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Skip Navigation LinksHome > Shinken (Sharp Katana) > Selection Guides > Old and New Practical Comparison

Old and New Practical Comparison  Previous Item Next Item

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 Practical Elite 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 $250.

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 Shinken Dimensions.

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 here.