The Making of Paul Chen Swords

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The Making of Paul Chen Swords

Post by Big Lazy » Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:55 am

I found the following on a website I sadly can not link too, so I just copied and pasted the text cos it's an interesting read (H)

Behind the Scenes at the Hanwei Forge

Despite recent (and quite fierce) competition, Paul Chen Hanwei Swords are still some of the best quality affordable Japanese style swords available. And while Mr. Chen himself is the first to admit that his swords are not perfect, he constantly strives to get collectors and enthusiasts ‘bang for their buck’.

In fact, the very reason he started making swords some 35 years ago was that he found, as a collector himself:

“Good quality swords were too expensive, cheap swords were very bad quality, so I decided that I should make my own” - Paul Chen

Basing his initial designs on several antique swords left to him by his grandfather, Mr. Chen gathered together a team of experts in forging, polishing, heat treating and furnishing, transformed an old chicken hatchery in the Manchurian city of Dailan into his workshop, and has been producing Paul Chen Hanwei swords there ever since.

While the sheer volume of swords made there leads some people to think that Paul Chen Hanwei swords are mass produced, this is actually an illusion. Mr. Chen in fact supervises a team of some 35 skilled sword smiths who in turn supervise 4 times that number of assistants. He also insists that despite high production levels, each sword is individually made.

This was noted by a visitor to the Forge, Mr. Guido Schiller of the German Consulate in China, who writes:

Another surprise awaited me: a very clean, well organized working environment, a relaxed, almost family like atmosphere. Although a few power hammers make work easier for those working in the smithy, most work is done the old fashioned way, using anvils and regular hammers and a lot of sweat.

The actual manufacturing process involved in creating Paul Chen Hanwei swords consists of 6 basic steps.

Firstly, a billet of 1095 high carbon steel is hot forged into a rough sword shape by power hammers. The scale is then removed from the sword, which at this point is still soft and straight (the curvature of a Japanese sword is actually caused in the heat treatment phase!).

In the third stage, a special clay (Mr. Chens' own recipe) is applied by hand to the blade, thin at the edge and thick at the back. The blade is then reheated to a predetermined temperature and rapidly quenched in a water bath, which because of the different thickness of the clay, creates a differentially tempered blade with a harder, sharper edge and a softer, more flexible spine.

It is also during this stage that the blade develops its characteristic curve.

From the smithy, the tempered sword is then stress relieved and polished by hand with wet sandpaper. Acid etching brings out the hamon, and after a final polishing, the handle and other fittings are added and soon after leaves the factory for export.

Unfortunately, the sheer volume of Paul Chen Hanwei swords his forge produces means that a lemon slipping through their quality control department is not at all an uncommon occurance, especially on their low end "Practical Katana" series of swords (the PK & PPK).

This is a problem that Mr. Chen does not attempt to deny.

“Quality control is a very serious concern and we are addressing this problem all the time. We have not yet reached a satisfactory stage, and will always try to improve quality” - Paul Chen

Luckily, reputable sword sellers inspect their shipments of swords prior to selling them to ensure that their customers aren’t getting one of the lemons (after all, Mr. Chen asks the sellers to send back any defective swords to be corrected and noted to avoid a reoccurrence).

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Re: The Making of Paul Chen Swords

Post by wtf? » Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:20 am

Larny Boy wrote:


Unfortunately, the sheer volume of Paul Chen Hanwei swords his forge produces means that a lemon slipping through their quality control department is not at all an uncommon occurance, especially on their low end "Practical Katana" series of swords (the PK & PPK).

This is a problem that Mr. Chen does not attempt to deny.

“Quality control is a very serious concern and we are addressing this problem all the time. We have not yet reached a satisfactory stage, and will always try to improve quality” - Paul Chen
thanks man. i remember having a load of people telling me that hanwei blades didnt have the quality control issues, and the practical range was just as safe as anything else.

heres the contrary information, right from the horses mouth.

also... sellers, on the whole couldnt spot a defective katana if it inserted itself into a human orofice, and screamed ive ass f****d you... if you sell me, ill do it to someone else.

i feel absolved today, cheers Larn

HatchA

Re: The Making of Paul Chen Swords

Post by HatchA » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:00 pm

wtf? wrote:also... sellers, on the whole couldnt spot a defective katana if it inserted itself into a human orofice, and screamed ive ass f****d you... if you sell me, ill do it to someone else.
I'd most definitely have to agree with you on that one!!

