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Mike Stedham 12-10-2004 01:49 PM

Paul Chen Practical Plus katana
hey im just a sword collecter and i am considering getting the paul chen practical plus katana. i cant really afford anything more expensive than what ive found it to be so far. ive heard pro's and con's about it and was wondering if anyone has it and how they like it. is it well polished? i had also heard that because of the differential tempering it causes discoloring in the blade. and how sharp is it? i saw a video of someone using this sword i believe and seems to cut very well.

James Young 12-10-2004 02:15 PM

Re: Paul Chen Practical Plus katana
Although I don't own one personally, in most nihonto circles the Paul Chen PK-Plus is considered a functional martial art weapon, but is essentially a bottom-of-the-line, entry-level shinken. It is is sharp enough to be functional for some tameshigiri and all that, but as far as the fittings, the polish level, and overall general craftsmanship of the katana is concerned, while functional, it is considered pretty low. Most collectors wouldn't even be interested in something like this as nothing on the weapon is worth admiration particularly and aesthetically you're not getting much more than a stainless steel wallhanger will give you which you can buy for less than a $100 at your local mall.

kironin 12-10-2004 02:24 PM

Re: Paul Chen Practical Plus katana
great tool for cutting practice, has decent balance, kinda short for us bigger folks. I know one person who uses it for Iaido practice because
they are at the level of needing to practice with a sharp sword and can't afford a steel iaito or better.

it has no collector value what so ever.

Christopher Letzelter 12-10-2004 07:46 PM

Re: Paul Chen Practical Plus katana
Hi Mike,
I own a PPK. As others stated, it is an entry-level blade, just a step above the Practical Katana. My understanding is that the same blade is used on both models, the difference being that the Practical's tsuka is epoxied on (non-removable), whereas the PPK can be disassembled for tsuba or hilt upgrading. I've seen some folks do this, the results look good, but it's still an entry-level blade at heart. The blade comes differentially tempered, but not polished to bring out a hamon; instead, the hamon is acid-etched. The polish on the blade is decent, and it comes sharp, good for light cutting. In my opinion, the differential hardening left the spine softer than I like. My blade has cut soft targets well, but took a slight (1/2") bend on harder, more substantial targets (3" thick soaked newspaper rolls). It could make it through 2" rolls, but not thicker; however, my technique isn't that great. The fact that it bent, though, suggests to me that it might be OK for single tatami mats, but I wouldn't rely on it for intense tatami practice. I was able to bend it back to straight, it glides back into the saya, but I do intend to get a beefier blade in the future. This may not be a popular model, but the Cold Steel Warrior katana can be had for almost double the PPK, and is through-tempered (it springs, doesn't take a set when bent) without a hamon. Other differentially-hardened models in the Cold Steel price range would be a Last Legend Mark II or the Generation 2.
Hope this helps,

Mike Stedham 12-10-2004 08:52 PM

Re: Paul Chen Practical Plus katana
thanks for the help guys. you're alot better than any of the reviews i've read online

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