Issue # 165, February 2022

From the Desk of Paul Southren

Welcome to the first issue of the Sword Buyers Digest for 2022!

In these very "interesting times" 2022 is shaping up to be a very eventful and equally "interesting" year - with many of the various forces impacting the sword industry coming to a head in varied and unpredictable ways..

On the bad side, there is rampant, runaway inflation, rolling lockdowns, severe supply chain issues and lower demand due to both a population and an economy deeply fatigued by the seemingly endless COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing, rather bungled and bumbling worldwide response to it..

On the positive side, most of the shipments that were supposed to have arrived in November LAST year have finally run the gauntlet to land in stock in the latter half of THIS month - and for the first time since the Pandemic started when demand for EVERYTHING online skyrocketed and no-one could keep ANYTHING in stock, now most sword sellers have a wide variety to choose from..

Of course, nothing is very simple or easy about it - with the economy the way it is the restocks seem to be a bit of a case of 'too little too late' - and as we predicted several months ago we have gone from a famine to a feast.. Though now it seems that with no more stimulus checks on the horizon and with so much uncertainly about the future, the industry might face a possible glut..

It is definitely a frustrating and surreal 'ride' - but despite the turbulent and unpredictable waters, the industry is doing its best to try and batten down the hatches, stay afloat and plot the best course possible. And no matter which way it goes, we will be there reporting from the crows nest so you can try to make sense of it all..

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9260 Katana Are BACK!

Since Cheness Cutlery exited the sword market and ceased production of their famous 9260 spring steel blades, it has been almost impossible to source a genuine 9260 Spring Steel blade.

Until now that is...!

Introducing the differentially hardened Yokaze (night wind) series from Ryujin - 5 different fitting sets, one low price.

Buy Them Here For $374.99

Sword Industry News

We have already touched on the many negative and difficult factors buffeting the sword industry at the moment. And while ultimately the large amount of stock currently available to sword collectors and enthusiasts (the best stock position since the start of the Pandemic) will bring its own share of problems further down the road - the reality is that right now sword buyers are really quite spoiled for choice!

New Swords!

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Sword production for our friends at BCI in the Philippines have had it extra hard the last 2 years - but despite a truly punishing lockdown (with President Duterte at one point issuing 'shoot to kill' orders on anyone who violated lockdown) the team over there managed to complete and ship two major shipments, one under their own name with some fantasy swords for the now defunct Legendary Swords Project and the other under the direction of Clyde Hollis made for his brand Kingdom of Arms

It is very heartening to see Kingdom of Arms branching out to utilize the true versatility of the BCI forge - for they are able to reproduce almost any type of historical sword, and working in conjunction with famed sword designer Bruce Brookhart - they are expanding into many sword types underrepresented on the market.

Another company that has been expanding into some unique offerings is Ryujin Swords who have been pushing the envelope with some new and quite radical Katana designs as part of the 'Art Swords' series.

With hard wearing monotempered 65mn Spring Steel blades the swords in this series are fully functional, but are decorated in a truly modern and unique way and while they may not be everyone's cup of tea, it cannot be denied that they are head turning in appearance.


At the same time, Kult of Athena have been steadily refreshing and restocking their extremely popular in house medieval and European sword line, Balaur Arms - having moved production to a new and much more reliable forge - see new models and a general improvement to this line, including better fitting wood core scabbards and certified 1075 carbon steel.


You can read all about these changes and improvements here on the KoA Store Blog

For high end Japanese style swords, we have taken the opportunity of the Chinese New Year forge closures over the holiday period to revamp and revitalize our own flagship product lines, Project X Japanese and Forge Direct Japanese.

After some recent disappointments with Project X Japanese - we are moving production across to the same forge that produces our Forge Direct Custom Katana, as they make even better Soshu Kitae blades than our original forge - but at a considerably higher price..

However as ultimately you tend to get what you paid for, while sales volume may decrease as a result (the ballpark price is around double that of Project X to date) we look forward to raising the bar on high end Katana, and their laminated blades are truly in a league of their own..


Inflation on the Rise..


Across the board, with so many swords recently restocked, new models hitting the shelves and old Projects being given a new lease on life, for the most part sword buyers should enjoy all the options available to them while they are all here like this.

Price pressure and inflation is a VERY REAL THING this year - for the most part sword prices have remained fairly stable for the last decade, with the first real spike occurring early in the Pandemic during 2020..

