A Note on Standard of Quality
Frankly, this section of our web is a difficult one to write, but I feel it is important, nonetheless, because "quality" is a difficult concept to convey via the Internet.
Periodically, we have Public Health Service swords returned to us for perceived "flaws" ... in particular, small scratches on the blade and on the underside of the guard. My assessment is that there is some perception that ceremonial swords should be of "jewelry-grade" quality; this is not the case.
Many Public Health Service professionals are familiar with surgical stainless steel, a nearly flawless steel used in health care for many reasons, including a lack of any scratches which could harbor micro-organisms. The stainless steel used in military swords serves a different function ... to keep the blade from corroding. While ceremonial stainless steel is a high quality steel, it is not the exceptionally high quality surgical stainless steel.
Most sword manufacturers finish their swords by hand: soldering, grinding, buffing, and polishing. I personally compared the various swords from different manufactures and have chosen WKC because of their consistently high-quality finished pieces. For an idea of what several of these differences are, visit our Navy Sword Comparison Buying Guide, as the USPHS sword has many similar aspects with the Navy sword (leather scabbard, gold fittings, etc.). Despite being what we feel is the best hand-crafted sword available, WKC's swords are not considered to be "jewelry-grade" quality.
A jewelry-grade finish on a sword with a surgical-quality stainless steel blade and which is completely devoid of any blemish would cost well over $1,000. The market does not support such a level of quality for an item that is meant to be worn and used.
This informational page does not mitigate our quality pledge or satisfaction guarantee. Our goal is simply to communicate with our customers so they know exactly what they are purchasing. We carefully inspect every sword before it is shipped and occasionally find a slight flaw which needs to be fixed - we do not ship these swords to customers.
Again, the best time to inspect your sword is immediately upon arrival - before it is worn or used in ceremonies. If you feel your sword has a defect, please a digital photo of the problem is most helpful.
Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)