The Niu Wei Dao from LK Chen is a fine and highly functional recreation of the late Qing Dynasty “Oxtail” Dao; an iconic design that found favor in the 19th century among militias, bodyguards, martial artists and commoner’s alike. The flared design with a reverse-curved grip is optimized for powerful, sweeping cuts on lightly armored or unarmored targets and its rise parallels the disappearance of armor and the ascendance of firearms in China.
Unlike many modern replicas, LK Chen’s version of the Niu Wei Dao began with a close study of period originals to ensure that the sword had the significant distal tapering of the blade needed to give it a favorable weight and lively balance. Many poorer reproductions have blades too thick in the flared cutting section of the blade, but LK Chen’s model thins considerably to create a flat and wide cutting plane which not only benefits the balance and handling of the sword, but also allow it to cut into and through a target with minimized drag and resistance.
The blade is forged from GB 60Si2MnA High Carbon Manganese Steel which is a spring steel that is not only resilient, but able to flex and return true with ease. The blade is also suitably stiff and not floppy or whippy, thus keeping loss of cutting potential to excess flex at a minimum. The tempered hardness is 54-55 HRc and the edge is honed and sharp. The large guard, ferrule and pommel are crafted from fire-blackened cast iron with a lacquered finish coat. The wooden grip is bound in intricately braided black cord and the sword tang is both pinned to the grip and peened over the pommel for dual-security and a tough construction.
The sword is matched with a scabbard of well-carved and smoothly polished wood which is completed with fittings of blackened bronze.