March Edition of the Sword Buyers Digest
Issue 115, July 2017
Your Monthly News & Updates

Hard to believe we are already half way through the year already right?

In this months jam packed issue we take a look at Cas Iberias latest collaboration with Dragon King and the legendary Gus Trim with the A.P.O.C. Tactical Series swords, go in depth on the art of sharpening swords, interview the guys at the Glass Cannon Podcast, follow up on the first stage of selecting the winners from last months design a Fantasy Sword competition, provide a rare opportunity to buy our finest Katana made by the Master Smiths at Project X and much, much more!

So sit back, relax and hope you enjoy the July issue of the Digest.
A.P.O.C. Tactical Series by Gus Trim and Dragon King
They caused a sensation at this years blade show - but considering these blades were designed by none other than the legendary Angus Trim and brought to market by the skilled artisans at the Dragon King forge - it should come as no surprise that these swords were going to be freaking awesome..

Made from one of my favorite ultra durable steels, 9260 Spring Steel, these swords are incredibly tough, utilitarian and a must have in any zombie survavalists emergency kit. Below you can see the amazing flexibility of these blades as demonstrated during destructive testing by the official distributor, Cas Iberia.

There are two swords in the series so far - the Tactical Cutlass and the Tactical Katana, but many more are planned for this collaboration over the coming months (and not just swords) so this new series is definitely one to watch out for.

To get the inside scoop on this line - click here to read our interview with Cas Iberia product manager, Blake Pogue.

If you are interested in purchasing these high in demand blades before they sell out everywhere, you can pre-order them here at the SBG sword store, with the shipment and delivery due in the middle of this month.
Sharpening Swords - Tips, Techniques and Ideas

There are almost as many sword sharpening techniques as there are people who sharpen swords - and with persistence - everyone finds their perfect method.

But many sword collectors struggle with this basic skill that EVERY sword collector should have at least an intermediate grasp of - after all, even the keenest sword will eventually become dull with usage, and commercial sword sharpening services are few and far between (not to mention, extremely expensive. Add in the cost of shipping - and it is often cheaper to simply buy a new sword).

Not to mention, a skilled sword sharpener can take the dull factory edge of a cheap battle ready blade and hone it so that you can shave the hairs of your arm if so desired - putting in your own time on a sword that is not economically feasible for sub $300 swords (after all, even in China, the best sword polishers command a very high fee for their specialized services).

The simplest - and perhaps the most maligned - method of sharpening a sword is with a hand held, $5 tool like the infamous 'accusharp' (pictured right)

Using pressure, it is possible to create a very serviceable (if cosmetically ugly) edge on even an completely blunt blade - and once the basic (secondary bevel) edge is formed, it can be cleaned up and refined with a whetstone, ceramic sharpening rod and/or abrasive paper.

Click here for a video tutorial by Jason Woodard on this method.

Personally, I use this method when I am in a hurry on an unsharpened sword (usually a Windlass or Darksword Armory blade) and after around 20-25 minutes work, can produce an edge sharp enough to cut tatami mats and even pool noodles, so while it is kind of a 'cheat' method, it does the job.

But the main method I use for sharpening is described on the site here and requires only a file, whetstone, 3M abrasive paper - and lots of patience..
We cover this method any many more on the sharpening page of SBG here - but here are some additional techniques to consider:

Skallagrim - The Fool Proof Way to Sharpen a Sword (YouTube)
Excellent video by Skallagrim detailing the Ken Onion Work Sharp grinder - a great shortcut technique to create a very servicable edge.

Woodcraft Hamster - Sharpening a Sword by Hand (YouTube)
Video demonstration of the basic hand sharpening techniques on a Hanwei Tinker Viking Sword (great blades, but often a little dull)

Samurai University - A Heads Up on Practical Sharpening of Your Katana
Sharpening a Katana is a bit different than most other blades. This guide looks at the main edge profile types, waterstones, grit types and basic sharpening techniques.

Toyama Ryu - Sharpening Guide
Additional details on Japanese waterstones, scratch patterns and basic sharpening technique.

There is only one catch. No matter what method you use, it WILL take practice and you probably won't get it the first couple of times. But that is okay.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Sword Sharpening is as much an art as it is a skill

Like all arts, it takes practice. And lots of it - before you get any good at it.

The best way to get started is to simply pick a method that makes sense to you on some instincual, gut feeling level and keep on practicing until you really start to get a feel for the blade you are working on..

There is no better time to REALLY get to know a sword than when you are sharpening it. Don't rush, ENJOY the time with your sword - get to know every inch of steel, sharpen it keenest at its center of percussion, and really make it YOURS..

