Monthly news & updates
April Fools 1st, 2021 | Issue # 156
Swords in the News
Positive Sword Related Stories in the News
Link the Hero of the Zelda video game franchise has had quite a few blades in his time. Here are the top 5 versions of his 'Master Sword'.

It's not everyday that a museum gets an opportunity to secure a collection of such a size, but that is exactly what Hartlepool Museum is negotiating in the U.K. - including the personal sword of Admiral Lord Nelson.

What is more perfect for a pandemic that a sport with no team where you MUST wear a face-mask? Why the answer is fencing of course, and it is good to see this traditional sword sport alive and well during a most difficult time..

It is quite timely in many ways, but an exhibition involving more than 50 antique swords is currently on at the Tai Kwun center for heritage and arts demonstrates that the martial traditions of the West and the East were not so different after all..
Medieval manuscripts often have rather strange and quirky artwork by modern standards - but this game called "Inkulinate" takes it to a whole new level as battling "Ink Masters" literally draw up a storm of medieval monstrosities to do battle on a page. Very unique and cool concept.

US based 20th century textile maker Maharam takes the concept of the medieval manuscript into the 21st century with a re-imagining of this old European art form.

The amazing 'dinner and medieval show' that is 'Medieval Times' is coming back this month after being shut down during the pandemic. Let's hope that this trend continues..
Johnny Depp's beloved Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise might be the anti-hero of the story. But his backstory reveals he is hardly a trained swordsman, and relies on wit and cunning to win. Find out more about the sword skills of the characters from this popular Franchise.

It has often been said that to be able to wield those oversized swords common to Japanese Manga and Anime requires 'special' physics. But one fan of Clouds 'Buster' Sword decided to give the idea a modern twist, and built an exoskeleton to wield the 50lb monstrosity. Future powered warriors with 'Vibroweapons' anyone? ;-)
Sword Industry News
Normally the first few months of the year following holiday season sales are a quiet time for the sword industry. However as with almost every aspect of life, 2021 is bucking the usual trend and has seen not only a continuation of unusually strong sword sales after the end of the holiday season but has even seen a marked increase!

In other years, this would have been an amazing boon to the sword industry - but as is often the case with the sword industry, luck is not on it's side..

Sword production ground to a complete halt early in the pandemic and it took quite a few months to even begin to recover to pre-Covid levels. But in the middle of restructuring and re-tooling, many forges and smiths having already moved on or closed their doors, almost every forge began to receive unprecedented order volumes from their US based distributors and sword importers.

Combine this with the overall trend towards ordering stuff online and what we are seeing now is a total bottleneck - with the forges struggling to keep up with orders, and many container loads of swords unable to unload as imports reach levels that the dockies have never witnessed before.. (thankfully no swords were stuck in the Suez-Canal incident. however, it will almost certainly have an impact as goods deemed higher priority will push back shipment availability to never before seen levels.

Of course, this is not limited to the sword industry - and the macro-pattern explained in this article from Yahoo News entitled "Supply bottlenecks leave ships stranded, businesses stymied"
details exactly how bad the problem is for almost any US based importer..

In short, what this means is that most sword sellers are about to run dry!

In the next few months many if not all of your favorite sword suppliers will probably run out of stock for around 1-3 months, creating something of a 'sword vacuum'. And there is a fairly good chance that if lock-downs and movement restrictions ease up as the pandemic (hopefully) is relegated to the annals of history, we could well see the opposite problem - with too many swords, leading to a boom and bust situation.

Only time will tell exactly how all this will play out. But there is some irony that when this niche industry that has struggled and puttered along for years finally catches a break, it is not able to keep up with the demand and will miss it's golden opportunity (and quite possibly end up with a glut that is great for sword buyers in the short term, but will really hurt the industry long term).

Either way, we will try to keep you posted how it all plays out - as no doubt astute sword buyers will and should seize on any good buying opportunities that arise - and if there is a glut on the horizon, bargain basement selloffs are likely on the cards in the not too distant future too..
PSA: Beware of Scams and Knock-Offs
It's a no-brainer to understand, but when there is a situation with high demand and low supply, scammers may well seize the opportunity to either sell inferior knock-offs of what they perceive to be popular brands and others will flat out resort to deception.

