The Sword Buyers Digest - Issue # 125, June 2018
From the Desk of Paul Southren
Greetings Fellow Sword Enthusiast!

What a month May was..

For a start, in the last few days of the month we implemented the extensive privacy policy requirements of the new EU internet privacy laws. While in all honesty I think the kind of transparency it requires of companies is a good thing overall, I have mixed feelings that the EU should have worldwide authority over the internet all of a sudden - and if I get one more email in my inbox about it, I will scream (apart from this email of course)..

If you are curious about the new policy click here - nothing much has actually changed in the way we handle data, but at least now you can see exactly what information is collected and why..

It was a fair amount of work on top of everything else - for in May we experienced roughly a 30% drop in the number of visitors we get over the course of a month, so that lit a fire up under me to start adding in some additional site content that I had been planning for ages, but never got around to..

But with what is essentially a dangerous drop off to the lifeblood of our site - action had to be taken, and so far we have added the following:

  • 24 new and detailed pages on sword components - all linked to from a revamped Japanese sword terminology page, now with the option to LISTEN to how the components are actually pronounced..
  • A detailed write up on 3 versions of perhaps the most ornate and interesting Ming Dynasty Jian, the Yong Lo Sword
  • An article about beater Katana vs traditional Katana, with some cool destructive testing by Jason Woodard designed to help absolute beginners narrow down their choices (I get so many emails about this, I boiled it all down into this article).
  • Another article about how to use a Katana properly with three critical tips for beginners to improve their technique and cutting results.
  • Katana Maintenance 101 - once again designed for beginners.
  • And a brief write up on replica Deadpool Swords..

But we haven't finished yet - so perhaps this traffic drop has a silver lining.. (it is exhausting, as my usual SBG schedule is pretty much 7 days a week, 365 days of the year and choc-a-block full).

Yet, that is just the tip of the iceberg.. For earlier last month, I had the pleasure of meeting my friend and sword business associate, Mr Sam Sung - one of the founders of Musashi Swords and current owner of Ryujin along with several other sword and knife brands.
Sam,who is usually based in California, was kind enough to take a side trip from visiting forges and trade shows in China to visit me and as always, our meeting was very insightful and fruitful.

In addition to discussing several new potential products for the Ryujin Custom Katana line, I also uncovered a couple of new swords Sam had recently imported to the USA, with my personal favorite being the most affordable version of the exotic Yong Lo sword we did a featured write up earlier in the month..
One of the new swords Sam has made available - a 1060 Carbon Steel version of the Yong Lo Sword, for just $199.99!
But perhaps the most interesting of all in the short term - a project Sam had been working on for over 2 years now had finally come to fruition.
Combat Ready Light Sabers!
At first I was only vaguely interested, for I was not sure how well it would fit with our own customer base. But after seeing the quality and price he was making these available for - I became more interested. But it was THIS video below, especially the second half, that made me realize just how cool these light swords really are..
Well, that and the price - they will be less than 1/3 of the price of a comparable saber and just as good to be honest!

Sam actually brought a couple of the final stage prototypes over and I have had a hard time putting them down. They are so much fun to train with, well built in every aspect and the first production run is scheduled to arrive THIS month..

So stay tuned..!
SBG Fantasy Swords Update
With my focus turned towards Sword Buyers Guide proper last month, the development of the Fantasy Sword line and dedicated website had to take a back seat - though to be honest, we are still waiting on quite a few swords to actually have the prototypes completed anyway.

But there were a few developments,such as the completion of one of the original 6 BCI swords from the competition - the Escian Castir,now complete with its own custom scabbard.
But also of interest for the project, some heavy destructive testing of the Goblin King sword conducted by our resident independent sword tester and destroyer,Jason Woodard.

Jason put the sword through its paces and then some, proving that this fantasy design is literally almost indestructible as it chops into steel barrels and solid concrete blocks that have seen many other swords meet an untimely end.
It remains to be seen how much can be done on the project this month, as there is still a considerable amount of work needed on the main site (SBG) - but if all goes to plan, there should be at least another surprise or two coming down the line for next issue of the digest..
Video of the Month
Popular YouTube personality, Lindybiege, takes us through the trials and tribulations of forging his first sword: "Arnander" in part 2 of his 'forging a sword' series in progress.

In this episode, he shows us first hand what it is like attempting to make a fuller, bevels and straightening the thing.
Part 1 is here and is about hammering out the basic shape.
Best Forum Posts
A collection of four of the best and most recent posts and threads from the SBG Sword Forum.

Is it realistic to expect a Katana to be 100% perfectly straight out of the box? Were historical Katana perfectly straight? Very informative and eye opening post.

How WOULD a lightsaber ACTUALLY be used in combat? A thought experiment arising from playing around with 'combat ready' lightsabers..

Lancelot Chan shares one of his tips for improving edge alignment - and some other members add some additional methods of their own.

Normally, to cut a bottle like this you need a particularily sharp Katana (basically, a trick cutter with Hira Zukuri) . But the OP does it with a Cold Steel Cutlass!
Our wildest hamon ever - the 'Extreme Yahazu Hamon Custom Katana'
I guarantee you that you have not seen a hamon quite like this one before..

Almost all sword makers stick to pretty standard Suguha, Midare or Notare hamon variations - so it may come as no surprise that many of you have probably never even seen a picture of a Yahazu hamon, never mind actually owned a sword with one..

But while rare, this style of hamon is quite historical and usually resembles arrow notches or a fishes tail.
But our version takes it to the extreme - so for the time being we are offering it as a limited edition, heavily discounted version of our Forge Direct Custom Katana to see what kind of interest there is and determine if we should add it to the existing two hamon selections.

It is one of three new swords offered at Forge Direct, including an officers Gunto Sword and a high end Damascus patterned Dadao Chinese War Sword. To get all the details, check them out in the hot specials section of our store below.
What's New at the 'Kult'?
Kult of Athena has always been one of the best 'go to' places to buy swords. With an emphasis on speedy shipping, up to date stock levels and honest customer service, not to mention some of the lowest prices around, it is no wonder they are and have been the most popular sword seller around..

In May KoA added a huge amount of armor and period clothing from Epic Armory that dominated their 'what's new' section. But, like last month, there were a few new real treasures in there - with some additional one off custom swords by the legendary Tinker Pearce.
Out of the three new swords by Tinker, this one is my favorite - but as you all know I have a soft spot for functional fantasy sword art - while the other two swords are historically plausible arming swords.

Bargain hunters and lovers of tactical style blades should be really happy with some of the new blades added from Cold Steel.
As usual with the Cold Steel tactical line, they come only slightly sharpened out of the box, so you can either sharpen them up yourself or spend an additional $12 and KoA will do it for you, allowing you to get a super strong,fully functional tactical cutter for under $50.

And finally, also by Cold Steel - the so called 'Steven Seagal Signature Katana Sword'
Regardless of what you may or may not think about Seagal as a martial artists or an actor, this sword is based on an antique in his personal collection and should appeal to any sword collector who likes a blade with extra sori (curvature) in all the right places.

But don't let this sampling of what is on offer stop you from having a look for some treasures on your own. Check it all out yourself below.
And that about wraps up the June issue. Lots of stuff happening and planned for this month, so stay tuned and until next issue, stay safe and Happy Swordening!

Paul Southren
Sword Buyers
The SBG Sword Store
SBG Sword Forum