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  • #16
    Originally posted by steliosk
    My apologies. I did not catch the entire message, I had been looking into those katana and noticed that about the mekugi. I think there were some articles on the swordforum site on dismantling and modding the PK...
    From what i've been told on another board, the Practical Katana can't (or atleast shouldn't) be dismantled so the Mekugi isn't really important so its probably just riveted together.

    I dunno if its true that the mekugi is not important is the sword cannot be dismantled. Maybe someone with more experience can answer.

    Comment


    • #17
      I see. So the handle of the Practical Katana is actually wood and then it's a layer of some immitation ray skin over the wood. I thought whatever the immitation ray skin was, was plastic and that the handle was completely plastic under the cloth wrapping. If the immitation ray skin isn't plastic, then what is it? So it's safe to use the Practical Katana for cutting practice without the handle cracking and breaking?

      Also the blade of the Practical Katana is not folded as someone mentioned earlier? How strong is the metal then? I can see though on my PK that the blade isn't tempered.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Ren Blade
        I see. So the handle of the Practical Katana is actually wood and then it's a layer of some immitation ray skin over the wood. I thought whatever the immitation ray skin was, was plastic and that the handle was completely plastic under the cloth wrapping. If the immitation ray skin isn't plastic, then what is it? So it's safe to use the Practical Katana for cutting practice without the handle cracking and breaking?

        Also the blade of the Practical Katana is not folded as someone mentioned earlier? How strong is the metal then? I can see though on my PK that the blade isn't tempered.
        According to Barringtons where I got my Practical Katana from the blade is differentially tempered with RC60 edge and RC40 back. Oh and its definatly forged not folded. I read somewhere that forged blades are generally alot lighter than folded blades. I doubt its always the case though.

        Here is exactly what Barringtons say:

        "The Practical Katana (1070-GT) gives the martial artist the opportunity to own and use a blade at the cost of an economy sword. The blade is forged and differentially tempered, using the same process as the more expensive blades and producing an RC60 edge and RC40 back. The temper line is authentic and prominent. Cost savings are effected by using fittings which, while making no claims to authenticity, are very strongly built to withstand the rigours of cutting exercises."

        Comment


        • #19
          It is ok if they don't actually use a mekugi to hold the blade in. Maybe it's even better if they use something stronger, like a rivet or two, maybe not I dunno. But they claim it's just as good as some of the more expensive blades? Are they really?

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Yzakj
            It is ok if they don't actually use a mekugi to hold the blade in. Maybe it's even better if they use something stronger, like a rivet or two, maybe not I dunno. But they claim it's just as good as some of the more expensive blades? Are they really?
            When the most expensive blades on that site are Paul Chen ones like that so i'm sure the comparrison is with them rathe than other places like www.ninecircles.co.uk or somewhere in Japan.

            Comment


            • #21
              I bought a practical plus katana and wakazashi specifically for cutting practice. (I have a nice iaito, but it isn't live.) I wanted to try out cutting but I didn't want to throw a lot of money down the drain if I bent the blade (which after doing some cutting is an even larger possibility than I initially imagined - cutting is definitely not the same as doing kendo or iaido and bending a blade is a very real possibility).

              The blades cut well and have stayed relatively sharp. I have cut about 200 targets with them, mostly tatami omote - 2/3 with the katana and 1/3 with the wak. They both have two menuki which gives me some confidence as the menuki will work loose during cutting. As these are the only swords I have used for cutting, I don't know if this a problem with these swords, the practical plus series or all japanese style, menuki-equipped swords. (I think it is a menuki design issue personally. It is so dry in Colorado that wood just doesn't hold up well, especially new, wet wood. In Missouri, the handle would swell up so big the blade would be fixed solid and the menuki would look like a rivet. Here, it's another story altogether.)

              The only important complaint I have (besides menuki working loose - rivets or bolts are definitely under consideration) is that the blades of both weapons have become a little loose in the tsuka, even when the menuki are tight. I haven't torn down the tsuka yet, but it is coming (and supposed to be OK with the practical plus series, although I have my reservations about that). My guess is that the wood inside the handle has been damaged/compressed/deformed by the environment and number/type of cuttings as I occasionally try to cut thick targets (2 and 3 mat targets) which take a lot of force even with a good cut and, as a beginning cutter, I don't get a good cut every time. If I can't repair it, I will mill a replacement tsuka out of something more durable and, probably, obscenely modern.

              An unimportant complaint is that they are cheap. They don't draw very well or smoothly. The saya is poorly constructed and the swords don't fit well or hold well in their saya. Under close inspection they aren't very pretty and haven't gotten prettier with wear.

              That said, I'd say that they were definitely the way to go for cutting. They seem safe enough if you pay attention and aren't stupid. While I wouldn't want to take one into battle or use one day in and day out for iaido, they are definitely good enough to cut with and to learn from. You can really tell when you do it right and you can really tell when you do it wrong. A better quality sword would probably let you cut more mats with the same cut or fool you into thinking you cuts are better than they actually are, but I am in it to learn and not to compete with Big Tony (if that is even possible for regular-sized, mere mortals with day jobs). I don't care if they scuff or break because they were pretty cheap on ebay at $200 and $150 US.

