CAS Iberia question?

Jdokan

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What do folks think of the Cas Iberia merchandise??? I am buying thier Blue Orchid as something to pass on to my son when I promote him his Shodan...I (he) won't be cutting with it I just thought it would be nice to honor his first ranking and present to him something that someday he will be able to pass on....
 

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Moderator's Note:

Post moved to its own thread, to generate more responses.

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Grenadier

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CAS Iberia makes a wide variety of swords. Some are excellent, some are good, some are terrible. This variety of quality tends to apply to swords within the same model as well. A reputable dealer, though, will carefully screen out the bad ones for you.

The Orchid is a beautiful sword, indeed. It's lighter than your usual blades, but still makes a very nice cut. I've only used one on soft targets (tatami), but it cut as well as any other blade that I've ever owned, and I was getting some very nice swing speeds.
 

bakxierboxer

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CAS Iberia makes a wide variety of swords. Some are excellent, some are good, some are terrible. This variety of quality tends to apply to swords within the same model as well. A reputable dealer, though, will carefully screen out the bad ones for you.

I'm a former dealer for CAS Iberia.
CAS Iberia markets a wide variety of swords from other manufacturers.
Anything other than their own brandname is likely to be "display only" or a rather small "cut above" that and is noted as being such.

Their own brand is usually noted as being suitable for "re-enactment" and some of their models were used with decent success in "bear pit" encounters by members of SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism).
(usually euro-weaponry)
 

lhommedieu

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I'm a former dealer for CAS Iberia.
CAS Iberia markets a wide variety of swords from other manufacturers.
Anything other than their own brandname is likely to be "display only" or a rather small "cut above" that and is noted as being such.

Their own brand is usually noted as being suitable for "re-enactment" and some of their models were used with decent success in "bear pit" encounters by members of SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism).
(usually euro-weaponry)

I have their pinute y daga set and it's pretty damn sharp. I don't think that members of the SCA will be using it to spar with any time soon.

If you took the time to sharpen it well I have no doubt that it would be a formidable weapon. I haven't had time to test cut with it but it would probably handle tatami cuts with no problem.

Best,

Steve Lamade
 

Grenadier

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I'm a former dealer for CAS Iberia.
CAS Iberia markets a wide variety of swords from other manufacturers.
Anything other than their own brandname is likely to be "display only" or a rather small "cut above" that and is noted as being such.

Thanks for the clarification. They offer such a wide range of stuff, that it was getting confusing.
 

bakxierboxer

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I have their pinute y daga set and it's pretty damn sharp. I don't think that members of the SCA will be using it to spar with any time soon.

If you took the time to sharpen it well I have no doubt that it would be a formidable weapon. I haven't had time to test cut with it but it would probably handle tatami cuts with no problem.

"Pretty damn sharp" is more than adequate to "cut it" for any given battlefield.
"Razor sharp" is more for a "masters duello".
SCA "bear pit" events also featured chain-mail, shields and armor.
(ok, there was probably some "cooperative" "shield bashing" going on for the "entertainment effect".
 

bakxierboxer

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Thanks for the clarification. They offer such a wide range of stuff, that it was getting confusing.

I think it's also worth noting that they've decided to append their own CAS badge to the Paul Chen(?) Hanwei line.
(the fittings on their earliest stuff were not up to rigorous handling and loosened almost immediately, and I have to assume that's been remedied in order for the "adoption" to take place)
 

Sukerkin

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I've Just bought a Paul Chen Practical Wakizashi and that's arrived with a C.A.S. Iberia label.

It looks okay from what I can tell (obviously can't check it out too much as I''m at work right now ... then again, maybe nows the time to ask about a rise :eek: :lol:!). The habaki is snug and the ito seems good and tight. The sageo is a bit on the 'cheap' side, as is the saya (altho' the laquerwork is thick around the kurigata).

My one immediate complaint is that the blade is heavily greased - I know that that is for the blades good in storage whilst waiting to be sold but they could've cleaned it up for shipping, as now all that gunk is in the saya.
 

bakxierboxer

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I've Just bought a Paul Chen Practical Wakizashi and that's arrived with a C.A.S. Iberia label.

It looks okay from what I can tell (obviously can't check it out too much as I''m at work right now ... then again, maybe nows the time to ask about a rise :eek: :lol:!). The habaki is snug and the ito seems good and tight. The sageo is a bit on the 'cheap' side, as is the saya (altho' the laquerwork is thick around the kurigata).

