Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The SBG Sword Forum is HERE!

It's been there for a while in the back of my mind - but recent events have kind of brought it to the forefront...

And now, as of Sunday the 3rd of December, I started drafting the ONLY dedicated sub US$300 sword forum on the internet - the (aptly named) SBG Sword Forum

Already its got the basic skeletal structure in shape and myself and a few other posters are starting to give it a little 'meat'. But while the official launch is a few days away, I thought I might as well let everyone who reads my blog (umm, someone does read my blog don't they?! I know my site gets several hundred visitors a day and I get countless emails, but - sometimes I gotta wonder about who, if anyone reads this. LOL).

Ok, now I have forgotten what I was talking about...

Ah yes! The Forum! Check it out, join up and make a few posts! The only real rules are keep it friendly and keep the focus on sub US$300 swords. But apart from that, ask questions, meet other sword enthusiasts - and above all, have fun!

I hope to see you the 1 or 2 people who read my blog there! Hehe

SBG Sword Forum


Friday, December 01, 2006

SFI and Newsletter

Hey Guys,

Well - within the next few hours the December edition of my online magazine, the Sword Buyers Digest is set to go out to my regular crowd of subscribers. But you might notice that one featured section that has been there from the beginning is missing...

Due to my publishing of a 'contraversial' article on Backyard Cutting - which is in the eyes of Sword Forum International is effectively taboo without first getting proper instruction - Adrian Ko from SFI politely asked me to remove the Sword Forum International Logo and links from my magazine (as well as removing a thread about my Shirasaya competition on the forums).

I can see where Adrian is coming from - and generally agree. I think that it is obviously prefferable to get proper instruction before cutting with a sword, because if something goes wrong, you can get seriously hurt or even killed.

But to be fair, my article on backyard cutting start with some pretty important basic safety considerations - and the fact of the matter is, people are still going to do backyard cutting if they are so inclined wherether they have an instructor or not... So better to give some guidelines on what to cut and how to be safe than just say 'don't do it'...

For this and other reasons, I that this clearly marked seperation from SFI was probably inevitable...

My focus is on solidly built sub US$300 swords. And many people at SFI refuse to acknowledge or even look at swords priced under $500.

Yet despite that, I've still heard stories of swords in this price point failing too - and occasionally from routine activities that all the swords I have personally reviewed have handled without any problems at all... So price doesn't always equate to functionality (though the old adage "you get what you pay for" is still pretty accurate, and I am not saying that a $200 sword is better than an $800 sword, but it doesn't neccessarily mean that the $800 sword is four times better...)

Anyway, just so you know - there is no bad blood between SBG and SFI. And I still think SFI is a fantastic resource and will continue to post there from time to time (though I have to be careful not to talk about my site). The Sword Community is too small to be divided against itself, so my thoughts are always - come to SBG for the basic info and begin your journey. Then, if you want to go from the intermediate to advanced levels, participate at SFI! :-)

One last thing before I go.

Since a lot of beginners tend to get shot down or mocked at SFI for posting or asking questions about entry level swords, I am planning to introduce my own forum for beginners and intermediate sword enthusiats within the next couple of month - so watch this space! More is coming soon! :-D

Talk to you all later, and see you inside the next issue of my mag!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Just Some Updates

Well, have been keeping busy on the Sword Buyers Digest the last couple of weeks, especially in the last few days - and am now adding the finishing touches to part 2 of the Backyard Cutting Article. Nearly ready to 'lock and load' and its shaping up to be a pretty good issue, especially from a bargain hunters point of view (and for people who like gory pics of chopped up 'meat' - yup, target number 7 is the humble hunk of pork or beef 'ala Cold Steel or the ARMA').

Have also been doing a few minor updates to the various sub articles on sword manufacturers, most notably a new page write up on the pros and cons of Deepeeka Swords - an oft neglected manufacturer of medieval and ancient style swords, but because of their extremely low price tags (often less than $100 a piece) at least more than a cursory look.

While they generally don't compare too well to my faves such as Gen2 and Windlass, $ for $ they are acceptable. And I'd really hate to become one of those sword snobs who says 'save up and buy a Gen2' as it isn't that far from people who say 'save up an buy an Albion', so since they are under the US$300 price point, they need to be taken into more serious consideration than previously. (In fact, the only 'branded' manufacturer of swords that I don't have much time for is Rittersteel. Same prices as Windlass, lower quality than Deepeeka - and they never answered my email when I wanted to give a more balanced look at their products, so I can hardly recommend these guys! I HATE it when people don't reply to an email, it just isn't professional! Phew, rant over and out!)

Finally, now that I got that unpleasantness of my chest (after all, I spend several hours each day answering each and every email I get! Ooops, sorry - back to normalish) - what was I saying? Umm, oh yeah - did a few other updates to the Sword Buyers Directory, it's really starting to take shape now - and changed the nagivation order so everything is a bit smoother. Will be doing alot more to these pages over the coming months.

