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Sword Buyers Digest - March 2009
March 01, 2009
Welcome to another issue of the best monthly online Magazine for sword collectors and enthusiasts in the world! (then again, we are the ONLY monthly online magazine for sword collectors and enthusiasts in the world – apart from Light Saber magazine, but that is published in a galaxy far, far away...)
Anyway, as you can tell I have officially run out of ways to introduce the digest, so until I figure out something exciting to say next month – let’s get straight into it! ;-)
1. SBG SITE NEWS AND UPDATES
Amongst the additions of several new independent third party reviews to the site, including the Practical Plus Elite Katana, the Valiant Armory Practical Arming Sword and the Practical Long Sword (both of these which are now available to pre-order at the SBG Sword Store – and should be shipping out around the middle of the month)...
...I also spent several days compiling a comprehensive index of the site.
The index lists every single article and review on the main site all in one place – as there are many sub articles there that people tend to miss (I know that for a fact, as I am often asked questions that are already covered in an article or review on the site. Lol).
But to make it even easier to find what you are looking for, I also added a very cool SEARCH feature by google – which searches every single article site wide, as well as everything from the ‘ask a question’ area – and as usual with google, it works very, very well..!
Of course, going through all these pages meant that I saw a lot of stuff that seriously needs to be updated – which I have been working away quietly on in the background on in the last days of February (with the most needed updates happening in oft neglected movie swords area). However as long time subscribers will know, all this tidying up usually means that we are about to launch something new – and indeed that is very much the case – so stay tuned for a brand new section on rapiers and renaissance swords that should start to take shape towards the end of the month.
Another little project I have been working on is a new blog dedicated to keeping customers of the SBG Custom Katana up to date – but it also will have information on when we will next be opening them up for new orders, as well as some sneak previews of SBG Custom Katana related projects (yes, the base line of Katana is just the beginning!). Have a quick squiz at the blog here if you like, I’ve got a few nice pics of the guys at the forge at work making the blades.
To keep up to date with all of these changes, be sure to visit the SBG News section or better yet – subscribe to the RSS feed for up to the minute additions.
P.S. I forgot to mention it last issue, but SBG is now on Facebook. So if you are a 'facebooker', hope to see you join on up! ^_^
I know that Valiant keeps on ‘making the news’ here at the digest, but there is good reason – no-one else out there seems to be as innovative or as good as collaborating with the heavyweights of the industry to redefine what is possible for the medieval sword enthusiast on a budget. And they have indeed done it again, with a new designer – the legendary John Lundemo from Odinblades joining the fray, with his first design to be a Euro style saber from his ‘Warder Series’.
Very exciting stuff indeed, with the prototype due out for John’s final approval any day now.
While this is not exactly NEW news (try saying New News 10 times fast!) – it is worth a mention.
One of the oldest sword manufacturers still in the business (since 1965!) – Del Tin – have now made their swords available directly from one of the most respected sword sellers in the industry, Kult of Athena, and the variety of swords available is quite impressive.
It is very much a match made in heaven – and now it is no longer necessary to wait 9 months and import the swords from Italy with the hassle of exorbitant shipping costs, paperwork and customs hassles. Prices are (as always with KoA) very, very attractive – so it is well worth a look at something old that has become new again...
To stay on top of developments in the sword industry as they happen, be sure to check the SMG Newsfeed often - or better yet, use the RSS feed to get announcements in your RSS reader.
”The First Cut is the Deepest: Accidents with Swords”
The katana had a loose tsuka.
I could feel it when I swung; a slight shifting under my hand, as if I was swinging a rattlesnake instead of a sword. The tang felt like it was moving inside the handle – it was quite unnerving, really. So once I confirmed that this was the problem and I wasn’t just crazy, I asked around on the SBG forum about what I should do.
“Not a problem,” came the response. “A bit of epoxy in the handle and that’ll tighten it right up. No hassle, no problem.”
“Good show,” says I. “I’ll whip the handle off, put some epoxy in there, and put the handle back on lickity-split. Thanks for the help, guv’ner.” (When I’m asking questions on the forum I talk like that – makes me feel sophisticated). I believed that it wouldn’t be a problem for the same reason that I believed the shelves in the bathroom would be a snap to install, or that I could easily fix the washing machine, or that I never noticed dirt around the house until it had amassed in sufficient quantities to attract its own moon. I am a MAN, baby, and just point me at a project you want done and then stay the heck out of my way. I’ll go after it like a marine hoofing a pack of C4 into an enemy bunker.
I get this powerful instinct from my father, who in turn got it from his father. Unlike me, though, they actually had the expertise to back it up – both of them could build a house from scratch, including the trusses, wiring and plumbing, and actually had on several occasions. I struggled with assembling our new child’s “idiot-proof” playpen, which in degree of difficulty to assemble seemed (to me at least) comparable to the International Space Station. So perhaps I should not have assumed the best of this epoxy business before I got it started. No matter. Here’s how it went.
