April 2016 
Welcome to the Sword Buyers Digest

As you may notice, we FINALLY got around to creating the new look digest. It has taken some time, and it may take a little more before we are completely happy with it all - but in the meantime I hope you find that the new format is an improvement.
The Store circa November 2008
Over the years we have changed the format of the site, store and forum quite a few times. But finally the new look which you may have become accustomed to on the main site is now rolling out everywhere - and as you can clearly see, even the digest has had a makeover!

It might take a litte getting used to for you long time subscribers, but I hope you will enjoy the new, snappier format! The Sword Store Blog is next on the list, and one of our recent posts chronicled the various themes and formats the store and the main site have had since 2005..

Personally, I think our new theme takes all the various themes and colors and rolls them into one. From now there may still be a few tweaks here and there, but the heavy lifting has been done and no major overauls are planned for the foreseeable future. The focus this month will be new content, so stay tuned..!

To stay abreast of it all visit our news page and blog here
The Spoon is Mightier than the Sword..
Sword, oops, Spoon vs bullet
Last month we added a few different pages to the main site, perhaps not as many as we would have liked - being focused on we were on updating the new format to everything - but there were some good ones in there all the same.

One though I found particularly interesting, if only because the accompanying video proving my point was surprising even to me..

You have all probably seen it, and there are a few variations of the same theme, which boil down to a Katana effortlessly cutting a bullet in half fired at it from a .45 - but we had known for years that it was just showmanship. But the accompanying video to this short question showing a BUTTER KNIFE achieving the same effect should lay this myth to rest once and for all.. (you would hope)..

Click here to read it yourself
Issue: 102
In This Issue
Video of the Month

This issues video of the month is one I had been planning to make for a few years, but because of the subtitling involved and my heavy workload, never quite got around to doing it until now.

The video is a trimmed down 5 minute interview with Weiping "Jack" Zheng, owner of the largest sword in Longquan. In it he talks about what it takes to become a sword smith, what the sword market looks like from his inside point of view and much more. Simply click on the pic to watch the video on YouTube.
Facebook - Weird Post of the Month
If you have visited our facebook page you know that currently we post bits and pieces of unusual sword and sword pop culture related bits and pieces for your entertainment. Last month, the oddest post was most definitely something rather oddball - Samurai armor themed hoodies..!

They aren't yet readily available outside of Japan yet, and honestly I don't know how far you could get walking the block outside of Japan before you had to turn tail and run back home, but it is definitely - original..

Visit our Facebook page to read more
Last Chance on the New Project X Pre-Orders..
The Dragon Dao
On the 21st of March, we launched three new Project X Katana (a Shin Gunto, an O-Katana and a Dragon themed blade) and brought back the Dragon Dao, offering these to those people who signed up to the special Project X list..

Orders are now rapidly approaching the maximum capacity, and your last guaranteed chance to secure one of these acclaimed swords ends THIS SUNDAY the 3rd of April.

As we only offer Project X swords once or twice a year at best, and once they actually land they tend to sell out in hours rather than days, if you want one you will need to act fast.

Check them out here while you still can
From the Workshop - John Lundemos' Furia 
The first 10 blades in pre-heat treat polish..
The first of two runs of the Furia sword by John Lundemo (Longship Armory and SBG) is steadily taking shape, and the first 10 blades are now at the heat treaters after being ground to shape and given a pre-heat treat polish.

Customers who were lucky enough to get in on this exclusive sword, limited to 20 pieces worldwide, have been receiving quite regular updates and getting a true inside peek at how the swords are made every step of the way - next comes the fittings, then when the swords come back from the heat treat they will be given a final polish and assembled, and there will be the last opportunity to pre-order the final 10 pieces.

And for those of you who think they may have what it takes to make their own swords like John, last month we salvaged an old article on how to make a sword by stock removal which was written by Brendon Olszowsky from fableblades.com before he became a pro and originally appeared on the now defunct Sword Manufacturers Guide website. You never know, you might have some talent for it - never know until you try..!
Bad Sword of the Month
What more do I need to say - its kind of chubby, made from "Damascus" steel (or some kind of metal, your guess is as good as mine) and is perfectly balanced so the roughly attached wire wrap will strip the skin from your hands with lazer like precision..

Truly there is nothing more beautiful than a pattern welded blade. But this $60 sword somehow made the psudeo-pattern welding (which is definitely not the result of folding or pattern welding) somehow makes it look ugly.

What will they come up with next..?
Best Forum Posts
What do you do with a sword you have lost interest in?
It sounds like sacrilege I know. But it does happen as your tastes evolve and change over time. So what to do with that unloved sword or two? Here are some ideas.

Paul Chen and Hanwei - who, why and is he still even there?
Who is this man known as Paul Chen? Does he design all the swords? Who is the Paul Chen from Cheness? And is Paul Chen from Hanwei actually still with Hanwei? Find out in this thread.

What features stop you from buying a particular sword
Everyone has their own pet hates. For some it is hex nut assembles, others hate mirror finishes, others love them..! To each his own - see if you agree or disagree.

