Sword Buyers Guide

RisingSun

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I've recently been learning about swords at Sword-Buyers-Guide.com, and I was wondering if it's a good place to learn about swords. They have a lot of reviews of specific swords, and they sell some swords as well. Do you think this is a good source of objective reviews and sword info?
 

Bob Hubbard

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IMO, swordforum.com is the premier site for such info.
 

lklawson

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SBG is good within their focus. Remember, that their focus is inexpensive yet serviceable swords (often called "beaters"). Their reviews are usually fine but are sometimes apparently written by folks who don't really know how a sword should behave when in use. Consequently you get, from those particular reviewers, information about how much "authority" a sword "has" when you swing it but not really any good information about it's serviceability, how well it handles characteristically in comparison with historic and applicable techniques, etc. You will get a lot of water-bottle tamishigiri (which I actually happen to like) but that doesn't tell the whole story. In fact it's often misused or performed without martial or training goals (not that there's anything wrong with test-cutting "just for fun" but it ignores the whole point of test-cutting --- I also have a rant about swords specifically designed to perform well at test-cutting at the expense of other attributes that a sword should have).

So, while SBG is a good place to use as a data-point (I read it myself), I'd back that up with personal experience or information from at least one other source. Avoid any SBG reviews that start something like, "I'm new to swords so here's my first review of the Massive Death Cutter from Wizbang Manufacturing..."

SwordForum is a fine place as well, but bear in mind that they're not always the end point either. It has been noted in the past that they often seem to have a cliquish feel or a general "mob wisdom" in which the general consensus on a particular point tends toward one or another "side," especially on contentious issues.

Don't get me wrong, SFI is a great site and I'm friends with any number of members and respect them greatly. It's just that like minds tend to congregate. You could easily go to alternate forums and get a general consensus that swings the other way on some of these contentious issues. (personally, I tend to "like mind" with SFI more than with the other sites, but I want to be honest)

As one data point, you should try to find out the weights, dimensions, and "handling characteristics" of historic pieces from which the reproductions are copied. Often the weights, distal tapers, or point thicknesses are vastly different on the reproductions (frequently for very good reasons). Craig Johnson and the Oakshot is a really good source for any number of these, particularly the medieval though I know for a fact that Craig has modified some Civil War Saber reproductions to more closely align with historic examples for his own personal use.

MyArmory.com is also a good place to go to get some information or another opinion.

In short, it's all about "doing your homework" and SBG is a fine place to get PART of that homework done.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Flying Crane

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I was poking around on sword buyers guide a while back, to get some info on an inexpensive katana clone. I think the info was generally helpful, but as has been mentioned, take with a grain of salt.

One sword evaluation that I saw on that website raised some red flags for me. It was a sort of fantasy style European type sword, and the description of the hilt and the tang sounded like it was very poorly designed and put together. The blade was also overly heavy. But they decided to play with it a bit and ultimately gave it an evaluation that was generally positive.

Just from reading their description of the piece itself, I cannot imagine how anyone with any sword experience or knowledge would have given it anything but a lousy evaluation. It sort of made me wonder if they give a positive evaluation to anything that looks like a sword, and could inflict damage if you hit someone with it. Well, any wallhanger fits that description, but it doesn't make it a real or worthwhile sword.

So, take their evaluations with a grain of salt.
 

Jeff Richardson

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Yes... Swordforum and myarmoury are the two places I would send people.

Swordforum has some of the top blade makers in the industry as well as historic researchers and practioners who are generous with advice.

Myarmoury has some serious collectors and practitioners who provide reviews of production weapons. there is also a nice collection of custom pieces and historical items.
 

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