These ratings are based upon the overall presentation of an item. This includes where the item is made, the sturdiness, the way it is packaged, the craftsmanship and the materials used. Our rating of a particular item is based on the single item we've been able to test and may not necessarily reflect the ratings of identical items from different cases or manufacturing lots, although deviations are rare.
Please do not assume a rating of (1) if an item does not feature a rating. We are constantly updating our ratings as we have the opportunity to test each product; if you don't see a rating, it probably means we just haven't had the chance to test it. In addition, we're always open to your input and consider such input when creating our rankings.
Note: Even though our ratings were designed to work mostly with swords, we also use this same system to rate our other products. Things such as armor, helmets, gifts, etc.
(1) Poorly Crafted - These items are for display & decoration only. There is a very high risk of damage to the item if used in any other way (swinging included). Most are made in Pakistan or China and will feature noticeable blemishes on the blade, handle, pommel, or scabbard (if included). Also, the blades may 'wobble' in the handle due to the design of the item. This is normal and is part of the construction, since they are for display only.
(2) Mediocre - Items with this rating are often crafted in Pakistan or China as well. They most likely will feature a blemish or two on the blade handle, pommel, or scabbard (if included) and the blades have a chance of being 'loose' in the handle. These too are for display only and not made for practicing or combat situations.
(3) Decent - Great display pieces! These items may feature a loose blade or a few loose pieces (such as the pommel or cross guard) and are not recommended for any other use than decoration.
(4) Fair - Better than Decent but less than Average. Good quality display pieces with a great appearance to them.
(5) Average - Items with a rating of Five are of average quality. Sturdier than the lesser quality items, they will not wear and tear as fast.
(6) Finely Crafted - Being above average, these items are made with superior materials are will last for quite some time. The blades will have a clean look and will be very sturdy.
(7) Nearly Flawless - These items are made of superior materials & craftsmanship and are very well made. Anything with this rating lives up to the standard of the Seven.
(8) Flawless - Superbly crafted items! These are made of exquisite materials and are very high quality! Only the well-deserving will receive a rating of an Eight.
(9) Absolutely Flawless - Only the best items receive this rating! Items rated with a Nine are made of exquisite materials and are very high quality! Extremely sturdy and are sure to please all the senses.
(10) Incomparable - Only the BEST of the best receive this rating! Items with this rating are superior in every way, shape, and form. Each item is of surpassing make! Only the choicest materials and the utmost craftsmanship are used.
These ratings are based upon the sharpness of an item. Caution should ALWAYS be used when handling blades despite the sharpness rating.
(1) No Edge - Items with this rating do not have an edge what-so-ever. Some of these items are functional - meaning that they are very well made - but they do not feature cutting capabilities.
(2) False Edge - A rating of two denotes the look of an edge without the sharpness of one.
(3) Slight Edge - This rating implies that there is an edge that is able to cut, although a significant amount of force must be used before any noticeable damage occurs.
(4) Semi Sharp - This rating insinuates that the blade does have an edge that can cut you.
(5) Average - Factory sharpened to a minimal degree. This item can and will cut you if discretion is not used.
(6) Above Average - A higher quality of sharpness than a Five but still factory sharpened.
(7) Sharpened - This begins the realm of low-end custom blades and high quality commercial blades. Surpasses field requirements.
(8) Very Sharp - Watch out when handling an item with an Eight. They are very sharp and WILL cut you if you do not use caution.
(9) Extremely Sharp - Exceptionally & professionally sharpened to near surgical quality. Almost a Ten, but not quite razor sharp.
(10) Razor Sharp - Respect and caution MUST be taken when handling a Ten. There are few words that can describe how sharp these items really are.
(1) Display Only - Should not be used for any type of combat - this includes, but is not limited too, swinging the sword around nor hitting any other objects.
(2) No Contact Use - The item is capable of being used for light swinging in moderation - perhaps to be used to practice the forms of sword-play.
(3) Light Contact Use - Able to withstand simple parrying of another blade and/or being able to attack simple objects (i.e. cardboard, kata mats, & styrofoam.)
(4) Full Contact Use - Stage steel quality! This is completely functional in every way shape and form. The item is able to withstand blows from another sword & is able to be used for combat purposes.
PLEASE NOTE: It is best to have the supervision of a qualified person to be present at all times when a sword (or other weapon) is swung around as there is a danger in hurting yourself, bystanders, or the weapon itself.
It should also, be noted that a bladed weapon would need to be replaced after every battle due to it being destroyed during combat. We suggest STRONG CAUTION when using your sword for this purpose as damage WILL occur to the blade.
(Damages include, but are not limited to, loosening of components, along with nicks & scratches and dings and dents to the blade itself.)
If you wish, perform a test cut with your sword. All we ask is that you use the proper target materials for practice and that you do so under the supervision of a qualified instructor. It should be pointed out that the Japanese, who believe in a lot of sword practice, use thick bamboo. The bamboo is resistant to a cut, but doesn't have the rigidity of a tree, and so would not damage a valuable blade. For a Samurai to hack at a tree would have been unthinkable.
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