I noticed a little too late that Dave and the guys from Tameshigiri.com will no longer be selling goza targets directly. This is normally where we get our stock that our students then purchase and use in their cutting.
Shihan and I are trying to consider other options: buying a container full of them directly from Japan, either new or more likely used goza. The goal is to try to find a cost-effective way but that much goza is hard to manage. There is another option from a Florida retailer but the costs just keep going up.
The cutting consistency with used goza is going to change but the reality is that it would cost several thousand dollars just to ship the material. Then we'd have to figure how/where to store that much goza. Even with the dry weather here, they can still mold, or just dry out entirely over time, which means we'd possibly have a very large mound of wasted goza and money. We would have to eat that cost up front and recoup over time, and it's not like we simply have several grand lying around.
On the plus side, we could have cutting days a lot more regularly, perhaps every other week, and cut a lot more each time. Cutting used goza is different than the green unused ones we use now. The material is uneven in thickness, less tightly bound, and the straw itself is already dried out. So it has less an ability to soak up water, making it less dense which should make it easier to cut.
But because it is looser, they slip more often during cuts and that absorbs some of the impact, which makes cuts less clean and effective. So it has less material to cut through but your cuts are not necessarily as effective. What's more it will vary depending on each goza, making your cuts less consistent.
The end result is that you have to be more precise, but when you are, you can probably cut through a lot more goza than before.
Keep the faith; we'll find goza and folks will be able to test for their higher ranks.