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Sword Buyers Digest - November 2015
November 01, 2015

Quite a lot to report in this issue of the digest, from us getting back on the sword review horse, a new idea and free ebook for a hybrid sword target you can make at home, cool videos, hot specials and all the latest SBG news, we have a lot to get through.

So enough pre-amble (pre-ramble?) - let's get straight into it shall we..?


1. From the Desk of Paul Southren

2. Free Bonus Ebook 3. Bad Sword of the Month

4. Video of the Month

5. Best Forum Posts

6. Hot Specials

7. Forge Direct: New and Retiring Swords

From The Desk of Paul Southren

Last month was a bit of a return to my SBG roots in more ways than one. After featuring Lancelot Chan and his RSW (Realistic Sparring Weapons) in one of the earliest editions of the Sword Buyers Digest, last month I finally was able to meet him in person over in Hong Kong, and together we tested out over half a dozen swords on a variety of targets from water filled bottles, rolled and soaked newspaper with PVC pipe cores, super thick bamboo and finally, some pork legs..

The reviews and videos will all be done by the end of this month, but the first video - which showed some of the testing on the peened RK Euro line by Ronin Katana, has already been released and you can check it out below - lots of new videos and full reviews coming soon!

I also added a second video, which flex tested the swords in my hotel room and compares it to a cheap SLO I have in Japan.. Well, should I say - HAD in Japan..

It has been many years since I have written up my own reviews, but it is the part of SBG that I think I enjoy the most - so stay tuned..! (in the meantime, if you want to help encourage us to make more videos - please check out the videos and give us a thumbs up).

In other SBG news, behind the scenes we have been working on overhauling the main sites look and feel - and will have to then match up the store, facebook page, forums, etc - plus we are less than a couple of months out from Christmas and I need to take another trip to Longquan sometime in December, so to say things are busy are an understatement..!

Good thing that I love what I do or I doubt I would be able to find the energy for it all..! (phew!).

Free Bonus Ebook!

How to Make Bamboo Water Bottles For Test Cutting

Last month in the best forum posts we discussed adding some "armor" to water filled bottles for an extra cutting challenge. But this month we look at a very innovative idea to combine two of the most popular test cutting targets - water filled bottles and bamboo - both as an extra challenge and to store bamboo in good condition (if you can resist cutting the targets that is!).

Sent to SBG by Pandoy Pulido who came up with the idea and wrote it up in an easy to follow, 16 page instructional book, we are distributing it in ebook/pdf format for the community to experiment with - it really is quite an easy to do but exciting way to take your cutting challenge to a new level, and Pandoys book leaves nothing out - showing you step by step how to make these cool new targets!

Happy and safe cutting everyone - and thanks again to Pandoy for taking the time to write it up and freely share his great idea.

Click the image to download

Bad Sword of the Month

Last month I picked out (or picked on, depending on how you see it) a weird looking rapier like sword that I described as a looking like a "dart" that should be thrown away, and of course in terms of functionality, that is probably what you should do with it.

But to be fair, I received a lot of emails from people not quite defending it - but rather explaining it..

Here is one such email I received:

I just wanted to provide you some insight into your bad sword of the month. You always ask "what were they thinking? " Well it just so happens i might be able to tell you. The white rapier in question is a replica weapon based on a characters weapon, created by a man named Monty Oum of rooster teeth. He created a show called RWBY which is a cg cartoon about a group of young people going to school to learn become hunters. The swords name is Myrtenaster. Here is a link for it.

The sword is used by a character named Weiss. And the weapon has magical applications hence it's strange appearance. To go back to the sword and it's looks. It was never meant to be fully functional because it's a concept based on a cartoon. I theorize it was made for those loyal fans of the show that want to celebrate the show and the man behind it (may he rest in peace )

I hope this provides clarification. Although it's not functional thus deeming it bad. I feel it didn't have a chance because it was never meant to be seen in such a way.

After spending some time checking it out, I gained some new respect for what they were trying to do - and maybe it doesn't deserve the title "bad" but rather is simply a rather unusual fantasy design..