My one immediate complaint is that the blade is heavily greased - I know that that is for the blades good in storage whilst waiting to be sold but they could've cleaned it up for shipping, as now all that gunk is in the saya.

Sounds good so far.
As for the grease, you have to remember that they're forged in China and probably come here by ship. Salt air/water is not something you want an unprotected blade exposed to for any length of time.
I don't recall having that on the Euro-blades, but shipping from Europe at that time used to be rather quick.
 

Sukerkin

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A very good point about the protective 'lube', Boxer :tup:.

Now I've had the chance to look at it closer and put it through a few kata, my opinions dropping somewhat.

The ito is not as tight as I thought - it shifts quite a bit when you apply tenouchi. I can see that it wont take long for it to become dishevelled.

The 'hamon' is quite uneven (supposed to be straight but forms a distinct crescent). There are scratches on one side of the habaki and a discolouring of the steel adjacent to it as if a larger one had been forced on and then removed.

The 'same' does not properly wrap the tsuka - I can see wood at the tsuba end where the 'same' does not extend to the edges and the ito fails to hide it.

I can't decide whether to complain and see if they offer me a better QA'd example or just send it back (especially as it was advertised as a live blade and the accompanying label says that if it's used as anything but an ornament ... ).

On the plus side, it does match my Paul Chen katana (which was the point of buying it) and it did only cost just over 瞿100 so I'd feel a bit of a heel complaining about 'low' quality. If the tag was 瞿200 I might feel more justified.

I shall be getting (or attempting to get) a wakizashi to match my Tozando Hon Jidai Koshirae and I'm expecting a price in about that region (given that the katana was over 瞿400) ... and a quality boost to match.

As an ex-CAS, what do you think, Boxer? Are the niggles only to be expected for this price range? Or should I try and get a better example?
 

bakxierboxer

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A very good point about the protective 'lube', Boxer :tup:.

Now I've had the chance to look at it closer and put it through a few kata, my opinions dropping somewhat.

The ito is not as tight as I thought - it shifts quite a bit when you apply tenouchi. I can see that it wont take long for it to become dishevelled.

The 'hamon' is quite uneven (supposed to be straight but forms a distinct crescent). There are scratches on one side of the habaki and a discolouring of the steel adjacent to it as if a larger one had been forced on and then removed.

Sorry to hear of any lack of satisfaction, but "you get what you pay for"
AFAIK, it's virtually impossible to get a completely "even" or symmetrical hamon when they are actual signs of the heat treat.
The symmetrical ones are normally decorative add-ons/colorings.
OK, some are the result of "pickling" metal-hardening treatments, but are not at all the same thing as a real heat treat and are not particularly desirable.

I can't decide whether to complain and see if they offer me a better QA'd example or just send it back (especially as it was advertised as a live blade and the accompanying label says that if it's used as anything but an ornament ... ).
"live blade" and the "ornamental" warning "do not compute" for me.
My major concern would be if the ornamental statement was in their advertising.... as in "truth in advertising", which would handily explain "everything". Reread the advertising very carefully. If there is "room" for misinterpretation, I might approach them over the phone in your "most helpful manner", telling them how much you like their line, etc and emphasizing your intent to make future purchases, including the more expensive one you indicate you're contemplating....

On the plus side, it does match my Paul Chen katana (which was the point of buying it) and it did only cost just over 瞿100 so I'd feel a bit of a heel complaining about 'low' quality. If the tag was 瞿200 I might feel more justified.
If they replace it, please go by your experience and use it as a decoration only.... it *is* in that price range. (although there are scads of *really* cheap **** out there)

I shall be getting (or attempting to get) a wakizashi to match my Tozando Hon Jidai Koshirae and I'm expecting a price in about that region (given that the katana was over 瞿400) ... and a quality boost to match.
That would be my expectation, as well.

As an ex-CAS, what do you think, Boxer? Are the niggles only to be expected for this price range? Or should I try and get a better example?
Personally, that seems to be about what I'd expect in that range.
I'd try *nicely* for a clean replacement *and* buy a better model if you feel that the earlier example was up to your expected standards.
IME, they were always reasonably consistent quality-wise and I don't recall ever having to return anything.
The early example I mentioned loosening up didn't bother the fellow who bought it.... he loved the blade and I assume that he did whatever was necessary to fix it to his tastes.
 

Sukerkin

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Many thanks indeed for your detailed response my friend.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you say and have more or less concluded that to complain about minor imperfections in such a 'cheap' blade would be a touch on the cheeky side.

