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Sword Buyers Digest - June 2009
June 01, 2009

Paul Southren This month we’ve got one of the coolest cutting videos I have seen in a long while, the official line up of the Review team shortlist (plus more info on our next stage of rewards for regular review contributors), a very special offer for higher end Katana collectors, and all the usual fun and digest goodness that you have come to expect.

So sit back and I hope you enjoy this months issue!


2. SWORD INDUSTRY NEWS (Revamp in Progress)
3. SBG COMPETITIONS: How to become a Vip Sword Reviewer!
4. COLLECTORS CORNER: Sword Buddies – Part 2
6. VIDEO OF THE MONTH – ‘Amazing cutting skills! (Japanese TV)'


May saw several new reviews added to the main site for our upcoming Renaissance Swords section, including:

Taza Cup Hilt Rapier Review (Hanwei) – By Charles Appel
Basket Hilt Broad Sword Review (Cold Steel) – By Thomas Kinder
Renaissance Side Sword Review (Hanwei) – By Odingaard
Schiavona Sword Review (Del Tin) – Review by Larry Lim

Plus, I FINALLY managed to get a couple of reviews done myself, including the blunt as a post (but wonderful when sharpened properly) Mortuary sword by Hanwei (pictured below) and another winner by Global Gear, their very accurate to the movie G917 Highlander Sword which was quite a joy to cut with as seen in the review.

Mortuary Sword in Hand

The Mortuary Sword and My New Garden – a better backdrop for reviews than the old one and more private for cutting mayhem!

Really felt good to get back into the swing again of doing some reviews, and I have another couple planned for this month that should be interesting, and we will soon be adding the final Renaissance Reviews to a new dedicated sub section, so lots happening behind the scenes as usual! To see how it all comes together, be sure to visit the SBG News section or better yet – subscribe to the RSS feed for up to the minute additions.


This is the last ‘boarding call’ to get your hands on the SBG custom Katana before I close off on accepting new orders for the next couple of months so the forge can concentrate on getting these new designs fulfilled…!

I’ll be holding the doors open until Wednesday the third, so if you’ve been sitting on the fence on this one, you’ll need to get your order in quick smart…

I also added a new custom Katana ‘gallery’ page which features designs by previous customers and some pictures of some prototypes, several of which are for sale at $299.99 shipped (most are sold, but some – like the one below – are still for sale).

One of the SBG Custom Katana prototypes

Anyway, time is definitely running out on the current batch of orders, so if you want to see your own design come to life, there really is no time to lose…

Click here to design Your Own Katana!



It’s not that there is no news in the sword industry to repot, but rather that the time has come to give our sister site, Sword Manufacturers the attention that it deserves...

Over the next couple of months I will be adding some new features to this second site (not including clairvoyance, pardon the pun!) – including a much better dedicated newsfeed and blog, a new look and feel, navigation options and more manufacturer bios for a start (indeed, I am putting in a request to the SBG community first with regards to the look and feel - so if you have some graphic design skills, I'd love to hear from you! Check out the relevant post in the forums here).

Anyway, all this that is just the tip of the iceberg...

So please bear with us while I put on my hard hat (or Spangenhelm as the case may be) and get to work reconstructing SMG and giving it the new lease on life that it really does deserve....

To see how it takes shape, be sure to check the SMG Newsfeed often - or better yet, use the RSS feed to get announcements in your RSS reader.

SBG COMPETITIONS: The Final Review Team Shortlist Members, and how to become a VIP Sword Reviewer

SBG Wants Your Reviews! Even though we officially closed off on new applications for the SBG Review Team, make no mistake, SBG STILL WANTS YOUR REVIEWS!

And we are implementing a new system to reward those of you who become regular review contributors...

But in the meantime, below is a list of the SBG forumites who have ‘made the final cut’ and will, in turn, be receiving a free sword to review to see if they can secure a permanent place on the official review team:

Cj Werner
Charles Appel
Larry (larlim)

I’ll be in contact with each of the members above over the next few months to organize their free review sword. But in the meantime, we are still handing out review points – though getting 100 will work in a slightly different way...

The new system is still in it’s infancy, but I think that you’ll find it to be pretty exciting!

”Sword Buddies – Part 2: The Different Kinds of Sword Buddies”

Dan Dacombe Last month we talked about how to go about finding hidden sword buddies in the world around you, and possibly converting a few to the cause – think of it as conversion to the sword instead of conversion by the sword (ha! Who doesn’t like grim humour about the Crusades and the Inquisition?)

Once you find yourself in a group of sword buddies, though, you may notice some… interesting dynamics coming up. With any group of people that share a common interest there are a variety of factors that contribute to the emergence of a “pecking order” – or level of popularity and influence in the group.

It may sound silly for grown adults to be worrying about that sort of thing, but it is actually pretty normal – I think everyone has some residual instincts in this area left over from being in groups and clubs as a child, and no one wants to fall on the wrong side of the spectrum (you know, like that unpopular kid in Scouts who actually memorized the rulebook, collected all the badges, and could tell a square knot from a reef knot and both from a bowline – though fat lot of good it did him when we duct-taped the little jerk to a tree…).

In order to help you, the reader, navigate the treacherous waters of your group of sword buddies, we here at SBG have come up with a list of the 5 most common types of sword collectors that you are likely to encounter. Hopefully, this will prepare you in some small way for encountering them.

