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Sword Buyers Digest - September 2008
September 01, 2008

Paul Southren It’s been a super busy month at SBG, and it is about to get a whole heap busier!

Indeed, considering how many irons I have in the fire at the moment, I was wondering how I would even get this issue of the digest out in time! But obviously I did...! ;-)

One of these secret SBG projects is so close to completion that it ALMOST made this issue, but won’t be ready until the next few days. However, as soon as it is ready I’ll be sending out a very short ‘special edition’ of the digest because it is going to be somewhat of a revolution for Japanese sword enthusiasts...

More on this later, but for now – let’s get into it!


2. SBG COMPETITION: Check out the entries so far
4. COLLECTORS CORNER: “The Cutting Party...”


Site wise I would have to say that August was the biggest month in SBG history!

Not only did we add a total of 9 new reviews to the site, but we also completed the Fantasy sword page that ties most of them together. With an overview of decorative and functional fantasy designs, as well as an amusing little video I did which shows why it is a good idea to steer well clear of the $20 cheap fantasy swords, there are a few more reviews that will be added to this section to fully flesh it out over the coming months, but I think we got off to a solid start.

For me personally, I also added three sword reviews myself, including the Mithrodin Sword by Kit Rae, the Elven sword ‘Twinkle’ (yes, shocking name – but not a bad sword) and the ridiculously sharp Practical XL Light Katana by Hanwei .

Indeed, I don’t think I have done so many reviews in one month before, but this month I am scheduled to do several more...

”Including some Japanese blades that may well revolutionize the sub US$300 market...”

Here is a sneak preview:

Mystery Katana Preview

This news will be so big that I will be making a special announcement issue of the digest to let you know when the project is completed in the next few days. But if you are a Katana fan, you are in for a real treat (and if your not, well – you can just ignore it of course! ;-)).

To stay tuned to the developments at SBG as they happen be sure to visit the SBG News section or better yet – subscribe to the RSS feed for up to the minute additions.


We’ve got some great entries so far!

As these are primarily going to be T-shirts, I recently added to the competition that we are looking for designs with a largely humorous or witty twist – after all, I am hoping to use this as a fundraiser for the site to pay for more competitions and other things that I can give back to the community, and funny T-shirts are the most commercially viable.

You can check out the thread with the entries here

Still a ton of room for more entries, and with the prizes being your choice of any sub US$300 sword at the SBG Sword store for first place and two $100 gift vouchers for the runners up, the prizes and relatively small number of entries means that you stand an extremely good chance of getting compensated for your time and effort.

The winner will be drawn on the October 31st, so there is still a bit of time to get your entries in, but don’t wait too long!

Click here to submit your entry or to check out how it is all coming along


The Olympic games were fun to watch, but unfortunately the security issues meant that in the lead up to the games and while they were on, no swords were shipped out the country...

This will naturally enough see a flow on effect that in the next few months, there may be some popular Chinese made swords become scarce until the scheduled shipments arrive in the next couple of months.

Not all manufacturers have been effected, but many have – so just a quick heads up in case you start wondering ‘why do stock levels seem to be running low’.

Speaking of Chinese made swords, the long awaited collaboration between Michael “Tinker” Pearce and Hanwei had a bit of a setback late last month. The first batch (which left China before the Olympics of course) came in but it was decided that there were a few issues that needed to be sorted out before they can be released to the market. Click here to read more and find out why this is actually GOOD NEWS for medieval sword enthusiasts...

Finally, well – as I mentioned there are some Japanese styled swords that will soon be available unlike any I have ever seen before in the sub US$300 price range... As I mentioned, I will be making a special edition of the digest to announce them – it really is THAT special...

But until then, 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 one) ”

Dan Dacombe “Dixie, no! Bad dog!”

The sun is shining, the temperature is 25 degrees Celcius (for those of us living in the 21st Century, anyway), and there is a yellow Labrador retriever charging towards the severed top half of a neatly sliced water bottle like a fat kid after a stray french fry. Welcome to The Cutting Party.

Like many sword collectors, I enjoy taking my steel out into a wide open space along with a trunk full of water bottles and chop them to my heart’s content. It’s the only way to get a good “feel” for the sword, I find; to prepare yourself, stand, and cut down water filled plastic bottles, just like the warriors of old. However, depending on the size of your yard and/or how private it is, you may find yourself in a similar position to what I did.

Having no fence, a few neighborhood boys had caught sight of me testing a sword on some milk jugs, and were standing on our driveways with their mouths hanging open. Then their moms wandered over to see what was up. Then one of their grandmothers came over, and that party, my friends, was long over. Awkward conversation followed, with kindly but concerned mothers gently probing for information, probably to see if I was likely to come round swinging that thing at any of their children (said children looked positively thrilled at the prospect). Needless to say, until I built a fence my own backyard was no longer a suitable place for cutting.

