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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've come across a store that sells swords by Hanwei, designed and approved by Mr Paul Chen, stock includes everything from medieval broadswords to claymores to ancient Chinese and samurai swords. The samurai version are a weakness of mine and for them the store stocks a wide range of quality, all of them forged working items, and all very sharp, but some with supposedly authentic fold-forging and tricked out with absolutely beautiful blades and furnishings- and those are priced up to about $3500 US/CAN for a 2 sword set (katana and wakizachi).

What you can't see by just looking at a sword is of course everything. The Hanwei company is located in China but the store claims Hanwei are fanatically devoted to good steel and dedicated artisanship producing high quality weapons, or in other words that the swords are not the usual Chicom s-hit.

If anyone knows about the CAS Hanwei company, please share!
 

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I've come across a store that sells swords by Hanwei, designed and approved by Mr Paul Chen, stock includes everything from medieval broadswords to claymores to ancient Chinese and samurai swords. The samurai version are a weakness of mine and for them the store stocks a wide range of quality, all of them forged working items, and all very sharp, but some with supposedly authentic fold-forging and tricked out with absolutely beautiful blades and furnishings- and those are priced up to about $3500 US/CAN for a 2 sword set (katana and wakizachi).

What you can't see by just looking at a sword is of course everything. The Hanwei company is located in China but the store claims Hanwei are fanatically devoted to good steel and dedicated artisanship producing high quality weapons, or in other words that the swords are not the usual Chicom s-hit.

If anyone knows about the CAS Hanwei company, please share!
Save your money and find the real Sumari swords, I have quite a few of them and nobody can match the quality of them.They can be found from 500.00 up nice ones.
the real expensive ones are over 100 yrs old. I have 4 that old and you still can shave your face or cut yourself very easy with one.

jst my 2cts.
 
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I have a Katana/Wakizachi set from CAS Hanwei along with their sword mount/holder.

The swords are gold leafed and their blade steel is SPOT ON (forged, folded, and bloody sharp).

I do have one complaint from them though... for a Katana set that cost so much dang money (thankfully it was a gift to me)... you'd think they'd have devoted more time with the sword sheaths.

I found at least two flaws on the sword sheaths themselves. You have to be "up close" to notice them but nevertheless a set that cost thousands shouldn't have any flaws whatsoever. Lastly, the sword sheath caps were poorly adhered. That latter is no big deal really as it is an easy do-it-yourself task to properly adhere/glue it.
 
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Save up and commission a sword maker to forge you one, it will only set you back at least 5000 bucks

...or not

Cold Steel makes Japanese swords, they also make a functional USMC NCO, Officer's and Army officer's swords.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have a Katana/Wakizachi set from CAS Hanwei along with their sword mount/holder.

The swords are gold leafed and their blade steel is SPOT ON (forged, folded, and bloody sharp).

I do have one complaint from them though... for a Katana set that cost so much dang money (thankfully it was a gift to me)... you'd think they'd have devoted more time with the sword sheaths.

I found at least two flaws on the sword sheaths themselves. You have to be "up close" to notice them but nevertheless a set that cost thousands shouldn't have any flaws whatsoever. Lastly, the sword sheath caps were poorly adhered. That latter is no big deal really as it is an easy do-it-yourself task to properly adhere/glue it.
Thanks for the feedback. The blades concern me most.

Save up and commission a sword maker to forge you one, it will only set you back at least 5000 bucks

...or not

Cold Steel makes Japanese swords, they also make a functional USMC NCO, Officer's and Army officer's swords.
I'm familiar with Cold Steel... they're not as good now, I think, but the first time I saw a tanto by them, 20- 25 years ago, I tried the old sharpness test of shaving hairs off the back of my hand... what happened was I started to take off a slice of skin and bled all over the store- which fortunately had bandaids at the ready. Taught me respect for factory blades I can tell you, Cold Steel especially.
 

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I own a few Hanwei, in Western, Chinese, and Katana-Like-Object (KLO) form. They're a production forge that does a decent job for the money you pay. My only beef is the hamon (temper line) is acid etched. Look at a good hamon in comparison and you'll see the difference. That said, their steel is modern, and their KLO are differentially tempered.

