Its very hard to find decent quality Chinese Dao suitable for serious kung fu usage in our sub US$300 price range. But Hanwei have two.
The first one I have personally reviewed in detail here and to be honest, from a functionality point of view, it is one of my favorite blades of all time (especially considering the price point). But this one is just a little more attractive, though the attractiveness does come with a little more maintenance as you will see ..
Review by Jay Ferron, Reston, USA
I purchased the Oxtail Dao after much consideration.
I'm a long time Chinese martial artist, whose sword experience is limited to the standard in the martial arts industry (i.e. sheet metal weapons).
This broadsword opened my eyes.
Now, please forgive my clumsiness in attempting to post these photos - this is my first shot at this. If it ends up all jacked up, I'll give it another try.
Here is the blade:
And here is the weapon in its scabbard:
Alright, provided that all this is working so far, let me try and put things in standard terms:
Firstly, as far as historical accuracy goes, I feel confident in saying that this Oxtail Dao, though likely not modeled after any particular Dao of its type, certainly adheres to the spirit of the broadsword. That is to say, it's a weapon of the foot soldier, a weapon of the peasant, and in that, it's right on the mark. Simple, modest, yet supremely effective.
Fit and finish: I've pored over Paul's review of the Practical Hanwei and I have to say that this one is the Practical's elegant older brother.
The blade is definitely similar, with a triple fuller instead of the single that the practical sports, yet the hardware is of that vastly underrated metal - brass - both on the handle and the scabbard. The blade fits snugly yet draws easily from its scabbard - with no wiggling or shifting if you were to wear it on your hip.
Handling: Welllllll, I have to admit, the Chinese swords I've dealt with up to now have been of the general martial arts community standard - sheet metal with a big flag on the end. Don't think less of us because of it, that's just how things are. Frankly, if I did a form with this sharpy, I'd likely lop my own ear off. I did cut a few bottles and a dangling rope with this beauty, and I must say, it was terrifyingly sharp. A bit tip-heavy, but that may be only because of what I'm used to.
Structural integrity: VERY sturdy. As I said, I love the brass fittings and the way it fits into its scabbard. There is no rattling or wiggling at all as it's being handled. My only gripe, and it's a minor one, is that the bloody handle is wrapped in black and the scabbard itself is brown. C'mon, don't you guys at Hanwei know the FIRST rule of accessorizing?
Value: What can i say? Considering the hundreds of dollars I've pi$$ed away on toss-away sheetmetal martial arts weaponry over the years, I can happily say that this is the best $136.40 I've ever spent.
2lbs overall. POB is 5" from hilt. The blade is 24.25" and the weapon itself is 30.5" top to bottom.
So, alright, I've got a lot to learn and deal with when it comes to reviews, photos and whatnot. I hope this can be overlooked and that the community can benefit from this info. This is a super-fun sword and I hope to be able to hone my skills to the point where I can swing it around with the deftness and confidence that I do my rapidly-oxidizing, unsharp and flimsy kungfu blades.
An update is in order! I have both a caveat and hopefully what some will consider a helpful tip.
BRASS is beautiful, but oh my gosh does it tarnish quickly. I guess I must have suppressed the time I spent in the military meticulously polishing the brass on my uniform (or I may have just killed that part of my brain with whiskey). In any case, the solution is a good amount of time polishing with Brasso, Twinkle or the beloved Metal Glo. I've used the latter in the pics below. Here is post-50minute polishing session shiny brass:
What you might not know is that an excellent way to keep your brass (or steel) from tarnishing after putting in all that work is a simple coat of silicone tire shine! I use it on brass fixtures as well as the swords I use in kungfu - the coating does two things:
1) keeps the blade protected from my nasty sweat, and
2) keeps messy sword oil from staining my uniform! All you need to do is put a light coat on with a cloth and allow to dry.
I hope this review of the Hanwei Chinese Dao Broadsword has been helpful. To return to Chinese Swords from Hanwei Chinese Dao Broadsword Review, click here