If you are a sword collector
Hey we all have our hobbies … my neighbor is collecting stamps, I’m collecting Japanese Swords If you are a real collector, there’s very little chance you are actually going to use the katana for practicing.
In case you are planning to use it, head over to the I want to practice at home helpguide . It will be of more use for you. As a collector you want to have a good looking sword right ? Ow and of course every one of them are ‘real’ in the sense that you can use them for cutting if you really wanted to.
These are not the typical €50 wallhangers you can find on ebay. All of them are functional, made in a more or less traditional way with original/traditional parts (as close as possible) and does have a very nice and solid overall finish.
What you probably don’t want
You probably don’t want to go for any piece in the raptor serie since that is more the functional stuff made for practitioners and doesn’t feature the traditional clay process to harden the blade and so they don’t have a hamon line (which most of the collectors highly appreciate).
Same goes for the Iaito Serie, these swords don’t even have a real steel blade and the hamon is sandblasted so you can skip those one’s too.
This might be something
All of the swords in the Practical serie of Paul Chen are ok to start with but the ‘just ok’ fittings, the standard polish and the ‘yokote-less’ blades are probably not exactly what you might looking for in a collector piece.
The swords feaured in the Forged Serie are definitely worth to take a look at. They do have a nice looking blade and hamon. The polish is way better than those in the practical serie and they do have higher quality fittings and an overall finish.
The Shinto Katana , Golden Oriole katana, 3 monkey katana and Tea Culture Katana does have a very detailed fuchi, kashira and tsuba. The latter one also feature a katate maki (battle wrap) on the tsuka (handle) and is the only one in that serie you will find it on.
All of the above swords does feature one of the better fittings in the whole Paul Chen range. Of course it depends what kind of fittings you particularly like. Some people have an ‘less is more’ attitude while others like to see some spectacular things. I’m not here to discuss about taste , you’re big enough to figure that out yourself
The Folded Swords are where most of the collectors like to pass by. In terms of overall quality and finish they are on the same level as their forged brothers and sisters. The biggest difference is the fact that all of these swords are folded and forged which results in a blade with a nice hada (pattern) and is of course much more attractive to the eye as a monosteel blade.
A folded blade is not ‘superiour’
Don’t be fooled by someone who is trying to tell you that a folded blade is more better and stronger than a monosteel blade. Bullshit ! In fact, monosteel blades are just way better to use. The smiths in ancient Japan had to fold their steel because of the poor quality of it in that time.
It was done to get the impurities out of the steel in order to create a better overall quality. If they would had have the same sources of steel as we have them now, they would never ever thought about folding a blade..just a waste of time and energy… But it is what it is and because of the folding process they invented back in the good old days, they created a very strong and visible activity in the structure of the steel which is known as the hada.
In order to get a similar effect nowdays, they are folding the blades too…not to get the impurity out of the steel because there’s nothing wrong with the steel these days . The only reason they’re doing that is to get a ‘similar’ look as the ancient blades. And there’s still lot of room to discuss that but let’s keep that for another time.
In the folded blades you can make a distinction between :
- folded blades where billets of modern steel were used to forge the blade
- folded blades where the forge made their own steel to start with.
When they make their own steel (using iron sand as base) we can technically speak about tamahagane. Paul Chen only has 1 piece in their range where they use their own made steel but I don’t offer it because it’s just to pricy (read over the top) and you can get better stuff for less bones. If you really need that Paper Crane katana, shoot me a mail or call me, I can still order it for you
So all of the swords in the Folded serie are made of modern steel with a Mirror polish :
If you want to see a natural looking hada and especially an attractive hamon, you need to go for a stone polished katana. The one’s I’ve just listed above don’t have a stone polish. Only the Paper Crane Katana has but it still looks ugly..sorry my honest opinion.
But we do have the folded blades from Zhui Feng who are made of tamahagane and who does have a stone polish for far less than the Paper Crane and does look 1000 times better…
The Ultimate Collectors katana
Yes, it does exist and we can offer it to you if you have a little patience. In cooperation with the Zhui Feng forge , we are able to offer you our custom made sword service where you can compose your own sword according to your taste and needs and for a very affordable price. So if you are a patient guy/girl and can wait 8-10 weeks before you can get it in your hands, our custom service might be the ideal solution for you ! Create an unique piece that none else on this planet has