March Edition of the Sword Buyers Digest
Issue 112, April 2017
Your Monthly News & Updates

A slightly delayed issue this month - but only to avoid the silliness that is April Fools Day..

We didn't want to do "an Albion" (just in case you missed it, their annual April Fools day joke, which has been a tradition for many years, is attached below..)

So here it is, sent on the 2nd day of the month rather than the first - and it is jam packed to make up for the delay, with the breakdown of my trip to Blade Culture International last month, a feature on LARPing (Live Action Roleplaying), a call out to any and all talented non US based sword makers, some special time sensitive offers, sword industry news and all the usual stuff!

Hope you enjoy and find something of interest..!

Trip to the Blade Culture International Forge, Pangasinan, the Philippines!

As I mentioned in the previous two issues, in the middle of last month I took a trip to visit the good people at Blade Culture International in Pangasinan, the Philippines - about a 5 or 6 hour drive North of Manila.

I had heard many good things about the quality of their blades. Indeed, my preliminary research revealed that every single good Filipino made blade discovered by members of the sword community since the late 1990s all seemed to come from this one forge - and only since 2013 have they adopted a formal name and entered the sword market in their own right.

My first direct experience of their swords was with the Panabas - an incredibly versatile and interesting blade that proved to be much more durable than it appears at first glance. And during the trip, I was lucky enough to examine, handle, and cut with several of their swords - from Katana, to Jian, Roman Gladius and of course, traditional Filipino swords such as the Kris (which is a rather scary cutter..!).

After around table discussion with the De Guzmans, Gene Batan from BCI USA and a lovely lunch of fried chicken that would put KFC to shame, boneless fish, fresh (and I mean picked from the tree an hour or two ago fresh) Mangos -  I was lucky enough to see the forge in action, and was even allowed to video one of Mr. Fernando De Guzman seniors secret techniques of differentially hardening a blade WITHOUT using clay. Just amazing timing, skill and decades of experience..

You can read my account of the trip along with insider video footage of the forge in action, pictures of their current and future swords below.

It really was an eye opening trip that allowed me to see another piece of the sword industry puzzle first hand, and want to thank BCI for allowing us unprecedented access to their operation, for their kind hospitality.

Also a shout out to SBG forum member Croccifixio - was great to meet one of the SBG members in person!
Are You (or do you know) a Sword Smith Outside of the USA? If So, Forged in Fire WANTS YOU!

One of the producers of the History Channels "Forged in Fire" show recently contacted me as they are looking to produce an INTERNATIONAL episode and wanted to get the word out to attract as many competitors from as many corners of the world as possible..

So if you are an experienced blade smith living outside of the USA (or know someone who you think would stand a good chance on the show) SEND US AN EMAIL and let us know the country you or the person you nominate is from, a brief portfolio of their previous work and projects and their contact details and we will pass it on to the producer for consideration!

Visas, travel expenses, even translators, will be provided to approved applicants - along with the chance to win a substantial cash prize and of course, gain worldwide recognition.

  • All interested participants should have a passport or will have one by June 1, 2017. 
  • Participants should have either articles that showcase their bladesmithing abilities or awards/accolades that they've received for their work. 
  • They also would like testimonials from people of caliber that the bladesmiths know or people they've worked with in their field of expertise. (We can talk about this later in the audition process)

Lets hope we can be a part of helping someone advance their smithing career! 

LARPing it up..

Last month we did an interview with one of the premier LARP (Live Action Roleplay) gear suppliers, Epic Armoury Unlimited - and we were surprised by both the size of the market in general (like the lightsaber industry, it is several times the size of the sword industry) and the dedication of its fan base.

The interview is a great introduction to both this company and LARPing in general.

Senior SBG Editor, Dan Dacombe, also did a couple of hands on reviews, including a comparative review of 4 LARP swords and a review of some appropriate gear (costumes, accessories, etc) perfect not just for LARP, but for Renn Faires, Comicons, etc..

But in this issue of the digest, we include a special profile of a Canadian LARPer to give you some additional insight into this closely related to the field of sword collecting hobby - and hope that this cross pollination will strengthen and reinforce both of these micro industries.
LARPer Profile:
Aera Leyric

"I stumbled across the concept of LARP sometime in about tenth grade or so. At the time, I played D&D with a couple of my friends, and the idea of actually fighting and battling monsters basically just seemed like the coolest thing in the world. I did some looking and found out Wildgard existed.

