At this stage I seem to have gotten the answers I was seeking. I still need to read once more the tips and hints and links some of you have added for me to go through. Let me say that I have been impressed by the quality of knowledge you have exhibited, and even more than that, your willingness to share. I have been on the receiving end of your kindness and do appreciate every minute I spent in talking with you all.
In closing, let me tell you that I have done two things: One, I have invested a small amount of money on a reproduction katana at a boot sale, supposedly a replica of a traditional Samurai sword. I will not bore you with pictures of it, it has no collector value in my opinion and the tsuka has no peg for disassembling the hilt, so it's for display purposes only. Its only redeeming factor is the blade, which is a beaut, made of 440 Stainless, with hamon visible, whether credible or not. Second, I am planning a new thread on my shin-gunto Type 98 katana in which I hope you will find some interesting, perhaps even surprising content. Thank you all once again!