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Sword Buyers Digest - June Edition 2015
June 01, 2015

Great to be back for another issue of the digest! Lot's to get through this issue, so let's get straight to it shall we?


1. From the Desk of Paul Southren

2. Bad Sword of the Month

3. Video of the Month

4. Best Forum Posts

5. Hanwei Raptor Blowout Sale

From The Desk of Paul Southren

First off, a big thanks to everyone who donated to support the continuation of the digest. The response is much appreciated, especially to one kind person in particular who donated $100! I won't embarrass him by naming him in person, but well - you know who you are, thank you so much - and thanks to everyone who helped us make another issue..! We had better make it a good one, right?! Lol.

Last month was a crazy busy month at SBG - the upgrade to a responsive, mobile friendly site went through a couple of transitions - you can see one of the earliest ones documented on our facebook page but I think what we have now should do with a few minor tweaks here and there as we go..

It was quite tricky to determine if and what sword we should use to represent the site, if it is a Katana, the medieval die hard crowd feels put out and visa versa. So we opted for a generic, rebated Viking sword - just because the fuller is thick enough to write our sites name on it..!

But the upgrade was not only cosmetic, I also rewrote the medieval and Japanese Sword pages - splitting up the previous content into sub pages so that load time is faster and the overview doesn't lose people in the details..

Have a look and see what you think! Feedback is always very welcome!!

We also added several new pages, including a slightly tongue in cheek beginners guide to Japanese sword terminology and a couple of quizzes - the first one which is still in beta is a the latest incarnation of the Find a Sword Quiz for Japanese swords, and the second one..

A 2 minute test to find out how much you REALLY know about Japanese swords!

Japanese Sword Quiz

Give it a try and see if you can pass, you need to get over 70% of the questions right, only get one extra try but if you pass - you get a certificate to show off to everyone that you really know what you are talking about (yeah, I made the test - so the certificate you see above is kind of cheating, right?! Oft times the more I learn about Japanese swords, the less I feel I know!!).

Speaking of Japanese swords, Project X Japanese is in the final stages of completion - we have had quite a few updates from the forge, but I have decided to go over to the forge in China for a personal inspection just to make sure as we have a new model on offer, and a couple of Wakizashi too - so I want to make sure it is all tickety boo.

I will extend my stay over there by a few weeks as I also have some personal reasons for going - so not sure if my email will be working perfectly through the great firewall, so apologies to anyone who I cannot get back to quickly. The trip starts tomorrow - so I probably should wrap up the digest and actually pack my bags!!

But not quite yet - let's continue with…

Bad Sword of the Month

The concept - take one of the most interesting stories from Japanese history, the tale of the 47 Ronin, and tell it to a wide audience was a good one. Until they decided just to use the name - and tell a different story with Magic, Monsters in some mysterious vaguely Japanese looking land - and make a sword with almost as much of an identity crisis to go with it! It's a Shirasaya! No wait, there is more..! It has SOME ito - slide it off mid cut if you don't like it.

It's made from - 1045 Carbon steel..! Sharpened.. Maybe even tempered! Amazing fake hamon - one mekugi peg (inserted). The menuki are - oops, no menuki.. Rayskin er, oops - Shirasya, no Rayskin..

But the price..! MSRP of just $325!! Limited to 2,000 pcs worldwide!! $325 for a 1045 carbon steel blade and half an ito in Shirasaya? Should have limited it to zero and made a movie based closer to the real story..

Next there will be the movie "Miyamoto Musashi" - the fearless Ronin warrior who fought a dragon with his two giant Buster Swords and defeated Ghenghis Khan's horde singlehandedly. Spinning.

Hmm, best not to give them any ideas…! (seems these days that kind of pitch would work in Hollywood).

Video of the Month

European versus Japanese swords - which are better? If you believe National Geographic et al, you will be convinced that the Katana is the best sword in the world and European swords, just brutish, clubbing things by comparison.

The reality is, many historical "experts" were incredibly biased - here are some examples of the worst.

If we knew more about the actual replicas used - maybe these tests would mean something. But the Katana used in many of the videos were monotempered, one actually had the most awful looking fake hamon I have seen in years and was compared the old Windlass Shrewsbury sword which went on closeout at $99 in 2005 and was well known for being too "whippy"..

I rest my case, and wish that they wouldn't rest theirs so easily.. If they took a Cold Steel Warrior Katana versus an Albion, could they still say it is a fair comparison? Rant over.. ;)

Good video, though annoying choice of background music..!

Best Forum Posts

SBG forum: Titanium Swords?
Stronger than steel for its weight, right? So why aren't modern swords made from it? Read the thread for the Pros and Cons of a Titanium steel sword.

SBG forum: Polishing a Badly Rusted Bugei Katana
Here's a hands on, pic heavy walkthrough how Jussi Ekholm restored an expensive, but badly rusted Bugei Katana.

SBG forum: disassembling a Katana
Should you do it? Can it do more harm that good? What are the pros and cons? A brief, but to the point discussion.

SBG forum: Simulating Binding with Synthetic Wasters
Swords like the Red Dragon Armory Synthentic Wasters are great for safe sparring, but a downside is that they do not simulate how swords bind when the edges bite each other. Here's a clever idea to simulate it..

The Hanwei Raptor Blowout Sale!

We had a small taste of it last month - a shipment of Hanwei Forge Raptor Katana came in with a handful of models having slight gaps in the rayskin - nothing major, and barely noticeable unless you look for it.

But still, this was enough for Hanwei to mark them down as seconds - and now a second, much larger shipment has also been effected - and have been selling like hotcakes since the 14th of May..!

While stocks are starting to run out - there are still enough to last another week or so, and currently we have 4 out of the 6 models still available - marked down from a MSRP of $450 and our usual, heavily discounted price of $299.99 to just $199.99!!

Here is a quick run down of what models we still have available.


Shinogi Zukuri: Basically a "standard" configuration. Zukuri more or less means "blade style/shape". The Ito wrap is quite standard too.

Shobu Zukuri: Has a finer "iris leaf" tip and battle wrap on the longer 13" handle. Quite an elegant design and at $194.99 is the cheapest of the line up. First appeared in the 14th century.

Nanbokucho Zukuri: The biggest of the line up, with a 30" blade, 13" battlewrap handle and serious cutting power designed for heavy targets, though still well balanced enough for double cuts.

Wakizashi: Suitable to match with any of the Katana to make a Daisho set, and at just $129.99 is crazy cheap..

Stocks won't last forever, and I doubt they will EVER repeat this mistake, so if you want a great blade with a barely noticeable cosmetic defect at an unheard of discounted price, well, you know what to do..!

Check them all out here on our Specials Page!

P.S. Due to the popularity of this deal, please allow a little extra time for shipping. There is a slight bottleneck, but the team are doing their best to minimize any delays. But a deal like this is worth waiting an extra day or two for (weekends get in the way, so the sooner you order the better - especially as it is first in first served).

Well, that is it for this issue of the digest. Need to quickly pack my bags and get ready for my trip to China. Ll tell you the highlights next issue, until then - stay safe and happy swordening!

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