Issue # 177 | March 1st 2023
From the Desk of Paul Southren
I don't know about you, but even though February is only 2-3 days shorter than most other months, it always feels like it ends very suddenly and is a lot shorter than it actually is. But despite feeling somewhat rushed all month, behind the scenes we have been busy laying the foundation for the long overdue SBG update I mentioned in last months newsletter.

Over the course of last month reviews and articles on the main site have been or are in the final stages of being updated, archives have been - well, archived - and the basic foundation for the anticipated update and upgrade has been laid. So moving forward in this month we will be refocusing our attention primarily on adding new content to the main site and working to improve, clean up and upgrade the forum, including saving the best reviews and member submitted tutorials to the main site for posterity, and otherwise strengthening SBG's foundations for the long haul.

It's a pretty big and time consuming task, but as it was more or less put on hold during the uncertainty and utter chaos that followed in the wake of the pandemic - is long overdue. And while we do expect some delays and setbacks as we continue to navigate the very choppy and unpredictable waters upon which our industry sails like a tiny boat in a turbulent sea, the course has been set. And we think that you guys will enjoy and benefit from it when it is finally complete..!

In the meantime, let's see what is new in the world of swords:
Swords in the News
A familiar spot for myself personally, Seki cities Seki Kajidenshokan museum currently has on display a replica of the infamous serrated sword of the Rurouni Kenshin anime villian, Mugenjin. Just when you thought you have seen everything (though kudos to the museum for daring to use pop culture to keep the ancient struggling traditions alive).

A follow up from last months article on the giant, ancient sword found in Japan along with the mysterious mirror shield. Described as a "DakĊ" sword, the unusual ceremonial blade has a wavy, Kris like appearance and it's undulating shape believed to invoke the spirit of a Dragon. Truly a fascinating discovery.

It's not all that well researched and concludes in a bit of a tongue in cheek way, but this lust of the 6 largest swords ever made missed the 7.5 foot sword found in Nara, but outdoes it several times over.. Worth reading just for a chuckle.

Combing two of my all time favorite things, Shogun burger in Tokyo provides a tiny differetially hardened mini-katana made in Seki city with their world famous Wagyu beef burgers.

Maggots and Leeches might seem out of place in the field of medicine in the 2020s, but with the rise of antibiotic resistant illnesses on the rise, researchers are increasingly re-discovering the timeless healing properties of two rather disgusting, but very helpful critters..

Grommets leathercraft has expanded to offer premium scabbards and other misc bits and pieces of interest to weapon enthusiasts, re-enactors and sword collectors looking for something different. Check out their collection here

You probably know the Master Sword from the Legend of Zelda. But here is a list of 9 others, from the sword of demise to the Phantom sword and everything in between.

Japan always has a way of surprising visitors. But where once gangs of Ronin roamed the streets looking for trouble, in peaceful modern day Japan garbage hunters deal with trash with a splash of Samurai flair..!
Video of the Month
While Shogo from Kyoto may not be a true 'Katana expert' this video, where he shares his reaction to the popular '$200 vs $2000 Katana' really does shed some light about how collectors in enthusiasts in Japan really have no idea about what is available to western sword lovers.
Very eye-opening for those of you who have no idea how restricted Japan is for swords, and his comments are very honest and without any snobby bias that some people might have expected.. Keep up the good work Shogo-san!
Best Forum Posts
While the 'standard formula' for knowing exactly how much of any given item you are collecting as a hobby is listed as 'n+1' (n=the number of swords you currently own!) just why is it that most of us who buy one sword end up buying 'far too many'. Forumites weigh in.

Some sword movies are like a fine wine and age well, worthy of being rewatched time and time again with each rewatching revealing something you didn't notice about it before. Others age about as well as vinegar. Here are some of the classics that forum members feel are worth at least a few extra replays. See if you agree.

While Neil Burridge, the modern day master of replicas of Ancient cast bronze swords, is still making swords due to changes in U.K. laws he can no longer ship them anywhere. So what are the alternatives to the only production Bronze sword on the market: the overweight (but quite cheap and attractive) Celtic Bronze sword? Find out what's current in this thread.

With the sword industry in a serious state of flux, Matthew Jensen has taken upon himself the task of trying to list and rate all the major, currently active 'mass producers' of functional Japanese Katana replicas. Take a look because chances are there you will find a new maker you previously had no idea about..
New at the Kult
They are finally here! Yes, the much anticipated Royal Armories collection from Windlass Steelcrafts have hit the shelves at KoA. Plus there are some additional cool new budget swords from Deepeeka worth a closer look.
RA Single edged Arming Sword $594.95
RA 15th C Two Handed Sword $794.95
RA 15th C Longsword
RA 14th C Longsword
RA 14th C Arming Sword
RA 15th C Falchion
Deepeeka Cluny
Deepeeka Norwegian Viking
Deepeeka Shrewsbury
Check out the full line up of new models from KoA here:
As we mentioned in the intro, it is going to be a very busy few months ahead. Of course, as the old adage goes 'no plan survives contact with the enemy' so who really knows exactly how long all the planned changes will take to implement. But the course has been set..

Time to get to work - in the meantime, hope you enjoyed this issue of the digest. Lots of sales ongoing and upcoming as the industry deals with low sales volumes and lots of stock, which while less than ideal for an industry that has been struggling for several years now, certainly means that there has never been a better time to snap up some bargains if you are able to swing it.

Talk again next month. As always, take care of yourselves and happy swordening!