Finally, I'd like to Congratulate Mr. Ron Salter for his contribution to the Win A Shirasaya Competition for his winning entry for a very swish looking home made customization of the Hanwei Zatoichi sword. A bit of sanding, some twists of rattan, varnish and some meunki and we have a very unique and attractive looking sword! Keep up the good work Ron!

Until next post (which will probably be soon after the Digest goes out) - take care and have fun with sword! ;-)


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Price rises

Hey guys, just a quick post as I've had a few emails from folk a bit worried about the new pricing structure for Cheness swords.

To sum up, all Cheness sword sales are now subject to a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) that all resellers must stick to. So as a consequence, I've raised my prices to the lowest allowable price accordingly.

The MAP It makes sense when you think about it - because without the MAP, every Cheness seller would be lowering the price to compete with each other.

And if the margins get much thiner than they are already, pressure would be increased on Mr. Chen to lower his wholesale prices, which would mean that sooner rather than later he would have to seriously cut production costs back at the forge - resulting in a substandard product - something that no-one wants to see happen...

Anyway, I've still made sure that my site is the best place to buy Cheness swords. Because not only have I added more free items to every purchase as well as adding a FREE shipping option on orders over US$350, but I've also kept my promise that if by some chance that you find a cheaper price on a Cheness sword somewhere else (which really, you shouldn't - as everyone is on the MAP) - I'll beat the deal by up to 10%.

The only exception is that right now, Cheness are having a massive Christmas sale with discounts well below the MAP. BUT - my promise of beating a better deal still stands, so if you want to email me with an enquiry - I'll come back to you with my very best offer.

Talk to you all soon!


Monday, November 13, 2006

Yes, one person CAN make a difference...

Hehehe - well finally got of my a** (or is that *ss - hmm, either way you know what I mean!) and added some good old fashioned Wakizashi to my Cheness sales page here

What has this got to do with one person making a difference? Well, just got an email from a gent that tipped me to act on this. Have had quite a few email requests from people asking 'do you sell the Cheness Wakizashi' and the answer was of course, yes - since all swords are sent direct from the warehouse and I would quote my best price.

Anyway, to cut a long story short here is my email reply:

Your email was the straw that broke the camels back! :-D I've had a few requests for Wakizashis of late, but once I got your email it was enough to finally tip the scales and get me to put up my Wakizashi page:


Yes, sometimes one person can make a difference! ;-)

Sorry for my seemingly frivilous modd, let me know if you have any questions at all.

Kind Regards,

Paul Southren

For the guaranteed lowest prices on Cheness Cutlery Katana and Iaito please visit:

Hehe - so sometimes one person CAN make a difference!


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Test To Destruction

Yup, I've been talking about it for a while - but the long awaited "Test to Destruction" of a Generation 2 medieval Sword is finally up and live on my site!

Basically, the plan was to take a Generation 2 sword (in this case, the Maximilian Sword) and bash it against a variety of hard targets guaranteed to cause damage until it failed. The reason I was to do this was to test how the sword held up to progessively more abusive targets - and as you can see from the results, it held up so well that it was proving almost impossible to destroy using the mediums I selected (e.g. a bar of steel, cinderblock, bricks a tree trunk and more).

Click here for the step by step destruction, vids and all the 'gory' details

In other SBG news (there's that TV reporter voice again!) I've also updated the Sword Buyers Directory with a few 'meet your vendor' links to previous SBG interviews I conducted in the Sword Buyers Digest

Check them out if you haven't already. This is a concept I will be expanding over the coming months so instead of buying swords from faceless websites, you'll get a chance to see what they are about and what kind of people you are dealing with before you hand over your hard earned.

It's not foolproof, but I am only giving this opportunity to already proven and reliable vendors, so should be interesting to see where it ends up.

Anyway, gonna answer a few visitors emails and then unwind with a couple of games of Samurai Showdown! ;-) See ya all next post!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Poor Old Blog... :-)

Hehehe, well - I DO occasionally post to the blog - but geez, I must admit its pretty irregular! Oh well...

Anyway, have been pretty busy of late - what with this months edition of the Sword Buyers Digest - speaking of which, I've had a graphic designer make up a nice little 'cover' for it - what do you think? Not a bad job he did eh?

Anyway, apart from loading the new image and promo for my mag throughout my site, I've also been busy working away on the much anticipated Sword Buyers Directory which is basically a carefully researched list of the most reliable and trustworthy sword sellers online for our sub US$300 swords!

Now to make sure that it is up to date, I've included a special form at the bottom of the page. Where if a few people report bad experiences with a particular seller, they will promptly get removed from the directory. And conversely, if I get a couple of emails from people saying 'hey, you forgot about (obviously not a real website - I hope!) then Nice-Sword-For-You.com will get listed.

It's not 100% foolproof - but its not a bad attempt either - and hopefully will weed out some of those nasty sellers out there (I am pretty careful NOT to name names as I don't want a lawsuit on my hands, but trust me - there are some real BASTARDS out there!).

Anyway, that's probably the major stuff I want to talk about. I've got work to get back to! :-)