Back to Back Issues Page
Sword Buyers Digest - July 2008
July 01, 2008

Paul Southren Welcome to the July edition of the digest!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already half way through the year again – and what an exciting year it is shaping up to be for us sharp and pointy enthusiasts. In this months edition, we take a look at some of these developments in Collectors corner with Dan, have a look at how the review team is shaping up, and mix it in with our usual collection of fun and mayhem.

Hope you enjoy it!


3. COLLECTORS CORNER: “Summer of Swords – Why This is One of the Biggest Summers in Sword Collecting History”
5. VIDEO OF THE MONTH – ‘Lagnes Messer’


Obviously the big news for June was the announcement of the official SBG Review team, and the fact that we are now taking applications for positions on this exclusive group of enthusiasts – who will receive a steady supply of free swords to review and test out based upon their own current interests and leanings.

Last month, we saw a new member join the team, brining the total number of reviewers to 6. You may have seen some of his videos on youtube (if not, you can see all 32 here on Youtube), but I’d like to take a moment to welcome Skallagrim to the team!


We’ve seen a whole heap of brand new, high quality reviews added to the site and we have several members who are coming VERY close to also qualifying for a position when the next slot becomes available – so keep ‘em coming guys!

In other site news, we saw several new reviews, including one by myself of the Ryumon Dragon Katana. Ryumon are a brand that were much maligned by the various sword forums when they first came out with this particular blade back in 2005 – and as a consequence of this – no one, including myself, ever took them very seriously.

But as you will see in the review, this was a bit of an oversight – and while this neglect has consequences – I am very pleased to say that this sword was very much a ‘diamond in the rough’ and well worth a serious look (albiet, even if it is a little late).

It certainly was one of the most enjoyable reviews I have done in a long time, I love finding swords like this! ^_^ (Initial feedback from people who have bought this sword based on my recommendation are finding that it is a consistently good product).

MANY more reviews are scheduled to be added this month, and I will be laying the foundations for two new sword categories, so to stay up to date on what happens, as it happens – be sure to visit the SBG News section or better yet – subscribe to the RSS feed for up to the minute additions.

P.S. For anyone who has been waiting, all the Cheness Cutlery swords such as the Kaze, Tenchi, SGC, etc are officially back in stock at the SBG SWORD STORE. The Kaze in particular isn't going to last very long (last time it came in, it was gone in 2 weeks) so if you want one you had better get in quick. Thanks, Paul.


A couple of new write ups were added to SMG in June – one very old and well established company and a very (very) new and revolutionary one... The first is a synopsis of Arms and Armor – a historical European sword manufacturer based in the USA that has been around since 1982! While there is little doubt that their products have stood the test of time, and have been very well received by the sword community for all these years, we managed to find a bit of information to give the best balanced picture of what to expect from A&A. The second company is VERY new, and indeed – we have watched it go from an idea on the SBG Sword Forum to a brand new supplier of Chinese Kung fu swords that have a strong emphasis on functionality, handling and price. Check out our write up for Garret Chan’s Jin Shi Trading Co. to see for yourself.

Otherwise though, this month has been fairly quiet on the surface – but as you will see in Dan’s Collectors corner, there is a lot going on behind the scenes as we prepare for the 2008 ‘Summer of Swords’ – including some very interesting developments from Musashi Swords filling another niche for the collector on a budget with their range of sub US$200 Presentational 1045 carbon steel Katana (pictured below)

Musashi Presentational Katana

With so much going on behind the scenes, you’ll want to make sure you keep your finger on the pulse, so be sure to check the SMG Newsfeed often - or better yet, use the RSS feed to get announcements in your RSS reader.

“Summer of Swords – Why This is One of the Biggest Summers in Sword Collecting History”

Dan Dacombe Summer is usually exciting for all the normal reasons: vacations, nice weather, blockbuster movies, no snow to shovel (if you’re a Canadian, this is number one, although the lack of hockey stings a little). High school students finish off another year, and suddenly realize 3 days into their summer holidays that they are bored out of their skulls.

For those of us in the work force, we all start counting down the days until we can kick off and start camping or fishing. But this summer if you are a sword collector, it is especially exciting. If you aren’t sitting on the edge of your seat, here are a few reasons why you should be:

1. The new Hanwei/Tinker Line – Prototypes are in, photos are up, and some of the most anticipated swords of the year are on the move. Hanwei’s partnership with Tinker has been talked about for months, but the prototype photos blew away all the expectations. With several new models including blunt and sharp versions of bastard sword, arming sword and viking sword models, Hanwei is continuing to expand their European sword offerings and move past some of the issues that have plagued this line in the past. If some of their improvements in the past – like peened pommels and better tempering – are any indication, these swords are really going to shine.

