Replica swords make wonderful decorations, but a modern equivalent of a practical ancient sword is often hard to find. Paul Chen found himself in that situation and became a sword maker himself. His lifetime passion is available to us in the form of beautiful — and sometimes affordable — swords of CAS Hanwei. Are they the real battle-ready item? Paul Chen thinks they may be better.
While growing up in Taiwan, Paul Chen found both antique swords and modern custom pieces to be out of his budget range, so he learned how to make swords. Enjoying success as a custom swordsmith, Chen decided to enter the manufacturing business in 1991 and moved to Dalien, known as “the Steel City” of China. Working with local artisans, Chen and his new company — Dalian Hanwei Metal Co. Ltd. — started out by making knives and knife components.
Hanwei’s first successful swords were Samurai-style blades, and the company expanded into European-style swords and polearms in the mid-1990’s. Today over 300 Hanwei employees work in the new facility the company built in 2002, and produce more than 600 different items. Hanwei also restores ancient weapons, learning new tricks from the works of the old masters.
Hanwei manufactures swords and polearms in Japanese, European and Chinese patterns. The best steel Hanwei now offers is a special alloy developed by the company. Hanwei’s High Alloy Steels, HWS-1S and HWS-2S, provide the best edge and the most resilience of anything as yet made by CAS Hanwei. The best Japanese Hanwei swords also undergo expert differential tempering and do show a true hamon or tempering mark.
Tamahagane steel weapons use a high carbon steel core and a low carbon steel outer layer, combining the two metals into one blade through folding and forging. Hanwei Bainite steel blades undergo a special heat-treating process to create swords with a flexible Bainite steel body and a hardened Martensite steel cutting edge. Hanwei also produces a line of excellent sporting knives, the Rock Creek brand.
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