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Sword Buyers Digest - October 2008
October 01, 2008

Paul Southren This issue will be a bit ‘lighter’ than usual, mostly because I had to compile it ahead of schedule as I’ve been interstate the for the last few days. But fear not, I’m sure you’ll find at least a couple of things of interest in this months issue. ;-)


2. SBG COMPETITION: Calling all Artists – last chance to get your entries in!
4. COLLECTORS CORNER: “Cutting Party – Part II”
6. VIDEO OF THE MONTH – ‘Dane Fury’


Ok, I’ll admit it – there haven’t been many updates to the site since the SBG Design Your Own Katana was released (though I did just add a few new basic alloy tsuba in addition to the brass ones to increase the choices – people who are have swords currently on order will be contacted shortly to see if they wish to keep their existing theme with the brass tsuba or if one of the new alloy ones speaks to them.

Anyway, the main reasons I have been seemingly a bit lax with new updates is because I have been making sure the custom orders are going smoothly, dedicating my time to several other secret SBG projects (more on these in another issue) and towards the end of the month taking a trip interstate for a very intensive seminar (sword unrelated – I know, how could I! ;-)).

But next month should be back to business as usual, and I have quite a backlog of new reviews and articles to add to the site! To see the reviews as they are added – be sure to visit the SBG News section or better yet – subscribe to the RSS feed for up to the minute additions.


As you know, on the 31st of this month I will be choosing the winners of the SBG Café Press Design Competition, so if you have been saving up your entries for a ‘knock out punch’ you won’t want to be sitting on them much longer!

The response to date has been excellent – with many beautiful and funny designs. I don’t know if its going to be a winner or not but ‘HR: The Virtual Steven Segals’ entry shows that you don’t necessarily have to be a graphic artists to come up with a highly amusing design…


Of course, the more amusing or beautiful entries, the more T-shirts, mousepads, etc we can sell at the store, and as EVERY dollar that comes from this project will be going to fund more competitions and giveaways, you really have nothing to lose submitting an entry. In these tough economic times, it’s not easy to dip into the old back pocket to fund stuff like it used to be, that is for sure…


One more last minute twist, I have decided to that I may offer one additional US$100 gift voucher to a super cool T-shirt CONCEPT that could be brought to life by negotiation with some graphic designers (most likely the winner of the competition of course!). So if you have an IDEA for a funny T-shirt, a slogan or something else, but (like me) don’t have any artistic skill – you can still contribute and win!

Click here to submit your idea


Finally, some good news for medieval sword enthusiasts! ^_^

The first of the Valiant Armoury signature line – the Type X ‘Castile’ Arming sword has landed and is IN STOCK and ready to go out the door!!


Available in two variants, a base model with black leather over a woodcore scabbard and sword belt and the original Signature line designed by Christian Fletcher with a brown, embossed scabbard with a better belt (available in black or brown depending on your preference) and brown corded handle fittings, these 1060 carbon steel swords are not only very attractive, but are designed to PERFORM, with the kind of weight, balance and attention to detail that you simply never used to believe possible at this kind of price point.

Check them out for yourself here

This month is also scheduled for the release of the New Cas Iberia/Hanwei Catalog, which will see some pretty interesting changes. Some prices will be going up, some will be going down – and they will as always be adding some new products, some of them filling demand for less ‘mainstream’ swords. So keep your eye out for that, I’ll try to provide a link when the catalog is available in PDF.

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 Cutting Party – a SBG Tradition since 1967 (part two)”

Dan Dacombe

Welcome back! Last month in Collector’s Corner, we heard about the wonderful tradition of the Cutting Party – a collector’s mainstay. The Collector’s Corner team (of which I am president, secretary and minister of transportation) is proud to bring you part two of this fabulous series, but first, let’s recap what we’ve covered.

Last month, we gave you a list of essential steps to hosting your very own cutting party, and how to do it successfully. The first steps were:

Step 1: Find a location where you can cut in privacy and safety, and where the locals are unlikely to call down the wrath of your local government’s law enforcement branch.

Step 2: Get your targets ready – bottles, jugs, rice mats, irritating relatives, etc.

Step 3: Bring swords. This goes without saying, I think, but you never know what you have to put in writing with people these days…

Step 4: Invite some fellow collectors or friends that you are trying to get involved in this habit/hobby, and have them bring swords and targets as well.

That was in our September issue; and now, here are the last steps that you need to take in order for your cutting party to be a rousing success!

Step 5: Safety first! It might come as a surprise to you, but many swords are extremely sharp, and if used improperly (or I guess properly, when you think about it) they can cause serious injury, and even death. The first and only time that I accidentally cut myself on one of my swords (a Musashi), it slipped cut right through the thick rubber gloves I was wearing. Even though I was carrying it extremely carefully, it bit right into the palm of my hand, and I experienced terror that could only be described as “pants-wetting.”

Now if you’re holding a sword properly, you’ll be holding it by the non-sharp part – something that some of us fail to remember. But when you’re swinging it in a large, open area at a target with plenty of people watching, then safety becomes a lot more important – not just for you, but for the rest of the jokers that you got to come along.

