Paul Chen Tiger Katana Sword

Reviewed by corwin99 on January 5th, 2008


This is the first Japanese Style Katana sword I have ever owned, so my impression of it is that of a beginner sword collector. I picked it up for a pretty good price, and really enjoy it for what it cost. I think it’s a really well made and beautifully construction sword, with a nice balance and feel to it. I have never cut with it, nor have I ever cut anything with any sword I own.

Since I purchased this Paul Chen I have owned a couple more swords (and handled many more), so I do have some others to compare it with as far as quality is concerned. This Paul Chen Tiger Katana from Hanwei is probably one of the better Hanwei blades I have handled, but I think the newer ones like the Tori are of better quality. The Tiger is still a very nicely made blade, at least my example was. All the hardware was very snug and no wobble. There was some saya (scabbard) rattle, however.

The hada (surface pattern) was beautiful with a nicely defined hamon. The polish was also quite nice and even throughout. Running my fingers along the bo-hi (Blood Groove) I could feel that it was not perfectly and there were some ups and downs, but nothing that was noticeable with the naked eye. The bo-hi is mirror polished.

The hardware that came on this blade is really nice however, and the saya is inlaid with little brass leaves, and has a kojiri (saya end cap), as well as a brass koiguchi (saya entrance). Most of the possible adornments are found on this blade. The Tsuba (Guard) and Menukis (Handle Decoration) are all gold plated, as well as the Fuchi and Kashira (Ornaments above and below the handle).

Right now the Tiger Katana swords are being liquidated from most sellers and can be purchased around $800, which is a steal for such a beautiful sword in my opinion. Most serious collectors will shun these blades as they are not ni-honto (Japanese made sword) or custom North American swords, which typically run around $3000 all the way to $15,000 or so for a ni-honto. I don’t have the finances to support such a habit, so I try to get the best I can from beginner smiths or purchase blades from Chinese forges, like Hanwei.

The Tiger Katana now has been upgraded with a Tiger Elite, which is a thicker, nicer one. Keep an eye out for those!

Blade Length: 30 1/2″
Overall Length: 44″
Handle Length: 13 1/2″
Weight: 3lb 6oz

5 Responses to “Paul Chen Tiger Katana Sword”

  1. Razor Family Farms Says:

    Hi! Just thought I’d stop by and see your site. WOW!! This right-out-of-Kill-Bill sword is pretty nifty!

    Thank you for the compliments on the guinea house. Thanks to a ton of rain last night, we won’t be painting the trim for a few days. The guineas seem to like the A-frame and perch as high up as they can. From a distance they look like vultures on a powerline! Could you send me a link to the picture in the Toronto paper? Sounds interesting!

    All the very best to you and yours!

  2. Tony Cheetham-Hudson Says:

    I own a tiger Katana and trained in iado some time ago with it but I do not train now. I run a shotokan karate club which takes much of my time up but I am justly proud of my £650.00 investment 4 years ago. I was surprised at the £1090 price tag for the same weapon now. I wanted a wakisashi and tanto to compliment it but now the wakisashi costs more than what I oaid for the Katana. I was interested in your review. There is something abut the Sword and I love it and it looks like it is a collectors item now. I would be interested in your views and feel free to contact my e mail if you would like to

  3. msouthworth1978 Says:

    Great review.I am a professional martial artist and sword collector,I personally have had several Hanwei/Paul Chen swords,I have still the kami had it about ten years and customised it.I believe the cheap end swords such as the practical range are aimed at practitioners and the top end at collectors,however I think and have spoken to other people( sellers) about this this,in the top end models you are paying a lot of the money for cosmetic things such as nice saya tsuba etc,the folding used is more cosmetic and not really giving any additional strength as it is in the authentic Japanese Tamahagane steel swords.a lot of people think the top end models are quite over priced,I remember last looking on a English sword vender selling the tea ceremony tamahagane steel katana it was then £1800 so thats like what $2500.if I was going to spend so much on a katana I think I would save so more and get a real shin-Ken from japan

  4. paul precure Says:

    I have a Cold Steel katana I need to sell, I need the money. If you know other collectors, do you anyone who would interested? Never been used, no rust, but there are some tiny cracks at the top of the sheath so it does grip the sword like it should…

  5. corwin99 Says:

    Try ebay or swordforum?

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