I don't have a KLO from Cold Steel, but I have a few of their Westerns and their quality is a bargain for the price. Rumors of their quality control being crap has not been validated by my experience. Their KLO are mono-tempered 1060. Not a bad blade at all.

I have a custom KLO of T-10, differentially tempered. It's a nice piece, but I doubt it's any better than what Cold Steel produces.

If you want to learn about katana, I'd recommend starting with Mushashi. Spend a couple hundred USD for two or three of their KLOs and learn what you like/don't like before going more expensive. Mushashi steel starts at 1045 and some are available in 1090. Regardless, STAY AWAY from STAINLESS.

Concerning actual katana, I seriously doubt you'd find one for 500USD. I doubt you'd find one for under 10KUSD. The stuff they sell in Japan are Chinese knock-offs (think Hanwei). A real one must be comissioned or privately traded, and it'll definitely cost you. Katana are regarded as national treasure.
 

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Here are some forums for your journey. Warning, steel is addictive.

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A friendly forum, good information, not too anal about historical accuracy.

http://forum.sword-buyers-guide.com/index.php

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An historically anal forum for Westerns. Very good information. Nice folks.

http://www.myarmoury.com/home.html

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Cold Steel's forum.

http://coldsteelforums.com/

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A nice place to window shop and do business.

http://www.kultofathena.com/

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Hope this helps.

And to add, my only beef with Cold Steel is they sharpen their Westerns the entire length.
 

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I have a serious fascination with samurai swords ...
every time I pick one up,
it just feels RIGHT!!!!

Probably some past life experience floating around back there somewhere.

But I have NOT followed up on this compulsion ...
at least not past buying a few repro swords.

I occasionally think about signing up for Kemdo or Iado,
but or some reason facing 28" of razor sharp steel scares me ....
way more than looking down the bore of a 12 ga.


PS: I have a friend who chased a home invader out of her house with a wakazashi. The RCMP had a blood trail to follow and they caught him.

I'll bet that alleged perp still has nightmares about the time he picked the wrong little old lady to do a home invasion on.
[;)
LAZ 1
 

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Laz,

I felt the same way about the katana style until I picked up some Westerns. The kat may quick on the draw, but an Oakeshott XVIII is more than its equal IMO.

And to fan the flame, there are some pretty nice tachi out there if you got the green. And some of the Chinese styles are superior to the kat IMO. But it depends on what you want to use it for, just like our beloved firearms.

USNA
 

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i would play it safe and grab a usa made cold steel katana
 

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Cold Steel blades are forged and assembled by Windlass Steelcraft in China (KLOs) and India (Westerns). So no, they are not made in America.

From what I've observed, the difference between CS and a Chinese KLO are blade geometry and the fact that CS doesn't differentially temper.

Differential temper isn't an issue with modern steel, be it Chinese or American. Likewise, only true Katana are forged in San Mai (high carbon steel edge sandwiched by low carbon steel), a tradition of necessity due to the poor iron sand found in Japan.

I might also add that CS's KLOs are of an older style. Their most beautiful work IMO, the Dragonfly, dates back to the 12th Century IIRC and features an iris leaf (acute) kisaki (point) which is more delicate than later standards. It should be noted that the blades are very thin and should be used for light cutting only.

A more contemporary geometry shows a blunter kisaki, heavy spine, and if present, a bo-hi (fuller) that runs almost the full length of the blade. There's also a pronounced distal taper. These were lessons (design tweaks) learned the hard way.

Here's a couple of photos showing the Dragonfly. Note the very weak spine and bizarre half bo-hi. At 2 lbs, 11 oz and with a blade length of 29.5 inches, it's built for American hands. Some say it handles like a crowbar, others like it. Can you say 9mm vs .45ACP?

Also look at the fittings, specifically the tsuba (guard) and tsuka-ito (wrap). Good quality, even though they're made in China.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=CS88DK&name=Cold+Steel+Dragonfly+Katana

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Hanwei is popular in the US because it is closer to the Katana in terms of weight and geometry than CS. They also feature various blade geometries depending on whether you want to do light or heavy cutting.

There are other good Chinese forges as well, but I'm only familiar with Hanwei's KLOs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Cold Steel blades are forged and assembled by Windlass Steelcraft in China (KLOs) and India (Westerns). So no, they are not made in America.

