Old and New Practical Comparison
The practical katana was the sword that launched the Paul Chen Hanwei
forge. The original was almost straight and was not a very good
cutting sword. Later versions were better, but the glued on tsuka
(handle) kept it out of most dojos.
We just received the first shipment of new
katana. Wow what a difference. It has a removable tsuka (handle)
that allows inspection of the nakago (tang), but the big difference is the
blade. The geometry of the Elite has really be improved. The
Practical Elite katana lists at $275 compared to the Practical that lists at
The Practical Elite Katana has a 27" blade compared to the 27 1/4" Practical
Katana. The increased blade geometry increase the weight to 2.34 lbs.
That is about 1/4 lb more than the Practical Katana but still 3/4 lb less than
the monstrous Wind
and Thunder. All the physical measurements for both can be found at
The fittings on the new Practical Elite katana (top) are pretty much
identical to the Practical Katana (bottom). The habaki on the Elite does
have a rain drop pattern that was not on the Practical.
The blade geometry and hamon (temper line) on the Practical Elite Katana
(top) are significantly different from the Practical Katana (bottom). The
Mihaba (height) of the blade is wider. The kissaki (tip) and all the lines
of the katana seemed much more defined on the Elite. The Practical Elite
Katana blade thickness tapers from the nakago to the kissaki more than the
Practical Katana. The Practical Elite Katana blade thickness at the nakago was
wider, but the thickness at the kissaki was about the same as the Practical.
The whole appearance of the Practical Elite Katana (top) is quite an
improvement over the Practical Katana (bottom). More detailed pictures of
the Practical Elite Katana can be found