Unlike the next sword, which definitely DOES deserve a "Bad" sword of the month title..

I really don't have much to say about this one other than even if it was being given away it would be too expensive.. Everything from the fittings to the incredibly fake rayskin to ready to unravel ito and the hot pink saya with the embarrassed dragon engraving wishing it had been scratched onto a different sword just screams "bad" - though I guess it might make a good gift for the collector who has everything as it is pretty unlikely they will already have one of these monstrosities in their collection..!!

Video of the Month

This started as a kickstarter project last year - a documentary produced entirely for youtube discussing the history, development and continual research of the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA).

The video is a little long, but covers all the bases and shows a lot of dynamic sparring and sword fighting techniques in great detail.

Best Forum Posts

SBG Forum - Isao Machii Still a Beast
Links to a facebook video by modern day sword master Isao Machii showing two person cutting on tatami in his front yard.. Amazing skill, and definitely do NOT try the two person cutting at home..!

SBG Forum - Best Places to Buy Fully Functional Fantasy Swords
For the most part, if you love fantasy swords that are not just wallhangers, you need to go custom. In this thread, the forumites take a look at what options are out there.

SBG Forum - Taking a set on a medieval sword
How much is too much when it comes to flex testing a sword? What should you expect? What does flex testing actually prove and why is it done? All these questions and more answered in this informative thread.

SBG Forum - How many layers?
How it is possible a sword has 6600 layers? How exactly does it work and what does it mean? Find out in this thread.

Hot Specials!

Last month we introduced the latest and perhaps the greatest addition to the Cold Steel Machete line up - the Zombie Hunter approved Tactical Katana Machete.

With a tempered 1055 carbon steel, blackened blade and futuristic high impact polymer handle styled like a classical Katana tsuka, it is both innovative, tough and at just $49.99 - extremely affordable.

But the deal gets even sweeter as if you order any 3 of our selection of the Cold Steel Machete shown on the front page of the store, you not only get free shipping in the USA but you also get your choice of one of the FGX Tactical Knives as shown below.

While we recently restocked, they tend to be a very fast seller so if you want to get some for Christmas presents (and keep the free knife as your present!) you had best get in on this deal quick..



This month we have added two new Jian to the Forge Direct line up.

The first is an ancient (over 2000 years) Jian based on a sword from the turbulent Warring States period called the Jian of Warlord Feng-Xuan.

At 0.95kg/2.09lbs it is fast in the hand and with a minimalist, practical design featuring an antiqued full rayskin wrap handle and half scabbard wrap. The blade is forge folded 1095 carbon steel - designed to be both attractive and functional, as you might expect for a sword based on a warlords weapon from a period of constant strife and continual warfare that lasted several hundred years…

The second design is the Jians' evolution - a later period Qing Dynasty sword, again made from folded 1095 carbon steel and with extremely detailed, Dragon themed latticework design entwining the brass fittings on the hilt and scabbard.

While ornate, do not make the mistake of thinking this one is just a pretty ornament - while relatively heavy it I well balanced and packs quite a "punch" and is suitable for martial arts test cutting and form work.

Retiring Swords

As each new offering comes along, we need to rotate an old one out - and this month we see the last opportunity this year to pick up two of the first swords we added to Forge Direct - the Kiangxi Horsebane Cleaver Blade

And the solid power cutting Damascus Warrior Shu Jian

Both of these swords feature 1095 folded blades with real hamon from the differentially hardened edges and will be available for the next few days until the 7th of November ONLY, after which they will join the current archives including the Dragon Dao, Four Beasts Jian, Tang dao and Imperial Two Handed Qin Jian..

So if you want to get one of these, you will need to act now - especially if you want to get one in for Christmas..

Forge Direct

Well, that is it for this months’ issue. Next month we will be looking at Christmas swords for last minute shoppers and will, if all goes to plan, have a brand new look and feel for the site, forum, store and yes - even the newsletter!

A busy month ahead, so after a short rest it’s time to get to work! Until then, stay safe - hope you had a fun Halloween and Happy Swordening all!

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