Issue # 168, May 2022

From the Desk of Paul Southren

This is going to be a pretty short issue again this month, partially because of an unexpected injury at exactly the wrong time (thanks glass table!). And partially because the software I used to write the digest is playing a late April fools joke on me and not allowing me to type with spaces between words (I need to go back and space them out after I type) so that everything is much slower and more painful (in every sense of the word) to do than it should be.

I will have the problem fixed for the next issue, but right now I need to type and then go back to manually insert the spaces - otherwiseeverythingwouldlooklikethis!

Not exactly the best start to another month in an increasingly difficult year, but the digest must go out! Linespacingbedamned..!

Sword Industry News


Some very sad news to report from last month - one of the true founding fathers of the modern sword industry, Howard (Howy) Livingston Keith Waddell III, co-founder of Albion Swords with his surviving wife Amy, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep on the 14th of April 2022.

From Albion's Facebook page:

Howard was a wise man, whose advice was always spot on, and whose assistance was always a solution. He was generous in both heart and spirit, unable to say no to any opportunity to help people and animals. You would not know it by looking at his desk, but he had an organized mind, allowing him to walk into any form of chaos, and break it down into something manageable. His intelligence and strength of character were admired by many.

Howard put into Albion not just his time, but also his heart, soul, and uncompromising belief in the Rules of Knighthood:




















and lastly, Death.

"Life is a long series of farewells; only the circumstances should surprise us. A knight concerns himself with gratitude for the life he has been given. He does not fear death, for the work one knight begins, others may finish." Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke of Cornwall, 1483

Using historical information, Howard set strict quality standards for Albion's sword line, which sent ripples throughout the industry, changing it for the better. He, alongside Peter Johnsson, developed an historically-accurate line of swords that they, Eric McHugh, and Albion staff, brought to life, and continue to bring to life every day. As Sir Thomas wrote, "...the work one knight begins, others may finish," and that is how it will be with Albion. Howy may have started it, but others will now keep it in motion, creating an even stronger company to honor Howard, his work, his passion, and his beliefs. The company has always been such a point of pride for Howard that every effort will always be made to continually earn and warrant his pride, regardless of temporal dimensions and limitations.

Howard is now in a state of well-deserved rest from a life richly lived; but his kindness, pure heart, and ability to bring such joy to those he loved, are undeniable testaments to the fact that he deserved a much longer life. The world will be a darker place for many, as they crave the light that followed him always.

Howard is survived by his adoring wife, Amy Christensen-Waddell, and his devoted son, Timothy Eoghan Waddell. He is preceded in death by his loving parents, Howard and Elaine (Nash) Waddell, and his much-missed son, James Kaven Waddell.

Per his wishes, no service will be held, but donations in his name to your local animal rescues and shelters would be very appreciated.

Have Social Media and Digital Marketing Skills? Want to work in the industry?


One of the oldest and biggest sword sellers, Atlanta based Museum Replicas Limited, is currently looking for a FULL-TIME Digital Marketing and Social Media Specialist who is both passionate and knowledgeable about swords and medieval weaponry.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, this might be a dream job to spend all day talking, living and breathing swords AND getting paid for it: so send your resume or a brief introduction to them at: jobs@atlantacutlery.com

Swords in the News

Dutch National Museum's Free Medieval Meme Generator

It's fun, it's kitch and it's free - with a bunch of hand picked and very entertaining actual medieval 'memes' that you can caption and make your own. It only goes  to show you that the more things change, the more they stay the same..


Best Samurai Movies of All Time

No, the 'Last Samurai' doesn't make the cut. These are true classic Samurai movies from the 1960s and 70s, ranked. Check them out, you will be glad you did..

SLO's are not replicas now? Unintionally Funny and kind of pathetic..

We usually ignore any 'negative' sword stories in the news. But this one was too hard to ignore. A Cambridgeshire (UK) man saw a group of boys messing around with a SLO and took it upon himself to confiscate it. But his short video 'demonstration' showing its 'cutting ability' and claiming it is 'no replica' made me chuckle and despair at the same time..

Medieval Knights were the superheroes of their era

Known far and wide, this article examines some of the most famous Knights of the medieval era, and how they were in many ways both the superheroes and rockstars of their era..From masters of war, the tourney and literature, here are some of the exploits of the most famous Knights.

The Holy Hand Grendade of Antioch-FOUND!?

It might sound like something right out of Monty Python's Holy Grail-but apparently explosive grenades may well have been recovered that were in use during the Crusades! Just remember to count to 3 ("5 is right out!")

Video of the Month

The Japanese Nihonto is a very specialized cutting tool, and in this video Japanese swordmaker, Taro Asano, discusses all the important factors to making a traditional Shinken,the importance of the blades edge geometry, the kind of cut that should be used for testing, and the traditional targets that a new Katana was often subjected to when testing in the Edo period.

Importantly, he also demonstrates that traditionally forged Katana are designed to bend on a bad cut, how and why it happens (and how to fix it) and puts his own sword to the test with tatami mats, deerhorn, an iron plate, steel bowl, an iron bar, wooden sword and finally bending it to failure in a vice!

Always very eyeopening when a sword is tested purposefully in this way and well worth watching as there are some real gems of knowledge to be found in this very cool video..

Best Forum Posts

'Astounding' eBay Offers...

eBay never ceases to amaze me with some of the outright deception they allow on their platform. Here are some recent 'doozies'..

Losing swords in transit. International sword shipping nightmares and more..

I remember back in the 'good old days' when shipping a sword around the world was easy. But these days, it is a minefield - especially when shipping internationally. Forumites share their personal horror stories..

Custom Project: Ronin & Printed Armory

Take a Ronin Katana blade, add in printed armory fittings and custom leatherwork and the end result - well, take a look..

Common Production Katana gripes

When it comes to production Katana, there are many, many areas that they fall short in when compared to the 'real thing' (i.e. genuine Japanese Shinken). Here are some of the most common issues, and some reasoning as to why they are so common..

Hope you enjoyed this slightly shorter than usual issue of the digest. Hopefully the line spacing issue will be resolved by next issue-you never really appreciate something (likespacesbetweenwords) until it is gone!


  • Paul Southren