No matter which method you use, this is the real key to learning the art of sharpening a sword. Never think that you are not any good at it - it is only because you haven't truly set aside the time needed to make it second nature that you can't

Yes, you can use an Accusharp, or a Ken Onion sharpener, or any other number of shortcuts in a pinch. But starting today, find the cheapest, most neglected, forgotten and dullest swords in your collection, set aside a few hours, and just start getting to know the steel and experiment with different approaches until suddenly, the edge kind of appears all by itself as if by magic.

And that brings us to the crux of sword sharpening - almost any genuine method of sharpening a sword requires bucket-loads of patience.

Sword Buyers Digest subscriber, G. De La Rosa, pretty much hit the nail on the head:

Seems like a major component of high end sharpening is concentration and patience.
Slowing down to appreciate the journey, and not rushing.

Focusing on the quality of each pass over a stone or strop rather than the quickness and volume.

Knowing that the end result will only reflect the quality of each preliminary step,
and that "perfection" can only be achieved when all the previous steps are done very well.

"Meticulous" comes to mind.

We are a fast food, quick fix society.

Sometimes it takes an effort, and commitment, to slow down to appreciate the zen and focus of sharpening.

So what are you waiting for?

If you don't have a suitable dull blade to practice on, here is a recommendation. Head on over to Kult of Athena and check out their selection of Deepeka Swords. maybe something like this unsharpened one for just $124.95 (pictured below).

Then make it a project - make it the first sword you truly sharpen by yourself. There is no sharpening service available for these bargain basement swords - but if you are willing to put in the time to learn it yourself, a whole new world of swords opens up for you..

Happy and Safe Sharpening all!
Fantasy Swords Competition Update

Just a quick follow up to last months issue - the fantasy sword design competition was a huge success. Indeed, we got so many entries that the finalist 'shortlist' has 26 entries!

Right now the team at BCI and myself are discussing the technical side of the 26 finalists to determine which designs are not really feasible, which will be easy to make and preparing to narrow it down to the finalists.

You can see all the entries for yourself here - and the follow up discussion (which is still ongoing) here.

More updates will be made both here and on the forum in the following months as we select the winners, begin production of the prototypes, etc - so stay tuned, it is going to be very exciting.

In the meantime, a bonus article for fans of pen and paper role playing games, our interview with Joe O'Brien and Troy Lavalle from the Glass Cannon Podcast.

In this interview with Daniel Dacombe (which was supposed to be included in last months issue, but the guys did not get back to us in enough time to include before we went to press) the boys discuss Pen and Paper Roleplaying games in more detail, give behind the scenes information on their hugely popular podcast and much, much more..!

Video of the Month

A very interesting discussion on historical sword sharpening by Schola Gladitoria's Matt Easton regarding the 2 main types of sword sharpening, whetstones, medieval grinding wheels, 'rough vs smooth' edges, how to use a whetstone for a knife on a sword, and much, much more.
Best Forum Posts

A collection of four of the best and most recent posts and threads from the SBG Sword Forum

$177,000 Antique Nihonto
A collection of posts on high end, antique Japanese katana. We can all dream right..?

Michael Moorcocks Stormbringer Project
For fans of Michael Moorcocks Stormbringer sword, here is a project by SBG forum member 'stopped1' to recreate Elrics infamous soul eating Stormbringer sword. Interesting project for his personal collection.
Tips on bringing out the hamon 
Some great and simple tips and techniques to bring out the detail in a hamon using household items such as lemons and Windex..

Fast cutting with a Longsword 
The Katana is not the only sword used for fast double cuts. Here forumite Aikidoka demonstrates some cool double cuts in preparation for this months cutting competition at Longpoint.
Project X Japanese - Classic Models Re-release

There are less than 5 days to go on a very short promotional run of all 8 classic models of our Master Smith forged line of Soshu Kitae Laminated Katana from Project X Japanese.

From the Kenshi, model #001 and its matching hybrid Wakizashi/Ko Katana to the O-Katana and WWII Shin Gunto - every model of Project X Japanese that we released since 2012 is back - but only for the next few days.

Prices are locked in at the 2012 price point, but with rising materials, labor and shipping costs - this may be the last time we will be able to offer these heirloom quality blades at such a relatively low price point (true enough, at $870 to $1100 these swords are not cheap, but they are priced considerably lower than their market value, which is one of the reasons you get so much sword for your dollar)..

Don't miss out - these models have only been available once or twice over the past 5 years and may be permanently retired to make room for new designs (which will almost certainly be priced at least a couple of hundred dollars higher). So while this may or may not be the final time these models are offered, it is most definitely a rare sword buying opportunity.

This offer expires midnight the 5th of July, so don't put it off. Get one of these amazing blades while they are still available..
Hope you enjoyed this months issue of the Sword Buyers Digest. Until next month, stay sharp, stay safe, and Happy Swordening!

- Paul
Paul Southren | Sword Buyers