QUOTE]

I think that at the time I nearly kilt myself with one (as described above, OK it wasn't quite that serious), Cold Steel products were made in Japan. If now in China or India, that would explain the relative lack of 'extreme sharpness' found nowadays.
 

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They still still come sharp. Too sharp, if you ask me. Should be "sword" sharp, not "shaving" sharp.

I received their Itallian Longsword last week. It came with a slightly undressed edge.

Living in Tucson where it's always hot, I sat in the living room in my cargo shorts, dressing the edge with a fine stone. The blade sat on my unprotected thigh as I worked. The next day I noted a long, very shallow cut along my leg.

I think all of my swords have tasted blood. USNA
 

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At my age, with arthritis in my hands and a rotator cuff issue in my right shoulder, I definitely need a lighter blade. The only steel blades I can wave around now must have a lightening groove [ aka FULLER ].

Most mornings I take my 110 lb German Shepherd Dog for a walk around the perimeter of our rural acreage. There have been bears and cougars in our area, and the neighbors also have two BIG GSDs that don't like my dog much, and have double teamed him a few times. So I usually take my bokken with me on the walk ...
mostly to loosen up the shoulders and arms along with the walking.

But also to "discipline" the neighbor's dogs if they should be in a bad mood.

Last time my wife had to break up a fight between the two neighbor's dogs and our boy, she was in her housecoat [ nekkid under that ], wearing her fuzzy slippers, out at the mailbox picking up the morning news paper. With only a rolled up newspaper [ and a few kicks from her fuzzy slippers ] she waded in and broke up the three dog fight.

Now that would have been a sight to see.

One of the other neighbors carries a golf club on his dog walks.
He probably doesn't get as many weird looks from passers by while swinging his golf club as I do swinging my bokken.
YPMMV
[;)
LAZ 1
 

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I was cleaning the blade of my Katana Like Object with a cloth to remove some finger prints. Had the cloth folded over the back, and as I pulled the cloth along the blade, I noticed something fall out on the floor.

Turned out to be the tip of my finger.
[;(

I had shaved several layers of skin off a finger tip,
but the blade was SO SHARP,
I never felt the cut ...
till later.
#$$%^^&&
DAM but the tip of a finger sure can be sensitive!!!
LAZ 1
 
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Umm... Lazerus... maybe you should let someone else clean your sword(s)...

GI2


For those that don't know... CAS Hanwei closed down their factory from January 2012 through April 2012 and as of right now I'm not even sure they've re-opened it. Apparently, they closed it down because they were in the midst of renovating it when their Chinese winter (i.e. inclimate weather) shut down the construction so they just said "screw it" and shutdown through April 2012.

I found this out a couple months ago when looking to purchase another Katana only to find near every CAS Hanwei vendor was out of stock (or at least out of stock for all the swords I was interested in buying).

So just a word of caution... I'd try to contact CAS Hanwei first before buying one of their Katana's/swords as there is tons of sword fraud ongoing due to Al Gore's wonderful internet sales. GI3
 

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Hanwei makes some quality blades in my experience. They are well made and attractive as well as very functional. I was thinking about getting an example of a baselard dagger to go with my costume at Bristol Renaissance Fair this year. However I am not a fan of Chinese products so I decided against it. It is nothing to do with the quality, it's just a personal preference to buy American. Instead I am having one custom forged by a company in MN called Forged in Time. Ben makes some awesome Medieval weaponry and it's only costing me about $50 more then the Hanwei model. He doesn't do any Japanese style weapons from the examples on his site, but he might be able to custom forge one. I would give him a call and see what he says. I personally like his English Longsword, and intend on one down the road. His average sword price is from $400-$500. Some are less some a bit more. Still top quality hand forged American made steel is worth the price! If you are in the market for a budget katana then Hanwei would probably serve you just fine.
Below are links to several US forges that you could contact. I like Forged in Time the best, but the other ones are quality made as well. Prices for custom work will vary so give them a call with you ideas and they will quote you a price. Good luck!

My #1 choice:
http://www.forgedintime.com/handmade-swords/english-medieval-longsword

http://www.darkwoodarmory.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2_6

http://www.tinkerswords.com/forsale.html

http://www.badgerblades.com/katana.htm These guys make some great swords too!
 
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