Unfortunately I lived too far away from Winnipeg to be able to participate. So I bided my time, casually stalked the photos page for a couple years, and then came to visit as soon as I graduated and moved to the city."

Wildgard is definitely happy to have her join their ranks, ever since she came she has thrown herself into all aspects of the game and shown remarkable leadership skills.

When asked why she is part of Wildgard, despite a very busy University schedule, she replied, "Pretty sure the main thing that keeps me coming back is the community. Fights and crafts are fun, but when I came to Winnipeg I really didn't know anyone. Finding a group of friendly, like-minded people was a really good thing for me." Also, the phrase, "I'm bored, who wants a fight practice tonight?" is a good way to sneak in a workout with friends during her limited free time.

For more information on Wildgard you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Video of the Month

By pure chance, as we branch out into incorporating LARPing into our sword knowledgebase, popular YouTuber Skallagrim also uploaded a video on the same day of his impressions of a LARP Claymore by Calimacil!

Like me, Skallagrim is not a LARPer, so he examines the sword from the perspective of a collector and HEMA practitioner.
Best Forum Posts

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

Love it or hate it - bo-hi
Some people hate them. Others love them. And opinions change over time. A good discussion of the pros and cons of a Katana with bo-hi.

Lindybeige Video on Parrying
Discussion of Lindybeiges 'contraversial' video on edge parrying, comparison to Japanese sword arts, and ideas and opinions on edge parrying.

Lancelots Monster Sword vs a giant newspaper roll 
Lancelot Chans' signature Longship Armory DS Dadao versus a 5" monster roll of newspaper. Awesome and rather frightening cutting power..

Top Windlass Steelcrafts Swords
The forumites list their favorite Windlass Steelcrafts swords of all time.
SBG Sword Store News

There are a couple of limited edition swords currently available at the SBG Sword Store that you guys might be particularily interested in..

The first is perhaps the rarest and one of our most popular high end swords ever - and that is the stunning Jian of Marquis Yi..

This is only the THIRD time this sword has ever been made available outside of China since we first offered it back in 2013 - and is only available to pre-order until midnight the 7th of April at the absolute latest (only a handful will be made, so once we reach the limit - we will have to close off on taking orders until at least 2018..)

This month also sees a few slots available for the extremely popular new sword we developed in collaboration with Scorpion Swords - the Tactical Ko Katana

But this is just the tip of the iceberg - April is going to be a BIG month. Right now we are checking a few final details at the forge before re-releasing a limited run of the SBG Custom Katana (on hold now for over 9 months), have a special below wholesale priced sale on high end Katana and Wakizashi in the hot specials section of the store, are working on the finishing touches to at least 7 new models of Forge Direct Chinese swords - and, well, to be honest there is a LOT more happening behind the scenes..

Some of the Chinese Swords Coming Down the Line from Forge Direct
Some of the Chinese Swords Coming Down the Line from Forge Direct

The only way to know about all these offers is either check the STORE BLOG frequently, or better yet sign up to our OTHER newsletters:

The Store Newsletter goes out at least once or twice a month and has special offers and deals exclusively for subscribers. And the Project X newsletter, for those of you who appreciate heirloom quality East Asian style blades, goes out only when there is a new offering - and is often the ONLY way to secure the best price and availability of some very rare buying opportunities.

Each newsletter is written by me in my usual 'easygoing' style, so if you enjoy the digest, you may wish to subscribe to these newsletters as well to get the full SBG experience..

Hope you enjoyed the 'Fools day free' edition of the digest. Another busy month ahead, so need to take a very short rest before getting back into the swing of things.

In the meantime, happy swordening, stay safe - and talk to you all again next issue.

- Paul

P.S. Apologies for the error in last months mention of the MRL Closeouts sale, the coupon code is actually not hyphenated and should be sbgweb (one word) to save 10% on their entire line. Was clearly rushing the last issue a bit, so apologies to anyone who missed out because of this. There are still some great swords available in the closeout sale, so definitely worth a moment of your time to check out what is still on offer.
Paul Southren | Sword Buyers