Sword CS or Hanwei

Joined
Jul 23, 2004
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Thinking of buying a sword...I don't know why. Any recommendations, best buy seems to be Cold steel Warrior and Hanwei Practical.

Cold steel Steel is: 1050 high carbon $240.

Hanwei is forged and differentially tempered, producing an HRC60 edge and HRC40 back. Steel unknown. $165

Any recommendations?
 
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Jan 16, 2003
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I gather the Paul Chen Hanwei swords receive much praise compared to Cold Steel's stuff in general.
 

Esav Benyamin

MidniteSuperMod
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daverave999 said:
... compared to Cold Steel's stuff in general.
You can't compare anything to CS products in general. CS is not a manufacturer. They design knives and contract out the production to Japan, Taiwan, and China. That's why some are great and some are not. You have to critique each blade on its own; there is no reliable company standard. (It's a marketing enterprise, not a brand name.)
 
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I've owned a Paul Chen Practical Plus, a CS Imperial Wakizashi, a CS Warrior O-Katana, and I've handled most varieties of both. The Cold Steels are beefier than the Paul Chens, and I'd say that at the price level you're looking at, the CS swords have a more "rough and ready" look to them. Then again, the Paul Chen Practical series is much more mature, and have a livelier feel in hand, as well as being hardened in the traditional manner, rather than having the CS swords' through-temper. You won't get a proper kissaki on either company's offerings, though, unless you're willing to expand your price range. Cold Steel's handle wrap seems to be a bit harsher on the hands than Hanwei's. Hope this helps!
 
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at Sword Forum int., there's a post by Howard Clark (maker of the L6 Bainite) recommending the Cold Steel. I've heard other reliable people who got their cold steel warrior series say that thing can take some serious abuse, where a PPK would bend/chip/fail. Now mind you, a katana isn't made to withstand abuse- you shouldn't ever abuse one, but when you're just starting out cutting, then you're going to make some mistakes. Go with the cold steel- it's not indestructible, but it'll handle your beginner's mistakes with much more grace than alot of other swords. CS katanas are made to withstand punishment.
Some people are going to tell you that because they're not differentially tempered, they won't hold an edge. Totally untrue- they hold a quite decent edge and aren't to hard to hone with a ceramic stick if somewhere down the line you need to do that. Assuming you do alot of cutting. A sword shouldn't be extremly sharp anyway, the finer (thinner) the edge the more chance of damaging it, or causing it to bend/roll when you have a cut go wrong. Some people trash talk cold steel swords- maybe they got duds, I don't know. Maybe they didn't show enough respect their blade or know how to take care of it. That happens- but for the most part, I've heard very good things about CS katanas. Mind you, they're not eye candy- but I'd rather have a more reliable blade than eye candy anyway. Oh, and be careful if you're test cutting. It's way too easy to lose a foot when a cut goes bad and decides to reroute itself to your shoes. I'd advise against any playing around- be very, very, very careful if you do decide to test it out.

$!lv3r
 
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Sep 22, 2002
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Everything solarwind said is true - particularly that part about edge holding. I forgot to mention that, in practice, the geometry and general massiveness of the blade just about compensates for any (real or imagined) toughness deficiency as compared to a differentially hardened blade. They're hard enough to hold a fine edge (they'll score the softer part of a Hanwei katana without suffering any damage themselves) and they're flexible enough (a spring temper on a spring steel basically assures this) to take shock without cracking. Also, about the aesthetics - at this price level, nothing looks particularly good anyway, so I'd say follow solarwind's advice, unless you really want the "look" of a hamon on the blade. If you want that, go for the Practical Plus (or Pro, for the longer handle).
 
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how traditional do you want the katana? cold steel doesn't even differentially temper their blades. plus their tip geometry is off if you care about those things. for some serious cutters look at last legend as well.
 
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I don't care about traditional at all, hell it could have micarta handle for all I care, just sharp and tough.
I will check them out, thanks.
 
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Dec 27, 2004
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Greetings
I am brand new to swords but have been fascinated by them since an early age. Just recently i was given a gift of a sword cane by a friend from mantiss swords, the forged cane sword. I like it very much and am intending to get the cold steel katana because i have heard good things said about it and i like the stuff cold steel puts out.
Now how would someone who has zero knowledge of martial arts go about at least learning something about sword usage and proper handling ?
I was also wondering if there are any good tapes or dvds on the market. I have done a quick search and havent come up with anything.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Mar 26, 2004
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Jim, not sure if you're still watching this thread, but if you don't care for traditional looks but want preformance, then the Himalayan Imports swords are for you! The HI forum here is in the manufacturer's section.

