May 2016  - Star Wars Day Special 
Star Wars Day Special!

We delayed this issue by a few days until May the fourth - International Star Wars Day - and so the main theme of this issue is the ultimate sword from that fictional universe - the LIGHTSABER!

But don't worry, if you are not a Star Wars Fan (and we know many if not most sword collectors are) there is still something for you, though you may wish to scroll down a bit to about here..! ;-)

For the rest of you, Happy Star Wars Day! May the fourth be with you..

An elegant weapon..for a more civilized age.. Could it ever become reality?
I don't think there can be any real argument against calling the lightsaber the ultimate sword. After all, it is easy to carry, extremely fast and lightweight and cuts like, well, cuts like a lightsaber!

But will it ever become reality - after all, science fiction has the strange habit of inspiring people to make it science fact. So what would it take to actually make a REAL lightsaber?

Apparently - quite a lot.

Essentially a real lightsaber would be a plasma blade, not a laser as some people mistakenly believe. And in theory it could be constrained to a sword length using magnetic fields - but it may not quite be the same type of sword as seen in the Star Wars franchise..

Here is a very interesting article from which explains what it would take to make something close to a Star Wars lighsaber, and what some of the issues that make it REALLY hard to make it a reality..

And below, a nifty video by Michio Kaku showing how HE would tackle the issues and create something that ticks most of the boxes..

Interesting stuff..
Issue: 103
In This Issue
Video of the Month

Here's a fun idea for Star Wars Day to liven up one of your old cutting videos..

The video of the month is not long, but instead is an example of what you can do to "Starwarsify" your old cutting videos..

Simply download this free software from and edit any sword in any of your videos into a lightsaber! Then download some free lightsaber sound effects, edit the sound with your favorite editing package and turn any boring old cutting video into a LIGHSABER cutting vid..!
SaberForge - the Next Best Thing?
Founder Philip Isherwood
Founder Philip Isherwood
While making a real lightsaber may be a way off, for serious fans who simply must have as close to the real things as possible, you might want to check out a not so small company known as SaberForge..

The growth of their company, from a one man operation to a company now with revenue in the tens of millions of dollars a year with 50 employees, has been outstanding - and in this special issue of the digest we as genuine fans of their work, we are pleased to bring you an eye opening interview with SaberForge founder, Philip Isherwood, about how he got started, how it grew over the years, what he thinks about the Force Awakens, and what they are planning for the future..

Click here to read the full interview on SBG

And while we are at it, Dan Dacombe has written a hands on review of his own personal SaberForge blade. Pretty much everyone closely involved with SBG has one - I have one, Dan has one, even Chris Scoggin from Ronin Katana has one (indeed, Chris bought one of their early models!).

Click here to read the hands on review

And in the meantime, here is a pic of the SBG teams on personal sabers (powered off for safety reasons of course).

One of SaberForges earliest pieces owned by Chris Scoggin from Ronin Katana
Dan Dacombes saber as seen in the review
And the Katanesque Saber owned by Yours Truly
More Sabers, More Choices..
Of course, SaberForge is not the only custom maker of high end lightsabers. Far from it - indeed, I would not hesitate to say that custom sparring grade lightsaber industry is several times larger than the entire sword industry (maybe not including stainless steel wallhangers, but certainly many times bigger than the entire market for functional replicas)..!

FXSabers have a great write up and interview online here and there is a hands on review, similar to our own but not quite as detailed on Ultrasabers here, Vaders Vault has an older article from just before Christmas 2015 here and here is a guide to the general lighsaber market about the best and worst money can buy, from $10-$200 for the officially licensed Hasbro sabers to actual props from the movies that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars..
Or You Can DIY...
The DIY approach
Just like with swords, there will always be some people who want to make them their own way. So if you think you have what it takes, you can find a complete guide on how to make your OWN lightsaber here at

Like all worthwhile things in life, it is not exactly easy - but very satisfying if you have the DIY skills. Who knows, you might be the next up and coming Master Saber Smith..!
Jedi and Samurai - the similarities.. 
Vader Meets Yojimbo..
It is pretty apparent to even a casual observer with a smattering of knowledge of Japanese history that the Jedi draw a great deal of inspiration from the Samurai. "Using the force" is a lot similar to the concept of "Mushin" (no mind) or "zenning it", both Samurai and Jedi are clearly masters of their respective swords, and even Darth Vaders helmet is based heavily on the classic Samurai helmet..

This excellent article explores the connections in greater depth, starting with the premise that Obi-Wan Kenobi was essentially a Ronin and paralleling Kurosawas The Hidden Fortress so closely that it is clearly no accident..

And this article shows the similarities even more strikingly, from costumes to plot, as well as how Star Wars is received in modern day Japan..

Nothing new under the land of the rising twin suns as it were..
Bad Saber of the Month
Over 100 different combinations, and not one of them that makes even the slightest bit of sense.

Look out legs, shoulders and everything else - definitely a design that is more dangerous to the user than the enemy. Unless you count how they might do themselves a hernia laughing..
normalBest Forum Posts
MRL Annual Scratch and Dent Sale May 14th
You don't have to be in Atlanta to benefit, though if you are nearby it is well worth the trip..

The New Battlecry Series by Windlass
We will be going into more detail a little further down this issue of the digest, but here are some thoughts from the forumites on Windlass Steelcrafts new medieval sword line..!