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Re: The Making of Paul Chen Swords

Post by darksun_uk » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:16 pm

wtf? wrote:
Larny Boy wrote:


Unfortunately, the sheer volume of Paul Chen Hanwei swords his forge produces means that a lemon slipping through their quality control department is not at all an uncommon occurance, especially on their low end "Practical Katana" series of swords (the PK & PPK).

This is a problem that Mr. Chen does not attempt to deny.

“Quality control is a very serious concern and we are addressing this problem all the time. We have not yet reached a satisfactory stage, and will always try to improve quality” - Paul Chen
thanks man. i remember having a load of people telling me that hanwei blades didnt have the quality control issues, and the practical range was just as safe as anything else.

heres the contrary information, right from the horses mouth.

also... sellers, on the whole couldnt spot a defective katana if it inserted itself into a human orofice, and screamed ive ass f****d you... if you sell me, ill do it to someone else.

i feel absolved today, cheers Larn
what was said exactly was that due to the massive numbers of swords made a 0.001% failure rate of chen swords will show up more than a 0.1% rate of ANY other maker a point that still stands as statistical fact is impossible to argue with. i dont care either way.

kind regards

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Post by Lexxorcist » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:24 pm

Considering the price of the practical range, I don't think there's much to complain about there, at least from what I've heard of similarly priced competition. I won't be impressed if my bushido arrives with bits hanging off though. :evil:

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Re: The Making of Paul Chen Swords

Post by wtf? » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:28 pm

darksun_uk wrote:
wtf? wrote:
Larny Boy wrote:


Unfortunately, the sheer volume of Paul Chen Hanwei swords his forge produces means that a lemon slipping through their quality control department is not at all an uncommon occurance, especially on their low end "Practical Katana" series of swords (the PK & PPK).

This is a problem that Mr. Chen does not attempt to deny.

“Quality control is a very serious concern and we are addressing this problem all the time. We have not yet reached a satisfactory stage, and will always try to improve quality” - Paul Chen
thanks man. i remember having a load of people telling me that hanwei blades didnt have the quality control issues, and the practical range was just as safe as anything else.

heres the contrary information, right from the horses mouth.

also... sellers, on the whole couldnt spot a defective katana if it inserted itself into a human orofice, and screamed ive ass f****d you... if you sell me, ill do it to someone else.

i feel absolved today, cheers Larn
what was said exactly was that due to the massive numbers of swords made a 0.001% failure rate of chen swords will show up more than a 0.1% rate of ANY other maker a point that still stands as statistical fact is impossible to argue with. i dont care either way.

kind regards
read the posts... reads them again.... cant see those numbers.

i see...
"Quality control is a very serious concern and we are addressing this problem all the time. We have not yet reached a satisfactory stage, and will always try to improve quality” - Paul Chen
and im going on the basis that if its a serious concern for the owner/public face of the company, then its definately a concern for me, and should to buyers, also.

but thats just me, and people are more than welcome to make up their own mind. the info is there for everyone to read.

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Post by darksun_uk » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:54 pm

semantics aside i was merely pointing out the fact of the huge numbers of chen swords made for the sake of fairness.

kind regards

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Post by wtf? » Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:02 pm

darksun_uk wrote:semantics aside i was merely pointing out the fact of the huge numbers of chen swords made for the sake of fairness.

kind regards
yeah, i'll conceed that. which is why more fail. but that doesnt mean thats the price you pay for making lots of swords. it means that quality isnt at its best.

the thing thats got me most, is that he doesnt say that quality control is bad for the practical range... just that the WHOLE control proces is lacking, and its displayed more in that range.

now the info is there, and from the sourse, i cant say much more... its in black and white... so to speak.

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