Although the Dragon Katana Hand Forged Sword from Ryumon does catch your eye easily enough with a well-decorated scabbard and ornate fittings, be cautious if you expect this sword to be a good cutter. The steel used in the blade — 1065 carbon steel — could be excellent, depending on the quality of the temper. At this level of craftsmanship you could expect differential tempering and a true hamon, the mark of a clay-hardened edge and a tougher but softer blade back. Ryumon does have a reputation for consistent quality — but there’s more to a sword than steel, and the fittings may tend more towards art than function.
Actually, the first thing that caught my eye was the cast metal tsuba, described as a mixture of zinc and brass. Yellow brass is a bit light for a tsuba that might have to take a real hit — even if only because of a bad strike — and the ornate casting itself is a fairly fragile design. The Dragon sword looks like a fine display weapon but not quite stout enough for cutting practice. Materials chosen might not hold up well to heavy use. The level of workmanship still puts it far above ordinary replica swords in quality.
If you’re looking for a visually-striking display sword with the feel of the real thing, you shouldn’t be disappointed by the Dragon. Accessories include a nice wooden storage box and a manual on swordsmanship which has been appraised as thoughtful and useful and not just advertising filler. The traditional sharpening kit provided with the set will be necessary, since 1065 high carbon steel isn’t rust proof. The cotton sword bag will be helpful if you travel with the blade. If you do decide to test this heavy 42-inch sword in striking practice, remember that the company providing the warranty is far away, in China.