1. The Newcomer – Here is the man or woman who is brand spanking new to the world of sword collecting, and boy can you ever tell. They probably own swords already, but their swords are mostly stainless steel and purchased at kiosks in the mall run by high-school dropouts. When they see your collection they are likely to become amazed and/or obsessed with it – and no amount of cajoling or threats will keep their sticky fingers from checking each blade “to see how sharp it is.” A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so every new bit of info will stick in their head like a Great Dane in a Terrier-sized doghouse. When showing them a new piece, they might respond by saying, “Yeah, but is it battle ready?” in hushed tones, for example. You can spot a Newcomer not only by their own actions, but by looking for the slightly pained expression on the faces of more experienced collectors nearby. They are not a significant threat to you, so be gentle; we were all there once.

2. The High-End Snob – This isn’t just the collector who owns high-end swords, not by any means – many people own swords from prices of several thousand and up, and are quite friendly and supportive of their sub-$300 friends. No, this is the person who spends more money on swords than some people do on brand new cars, and he wants everyone to know it. He doesn’t touch production swords, and usually has a smirk and condescending comment for the people that do. No, his swords are real swords, by God, and he goes to great lengths to emphasize the fact. They were custom made by a sweaty, hairy man over a forge somewhere, and from the amount of times he mentions this you start to wonder if he’d rather just trade his swords for a sweaty, hairy man and be done with it. This person is the greatest threat to you in the pecking order, as not only do they have experience with swords much more expensive (probably) than yours, but they will quickly monopolize the group with conversations such as, “The amount of money I spent on this custom powdered-steel katana exceeded the GDP of some European Union nations.” Watch yourself.

3. The One-Hit Wonder – this is the collector who bought a sword, liked it, and hung up his or her credit card. Not only that, but they can’t figure out why anyone would buy any other sword than the one they did – after all, they found the perfect sword. Why would you want to waste money on anything but? According to them, their sword has the perfect balance, the perfect polish, and is unbreakable. Sometimes the One-Hit Wonder refuses to let anyone but themselves touch their precious weapon, which can make for some awkward encounters reminiscent of someone having a new toy in the schoolyard. Discussions with them usually follow the same frustrating path; always winding up at the same place – “You know, if you want a really good sword you should get the (Albion/Cheness/Cold Steel/Hanwei/etc) that I have. It’s pretty much the best sword in the world. I think they did a study.” Only a mild threat level from this individual, since most collectors can’t stand them and the ones who can often have some kind of excuse/ulterior motive (marriage, indentured servitude, etc).

4. The Historical Keener – This person knows a lot, and worse off he or she knows they knows it, and assumes that once you figure out the height/depth/breadth of their knowledge you’ll fall in line in no time. They’ve read all the books, trolled the forums for years, and even though they would never use the word “expert” about themselves they certainly won’t object if anyone else does. The Historical Keener is the most common hijacker of conversations, jumping in uninvited with historical tidbits, passing judgement on sword designs for being “at least ten years out of date for the period,” and making vague references to authorities on the subject that support their claims. No topic is safe – start talking about cutting bottles, and the Historical Keener will bring up the use of water containers in Medieval Europe. They are the biggest threat next to the High-End snob, though they tend to mellow with age – many Keeners are quite young, and as they get older and wiser they gain a bit more humour and humility. Sometimes.

5. The Absentminded Collector – The spaced out hippies of the sword world. This person loves collecting swords, they love owning swords, but darn it if they can’t remember exactly what they have. Ask them how many swords they have and they’ll give you a number, only to change it later when they remember “the ones on the walls.” Conversations with them can be frustrating simply because they’ll express interest in a sword of yours, hem and haw about buying one of their own, only to remember that they have one on the wall in their home office. It can be simply maddening to try and interact with them, because they usually wind up having more swords than any of the others in your group, even if they keep forgetting about them. It isn’t unusual to be hanging out at a Absentminded Collector’s house when the doorbell rings and a new sword is dropped off – yet by the mystified expression on their face you realize that they have no idea what they ordered. They are a moderate threat, because they have so many swords, but luckily for you they probably won’t remember that they have more than you do.

Thanks for reading – tune in again next month!


Sword Related Jobs
And yes, there is one on offer too..!!!

Why Do You like Swords?
Everyone has a reason why they are attracted to the sharp and pointies... But maybe you haven’t thought about exactly why? Well some SBG forumites have... (long and interesting thread)

Odingaards Wood Core Scabbard Making Tutorial
An EXCELLENT step by step illustrated guide to making your own wood core scabbard for a medieval sword, really great stuff here.

Sword Safety Tips (Learned the Hard way)
Sword nuts safety tips, don’t skip this – and the second post with the video of the guy almost decaptitating his training partner always makes me cringe (and he was REALLY stepping backwards, uf he had not... I shudder to think about what would have happened to him...)


Ya gotta love Japanese TV shows – my wife watches them all the time, and even though my Japanese language skills fade in and out, seeing the video of the month – which features awesome Katana cutting skills and subtitles pretty much made my day... From cutting beans in half with a horizontal from attempting to draw cut on a BB bullet as it is fired from 15 meters, this video is fairly long but in true Japanese TV style, it’s over far too quickly...

Youtube vid of the Month

You Tube Video of the Month

Gotta love those slow motion shots...

Hope you found something of interest in this months issue, until next month – stay safe and have fun with swords!

Paul Southren

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