Monthly news & updates
June 1st, 2021 | Issue # 158
Swords in the News
Positive Sword Related Stories in the News
When we speak of 'folding' an iron sword in 400AD, we don't mean Damascus. This article examines how the age old Pagan practice of folding a dead warriors sword over itself was a hard habit to break in early Christian Greece.

On a new years day during the violent Warring States era (Sengoku Jidai) a Daimyo's valet lets go one time too many, eventually leading to murder and mayhem. A tale that 'reeks of bizarre tragedy..'
Most fans of fictional swords and RPGs are at least aware of the Master Sword from the Legend of Zelda. But there are other swords in the Zelda universe as powerful - perhaps even more so.. Check them out here along with other bits and pieces of interesting Zelda trivia.

You just never know what is under the ground until you start digging - and that is precisely what occurred when working on a hard shoulder of a motorway in Scotland - unearthing many items in a great state of preservation including a medieval dagger believed to be used to ward off bad luck.

In these crazy times, it is always good to know that some people still understand the meaning of honor. Kudos to this Rifle pawn shop owner who returned it to the marines family, and what an interesting tale about how after a life and death struggle in the war, it came into the marines possession.
The long running anime series 'One Piece' has some very curious sword play. But a lead character, Zoro, has mastered the art of wielding a sword in his TEETH - allowing him the option of single, double or triple sword wielding.. But it doesn't stop there. Read on to see how extreme his multiple sword wielding can become..

From Game of Thrones, Vikings and the Witcher - we are spoiled for choice when it comes to swashbucking action on the little screen. This list argues for the top 10 - see if you agree.
Sword Industry News
You might recall a couple of months ago we were musing about how a massive and unseasonably large increase in online sword sales combined with an inability to restock due to a global shipping crisis could cause some sellers to run dry..

Sadly, this prediction has come true - almost every sword seller and business we are involved with has pretty much been sidelined and has almost nothing left to sell..

Here's a brief rundown of the fallout:

  • Unable to restock, Cheness Cutlery is bowing out of the sword industry and are in the process of closing out their last stock before they enter the annals of sword history.
  • Hanwei Forge has almost NO SWORDS left in their inventory - almost every popular design is sold out.
  • Ronin Katana, having sold out almost all their stock, actually closed their doors last month and are opening ahead of a planned restock on the 9th of June.
  • Kingston Arms only have one sword (their least popular) left in stock. Restock ETA is not yet clear.
  • Ryujin Swords have no stock of their flagship Custom Katana series, and nearly everything else. Restock was planned for last month..
  • Darksword Armory are flooded with orders and now have an average turnaround time of 1 month to process and ship an order (when until 2020, it was less than a week).
  • With dwindling stock like everyone else, official distributor Windlass Steelcrafts RAISES their prices as scarcity gut punches the sword market.
  • Kult of Athena's restock of Balaur Arms sells out in a few DAYS - suggesting it will be a very long time before anything popular can stay in stock long enough to meet demand. KoA are also about a month behind on their sharpening service (and recently were hit by Covid, making a difficult situation even harder than ever before)..
  • Forges in China are focusing on restocking stainless steel junk swords, taking away resources from production of functional swords and pushing restock times back to unprecedented levels.
  • Forges in China are also experiencing an inability to supply saya for Katana to meet demand, resulting in most custom Lonquan sword makers stuck in Limbo and custom orders that used to take 3 months now taking over a year.. Same with US based makers such as Albion (wait times now well over a year) and Valiant Armory (from 6 months to 6-12 months).
  • At the same time, the typical shipment methods from Longquan have become totally unreliable (EMS) or have changed their policies to prohibit 'weapon' exports (SF Express) leaving only high end couriers at 4 times the shipping price..
  • USPS shipments of swords internationally are taking many weeks longer than usual, with many issues related to stalled and lost shipments. This is also occurring domestically as the worldwide postal system literally starts to burst at the seams..

All in all, it's a perfect storm - almost no stock anywhere, restocks badly delayed and custom sword makers falling so far behind they are almost being forced to shut their doors to avoid total overload..

If I had to guess, I would say that there will be a series of short lived restocks, dramatic price rises, and eventually a glut of swords and large scale sell offs until stock returns to sustainable levels.

