The Sword Buyers Digest - Issue # 127, August 2018
From the Desk of Paul Southren
Greetings Fellow Sword Enthusiast!

And last issue I said June was an especially busy month (and a painful one again unfortunately, thanks to all of those who commiserated with my root canal issues. I must have enjoyed it so much I had another one.. Kids, brush yr teeth properly - you REALLY don't want to have to go through all that I can tell you).

Well, June was a very busy month, but as you will see momentarily, it doesn't have anything on July! ;-)

For starters, the Oakeshott article was expanded even further - with detailed pages for each type and sub type, additional refinements, and new artwork taking us from this..
To this...
But this core article on the Oakeshott Typology is just the beginning, with the first of several new planned related articles launched - entitled:

The 5 Medieval Sword Types That
´╗┐Changed the Course of History
Then throughout the course of the month the Sword Manufacturers Dossier was expanded, updated and refined now listing 20 of the world's most prominent sword making companies (with more to be added this month) - plus a new format for linking to the reviews on every page, and a new Sword Reviews Index which lists every review by category for easy reference (and the first time I have actually counted up all the detailed reviews on the main site - now a total of 160 and counting!).

And those were not the only pages that have had a major restructuring and re-organization. Most pages have been updated and revised, and in particular the Sword Making section was given a massive boost so that it now includes pretty much everything you need to get a basic understanding of how to make a sword by either forging or via stock removal, and several other associated tutorials cobbled together from the best threads by members of that sub forum..

And towards the end of the month, the medieval swords page was given a similar level of TLC and attention.

But I think the real highlight of the month was my visit to the forge and workshop of Citadel Swords and Knives in Cambodia, and meeting the man behind this quite amazing company - Dominique Eluere.
Founder & Owner, Dominique Eluere
Differential hardening
Like I did with my visit to Blade Culture International in Pangasinan the Philippines, I wrote up a full behind the scenes account of my unrestricted access to this amazing forge and workshop where they produce arguably the best quality Japanese swords outside of Japan that really are unlike any other Katana currently on the market.

The attention to detail is truly awe inspiring, I mean - just take a look at the wrap (full rayskin of course, and top quality at that) and in house fittings.
But while they specialize in Katana, like BCI as everything is hand made from start to finish and 100% custom, they are also very versatile - and I could not help but fall in love with a medieval arming sword they had for sale in their actual shopfront by the riverside area.
Read the full article here and you might get some sense of why I was so impressed by what they are doing there, and why I will probably be hanging around a bit longer in the Kingdom of Wonder.

But that's not all that was accomplished in July, I will explain a little later in this issue - suffice it to say, July was a particularly productive month. Certainly a lot of hard work, but I am enjoying seeing everything come together..
SBG Fantasy Sword Project Update
With my focus squarely on revitalizing SBG not that much was done to the actual website being prepared behind the scenes for Legendary Swords - Project Eletreues. Part of it was, before I focus back on the new site, I wanted to make sure the established one (SBG) was as strong and robust as possible - and I think that a lot has been achieved in this area over the past 3 months.

But behind the scenes, the artisans for the project continue to work. Our Odin's Oar Project with Longship Armory is running considerably behind schedule as John is having to spend a huge amount of time on 7 of the 10 swords whose tangs do not easily fit the specially made fittings - but three swords went out - here they are in their 'oar' scabbards..
And Jeffrey Robinson, aka Brotherbanzai, has been hard at work on the angelic blade made with a Master Smith Forged Feathersteel Blade - here are a few in progress pics..
The Feathersteel Blade
Pouring the Bronze for the fittings
Cast fittings are attached and peened on, new wood core hilt being prepared..
But now my focus is turning back to the site, having created an extensive checklist and setting a date - regardless of what happens - that it must be launched to beta 1.0 on on before..

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS
SITE LAUNCHES: 20th September 2018
Video of the Month
A follow on from a previous video of the month - YouTuber Lindybiege continues his sword making video series with part III - the heat treatment.

Even if you never intend to make a sword yourself, it's important to understand how to make one as otherwise it is all to easy to fall for marketing hype and BS..
If you missed the other parts in the series, click here for part one and here for part two.
Best Forum Posts
A collection of four of the best and most recent posts and threads from the SBG Sword Forum.

SBG member verity visits some museums in Japan, takes some sword classes and the discussion digresses to modern vs traditional steels used for Japanese Swords..

A stunning design by Jeffrey Robinson aka Brother Banzai - the Green Dragonspear.

Naturally the best way to sharpen a sword requires time, skill and the right tools - but for those who don't mind a shortcut or two, this thread is for you.. Members discuss their favored sharpening methods and tools.

