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Sword Buyers Digest - May 2011
May 01, 2011

Paul Southren Due to time constraints, this issue is again a bit rushed – I’ve been trying to balance looking for work to sustain myself and the site, living in Japan and dealing with the daily barrage of emails as best as possible while writing this issue and it hasn’t been easy I can tell you!

But again, I have managed to come up with something – maybe not quite as much as I had hoped (as is often the case) but ‘something’ all the same, so I hope you like it..!


2. SBG Sword Store News
3. Sword Industry News
4. Best Forum Posts
5. Video of the Month: Swords vs Armor
6. SBG Donation Drive and Competition
7. Bargain Hunters and Clearout Specials


It’s been an interesting and very busy month for me personally.

I have been adjusting to being in Osaka Japan with a view to relocating here on a more permanent basis – and while I have enjoyed it, I really haven’t been able to do much in the way of ‘sightseeing’ – both a lack of funds and time (as I need to work on the site every day as usual, but have also been looking for work to keep the site funded – in a nutshell, SBG is really struggling).

While I had been hoping to travel somewhere this month to give you guys an interesting sword article or two, it simply has not been possible (indeed, at times I feeling a bit like the ‘Otaku’ cooped up in their small apartments in front of their computers all day long) - though I was able to check out the Osaka Museum of History, and was ambushed by a gaggle of friendly volunteers there who dressed me up in 7th century period attire:


I must also admit though that I have stumbled on a couple of very cool sword (Nihonto) shops – and while I did not have my camera handy for either of them (as I literally stumbled upon them in the course of exploring my immediate surrounds) – I was lucky enough to see some antique blades from 200-500 years ago, as well as tsuba that cost as much as a Howard Clark L6 Baintite blade, so I cannot complain too much..! (I’ll try to find some time to go back there this month and take a few photos with the owners permission).

But yes, back to the site itself - towards the end of the month I was able to complete one half finished review of the ’Samurai 3000’ Katana– it’s a stainless steel fantasy piece – but for $70 it fulfils its function as decorative art well enough, and in some ways actually serves as a good symbol of modern Japan – that strange mix between the ancient and the modern that you would never in a thousand years call ‘Westernized’.

Samurai 3000 Katana

Of course, the actual photos and bulk of the review was not done in Japan – anything but real Shinken or iaito are illegal here and there is no way to import them, so for now what is left of my personal collection is gathering dust, but I plan to send future sword purchases to my parents house and then get all my cutting frustrations out when I go back from time to time (I could not help but see a plastic bottle sitting on a bridges railings a few days ago, mocking me – but I fear that the Japanese government underestimates the threat that the water bottle poses and will not take me seriously if I try to explain!).

Because of my lack of finances and need to secure a job will mean that next month my time management skills will be tested to the maximum (I have kind of have secured a job, but it’s VERY messy and it’s looking like it will fall through – the problem is you need a visa to get a job and a job to get a visa, plus a visa to get a bank account, and a bank account to get a job – lovely circular stuff like that is a real pain and I’m not sure if it will work out in time, so I may have to come back and try again! A bit frustrating...)

Anyway, if next month’s issue is a little lighter than usual, you’ll know why...!


The SBG Sword Store is looking kind of bare at the moment – though towards the end of this month we are (hopefully) restocking our supply of both Cheness Cutlery and Ronin Katana swords.

But while these two brands are a bit thin on the ground, we have however added some new Darksword models to our selection, most notably the stunningly beautiful and extremely unique German Executioners sword and the only replica of the 300 Spartan Sword that I have ever been interested in..

Executioners Sword

Spartan Sword

The quality of these new models really does highlight just how far Darksword has come in the last few years, and with additional models still waiting in the wings to be photographed and listed, it’s not over yet! (If there is a DSA sword that you like that isn’t yet listed on our site, just let me know and I’ll give you a quote on my very best price).

Sword Industry News

Not a lot to report for the sword industry this month (which is a mixed blessing considering some of the more discouraging reports the last few months), though I am pleased to advise that the Hanwei forge is on its way from recovering from the March 6 fire that gutted the factory a couple of months ago and are back again forging away like crazy trying to play catch up.

Hanwei Forge at Work

You can read more about this and see plans for the future forge and factory on their official site here

As mentioned before, Darksword Armory added some new designs that I have listed in the store, and there are some more to follow – so be sure to check the manufacturers and vendors section of the site to stay up to date on these (one of the things I really like about DSA is that they are happy to expose their swords to constructive criticism and then incorporate it in to their subsequent production runs – so everyone wins – and that kind of thing is exactly what SBG is all about).

Finally, while it is not officially ‘sword’ news – the Lord of the Rings ‘prequel’ the Hobbit is finally started production – after such a long absence they will have some pretty hard to fulfil expectations on that one I’d say. It WILL become sword news though once the movie is released, that much is for certain, and considering that the industry has been having a hard time the last few months, may hopefully help to revive it a bit (only time will tell on that one)..


The history of the medieval sword has always been an arms race vs the types of armor available.

In this history channel produced video, we take a quick jaunt through this race – culminating in a thrust into a breastplate and ending with the Falchion, a specialized blade that would routinely destroy maille armor tested against some plate to show how a new level of blade such as the estock was clearly needed in the ever escalating blade vs armor race.

Youtube vid of the Month


Yes, it may be a bit short and the video quality could be better, but its a fun little jaunt anyway and especially good for those new to medieval swords in general.

Thanks for reading everyone – May is going to be a very telling month for SBG, hopefully we will be able to get through this extremely rough patch and come out the otherside with renewed energy, but only time (and the next issue) will tell..

Until then, take care and talk to you all again soon.

Paul Southren

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