2. The new VA Signature Line – After Sonny Suttles took the reins of Valiant Armoury, they have been making waves in the community like a fat guy jumping into a wading pool. Their partnerships with Angus Trim and Christian Fletcher shocked and delighted many who bought swords on a budget and could never afford works by those artisans. The VA Practical lineup – designed in part by Angus Trim – hit the market just a few short months ago, and since then has become extremely scarce at retailers due to their popularity. But the photos taken of the Signature Line swords – The Actium, Castille, Bristol and Kreigschwert – I don’t know about you, but I was amazed. The scabbards, belts and fittings by Christian Fletcher, and the blades by Angus Trim were a winning idea from the start, but I don’t know if even Sonny expected them to turn out so brilliantly. And the price tags on all of them – they will average under 500$ even with the scabbards and belts – are just unheard of. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven, where many of my suggestions about what heaven should look like had been reviewed by management and implemented. If they don’t sell out within a few months of hitting the market, I will personally drive to all of the people who are still sitting on the fence about buying them and give them a stern talking to.

3. The Hank Reinhardt Collection from Generation 2 – Since Hank’s untimely death earlier this year, Generation 2 has been throwing their considerable weight behind some of the designs that he had given them. Rumours swirled about the forums, and some new ideas were floated past the public, but when the pictures of the Henry V sword emerged, a collective swordgasm hit the forum members at SBG and Myarmoury. Here was a sub-300 sword that captured accurately the sweeping quillions, the hollow-ground blade, and the detailed pommel, enough to amaze collectors of much more expensive swords. I’m sure I’m not the only person who imagined makers of high-end production swords looking nervously over their shoulders as Generation 2 suddenly began to close the quality gap at well above the speed limit.

I could keep going on, talking about other events like the emergence of the Jin-Shi trading company (see SMG for details), Darksword Armoury’s new swords hitting the market (with improvements in design and finish, including a few custom designs by SBG forum members), and Musashi’s new presentational katanas to name a few, but there’s just too much awesome and not enough space to talk about it. All I’m going to say is this: stay tuned, boys and girls. This is going to be a summer for the record books. Time to dust off that credit card and jump into the market; remember, it’s good for the economy!


NEW: Members Collection Galleries
You should see the number, and the quality of the swords in SBG Forum members collections! Droolworthy stuff, but don’t be intimidated, add your own and document it as it grows (comments disabled in this thread, its a gallery!)

Invisible Sword Hangers
Looking for an innovative way to display your medieval swords on the wall without having to mount it on a plaque? Shootermike has found the answer...

Swords – What is the Attraction?
Interesting discussion on what attracts us to swords and why. Everyone has their own reasons, but you’d be surprised how common the answers are...

Flame War? Katana the greatest sword ever...?!
Oh oh... With a topic like this, you can be guaranteed there is plenty of friction. However, the thread itself contains some gems from both sides to further the knowledge base of fans from either side of the iron wall...

Article on Tameshigiri by Shimabukuro Sensei
The original article is easier to read from the PDF link. But it is a very eye opening look at the history behind Tameshigiri, how it is regarded in Japan and much more.


The third and latest video by German based ‘The Real Gladiatores’ is an excellent demonstration of both the sophistication and true martial value of the Langes Messer (Big Knife) that this group of modern day scholars have unlocked from the works of Johannes Lecküchner and the Codex Wallerstein.

The quality and production values of their videos set a new standard, and I look forward to see what they come up with next! But for now, even if you are not an enthusiast of medieval arms, it is well worth a look to see that the extinct martial techniques of Europe are well worth some serious investigation and respect...

Youtube vid of the Month

You Tube Video of the Month

Always a pleasure to watch.


A selection of hot product discounts and clearouts from our affiliated vendors. Grab a bargain and support SBG at the same time!

Ok, this isn’t really a limited offer or anything – but since Trueswords have recently added pretty much the entire line up of Cold Steel Machete to their store – with their focus on the best prices, fastest delivery and the best possible customer service combined – and considering that you can pick up a huge variety of rather viscous cutters at about the US$20 price point each, it is worth a serious look.

Cold Steel Kopis

You can read a couple of reviews of these blades that I have recently added to SBG here (5 Cold Steel Machete’s are tested in total in this newly added section, and the results of at least two of them are very surprising!).

In the meantime, if you want something sturdy and fun for some yard work or tree chopping duties, you might want to check these out as there seriously isn’t a more functional and affordable sword like blade than the humble machete. ;-)

Cold Steel Machete at

Hope you enjoyed this edition of the Digest. Tons more to be done this month, so stay tuned! I tell you, if I didn’t love swords so much SBG would have seen me burned out a long time ago. But who needs sleep when you have swords...! ;-)

Until next time...

Paul Southren

Back to Back Issues Page