Mid Priced Chinese Dao Sword

If you are looking for a Chinese Dao sword for martial arts that also looks good, and can cut like the originals - there really aren't all that many good options available.

Hanwei make a couple of really good value for money Chinese Dao Swords, but they are simplified to be able to bring them to market at the around the $200 price point. And there are some really nice high end Chinese Dao Swords that fulfill every requirement and then some - but the problem is most are over $1000..

So what is the Chinese enthusiast to do?

Dynasty Forge seems to have the answer - with a couple of Chinese Dao swords that combine the best elements of form and function - but do they really do what they claim on the box?

Let's have a closer look and find out..


Dynasty Forge Willow Leaf Liuyedao Review

Review by SBG member foxmartial arts


You know that feeling of love at first sight, where you see a sword, and know right away that you absolutely, positively, must, and will have that blade in your hand? You save up for the sword, and look forward to the time it will be yours. Well, that's not how picking this sword up went for me, but I am quite glad I did eventually take this one home.

After spending the better part of a week deciding which Jian I was going to purchase to celebrate my return from an excursion with the military, I stumbled across the Liuyedao on Kult of Athena. I had previously passed over the black handled version of this sword, but the new blue wrapping caught my eye, and by the time I was on a plane home, this sword was waiting for me in my garage.

Chinese Dao Sword: Historical Overview

The liuyedao, or "willow leaf saber" sword was used during the Ming and Qing dynasty, both as a cavalry and infantry saber. To quote Kult of Athena on the matter, "One of the two popular military swords of the Ming and much of the Qing Dynasties, the Liuyedao had a more gently curved blade and handle then its brother Yanmaodao. An excellent chop-and-slice sword, the Liuyedao has its origins from Chinese contact with the Turko-Mongol sabers their border foes wielded."

First Impressions

Getting my hands on the sword, the first thing that I noticed was how comfortable the handle was, and how balanced the sword felt. Though you can get two hands on it if you desire, this handy little saber is a one handed sword through and through. The brass furniture is smooth and attractive, the sheath has a nice finish and grain, and the folded steel blade has a visible pattern without standing out too much. The polish is excellent, and everything feels tight.

Statistics

Blade Length: 27" from the collar to the point

Handle Length: 5" of smooth blue cord

Overall Length: 36" from tang screw to point

Point of Balance: Roughly 5" out from the guard

Weight: 1lb and 14 oz makes for a nice, light sword

Components

The Blade

The blade is folded 1060, 1080, and 1095 carbon steel, according to Dynasty Forge. The blade is about 26" long from the collar, and has some mild taper on it. The sword flexes more like a katana than an oxtail broadsword, which is to say it really doesn't flex much at all.

The blade ends in a wide tip, with almost a clip point. The sword has a wide fuller running until about the last 8 inches of the blade. Despite having a folded pattern, the blade is still polished to the point you can easily see reflections, though not quite HD quality like my yanmodao sword. I will admit, though I like the blade collar, it catches a lot of dirt and other debris, and can be a pain to clean.

The Edge

This sword has a phenomenal edge. I had to play with the light to get a picture of the tiny secondary bevel. The sword cuts excellently. and holds the edge well. After going through milk jugs, aluminum cans, trees, brush, and soda bottles, the edge is still paper shaving sharp. This video of the paper test is after the test cutting.

The Handle

The handle is a simple rayskin slabs over wood, wrapped in blue cord. The handle is quite comfortable, and the shape allows for excellent edge alignment. However, the cord is steadily sliding down the more I use the sword, and the spacer ring between the guard and handle is lose, and has a noticeable wiggle.

The Guard

The guard does exactly what it is supposed to do; protects your hand, and look nice while doing it. The brass is smooth polished, which is a nice change from some of the sharper edged guards that have bit my fingers. The guard has a nice pattern carved into it, and overall is excellent, aesthetically and functionally. The hand is protected, but no movement is impeded.

The Pommel

The pommel of the sword is more carved brass, with a thin pommel nut. I highly suggest using padding if you attempt to unscrew the nut, as it marks easily. The pommel is nice and solid, versus the hollow and easily dented versions I've seen on some other Qing style sabers.

The Scabbard

The wooden scabbard is nice and sturdy, while still being light. The reddish color of the wood goes excellently with the blue wrapping, brass, and red belt strap.  The sheath has brass ornamentation at both the mouth and the foot, and holds the sword tightly.

My sheath has some white residue on one side of the foot ornament, most likely an epoxy of some sort.

Handling Characteristics

The sword handles great. Well balanced, with a guard that protects the hand while allowing a full range of motion, this sword has cut through anything I've put in front of it. Going through forms feels great, thanks to a comfy handle. My one complaint is in regards to said comfy handle, where the cord is not quite as tight as it could be. 

Test Cutting

I tested the blade out against a couple of different targets. Milk jugs, aluminum cans, trees, nothing stops this blade. See the videos below for the blade in action.

Conclusion

Currently, Kult of Athena is selling these for a hair under $470, and I've seen them run out of stock quite a few times. I assure you, they run out of them for a good reason. These are excellent swords, aesthetic and performance wise. The wrap could be tighter, but that is fixable. If you are interested in a Liuyedao, this model will not disappoint you.

PROS

  • Excellent balance on the blade
  • Incredible edge straight out of the box
  • Very ergonomic and edge sensitive handle
  • Sturdy sheath
  • Great pattern and polish on the blade
  • Good looks all around

CONS

  • Handle wrap could be tighter
  • Brass spacer between the wrap and the guard is loose
  • Blade collar traps debris, can become a rust issue

WHERE TO BUY

As mentioned in the review, this Chinese Dao sword was purchased here at Kult of Athena for $469.95 which is the best deal on this blade.


I hope this review of this Chinese Dao Sword has been helpful. To return to Chinese Swords from Best Mid Priced Chinese Dao Sword, click here


Buying Swords Online Can Be DANGEROUS!
Find the Best Swords in the:

FEATURED ARTICLES & REVIEWS


Damascus Steel Sucks

Why cheap so called 'Damascus' steel (folded steel) swords are actually some of the WORST buys on the market. Don't believe the hype..


eBay Scams Exposed!

The article most China based eBayers don't want you to see.. The dirty tricks and deceptive practices of the worst sellers on eBay exposed..