Sounds exciting! (by that I mean scary!) Has it been getting worse do you think? Is the diving still worth it? Tamahagane actually refers to a type of steel that is produced using a tatara, or clay tub furnace. The quality of the tamahagane, as steel, is only as good as the abilities of the person producing it and the ore that they use. Lots of places toss the word tamahagane around because that is what the Japanese sword makers use to produce traditional Japanese swords (by government mandate, not by choice). Modern steels are, in general, much cleaner and much more uniform (not to mention simpler to work with!), and so will produce a better quality of steel for sword use. Visually, they look pretty much like a lot of the katana coming Chinese forges. I have never actually handled one of his swords, nor do I know anyone that has. Based strictly upon his ebay ads, I do not think I would spend the money on it myself, due to too many unknown quantities. Here are the things that make me personally leery ... 1) He pushes the fact that he makes his own tamahagane. This just means he doesn't have to actually buy any steel, and we have no idea how well he controls the amount of carbon in his swords. Too much carbon in the steel will make it brittle, not enough will make it too soft. 2) Just because he can forge a sword does not mean that it is properly shaped and balanced. The forge that produces blades for Cold Steel makes very tough and nice looking blades, but all the ones I have held have felt very much like sharpened pry bars to me. We have no way of knowing whether his are the same or not. 3) He says he's been practicing traditional polishing, and shows many examples. However, we have no way of knowing if his edge geometry is actually correct for a Japanese sword, or if they are as properly sharp as they should be. (the polish is what shapes and sharpens the edge). Also he states that he traditionally burnishes the shinogi (flat of the blade), but his pictures do not look like it. His pictures look like they are machine burnished as other Chinese made swords are. Traditional burnishing looks either completely black in pictures or like a mirror if there is something for it to reflect as it comes out extremely smooth and shiny, which is the point of burnishing. 4) The most important aspect of a sword (if you're planning on actually using it) is how it is put together. He mentions almost nothing about that in his ads, and his fit and finish looks about on par with other Chinese forges. The only way to really tell what is good quality and what isn't, is by actually getting a sword in hand, taking it all apart, and giving it a thorough inspection. Even then, questions will remain.