In the short term, many of the smaller sword manufacturers and vendors are unlikely to survive this period - and my guess is that by this time next year, the sword industry will start to stabilize again and return to a 'new normal' (though the chances of higher baseline prices is pretty much a given).

Time will tell, but whichever way it goes, right now is definitely a very hard time for the industry - with high demand and nothing left to sell, as mentioned a few months ago - be on the lookout for scammers looking to try and fill the pent up demand with knockoffs and false promises..

Thankfully, as you will see from the next article, it is not ALL bad news..
Project X and Forge Direct Chinese re-launch!
This month it will be exactly one year since we halted our collaborations with several premium sword forges in Longquan that we call 'Project X' and it's offshoot, Project X - Forge Direct. But finally some good news - Project X and Forge Direct Chinese are back!

Project X - our collaboration with Ronin Katana's Forge to produce their famous Soshu Kitae Laminated blades actually quietly launched about a week ago exclusively to the subscribers of the Project X newsletter, and is at 90% capacity already..
As such, it will only be 24-48 hours before all available slots for this years production run are filled - so if you want to secure your place, the clock is ticking!

At the same time, Forge Direct Chinese has also returned (Forge Direct Japanese is still stalled however due to saya production issues) - and while it was very, very hard - we have been able to offer it again with international shipping options restored AND are celebrating with a 10 day 20% discount sale offer!
Forge Direct Chinese - 20% off Until June 9th, 2021
Select from two main forges - Xiaolong Jiang or the Baojian Forge:
Plus, we are VERY pleased to announce that the Master of Asian inspired Fantasy Swords, Michael Ye, has decided to return from early retirement and re-launches with two truly unique designs.
New Swords from Master Michael Ye
Sword of the Monkey King
Sword of the Ancients
The ONLY Forge Direct product line that we have not been able to re-launch quiet just yet is Forge Direct Japanese as we are still waiting on our order of 100 saya and 100 blades to be able to start the project off so that production can be completed within the usual 6-8 week turnaround time for Forge Direct. However, as soon as the saya and blades are ready, so will be the opportunity to take some new orders - so if you have been waiting on this one, please bear with us just a little bit longer..
Video of the Month
Our shared hobby can be intimidating or frightening to some so called 'normal people'. But does it have to be?

U.K. based YouTuber Matt Easton from his channel Scholagladiatoria attempts to explain why sword bans or prohibitions are just plain mean, and how banning swords leads to a bottomless slippery slope of oppression.
But the video does not end there. Another bulwark of the YouTube Sword community, Skallagrim, posts his own reply here and is answered in a follow up by Matt here accordingly.

Always good to have ways to explain our hobby to 'Hoplophobes' (Weapon Phobic types) or others who just can't understand sword collecting and ownership - be they neighbors, family friends, couriers or customs agents as the case may be.
Best Forum Posts
This thread started a rumor that the official licensed maker of Lord of the Rings swords, United Cutlery, is poised to produce a real carbon steel bladed version of their iconic fantasy sword instead of the previous stainless steel wallhangers (beautiful as the case may be). Stay tuned to this thread for updates as it seems this highly sought after sword will be making a BIG comeback..

Nearly everyone who has been collecting swords for a few years will eventually find a pile of blades that are unlikely to sell anywhere. So what to do with them? Forumites provide some good suggestions (and surprisingly, no one said 'you can send them to me!' ;-)).

One limitation of Albion Swords is that they do not offer much in the way of a scabbard option. So here is what you can make at home with a router! (if you like what you see, read PDF our free guide to making scabbards using this method here)

Lancelot Chan puts some of the beautiful and deadly swords made by John Lundemo from Longship Armory though their paces. See exactly what a high end sword by a master artisan can do in the hands of a trained swordsman. Impressive to say the least.
SBG Funnies - Sword Frog
Hope that you enjoyed this issue of the digest. It should be very interesting to see how things pan out for the industry over the next few months. No doubt there will be a lot of turmoil ahead for the foreseeable future as the sword market tries to come to terms with the 'new normal' (whatever that is supposed to be).

Whichever way it goes, we will do our best to keep you up to date. So until next month, stay well and happy swordening.

  • Paul Southren