Swords... the West began producing spring tempered swords that are objectively superior to traditional katanas a few hundred years ago. Spring tempering reduces the strength (work of extension) of the steel while improving extensibility and resilience, leading to a great improvement in toughness (area under the strength-extensibility curve; since we are using hardened metal we are worried about breakage, not the extension to ductility you have to worry about in unhardened metals).

Traditional katanas are not tempered at all - they are mild steel bars with brittle steel edges. Not bad per se, but with slightly more modern metallurgy we can do better.

Sorry to all you nihonto-philes out there. I know where you are telling me to cram my metallurgy.

With all due respect to solarwind, swords were supposed to be very sharp, and where most often used (when cutting) on soft targets, the peasents. Now I don't know too much about swords, as the sword isn't a modern weapons system. But these folks KNOW their swords.
 
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Will P. said:
With all due respect to solarwind, swords were supposed to be very sharp, and where most often used (when cutting) on soft targets, the peasents. Now I don't know too much about swords, as the sword isn't a modern weapons system. But these folks KNOW their swords.

This comes up alot...and to be honest, I'm not sure what you mean by "very sharp". Personally, I prefer a "sword sharp" blade- as in, not insanely sharp, but not dull. I'd like to quote Angus Trim, a very well known bladesmith-

----
"A sword does not have to be that [referring to paper cutting] sharp. In all honesty, a sword does not cut any better at 'paper cutting sharp', than 'sword sharp'. 'Sword sharp' is sharp enough to cut all reasonable modern light targets, and do it well. It will not always cut paper.
Its also a fairly durable edge.....

'Paper cutting sharp' will cut paper easily, and cut you if you're thoughtless real easy. And even though it seems like it should cut targets better than the 'sword sharp' sword, in reality it really doesn't. And if you feel that you should cut something more abrasive than grass {mats} then the edge won't be as durable as the "sword sharp" and it'll take more to get it better....."
----

As far as your remarks about spring tempering- I agree, and I actually prefer a spring tempered sword. I think CS makes the best katana of that type around- I mean, a Howard Clark L6 would be tougher, yeah, in fact they're as close as a katana can get to "indestructable"- but they're quite a few thousand $$$ out of my price range (;

$!lv3r
 
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solarwind said:
at Sword Forum int., there's a post by Howard Clark (maker of the L6 Bainite) recommending the Cold Steel. I've heard other reliable people who got their cold steel warrior series say that thing can take some serious abuse, where a PPK would bend/chip/fail. Now mind you, a katana isn't made to withstand abuse- you shouldn't ever abuse one, but when you're just starting out cutting, then you're going to make some mistakes. Go with the cold steel- it's not indestructible, but it'll handle your beginner's mistakes with much more grace than alot of other swords. CS katanas are made to withstand punishment.

Interesting information - first time I've heard of uniformly tempered katanas out performing properly differentially tempered ones.

Are the Cold Steel Warrior katanas used a lot in tameshigiri (Japanese sword cutting) competitions?

Thanks,

--
Vincent

http://UnknownVT2005.cjb.net
http://UnknownVT.cjb.net
http://UnknownVincent.cjb.net
 
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UnknownVT, traditional katanas were not tempered at all. Since when you get right down to it I know jack **** about swords, here's a quote from a guy who knows his ****:

Kevin McClung aka Mad Dog said:
Japanese swords, crafted in the traditional style, are not tempered. Not at all. They are selectively hardened, with only the edge area being transformed to martensite. That's what the mud pack allows. It keeps the thicker section at the spine of the blade from hardening. It remains as pearlite and cementite, which is very soft and ductile. The "Hamon" is the line demarcating the transition between the hardened and unhardened zones of the blade. This technology was quite the hot ticket up until about three or four hundred years ago, when the good old Europeans began making high quality steel and tempering it.

No disrespect to y'all traditionalists, but too many people out there treat nihonto as a religion.

I believe the folks at Angel Sword spring temper their swords, but I could be wrong about this.
 
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