Enter the Cutting Party! A few of us in Manitoba decided to get together and spend a happy afternoon chopping bottles at a farmhouse, right in the middle of the countryside nearly 30km from the nearest city. You couldn’t have gotten more typically Canadian Prairie without a case of beer (not recommended when handling swords) and having the Tragically Hip blaring on the stereo (the Tragically Hip being one of those iconic international bands that hits Manitoba on average of once a year, drawing thousands to prairie concerts, who come to hear their peculiar brand of alternative rock and watch the lead singer become paranoid and hostile towards the sound equipment on stage).

After we had our fun, I got to thinking – how many other people out there in the collecting community have never tried this? How many collectors haven’t yet experienced the wacky fun of spending an hour filling up dozens of water bottles and demolishing them all in a span of minutes? With that in mind, I present to you a SBG exclusive: How to Host your Very Own Cutting Party!

Step 1: Location, location, location. That is, you need to find one. Private is a must, lest the full might of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - a misnomer if there ever was one, they almost never solve crime while riding horses anymore, not even horse-related crime (as a frustrating afternoon at the Tracks taught me) – or some other local constabulary falls upon thee. Sheltered from the weather is also recommended – rain on your parade is bad, rain on your steel and very rustable swords is worse. Rain on your sword parade would be UNIMAGINABLY HORRIFIC. We chose a covered hay barn with open siding, allowing for decent breeze but also shade and shelter. For cutting stands, we used sections of 2x4 pounded into the soft ground at varying heights with a foot long piece of 2x4 nailed on top to make a “T” shape.

Step 2: Get some targets. Milk jugs, coke bottles (not the glass kind), all will work if you don’t have access to tatami. Whatever you decide, be sure that there are no creatures – human, animals or otherwise – likely to get in the way of the targets, or chase after them. The aforementioned yellow lab “Dixie” was a fixture at the old farmstead, and we didn’t think much of it. But for whatever reason, Dixie chased after every piece of every bottle we chopped – and did so with the frantic, glazed look of a hopeless addict in her eye. I don’t have to tell you how dangerously distracting a large dog is when it’s running between your legs while you’re following through from a nice cut. We eventually gave her a half a bottle and she shredded it with great pleasure for an hour.

Step 3: Bring some swords. If it’s a Cutting Party with a lot of folks coming, this is where it can get confusing. Try and bring sword that you’d like to cut with, that is fun to use, but that you might not mind letting someone else there cut with. I found myself getting a bit protective of my Gen2 Templar/DBK Custom Sword, for example; but after I accidentally cut all the way through one of the 2x4 stands with my Cheness tenchi, I had no problem trusting even the clumsiest of my friends with it. One of the other people who planned this Cutting Party was SBG Review Team member “Fatecaller,” who tended to bring sword that were so large that… well, I wanted to stick a joke about how big they are in here, but I’m actually at a loss for words. Let’s just say they wouldn’t look out of place being airlifted in, like a tank during Desert Storm. His largest ones had to be personally picked up by him across the border in the states, lest the vendors be arrested for shipping WMD’s.

That’s all for now - next month, we’ll go through the next steps, including Who to Invite, Safety First, Things to Avoid, and After the Cutting is Done. Stay tuned!


Please Don’t Use Rubber Malletsl
Why using a rubber mallet to remove a Katana’s tsuka is never a good idea, and how to do it the correct way.

European Sword Use, What’s the Trick?
Tips and techniques for using single handed Euroepean swords, including photos and videos by some of our most experienced practitioners.

World’s Biggest Viking Swords
Not so easy to describe this one, but check it out – I’d hate to meet the 3 guys who actually used these things...

Modern Day Swords – What would they be like...
Thoughts on creating a modern day, uber effective and durable sword from the latest steels and technologies.


After debating on the forums about the merits of a Longsword versus a sword and shield, the time came to ‘put up or...’ So Adam Sharp and Bill Tsafa both travelled across the countryside – Bill from NY and Adam from California to arrive at Mike ‘Shootermike’ Harris’s property to decide once and for all... Wearing armor and with steel blunts, a duel was declared. And while they sparred for days afterwards, it was agreed that as far as the duel went – only the results of the first encounter would be valid... So without any further ado, I think you might have guessed by now that the video of the month – is the DUEL!

Youtube vid of the Month

You Tube Video of the Month

There are a ton more videos of the sparring that followed, and a rather painful looking photo of Adam’s multiple bruises... (ow!). But both were true gentleman and good sports, and much fun (and learning) was had by all involved. Check out the rest of the videos and pics here


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


While these aren’t officially bargains, everyone in the know knows that they are definitely some of the best value for money deals out there... I am talking of course about the Valiant Armoury/Angus Trim Practical Longsword and Practical Arming sword. While these have been out of stock for ages, KoA has managed to snap some of the last ones available up. But it gets even better, because they also have a limited supply of the custom tuned Arming swords that have spent time with the man Gus Trim himself to be even better balanced than ANYTHING currently on the market in the sub US$300 price range, and you can pick these babies up right for just $249.95...

Hope you enjoyed this edition of the Digest. And don’t forget Katana fans, keep your eyes on your inbox over the next few days, because you are about to see something that will rock your world!

Paul Southren

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