It is indeed less 'bastard' and more 'two handed' but this Hanwei classic is a good cutter, and even better once honed a little bit more.
Forum Archive Time - Saving the best stuff before it is too late..
Whether it is photobucket pulling the plug on free image embedding that left hundreds if not thousands of posts and reviews completely gutted with empty placeholder images or blank spaces..
Or members either leaving and deleting all their helpful posts in a huff over some silly disagreement - leaving even stickied threads with only the replies saying "This is awesome stuff! Thanks very much!" - but the article itself is gone like this..
Or whether it is a combination of both these and other factors, the damage is plain to see if you attempt visit the very first review ever submitted to SBG which now looks like - well - like this..
And who even knows what to say about the WHOLE FIRST PAGE of classic old reviews..
It is clear that unless something is done, eventually many of the best and most useful posts, reviews and information will be permanently lost forever..

In some ways, it is already too late. If you visit the review index now, around 60-80% of the reviews no longer have ANY images..

Well, something IS being done.

I have always been a little hesitant to heavily modify and update the main site as it can cause traffic issues and problems with google - but enough is enough - and traffic is already way down anyway, so there is little left to lose except all these good tidbits of information.

As such, it is time to save what is left..

So this month I will be focusing on bringing over the best and most representative sword reviews to the main site.

Indeed, I have already made some significant progress - here are 21 full length, highly detailed reviews that have been saved so far:

NEW REVIEWS


For the most part, the reviews are taken with the content completely unchanged with only minor cosmetic improvements (as many of the reviews only have thumbnail pics at the end), adding in cross links to reference relevant manufacturer links or articles, and even blending a few reviews together, or adding in events that occur later in the thread into a coherent whole.

But there is also a ton of good content that still remains in fragmentary form.

Quite often, there are tutorials or really useful replies and amazing stories spread out over many posts that many visitors may never read deep in enough on the thread to get to the good stuff. Furthermore, people really have no way of knowing if a link they click on is going to answer their question and give them the info they are after or if it its just a flame war or a few one liners of info.. (Facebook is worse of course, all you can ever see is what's hot and whats happening now... Good luck sifting back through it all to find something written years ago)..

Here are some examples of what I mean from posts and threads that contained tutorials from work in progress threads that have been compiled into full tutorials:
Distal Taper Stock Removal by Lukas MG
How to wrap a handle by Dustin f11
Easy way to make a scabbard by Lukas MG
As these articles needed to be edited to turn them into basic tutorials, the original content will be left alone - but for reviews the like, later I will be removing the original content and replacing it with a link to the featured article on SBG - partly to avoid problems with duplicate content and google, but also to free up some much needed space for images on the forum (I don't have a problem with hi res images when they are needed, but no need to have an image 4000x3000 pixels if it is just of the cardboard box that the sword came in..)

Once we have archived most of the best content and articles, we will be working on further intergration with the main site and the forums, plus there will be rewards and prizes given to people who have contributed the most and who want to become featured SBG reviewers or content creators.

It's a big task and long overdue, but I think worth it in the long run to keep both the forum and the main site vital and growing closer to my vision of what I planned for SBG from day one. So stay tuned folks! Time to turn them lemons into lemonade..
NEW From Ryujin - 5160 Spring Steel DH Katana Series
Ryujin have done it again, with yet another great value for money semi-custom Katana series - this time with some 5160 Spring Steel Katana with a prominent real Suguha hamon temper line from differential hardening.
5160 Spring Steel is usually used on monotempered beaters - but it is a particularly hard wearing, long lasting and quite rust resistant steel type that takes nicely when differentially hardened - and the temper line of this series is particularly clear and quite prominent.

As the blade geometry is different than the T10 series, it has been decked out with its own selection of fittings, including higher grade tsuka with much nicer, more even diamond shapes available in black or sandy brown cotton and also black suede.
As usual, we have seriously squeezed our margins on this line to offer you the very best deal possible - following industry standard pricing these swords should sell for around $479.99 but are priced to sell at just $299.99.

Stock is limited, with only a handful of each configuration available, so if you want to try one out - the clock is ticking..
Coming soon...
That's right - by popular request we have created a Wakizashi version of our Forge Direct Custom Katana so now you can create your own Daisho set!

The first release will be announced in our exclusive Project X newsletter along with a special Project X subscriber exclusive discount! So if you are into high end and high performance swords, sign up to the newsletter here
Hope you enjoyed the August edition of the digest. Until next month, stay safe and Happy Swordening all!

Paul Southren