How Does a Tachi Saya actually work?
How do you wear the saya of a Tachi (battlefield sword) - and some interesting info on saya in general.

Edge up and facing left or right?
Some info on how best to display a katana, the deeper meaning and whether it should be facing left or right..
Windlass Steelcrafts and John Clements New Battlecry Series Medieval Swords!!

Back to the world of REAL swords, they don't get much realer than the new collaboration between industry legends Windlass Steelcrafts and sword historian and founder of the Association of Renaissance Martial Arts (the ARMA) John Clements..

This new line of swords are tough, stone washed and blackened, sharpened blades designed by and endorsed by John Clements and have made quite a splash..

While there are only 4 swords in the first release, each one looks to be destined to be a winner and lovers of affordably priced, ready to go out of the box fully functional medieval swords need to check these swords out and grab them at the special introductory price while you can..

Click here for our write up on this line

John has also written some great informative articles on the Museum Replicas website well worth reading, on topics on how swords are like a kitchen knife in terms of utility (i.e. some knives are for cutting bread, some filleting fish, butter-knives are for spreading butter, and swords - are similar in there is no real one size fits all approach), sword sharpness, and much more.

Click here to read Johns articles
Honshu New Futuristic Wakizashi..
This one comes from our friends at and is perhaps the mid point between swords of the past and swords of the future like the lightsaber..

It is a step up from United Cutleries previous Honshu Tactical Wakizashi, a considerably tougher blade and, conversely, lower price point...

Made of monotempered 1060 carbon steel, at the MSRP of $162 it is a little expensive, but an absolute steal at Trueswords for just $89.95 - plus TODAY ONLY you can use the coupon code "MAY4" and get FREE SHIPPPING!

Check out the video to see just how well it performs and how tough the monotempered blade really is, not quite a lightsaber - but not bad, that is for sure..

Click here to check it out at
Project X Forge Direct 2.0..
Last month we had a major hiccup to our collaboration with Ronin Katana and the Chinese Mastersmiths with Project X: Forge Direct. The smiths we had been working with since the beginning decided to pull the plug due to the low prices we were offering their products for, but kindly agreed to give our customers one last chance to order - and I am pleased to say that those orders are coming along nicely and should be shipping out sometime in the middle of next month..

In the meantime though, two major smiths actually came on board - one we have worked together with before, the creator of the legendary Project X Jian of Marquis Yi and the Dragon Dao, and things have taken an unexpected and exciting new direction..

So officially starting TODAY - Announcing the birth of Project X Forge Direct 2.0!

Forge Direct 2.0 kicks off with a total of 6 new designs. The first is actually the most affordable ever, and a real bargain - a PAIR of Hudiedao "Butterfly Swords" - short, sharp and fast blades used primarily in Southern Kung fu styles such as Hung Gar and most famously, Wing Chun.

At just $275 with free worldwide shipping, these blades are an absolute steal.

The next sword is an elite level Jian, the $1000 Dragon Fire Jian, with beautiful folded steel master smith forged blade with stunning traditional themed Dragon styled fittings.

Then we have two swords that briefly made an appearance in early March (literally for a day) before they were pulled to concentrate on the final sale/special last chance offer on the full Forge Direct 1.0 line up - and those are the Early Han Dynasty Red Ebony Jian and the Haiyantang Zodiac Custom Sword..

Early Han Dynasty Red Ebony Jian
Haiyantang Zodiac Custom Sword

But here is where Forge Direct 2.0 takes a dramatic change of direction, the custom Zodiac Jian led us to discuss other custom options with the smiths, and all last month we were secretly putting together the most revolutionary custom sword we have been able to offer to date, our most elite custom KATANA - the Elite Choji Midare Hamon Custom Katana!

Not only does it have the finest blade of any custom katana project we have been involved with to date - a master smith forged, high polish Choji Midare Hamon available in your choice of from 26-33" (yes, an O-Katana option is available) but it comes with the most varied and ornate selection of fittings we have ever been able to bring to the table..,

Just take a look at just one of the three pages of saya options we have available for this line (including hand painted designs, mother of pearl inlaid, reinforced, you name it!).

This is about as close to a full custom design as we can come. And the best part is, the price..

At first the original price was to be from $1,400 to $1,600 depending on the options, but after making sure the master smiths were alright with offering it at a discount so as many people as possible can get a chance to own one, we were able to secure an introductory sale price of just $899.99 with free worldwide shipping!

We will be carefully monitoring sales to make sure we don't overcomitt or flood the smiths with orders that will slow them down, so if this new custom design looks like something you are interested in, you had better secure one quickly as the introductory offer may be withdrawn at anytime..

And finally, one more unique style of Japanese sword - an early Nara period Tachi..!

With silver plated brass panels depicting scenes from the Chinese classics, this battlefield sword is a must have for any collector of Japanese style swords and also priced as low as humanly possible - not $1,200 but just $799.99 and, like all the Forge Direct Swords, with free worldwide shipping.

Check out the New Forge Direct Line Up Here!
That's all Folks!
With lightsabers, medieval swords, Chinese blades and customized Katana and even a Tachi, we think this issue has had something of interest for everyone..!

Next issue will be back to normal, or as normal as the digest ever is, so until then, stay safe and happy swordening!
Paul Southren
Sword Buyers Guide Limited