              I haven't really mistreated one yet, so I can't attest to overall strength. Even my worst cuts so far have been "good enough for government work" and I have yet to follow through into the concrete floor, wall, or an overhead I-beam. I have misjudged and sheared the top of the 1-inch wooden (white pine) peg on the tamishigiri stand a few times with no negative consequences. And the katana has gone through 3-mat omote targets many times without any visible negative effects to the blade.

              If you are considering buying one, there are a number of Paul Chen importers who only sell on ebay and have heavily discounted prices because they don't have any overhead.

              Since I am here and you've read this far, I'll go out on a limb and be a little opinionated. (anticipatory apologies all 'round) I, for one, think there are better uses for ray skin than sword handles - like on rays. AND, while it certainly was the best thing going in 1250 AD, there are better materials available now for sword handles than ray skin. Sounds like a perfect "And they all lived happily ever after" ending to me. (Except for the "We gottcha right here da real dead ray skin handle - yessiree" advertisements. You've seen them, I'm sure. "Men o' your discriminatin' tastes should accept no cheap dead shark, weasel or vole imitations. Dead rays is what it is all about when cutting omote or doing iai. Accept no sub-sti-tutes. I tell you what. Uh-huh. When you spend this much on a quality piece, you gotta get your dead ray in the bargain. It tradition. Besides, the ray was already dead when it got to the factory. It wasn't like he was going to need that skin no more....")

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by lewis
                I bought a practical plus katana and wakazashi specifically for cutting practice. (I have a nice iaito, but it isn't live.) I wanted to try out cutting but I didn't want to throw a lot of money down the drain if I bent the blade (which after doing some cutting is an even larger possibility than I initially imagined - cutting is definitely not the same as doing kendo or iaido and bending a blade is a very real possibility).

                The blades cut well and have stayed relatively sharp. I have cut about 200 targets with them, mostly tatami omote - 2/3 with the katana and 1/3 with the wak. They both have two menuki which gives me some confidence as the menuki will work loose during cutting. As these are the only swords I have used for cutting, I don't know if this a problem with these swords, the practical plus series or all japanese style, menuki-equipped swords. (I think it is a menuki design issue personally. It is so dry in Colorado that wood just doesn't hold up well, especially new, wet wood. In Missouri, the handle would swell up so big the blade would be fixed solid and the menuki would look like a rivet. Here, it's another story altogether.)

                The only important complaint I have (besides menuki working loose - rivets or bolts are definitely under consideration) is that the blades of both weapons have become a little loose in the tsuka, even when the menuki are tight. I haven't torn down the tsuka yet, but it is coming (and supposed to be OK with the practical plus series, although I have my reservations about that). My guess is that the wood inside the handle has been damaged/compressed/deformed by the environment and number/type of cuttings as I occasionally try to cut thick targets (2 and 3 mat targets) which take a lot of force even with a good cut and, as a beginning cutter, I don't get a good cut every time. If I can't repair it, I will mill a replacement tsuka out of something more durable and, probably, obscenely modern.

                An unimportant complaint is that they are cheap. They don't draw very well or smoothly. The saya is poorly constructed and the swords don't fit well or hold well in their saya. Under close inspection they aren't very pretty and haven't gotten prettier with wear.

                That said, I'd say that they were definitely the way to go for cutting. They seem safe enough if you pay attention and aren't stupid. While I wouldn't want to take one into battle or use one day in and day out for iaido, they are definitely good enough to cut with and to learn from. You can really tell when you do it right and you can really tell when you do it wrong. A better quality sword would probably let you cut more mats with the same cut or fool you into thinking you cuts are better than they actually are, but I am in it to learn and not to compete with Big Tony (if that is even possible for regular-sized, mere mortals with day jobs). I don't care if they scuff or break because they were pretty cheap on ebay at $200 and $150 US.

                I haven't really mistreated one yet, so I can't attest to overall strength. Even my worst cuts so far have been "good enough for government work" and I have yet to follow through into the concrete floor, wall, or an overhead I-beam. I have misjudged and sheared the top of the 1-inch wooden (white pine) peg on the tamishigiri stand a few times with no negative consequences. And the katana has gone through 3-mat omote targets many times without any visible negative effects to the blade.

                If you are considering buying one, there are a number of Paul Chen importers who only sell on ebay and have heavily discounted prices because they don't have any overhead.

