You could fill up volumes with each point in your question LOL.
Originally Posted by wnease
Keeping in mind you’re a sword maker so as not to ramble on to much since your interested in mainly cutting performance I would start by researching a 17th century smith by the name of Nagasone Kotetsu. His swords seem to be held in high regard for cutting ability.
This is one of his swords. The Tameshigiri inscription says it cut through three bodies. Tameshigiri at that time was performed on live prisoners or criminals.
The handle and furniture on the swords were subject to change. A change in rank might require a different handle wrap as well as different fittings. The sword might have two handles one for EDC and one for court. The material used for the furniture varied greatly from horn to silver, gold and iron, in addition simple or complex designs also effected the weight of the furniture. The balance of the sword can be affected buy theses changes. Presumably an attempt would be made to match the handles so as not to effect the balance to greatly but then again maybe not.
Very complex swords...
Let a man never stir on his road a step
without his weapons of war; for unsure is the knowing when need shall arise of a spear on the way without.