Defending against a spinning sword attack
In theory, they are "easy" to defend against. But how SHOULD you actually counter a spinning sword attack when sparring? After all, it worked pretty well for Zelda..
Forge Direct - One Last Opportunity!!
It almost seems unbelievable, and it sure isn't some kind of April Fools Day Joke, that I can assure you..

Forge Direct ENDS as we know it on the 10th of April, and all the swords you see above are about to disappear once and for all.

The reason is explained in detail here in the Sword Store Blog.. But long story short, Master Smiths are a proud lot and they felt our prices were too low..

From the Blog Post:

The Smiths have agreed to one FINAL run. And they have also offered us a price amnesty, as we were able to argue that at such short notice, it is not always possible to pay even our relatively low prices that so upset the Master Smiths (you may have seen it before, but the typical price of these is TWICE what we offer them for..)

So what we are willing to do is forgo our share of the profits and give YOU all one last chance before they are all gone for good..

Almost ALL the old Archives designs are back for one last time. After the 10th of April, they will all be archived permanently - never to be sold again.

It is a shame it came to this - and we will try to keep Forge Direct rolling with Master Xiaolong, but it will take some time.. For the time being, we have archived the Spring Collection and brought back all 8 classic Forge Direct Designs at 25% off for the very last time..

What more can I say. If you want to own your own piece of Chinese and SBG History, you have until April 10th..

Get them here before they are gone for good..
Why good tempering (and good blade alignment) is sooo important..
Our good friend Skallagrim, who recently made it past the 500k mark on YouTube, recently posted a video showing some cutting in slow motion - and it illustrates an important point as to why good tempering and the ability for a sword to flex and return to true is so important, especially on straight bladed medieval European and Chinese swords..

Watch the video and take note just how much the blade of the Longswords flex back and forth as they contact the target and bite into it. Note also that the stresses of even a simple target such as a waterbottle cause such flexing - and how it travels across the whole length of the blade.

Quite a lot of flexing going on
Notice also how the Kukri barely flexes at all, due to the thicker spine - and exhibits much the same properties as a katana when cutting..

This shows just how important it is for a European sword to be able to flex and return to true - and along the whole length of the blade as any weak spots when sent vibrating, can easily cause the blade to break in an area nowhere near the impact point if there is some weakness in the blade or the cut is particuraily bad, sending all kinds of weird shockwaves into the steel that are simply not visible to the human eye.

Here is another video showing just how important tempering and the ability to return to true is, this time with a monotempered Chinese Jian.

You cannot see this at normal speed
It is a bit of a different story when it comes to a Katana - as mentioned like the Kukri, they have a thicker spine and are DIFFERENTIALLY hardened, so they tend not to flex when cutting at all. But there is a good reason for this, they CANNOT return to true (the harder edge and softer spine do not flex in unison like a monotempered sword, thus if they DO bend from a bad or challenging cut that a European sword would shrug off, they tend to stay bent or at worst, actually shatter)..

Watch this video with industry legend James Williams from the Budgei Trading Company showing some slow motion cuts of the Katana in action..

Barely any flexing at all
At the end of the day, it goes to show you not that any one type of sword is superior to the other, but they all have their strengths and limitations. A Euro sword (or monotempeted Katana) will flex back to true if seriously stressed, and hence is more durable and versatile. A traditional Katana, will STAY bent or break if the cut is off, so needs more precision to avoid catastrophic failure.

It also shows you just how much stress cutting puts on a blade, why sometimes if they do break why the break occurs at an unexpected point nowhere near the impact zone, and that good tempering, and good technique, is essential for sword and swordsman to perform in perfect harmony.
Bargain Hunters Rejoice!
It is East meets West at the Hanwei Forge until the 10th of April, with a special overstock sale on two of their most unique swords.

The first is the Basket Hilt Broadsword, a fully functional cutting sword with a strong 1566 spring steel blade and deluxe fittings including full rayskin wrapped handle, suede lined basket hilt and low maintenance stainless steel hilt. Normally MSRP $475 it is available for just $249.99 as part of the below cost price sale.

The second is the best of the two Practical Ninjato - the black rayskin version. This small, nimble sword is differentially hardened with a razor sharp edge for slicing, dicing and thrusting and is a must have for any fans of fully functional oriental weaponry. Normally $355 it is available for a mere $189.99, but only until the 10th of April and while stocks last!

Check these out in the Hot Specials Section Here
That's all Folks!
Hope you enjoyed this new style new format issue. We will continue to refine it over the coming months, but I think it has a lot of potential and hope you agree.

Next month the digest will be coming out on the 4th of May "Star Wars Day" (May the forth be with you.. I know, sounds like one of my bad puns..) so Star Wars and Lightsabers will indeed be part of the planned line up, though we will be sure to have plenty of other content for those of you who aren't really into it.. Plus we plan to run a cool competition or two as well..!

So until then, stay safe and happy swordening!
Paul Southren
Sword Buyers Guide Limited