The Sword Buyers Digest - Issue # 123, April 2018
From the Desk of Paul Southren
Greetings Fellow Sword Enthusiast!

As you probably know, the Sword Buyers Digest goes out on the 1st of the month every month except January. And the fact that April Fools also occurs on the 1st has always had me in two minds - should I embrace it or delay the digest until the next, more sensible day.

Well, this month I decided that 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' so while for the most part I will still keep the digest 'sensible' you will still find a few 'Easter eggs' of silliness in this issue..

I was originally going to follow up on last months issue regarding my move from Japan after 7 years, but this being the April Fools edition - should probably save it until next issue so that it is actually believable.

In the meantime though, we aren't the only organization in the sword industry that embraces the silliness of April Fools day. Albion Swords have been posting special April Fools jokes since 2000 ( click here to see their All Fools Day posts from 2000-2017)
As the digest is completed about a day before it goes out, I have no idea what they will come up with for 2018. So on April the 1st, check out the Albion site here to see how they will celebrate the silliest day of the year...
What's New at SBG
While there was not a whole lot of activity on the surface - last month did see a couple new reviews and articles added to the main site.

The first article is the hands on review and evaluation of the Goblin King Sword by Scorpion Swords - which I must say, having had a few run ins with goblins recently, is also an extremely accurate historical replica!
And the second article, which was filmed on location in Eletreus - was my own evaluation of a sword of MY design, the Musashi Fast Cutter by - well, Musashi Swords of course..
While it turned out cosmetically as I had designed, there were a few points where it did not quite meet my expectations or design specs. But all in all, it didn't turn out too bad - though its availability is a bit questionable at this point.

But it certainly was an interesting exercise, and I do plan on working with Musashi again to design a follow up sword based closer to my original specifications - so definitely something to keep an eye out for.

Otherwise, I have been spending my free time working on the Legendary Swords Project. And while still slower than expected, we are on the home stretch ahead of a 'soft' launch of the official website - and have several new designs being produced so that when it does finally launch, you will see just how many projects and designs are coming to life over there..

Here is a sneak peak of a new design being made by the Black Dragon Forge, namely - a Hobgoblin hybrid Katana/Tachi taking shape.
Of course, at some point I will need to bring it all together and make as many designs as possible available at the time of the launch. Plus some new ideas and directions that happened organically that will take it to a whole new and unexpected place..

So definitely keep an eye on this space.
Video of the Month
A Chinese Forge not only recently re-discovered how to make Wootz steel, but are offering their swords for less than $250! While they don't explain all their secrets in the video, they at least prove they actually did it!

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

One of the forum members tries some different techniques to turn his run of the mill shiny production sword into something that looks like it was dug out of a peat bog. Find out how it was done and decide if YOU have a sword that should be 'antiqued'.

SBG members discuss what swords, both specific and general, they would like to see manufacturers make in the future. Interesting thread.

Talented sword maker Damian Sulowski gives a bit of a behind the scenes, under the hood look at some of his latest works. Simply stunning 'sword porn'.

Should shorter sized people (the vertically challenged) use a shorter sword or a longer one? Interesting sword training discussion.
SBG Custom Katana - Batch 43 NOW Taking New Orders!
I wasn't really sure what was going to happen with the SBG Custom Katana series.

The last order period was in October 2017 - and as many of you will know - in November or thereabouts the Sword Industry in China was heavily impacted when all of the major suppliers of Koshirae (sword fittings) were all shut down by the government over pollution concerns.

Well, the good news is that not only were we able to get that October batch made, but that the current batch - batch 43 which just opened a couple of days ago - will still have ALL the customization options previously available.

How long exactly these supplies will last and when a change will need to be made is not known - but at least this batch will have no surprises.

But since the future of the project is a little uncertain after this batch, we STRONGLY recommend that if you have been considering getting one of the official SBG Custom Katana, you lock it in NOW while all the various customization options are still available.
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..

Katana lovers are in for a treat at KoA this month.

Not only are there some rare high end blades by Citadel - a Cambodian based sword forge that started making swords in the late 1990s and has a reputation for quality Katana second only to the Japanese - but there are also some new releases by the Hanwei Forge (and it has literally been many years since they have released new Katana models).
For the new Hanwei Katana line, they have all been inspired and named after famous generals and warlords from Japanese History, such as Takeda Shingen and Oda Nobunaga, and feature 65mn (manganese) steel - a medium carbon steel that is strengthened and optimized by the addition of manganese.

The designs of the swords are quite unique and very detailed and are for the most part priced under the $400 price point.
Otherwise, this month they seem to be focusing on armor - both modern, for HEMA practice, and historical, for cosplay, re-enactment and/or home decor.
Hope you enjoyed the April 1 edition of the digest - I saved a few planned articles that could have gone in this edition for next edition as, well, as fun as April Fools may be - if we have important announcements, it is not the day to do them.. ;-)

Here is to a great month for you all - until next issue, stay safe and Happy Swordening!

Paul Southren
Sword Buyers
The SBG Sword Store
SBG Sword Forum