June 2016  
June Edition 2016

Another jam packed issue for you fresh off the press. In this issue we have an interview with HEMA instructor and TV & movie star, Henry Thomas (whose credits include playing Eliot in E.T. and who has appeared in over 40 movies and TV series), a new article on "Damascus" Steel (and why you should NOT believe the hype), some cool videos and documentaries (though one of them is a real mixed bag), the ugliest bad sword of the month we have seen to date, a ton of exclusive offers and much, much more..!

So sit back, grab your favorite beverage of choice and enjoy our monthly foray into the world of swords.
Interview with Henry Thomas Henry Thomas in Valmont
From time to time SBG has had the privilege of interviewing people in the sword, martial arts, or reenactment communities for the Digest.

This month we have a special treat - an exclusive interview with Hollywood actor and Western Martial Arts Instructor Henry J. Thomas Jr!

Born in Texas in 1971, Thomas started acting at a young age and made waves in Hollywood as the lead character Elliot Taylor in Steven Spielberg's ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Since that time he has accumulated more than 40 film credits to his name and played characters in Legends of the Fall (1994), All the Pretty Horses (2000), and Gangs of New York (2002).

Thomas comes to us today to talk not only about his accomplished film career but also about his work as an experienced teacher in a HEMA-member martial arts class. A fan of swords and fantasy stories himself, Thomas has recently written a fantasy novel of his own. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Henry J. Thomas Jr!

- Daniel Dacombe
on behalf of the Sword Buyer's Guide

Issue: 104
In This Issue
Video of the Month

The ultimate in "whippy" swords - check out this video of the Indian Urumi belt sword in action..

As dangerous to the user as the enemy if you don't know what you are doing..
Damascus Sucks! Don't Believe the Hype..
Wootz Steel - the Original Damascus Steel..
Wootz Steel - the original Damascus Steel
It seems that an article highlighting the dangers and hype surrounding so called 'Damascus steel' blades, especially Katana was long overdue..

Unscrupulous marketers are still trying to flog off cheap folded steel swords are somehow better than a basic maru lamination -  so we decided to make it clear once and for all..

Experienced sword buyers already know that not only is a folded steel sword no better than a non-folded one, it is almost always worse - and in this article we examine why this is the case, and try to exploded some of the myths surrounding what it does, what it means, why it was done historically and where the term came from originally.

Plus we also take a brief look at laminated blades, because in our experience, these too are extremely hard if not impossible to achieve at a low price point - and why anyone who buys a "folded Damascus steel laminated katana" at a low price point is effectively almost guaranteed to end up with a sword so overloaded with issues they are effectively getting a wall hanger..

We would love to hear from you about your own experiences with folded steel blades, so feel free to email us with your experiences and thoughts so we can try to get the truth out there..

No, it's not a steampunk helmet..
We haven't posted much on our Facebook page of late - only because there has not really been all that much to report in the world of swords..

But we did post one quite popular article we found online - an article about the most unique and just plan WEIRD looking helmets from European history. And while it may look pretty steampunk, the helmet shown right is over 500 years old and was presented to the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian by artisan Konrad Seusenhofer..

Click here to see the weird and wonderful helmets of Europe
Sword Doco of the Month
National Geographic produce some good historical documentaries. Sadly, this is not one of them - though it does have some interesting food for thought material examining wounds from skeletons found in a grave dating back to 14th century Japan and the fall of the Kamakura Shogunate.

What is annoying however are the terrible "flying through the air - clash clash clash" re-enactments of how they were supposedly killed, the most dubious "scientific" tests on bone using the Windlass Towton sword (a cheap sword from 11 years ago) and what is clearly a stainless steel wall hanger Katana - and claims that "a Katana was so light even a child could wield it" when we all know both medieval and Japanese swords typically weighed between 2-3lbs.

Luckily, it makes up for this utter nonsense with story told in the actual bones and some good old fashioned swordplay by Kyoshi Mike Selvey.
5% Discount at SoTE.. 
Our friends at Swords of the East are now offering all SBG visitors 5% off their order (plus FREE shipping on any order over $100)..

Just use the coupon code:

And get VIP prices and shipping!

Click here to visit their site and see their range of excellent quality Eastern Blades
Bad Sword of the Month
Haha, yeah - the amazing "unpractical" katana - not by Hanwei...

Razor blades on the blade to prevent clean cuts, a cap to prevent thrusts and so heavy it cannot generate momentum anyway - and yet still unsafe - this is a bad swords monsterpiece..! Maybe you could peck your enemy with the tip of the top bit? Clearly specialized for sawing through cactii..

A must have for any collector of bad swords that is for sure..
Best Forum Posts
End Him Rightly - the pommel as a weapon
It is becoming something of a sword related internet meme. But in this thread we discuss "ending him rightly" and why it may have been a medieval meme before they even had meme's..!

Can chop Iron? Doesn't look like it to me..
You may have heard the claims by some ebayers "can chop iron" - so Lonely Wolf Forge decided to put the claim of one seller to the test. And shows just how important a decent heat treatment really is..

When your bo-hi is a drag..
Our friend Lancelot Chan modifies a Katana with bo-hi and shows how a simple geometry change at the bo-hi makes a WORLD of difference..

Sent the wrong sword? How to tell..
Forumites advice on what to do when you get sent the wrong sword (and a story of some pretty bad customer service..)

Discounted Forge Direct Sword Offer Ending Soon..
Last month we introduced several new Forge Direct swords including the Elite Choji Hamon Custom Katana and the Nara period Tachi at a special introductory price.

Well, this introductory price to help get these swords and the word about them out is (several hundred dollars) below our cost price and cannot be sustained for much longer. So if you want to get in on the ground floor, there are only a couple of weeks at best before we remove the special prices and revert to the full price..

The exact date the special offer will be discontinued will depend on how many orders we get in the next couple of weeks as there is a strict limit to how many swords the master smiths are comfortable to work with over a given period.

So if you are interested in a truly amazing deal, you had better get in quick on these before the special introductory price ends..

$1,400 - special price $899.99
$1,200 - special price $699.99

Click the images of each sword for more info - just don't miss out and end up regretting this extremely rare and unique chance..
Hot Specials from the Hanwei Forge..
Every couple of weeks the Hanwei Forge offers some of their stock to their dealer network at amazingly low prices to ensure good product rotation.

Rather than snap up the savings for ourselves like most other sellers, we offer these deals to you manufacturer direct at BELOW WHOLESALE pricing - and from now until the 5th of June we have some of their best swords priced hundreds of dollars below what you would normally pay for unblemished, brand new premium quality blades..

The three swords really are stunning - the first is the premium grade Lion Dog Katana with an extra long tsuka handle, amazing hamon and made from Hanwei's proprietary HWS-1S steel with a saving of $720 at just $699.99. The second, the power cutting classic the Wind and Thunder Katana for just $499.99 saving you $490 and finally the heavy duty River Witham Sword for a measly $159.50 saving you over $130..!

These deals will only be available for the next 5 days, so be sure to check them out in the Hot Specials section of our store.
That's all Folks!
Hope you enjoyed this issue of the Digest.. We have a super busy month ahead of us so there is a chance that we may not be able to find the time to do a full length issue - but we will at least send you something of interest.

In the meantime, happy swordening and talk to you all again soon.
Paul Southren
Sword Buyers Guide Limited