I went down to our local hardware store – it wasn’t a Home Depot or a Rona or Canadian Tire or any of those “friendly” places. It was an ancient landmark of a building, a MAN’s hardware store, by God, so don’t expect any pansy things like labels or prices on the stuff you want to buy. If you can’t tell what a 5/4 inch gromit with parallel flanges looks like on sight then you’re probably not going to make it out of the store alive. I went to the epoxy aisle, which had been restocked last during the Reformation, and spent a happy 45 minutes trying to figure out what the right balance between slow drying (“I have to leave the katana alone until my grandchildren go off to college”) and quick drying (“I think I just glued my hands to my eyeballs.”) I settled on 20-Minute Epoxy, which sounded like it would give me enough of a head start that I’d be able to finish the whole project before anything became too permanent. I set up everything I needed in the basement and got to work.
Problem 1: 20 minutes was a very generous estimate. 2 minutes would have been more accurate. I found out later by reading the package that the epoxy itself, once mixed, hardened after 2 minutes. The 20 minutes guideline was the time after which removing it with a blowtorch would no longer succeed.
Problem 2: When you’re holding a sword that has epoxy all over the tang, there’s really no intuitive place to hang onto it. The blade seems inviting, but don’t heed its siren’s call!
Problem 3: When a tsuka is full of (too much) epoxy, it’s very difficult to get it back onto the tang since there is nowhere for the epoxy to go. This might go without saying, but to me it was a bit of a shock.
I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but the blade slipped out of the (admittedly precarious) hold I had on it. I was wearing thick work gloves with rubber palms designed to keep your hands safe, and that is probably what saved my guitar playing days. The hand-honed blade went through it so neatly that I didn’t even feel it at first. My initial thought was that it had stopped before it reached my skin.
I pulled off the glove and saw the blood – always an interesting experience, seeing your own blood.
“Gadzooks,” I remarked calmly.
“What was that, dear?” my wife called from upstairs.
I suddenly recalled all the dire warnings that she gave me regarding keeping sharp swords in the house. Panicked. “I said I’m in love with another woman!” I shouted up the stairs.
There was a pause, and then I heard a resigned, “Whatever,” from upstairs. We have an interesting relationship.
Despite all of my “be prepared” stuff that I learned in scouts, and the continual First Aid courses that I take for work, there was nary a band-aid in sight. I wiped my hand with the rag and saw a long but shallow cut across the palm that still bled a surprisingly large amount. I also saw the katana sitting there, tsuka half on with quickly hardening epoxy oozing out from around the tang. I wrapped the only thing I could around my hand – a sock from a nearby laundry basket – and used my Emergency Measures Device (read: hammer) to get it the rest of the way on. After scraping as much of the excess epoxy off the ito as I could, I tapped the pegs in and left it to dry while I slunk off to find some bandages.
The cut was so neat it didn’t even leave a scar. But you might not be so lucky. Bottom line: BE CAREFUL. These suckers are sharp. And you don’t want to have to explain the blood to your spouse.
“Dear, what’s that stuff on the floor?”
“Oh that, that’s paint. It’s been here since the builders left.”
“Then why is it reddish brown?”
“That’s the colour our paint is.”
“Our paint is beige. And the basement isn’t even painted.”
“I’m in love with another woman!”
SBG Forum Review Index!
Japanese Swords – Sharpness Scale
Rebirthing the Practical Pro Elite Katana
Fighting 4 swordsman with a Katana
Lloyd from Lloydianaspects.co.uk is a strange man.
On his website, he describes himself as “archaeologist, photographer, explorer, toast farmer, armourer, evolutionary psychologist, oxymath, erumite, gentleman” – and its true that his youtube videos are no less strange, but also very educational and entertaining.
But in the one I have selected for this months Video of the Month, he discusses a topic that is often talked about by me with my friends – sword noises. Specifically – why they don’t make that sound when drawn you hear in the Hollywood blockbusters...
Good on you Lloyd! ;-)
A selection of hot product discounts and clearouts from our affiliated vendors. Grab a bargain and support SBG at the same time!
While the site overhaul is still not yet 100% completed, if you haven’t visited in a while you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to navigate. And while you are checking it out, use the coupon code ‘SBG’ to get a whopping 10% off EVERYTHING – but only for a STRICTLY limited time at Imperial Weapons discretion (if the coupon works in the checkout BEFORE you finalize your order, it’s still good to go!).
Hope you enjoyed this months read, next month should be a big one – we are about due for some more competitions and giveaways I think... ;-) Plus, I’ll be working hard on coming up with a sensible introduction to next months issue that doesn’t involve light sabers... Stay safe guys and gals and see you again then!
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