to, I managed to cleanly slice through a water jug just one inch at a time, with great ease compared to the other swords I tried. It was like slicing air.

While not designed from a traditional Japanese standpoint (and clearly would not appeal to Nihon-To purists), this sword is definitely built to be beautiful, deadly, and resilient.

As a follow-up, I did some test-cutting with it using targets from swordfodder.com, and recorded some of it. The following video is from my first session, so my form could be better (most notably the telegraphing):


Overall Length 41 ¾ inches  (106.05 cm)
Blade Length 28 ¾ inches  (73.03 cm)
Hilt Length 13 inches  (33.02 cm)
Blade Width at base 1 ¼ inches  (3.17 cm)
Guard Width 3 ¾ inches  (9.53 cm)
Center of Gravity 0 ½ inches from guard  (1.27 cm)


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