Made in Dalian, China by Hanwei, a traditional hand forged Japanese style sword manufacturer... New in the original packaging. Certificate of authenticity.
It is a symbol of cunning and power in Japanese culture and is consequently a highly respected theme in Samurai swords. Built on the new Hanwei L6/Bainite blade in the Shobu Zukuri style with Bo-Hi, and featuring superb koshirae, the Praying Mantis Katana is a very desirable and functional piece. The subdued green silk ito and deep brown of the lacquered saya provide the handsome contrast to the dark copper and golden accents of the tsuba, fuchi, and kashira. The stalking mantis lies in wait for his next prey, mirroring the power and grace in this exceptional katana.
(Photo colors may not match the actual colors)
The Praying Mantis Katana is built on the new Hanwei L6/Bainite blade in the Shobu Zukuri style with Bo-Hi, and featuring superb koshirae. Bainite is a structure of high-carbon steel that combines great strength with excellent flexibility and shock absorption characteristics. It has been known as an exemplary Katana blade component for a number of years but its use has been restricted to a few top-class master smiths, due to the difficulties involved in performing the exacting heat treatment procedures necessary for the production of a Bainite blade body in combination with the very hard Martensite Yakiba (edge section) required for Katana blades. Hanwei has now mastered this difficult process, using billets of L-6 tool steel (a very tough high-carbon low-alloy steel) as a starting point. Blades are forged and shaped in the normal way, then carefully heat treated to achieve the required Bainite and Martensite structures before final polishing.
1 * Assembled katana sword with saya
1 * Cotton katana bag
1 * Sword certificate
The Art of Japanese Style Sword Making
The forging of a Japanese sword is a subtle and careful process, an art that has developed over the centuries as much in response to stylistic and aesthetic considerations as to technical improvements.
Each blade typically took many days or weeks and was considered a sacred art, traditionally accompanied by a large panoply of Shinto religious rituals. As with many complex endeavors, rather than a single craftsman, several artists were involved. There was a smith to forge the rough shape, often a second smith (apprentice) to fold the metal, a specialist polisher, and even a specialist for the edge itself. Often, there were a sheath, hilt, and tsuba specialists as well.
Blades were often forged with different profiles, different blade thicknesses, and varying amounts of grind. Wakizashi and tant were not simply a scaled-down katana; they were often forged without a ridge (hira-zukuri) or other such forms which were found on the katana.
Today, swords are still being made by modern artisans; some pursue the traditional methods while others apply modern tools, techniques, and materials to the craft. A great number of commercially available swords are being made in China with modern tools and materials employing traditional methods. Let's remember that steel-making was imported into Japan from China, via Korea. The steel used in the Chinese swords, called "chi-kang" (combined steel), was similar to pattern welding, and edges of it were often forge-welded to a back of the soft iron, or "jou thieh." In trying to copy the Chinese method, the ancient Japanese smiths paid much attention to the various properties of steel and worked to combine them to produce an internal macro-structure that would provide a similar combination of hardness and toughness.
Another reason for the great popularity of the Chinese made swords is that an authentic Samurai sword, hand-made in Japan (called a Shinken ), can easily cost US$12,000 to $25,000 and up. Chinese made production level approximations are typical $1,000-$2,500 for something reasonably traditional.
About Paul Chen / Hanwei Forge
Hanwei, a company that is widely acknowledged for producing first-class swords, is operated by Mr. Chen Chao-Po, also famously known by his alias, Paul Chen. The company was originally founded in Taiwan in the early 90's and is now distributed in the USA by Cas Iberia that's recently purchased by Mr. Chen. Hanwei's Samurai swords are currently viewed as contemporary pieces which give martial artists and collector a unique opportunity of owning a fine, quality sword.
Being a sword collector himself, Mr. Paul Chen understands the importance of owning excellent swords without having to pay for a hefty price. The first designs he created were based on some antique swords he inherited from his grandfather. Transforming an old chicken hatchery in the Manchurian city of Dalian into his own workshop, Mr. Chen gathered a team of experts in sword forging, polishing, heat treating and furnishing. This factory has since then produced the now coveted swords distributed by Hanwei.
Below are the 6 Basic Steps involved in the manufacturing of Hanwei Forge swords:
- A billet of high carbon steel is hot forged into a rough sword shape by power hammers.
- Then the scale is removed from the sword, which at this point is still soft and straight. Take note that the curvature of a Japanese sword is actually caused in the heat treatment phase.
- A special clay - which is Mr. Chens' own secret recipe - is applied by hand to the blade, thin at the edge and thick at the back.
- The blade is then reheated to a predetermined temperature and rapidly quenched in a water bath, which because of the different thickness of the clay, creates a differentially tempered blade with a harder, sharper edge and a softer, more flexible spine. It is also during this stage that the blade develops its characteristic curve.
- From the smithy, the tempered sword is then stress relieved and polished by hand with wet sandpaper. Acid etching brings out the hamon, and after a final polishing, the handle and other fittings are added and soon after leaves the factory for export.
- Another great aspect of Hanwei is their Samurai sword restoration facility wherein over the years; tons of damaged and abandoned pieces from the old masters have been successfully repaired to their former glory.
In 2002, the company moved into a much larger, purpose-built facility that offered enough working space and developments in efficiency. Hanwei currently has more than three hundred workers that create over six hundred items in the sword, knife, and historical weaponry fields. The company never ceases learning and developing new products that relate to more intricate techniques and innovative metallurgy.
Hanwei was among the earliest pioneers in the creation of outstanding and battle-ready katanas at affordable prices for martial artists and collectors. Although there are now many fierce rivals in this industry, Paul Chen's Hanwei Forge is arguably the number one creator of the finest yet affordable Japanese style swords available in the market these days. In fact, Hanwei continues to progress into a mainstay of the Sword buying community and expanded their products to also include European designs.
Take note though, that some of Hanwei's outstanding pieces such as the "Great Wave Wakizashi" SH5002 and "Wind & Thunder Tanto" SH5003 have already been discontinued in production; however, their matching swords from the series are still available. So if you wish to own the 3 piece set of each style, these two items (available from our site) are the last available ones. Don't miss your chance of owning these rare, last pieces!
1 * Assembled katana sword with saya
1 * Cotton katana bag
1 * Sword certificate
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