Make sure that when you swing the sword, there is no one in the way, and that no one is standing at any point where the tip of the sword blade will be pointing during the swing. If the sword experiences structural failure, that’s usually the direction it will go. And if one of your dumb buddies is standing in the way, then you’re going to be having idiot kabobs for dinner. With maybe some lemon pepper and some jail time.

Step 6: Remember these things to avoid. I’ve compiled a handy list of common pitfalls, and instead of spending a lot of time on each we’re going to rip through the list quickly and hope that you can get it all. But since you folks are sword collectors like me, I’m going to assume that you’re sharp enough to keep up (ha!).

- Alcohol – avoid it. I’m no teetotaler, and enjoy an ale or scotch as much as the next Canadian of Scottish/Irish descent – but one thing I don’t do is drink and mess around with swords. Go ahead and drink afterwards, but please! Don’t mix the two, or you’ll find yourself contemplating trying to chop an apple off of someone’s head or something just as dumb.

- Dogs – keep them away. As we mentioned in last month’s article, the place where we held our party was home to a simply enormous yellow lab named Dixie, who took off after every chopped bottle like a fat kid after a donut. Dogs are generally nice and won’t bother you, but they may blunder into your way and get hurt, and no one wants that, right?

- Cats – they’d kill you if they had half a chance, and as soon as they figure out how to operate a can opener they will. I’m not going to advocate violence against cats, but whatever you do don’t show them where you keep your swords or they’ll use them against you when the revolution happens. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

- Children – see dogs. Basically the same, except tying them up in the backyard is generally frowned upon.

- Rust – keep a steady supply of oil and rags around, or your collection is going to look like it spent the last 400 years at the bottom of the River Witham. And whatever you do, don’t put them into a scabbard when they’re wet!

- Music – don’t forget to set the mood. Something up-tempo would be great. Gangster rap and swords generally don’t mix – Nightwish or Within Temptation and swords go together like nobody’s business. Just don’t get too caught up in the orchestral majesty and lose your grip on reality – your friends may have poor social skills, but they aren’t *really* orcs.

Step 7: After the cutting is done, you probably have a backyard full of hungry, sword-toting individuals who have adrenaline to spare and possibly a short fuse due to being startled one too many times by a gigantic yellow lab running between them and their cutting target. The party isn’t over yet!

As mentioned last month, get some food together – depending on the budget/location, a barbecue would be most enjoyable (if you’re taking a page out of Cold Steel’s book, then you already have neatly sliced meat nearby). If you’re feeling especially nostalgic, get some wooden picnic tables and set them up longtable style, and have someone pretend that they are Beowulf, while Dixie the yellow lab can be Grendel. Let the conversation and good times roll!

And that, my friends, is just a hint of what your own cutting party could be like. Don’t take this as gospel – everyone’s cutting party will be different. Remember; there’s so many other things you could do – archery, sparring, trips to the hospital – and you are only limited by your imagination, budget, location and level of first aid training. Have fun!


Mythbusting Medieval Swordsmanship
A link to a very interesting article that helps to dispel the myth that medieval swordsman were lumbering hulks that relied on brute strength over technique...

Other historical weapons (poll)
Spear Buyers Guide? Axe Buyers Guide? Mace Buyers Guide? Have your say!

Stage Combat Video Challenge
While the stage combat section of the forums is new, the gauntlet has been thrown down by Jason from AoV – submit your stage combat videos!

Pics of Antique Katana Fittings (Koshirae)
Some photos Debbie took from her recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – if you haven’t seen what antique Japanese fittings look like, you’re in for a treat...


At only 15 seconds, this may well be the shortest video of the month, but it sure packs a lot of action into that short period of time...

And I would have to say that this is probably one of the most passionate, brutal and ferocious live steel free plays I have seen in some time, so much so that I couldn’t stop playing it over and over again (and the fact that I have just finished reading another one of Bernard Cornwell’s excellent books probably helped ;-)).

Youtube vid of the Month

You Tube Video of the Month

I’ll bet you’ll watch it more than once too...! (and if it’s too short for you, the guy who made it as another 84 vids to check out too!)


A selection of hot product discounts and clearouts from our affiliated vendors. Grab a bargain and support SBG at the same time!


Our friends at Arms of Valor have come through with a great deal for medieval sword enthusiasts – the Oakeshott Type XIV at a heavily discounted price for Digest readers.

Oakeshott Type XIV

Extremely fast handling, this cut and thrust arming sword normally sells for $220, but until the end of this month you can pick it up with a whopping 20% discount – simply enter the coupon code SBG20 in the checkout when you place your order and the price will drop down to a ridiculous $176!

Not that many are in stock (and as much as I love them, you know how Windlass can so quickly discontinue their best swords) so if you want one you had better get in fast.

Sorry this issue was a little more rushed than usual, but I hope you still enjoyed it. ^_^ Next month we’ll be back to usual, and I nearly forgot – have a happy Halloween too!

Paul Southren

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