But this year the cost price has increased at unprecedented levels. So long story short, unless there is a long period of slow sales forcing some sword companies to liquidate some of their stocks, the chances of discounts or steep sales in the immediate future are not so high (after all, supply chain issues are likely to last several years longer even if all COVID related restrictions were dropped today - and so as restocks are always so many months behind what they should be, and most sword sellers already went through a period of 'nothing left to sell' - I am not sure how many would want to sell of their stock at a loss to be in that position again!).

Not fun that prices are skyrocketing and restocks proving so slow to come in, but at least the first month of the year ends with most sword sellers having a wide variety of swords in stock - though as sales are indeed slower than usual, it remains to be seen whether this is sustainable or will turn into a problematic glut..

Either way, we will do our best to keep you informed.

Swords in the News

British man attempting to prevent extinction of traditional Japanese swordmaking..

Famous Japanese sword historian and curator Paul Murray has been instrumental in keeping the struggling Japanese sword forging tradition alive. The video highlights a traditional forging ceremony that has not been performed in 50 years and features one of the most famous modern day sword makers, Gassan Sadatoshi.


10 swords and other ancient weapons uncovered in 2021

A 'greatest finds' collection from 2021 - from X-ray peeks at an encrusted Viking Sword hilt to Roman Daggers and even ancient (non returning) boomerangs!

A little discussed, but powerful shortsword in the Lord of the Rings

The movies did not really have the scope to explore the background - but this article examines the sword used by the Hobbit Merry to stab the WitchKing, one of 4 rare magical blades that do not really get the credit they deserve.

The most powerful swords in LoTR

Even if you are not all that familiar with Lord of the Rings, you probably know Sting and Anduril. But have you heard of Gurthang (Iron Death)? Or Ringil (Cold Star)? If not, this article with its attendant artwork will be of some interest..


The Pen may be mightier than the sword but..

If this is true, a pencil with a tsuba may be the mightiest of them all! Find out for yourself with a series of Demon Slayer Nichirin Sword hand guards for pencils starting in March 2022..

15 of the best Samurai Games of All Time

If you love Japanese swords and are a gamer, here are ostensibly 15 of best Samurai themed games on PC and Playstation.

A WarPony, a WarPony - my Kingdom for a War-Pony!

Doesn't quite have the same 'ring' to it - but new research reveals that the fearsome warhorses of the medieval era were technically 'ponies' and not anywhere near as big as Hollywood tends to imagine..

Video of the Month

The last thing anyone needs in 2022 is an unexpected visit to the emergency room from a sword cutting session gone wrong. In this video Youtuber Skallagrim reacts to many sword related mishap videos from the interwebz - from the idiotic to more subtle lapses in judgement.

I really hope that some of the people in this video find SBG before it is too late!

Best Forum Posts

When a $10 Machete outperforms a $200 Kukri..

Cost and cutting ability do not always correlate. Interesting discussion on why the cheapo blade outperformed and what is really going on when you cut a target.

High Definition Sword P*rn from Tod's Workshop

The title says it all, another drool-worthy sword and some war hammers from Tod's workshop. Simply stunning.

Under the hood of a Deepeeka Gothic Sword

Deepeeka of India make some of the cheapest swords around. But a peek under the hood of their popular Gothic sword revealed not junk, but surprisingly good value..

Legal blade length restrictions in the Edo Period

Chock full of links to extra resources, the OP asks for some historical information on the period in Japanese history where full length swords were restricted to the Samurai class only.

Rare Swords from the Legendary Swords Project

The World building and battle ready fantasy swords project 'Legendary Swords' may be dead and buried, but from time to time we still plan to release one of the fantastic designs created all those years ago from time to time. And now is one of those times, with two previously unseen designs now available:

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Brand of the Fallen

A massive Fantasy Zweihander and Flamberge hybrid with unique Kris blade design.

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The Aelutian Gladius

The only gladius on the market capable of bisceting water bottles with a thrust! No slouch in cutting/hacking either..

Well, that is it for the first edition of the Digest in 2022.

This will most certainly be yet another challenging year for the sword industry, and no doubt another difficult year generally - everyone and everything is seemingly being tested whether they like it or not. But like a good sword, may the fires that rage around us all temper you and make you strong.

Happy Swordening!

  • Paul Southren

It is that time of year again! 25% off our entire range of Master Smith forged Chinese Swords until the 7th of February 2022:

Forge Direct Chinese Mega Sale Now On