                Since I am here and you've read this far, I'll go out on a limb and be a little opinionated. (anticipatory apologies all 'round) I, for one, think there are better uses for ray skin than sword handles - like on rays. AND, while it certainly was the best thing going in 1250 AD, there are better materials available now for sword handles than ray skin. Sounds like a perfect "And they all lived happily ever after" ending to me. (Except for the "We gottcha right here da real dead ray skin handle - yessiree" advertisements. You've seen them, I'm sure. "Men o' your discriminatin' tastes should accept no cheap dead shark, weasel or vole imitations. Dead rays is what it is all about when cutting omote or doing iai. Accept no sub-sti-tutes. I tell you what. Uh-huh. When you spend this much on a quality piece, you gotta get your dead ray in the bargain. It tradition. Besides, the ray was already dead when it got to the factory. It wasn't like he was going to need that skin no more....")
                Hey, thanks for all the info. Thats pretty detailed.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Thanks Lewis.

                  I guess although my Practical Katana being a grade lower than the Practical Katana Plus, I guess I can assume it will share the similar strengths.

                  So if Ray Skin is not necessary for a good handle because there are better material now, what is better than Ray Skin for a handle?

                  They're not out hunting live Rays and killing them for the skin for Katanas are they? Are they out looking for Rays that already died in the waters before they pull them out to take some of their skin?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    ray skin is sold as other leather products are, so Paul Chen probably buy the ray skin from a leather makin company, then use it for their swords,

                    the ray's are probably hunted, since rays dont live near the surface, meaning they dont float up when they die

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by mystic_kendoka
                      ray skin is sold as other leather products are, so Paul Chen probably buy the ray skin from a leather makin company, then use it for their swords,

                      the ray's are probably hunted, since rays dont live near the surface, meaning they dont float up when they die
                      I just went on Tozando's site for the first time and all the katanas I looked at there have sharkskin. I was actually quite surprised that most of the Iaito's on that site are under 500.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by kundalini
                        Hi. I've been reading the threads and alot of you seem quite experienced when it comes to Katana's. I have to admit i'm a terrible newbie so please forgive my ignorance. I live in a small town in the north of England so there arn't too many resources for me to learn from.

                        Anyway, i'll get to my point. Do you guys rate Paul Chen's range of katana's, Iaito or Shinken? You don't really see many others over here. Maybe i'm just looking in the wrong places.

                        I have Paul Chen's Practical Katana. Its super basic. Pretty much no decoration and no historical ties. Cuts corners by having imitation Rayskin etc. I can't really rate the blade as I don't really know how a sword should be weighted exactly. It's a tiny 134 compared to the swords that I have read you guys talking about.

                        Any info for the young and naive would be greatly appreciated.

                        From wut i kno and heard, paul chen's swords are usually good. But don't expect the greatest quality, especially if its under a grand. Still, pratical katanas are good for martial arts use so keep it. Also make sure not to touch the blade with ur fingers cuz ur sweat could build up rust on the sword, eventually rendering it usless/

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by kundalini
                          Hi. I've been reading the threads and alot of you seem quite experienced when it comes to Katana's. I have to admit i'm a terrible newbie so please forgive my ignorance. I live in a small town in the north of England so there arn't too many resources for me to learn from.

                          Anyway, i'll get to my point. Do you guys rate Paul Chen's range of katana's, Iaito or Shinken? You don't really see many others over here. Maybe i'm just looking in the wrong places.

                          I have Paul Chen's Practical Katana. Its super basic. Pretty much no decoration and no historical ties. Cuts corners by having imitation Rayskin etc. I can't really rate the blade as I don't really know how a sword should be weighted exactly. It's a tiny 134 compared to the swords that I have read you guys talking about.

                          Any info for the young and naive would be greatly appreciated.
                          Paul Chen from wut i've heard makes incredible swords, but they've got to be a grand or up for the best quality. Still keep ur practical katana, and don't touch the blade wit ur bare hands, ur sweat could build rust on the blade ruining it permanetley.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I have picked up the Practical Katana Plus yesterday for $375.00. It is definitely of nicer quality than my Practical Katana. I haven't cut anything with the Plus yet, but drawed it a few times and it's alot smoother than the Practical. The Plus also seems lighter as well.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              On ray skin, Mystic Kendoka is correct, as far as I know. Rays (if I remember correctly) are members of the shark family and end up in oriental soups rather easily. So ray skin is probably rather available in china.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                hello guys!

                                i also own a paul chen practical plus katana, and have been studying katanas for a numbers of years. i have found out that swords are folded in japan because all that they have at the time was iron, and inorder to turn it into steel they have to fold it to adjust the carbon content and to purify it, of coures today steel dont have to be folded because they are already pure, folding the swords does not make much of a different, in fact if steel is folded too many times it will make it soft, also there i no such thing as a sword that has been folded 500 times! that is really time consuming, my gathered resoures have told me that katanas made during the pre meji era was folded 20 time max and no more, also as stated earlier the japanese smith at the time fold there sword to turn it into steel and to get rid of all the impurites, since all that japan had was iron which is impure and the reason why modern smith fold thier swords is due to the traditions of japan, folding steel is not necessary.
                                all i have to say about the hanwei line of ppk is that they are designed by paul chen and is not forged by him himself, that is the reason why some of them are low quality. also the handle on my ppk is part wood and part impact resin, a high quality and durable plastic.

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