As to the 'live blade'/ 'wall hanger' dichotomy, I think that most of the surprise comes from the fact that I know the Paul Chen Practical series is intended for cutting practice, so it was an eye-brow raiser to see the warning label when I got it out of the box. I can't honestly say that there was anything misleading in the on-line site that I bought it from - they just didn't say one way or the other. I'll have another look but I'm fairly sure.
 

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AFAIK, it's virtually impossible to get a completely "even" or symmetrical hamon when they are actual signs of the heat treat.
Boxer,
Actually, that is not true. In Japanese sword circles it is called "suguha", and is considered quite desireable and difficult to achieve. It is NOT something that you are likely to find in a production sword though, so I agree with you there.

Sukerkin,
The same does not wrap the tsuka in Hanwei swords, it is simply panels on the sides. Cosmoline is standard practice for swords coming from China. The only way you'll get one without a thick coating of cosmoline is if the vendor cleans it off during pre-sales inspection. In my experience, Hanwei's quality is very hit or miss. I've seen inexpensive swords from them that were really well made, and I've also seen expensive swords from them that were garbage. While you could probably get the vendor to send you another one, there's nothing that says that it might not be worse than the one you have. The problems that you note are pretty consistent for this level of sword. Unless the ito is too loose to use safely, I would suggest considering them minor problems and ignoring them.

The "ornament" label is simply to aid them in a lawsuit if some goober chops off a finger and sues them. They can defend themselves by saying that it was obviously used in a manner against their written recommendations.

For the original poster,
The Orchid katana is quite nice, and a good one will serve as a decent heirloom piece for the price, which is quite low for a Japanese style sword. The only caution I would offer is to make sure and order from a reputable company that offers pre-inspection and has a good return policy. This will add a bit to the cost, but it is well worth it as Hanwei swords can vary wildly in quality. It all depends upon how good the particular people that worked on your sword in the factory are. Some of those people are excellent, some are ... not so excellent. :)
 

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I'd agree with pretty much everything you say there, pg.

I didn't know that the grease was called 'cosmoline', so I've fulfilled my 'learn something I didn't know' requirement for today :tup:. I was just surprised that it wasn't cleaned off before being shipped to me as it came from Blades.uk i.e. they had it in stock in this country and obviously hadn't inspected it.

I'd twigged that the 'ornament' label was a 'behind covering weasel words lawyer trick' but was again just surprised because of what the Practical line is actually made for. Making a range of cheap 'cutters' and then saying it's purely for decorative purposes is hardly playing cricket with your client base :D.

Regardless of minor moans tho', she's staying home now. After all, with good advice I got elsewhere I shall shortly (hopefully) be getting hold of a more upmarket example :).
 

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Many thanks indeed for your detailed response my friend.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you say and have more or less concluded that to complain about minor imperfections in such a 'cheap' blade would be a touch on the cheeky side.

As to the 'live blade'/ 'wall hanger' dichotomy, I think that most of the surprise comes from the fact that I know the Paul Chen Practical series is intended for cutting practice, so it was an eye-brow raiser to see the warning label when I got it out of the box. I can't honestly say that there was anything misleading in the on-line site that I bought it from - they just didn't say one way or the other. I'll have another look but I'm fairly sure.

OK, glad I could "help"... :D
Since you're keeping it and reinvesting in a better quality piece, perhaps you might want to rewrap the handle to suit yourseld and just whack away with it as a "banger"?
 

bakxierboxer

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Boxer,
Actually, that is not true. In Japanese sword circles it is called "suguha", and is considered quite desireable and difficult to achieve. It is NOT something that you are likely to find in a production sword though, so I agree with you there.

This is a bit of a puzzle....
The temper-line is rather dependent on the metallurgical content and density of the area treated.... neither of which is entirely consistent under "traditional" methods of workmanship. A modern-manufacture mechanically punch-pressed blade would seem to be more consistent in these respects and hence have a "more even" temper-line.
For modern blades, a perfectly symmetrical temper-line is a "warning" to me.
For ancient works of art... I have zero experience and claim no expertise at all.

Sukerkin
... Cosmoline is standard practice for swords coming from China....
"Cosmoline" is a WWII or earlier protectant.
I'd be surprised if there weren't better substances available by now, but that has little to do with artifacts coming from the "outback" of China.
I stopped dealing swords when the Internet began to "gut" the market.
I could get close enough to my dealer cost from lots of higher-volume sources to satisfy my own wants.
 
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