hanwei L6 or powdered steel...

by Aaron
(Mid Coast Maine, USA!)

I bought my ol'lady a hanwei ppk elite because she wanted a quality sword so with research I settled on it, after I gave it to her I got the bug BAD..

But I couldn't afford a ppk and I'm to impatient to save up for a $350 sword and I don't care for the aesthetics of the pk's so i bought myself some more budget oriented forged blades, I have a ronin rk from SBG, musashi 1060 best miyamoto and a HMS 1045 practical warrior mono temp 1045 wakizashi, all seem to be pretty decent well optioned lite cutters except the HMS only being mono temp (the miyamoto is the best fit and finish an steel and was the cheapest at $75 on sale from bud k! and a just a few other basic functional only wall hangers that are a musha rosewood shirasaya (that I completely refinished to a mirror finish because it was sooo roughly polished an the hideous wire brushed fake hamon which is good way to ruin the looks of nice little sword IMO, now I think its a beautiful display sword) and a shinwa black Damascus double edge shirasaya (a definite wall hanger) and a couple budget forged tantos one traditional fitted and one in red stained shirasaya to match my musha. I like them all a lot but I want a higher end "tuffer" better fitted katana in the near future, I should receive $ from a malpractice suit that incompetence resulted in the death of my mom.

Anywho I love the praying mantis its not cheap but I read an artificial claiming the tory xl light was "the best production sword available" Is it really better overall for cutting practice? I'd rather not spend half again more for a super strong but lower performance katana... Is the powdered steel comparable to the L6 overall? And is the mantis as good of a cutter as the tori? A mega tuff sword that doesn't cut as good to me is pointless unless I was planning on slicing car doors which I'm not, I just plan on the typical normal bamboo an mat cutting but I want top shelf performance. And $1500 would be absolute tops $ wise. And I am a amateur but I don't want to keep spend a lot of money keep buying better better better than best just want to buy higher end than be done with it. Just for info any input on any T-10 blades? I've read the steel guide just need to know what the real word performance durability of these particular swords are.

Thanks sorry for the long winded TMI inquiry. Thanks Paul your site is awesome, I was pretty clueless now I feel quite educated about swords...

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My thoughts..
by: Paul

Hi Aaron,

It does indeed sound like you got bitten by the sword collecting bug pretty hard. As I always warn people, once you have bought one sword it is only a matter of time before you find yourself trawling the internet at odd hours looking for the next fix..

But to answer your question, the Hanwei L6 Praying Mantis and their line of Swedish Powder Steel swords are really very different animals.

Both are great quality pieces, Hanwei has been at the forefront of the production sword market for many years and with good reason. And both have superior fit and finish (interesting you noted the $75 Musashi had the best fit and finish - these are actually machine made, thus more perfect but not as good in terms of actual durability and performance) but here all similarities end. The Swedish Powder Steel (which is actually made in Japan under a Swedish license) creates a very traditional style blade with really clear hamon and polishes out really nicely to produce a sword that is quite close to a true Japanese Nihonto. L6 on the other hand, was first popularized by Howard Clark and if well tempered creates a modern almost indestructible sword, so if you are indeed not planning on cutting into car doors anytime soon, I would have to recommend the more refined Powder Steel swords like the Bushido Katana

Hope this helps and all the best,

- Paul

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