While eBay and Amazon do their very best to weed out sellers of fake goods generally, swords being such a niche market may not attract enough attention (compared to everyday consumer goods or luxury products such as watches, hand bags, etc) and with pressure to make the most of the online sword buying frenzy, some of these sellers may decide to stock up on cheap knock-offs and dream of 'getting rich quick' (at the expense of others).

It is also true that there has been an increase before the pandemic in cheap copies of established sword brands. While we are not about to start calling anyone out on this (you know who you are!) when you see what appears to be an identical item at a significantly lower price alarm bells should ring as teh sword industry is quite competitive and if you find something more than just a few dollars cheaper at an established and respected vendor (such as Kult of Athena, Trueswords, the SBG Sword Store or whoever you normally buy your swords from) then chances are you are buying a cheap knockoff (and we know for a fact that these amoral vendors use 1045 carbon steel but call it 1060 or 1095).

It's not a new thing to the sword industry, even as far back as the so called Dark Ages there were fakes of the famous 'Ulfberht' brand making the rounds that had serious consequences beyond what today's backyard cutter may face.. But a shattered blade flying through the air is as deadly now as it was then, and so extra caution is advised when you see stock only in one place or deal that are simply too good to be true..

The same goes for buying custom swords from China. Our own Project X and Forge Direct Projects are currently mothballed because even we cannot get access to the components we need - and as with only a few minor exceptions everyone gets their sword parts from ONE place over there, you can bet your bottom dollar that delays will be extensive and anyone promising miracles should have their claims scrutinized with a fine tooth comb before you put any money down..

Hopefully the stock situation will un-stick itself in a few months time and the industry will be able to finally take advantage of the high demand for swords we are currently experiencing. But in the meantime, no need to be paranoid but it definitely pays to be extra vigilant.

And as the old proverb goes, if it is too good to be true it probably is..
New Site Upgrade for Kult of Athena
Kult of Athena has been the 'go to' webstore for swords for many years now - but the most common complaint about their site was it seemed to be stuck in the late 1990s..

But late last month the entire website was upgraded to be both ultra modern and mobile responsive - and I for one like what they have come up with!

Everything has been cleanly organized into new categories making discovering the huge amount of products and sword related accessories easier than ever before. So let's take a look at some of the new categories shall we?

If you cannot find something you like from this selection, I don't think you really like swords!

Great to see the 'Kult' going from strength to strength.
Video of the Month
This months video was taken with what appears to be the new 'GoPro Rewind' - a Go Pro that can look back at a given location at any point in time and record what happened..! (okay, not really - but the boys from Akademia Szermierzy do a great job of recreating complex Longsword techniques from Fior's school of Swordsmanship..
If you like what they do, consider supporting them on their Patreon page here
Best Forum Posts
This might not work for everyone, and it does seem like a lot of trouble to go to to get what you paid for, but for anyone considering ordering from China directly - it might help..

Albion Swords have an almost impeccable reputation - but this thread, which is very active and has many twists and turns, looks at a few people who buck the trend and have complained about their Albion sword purchase for one reason or another. But the thread goes deep into medieval sword cutting abilities and edge dynamics and is well worth a read.

Hollywood has not done the ancient art of Roman Gladitorial combat any favors - and in this thread you will see that when digging to find out how these professional entertainers fought, you may find out more than you bargain for..

Tired of the same old same old steel fittings? Here's how to make them look Bronze for a classier finish while still keeping the strength of steel..
SBG Funnies - Sword Frog
In the last few months I have tentatively added another feather to my cap as a webcomic author.

In my spare time (which is rare, SBG keeps me busy 24/7/365) I have been working long hours editing and re-editing my draft of a fantasy story for SBG's 'sister' site, Legendary, called 'the Gathering of the Heroes'.

Having already invested quite a few thousand dollars in artwork, but with a story in need of a complete overhaul, I have to date created around 60 pages with many hundred panels and find it both kind of relaxing and inspiring to flesh out the tale.
While apart from this preview, there is nothing to see yet. However while playing around with a program I use to organize the panels and edit the text, I stumbled upon a few included assets that gave me an idea.. And since it is a whimsical day, what better time to launch it than now..!

So without any further ado, here is the first strip of the SBG funnies - Sword Frogg! (with two g's).
With everything that has been going on last month, quite a few projects that I have been working on over the past 3-12 months that I had planned to start releasing details on THIS month have been pushed back into next month. Slightly frustrating, but it will make for a bumper issue in May!

So until then, stay safe and happy swordening!

  • Paul Southren