I'm remembering and committed to posting
this is me postiiiiiing
*cough* Anywho...I have five followers already! Three of them are some of the most awesome friends EVER, but two are completely new! I believe you have followed over from the blog of the Anonymous Cat. That is a very long travel! Pull up, have a cake. Cake for all.
I wanted to put a picture of cake here but I fail at blogger and it kept coming up as -MASSIVE- even though I clicked 'small' ;w;. I had a previous blog where I put photos and little centralised captions and all that fun stuff that made me look witty, but now I can't do it anymore! D:
Don't be disappointed when you get bored of me!
Now, I mentioned in my last/first (the second post is the best post because you can say that, and twist brains!) that my main knowledge base is iiinnn...Weapons! Non-gunpowder weapons of the past, focussing on melee, with a more specific focus on bladed weapons. That's not to say I don't know much about nonbladed weaponry, however. So today, I thought I'd talk, first, about my collection and about weapons-collecting in general.
Currently in my collection, I have:
From Esford, Deepeeka's Australian import company;
1 Baskethilted broadsword (blunt)
1 Rapier (blunt)
1 Warhammer (obviously blunt. Currently has a broken shaft)
1 pattern-welded Seax (sharp, unfortunate second bevel)
1 pattern-welded Churra (sharp, unfortunate second bevel)
1 Khukri (sharp, came blunt, sharpened with no secondary bevel)
From Medieval Fightclub, I have one singlehanded sword, designed for reenactment combat, and one Main Gauche, deadly sharp.
From Hanwei, I have one River Witham singlehanded sword, sharp, unfortunate second bevel.
From Konron Forge (which no longer sells to the west, apparently) one second hand Katana, sharp, no secondary bevel. Monosteel, through-hardened (these terms will be explained in a later post, or less likely, later in -this- post)
and, my pride and joy, Piao Ci, a custom made sword from Fable Blades. Sharp, hollowground. It's my pride and joy. There's only one in the world (so far) and it was made to my order, though based on someone else's design. Brenno's great to work with, and though getting a custom sword is expensive, when it's made to this quality it's damn worth it. Here's some pictures of that: Make sure to check out his other stuff too, if you're into such things.
Now, here's the thing about weapons-collecting. You need -knowledge-. Ofttimes (such as in my case,) you'll end up with money before knowledge. Luckily, I had a little knowledge, but not enough to temper my desire. I have far too many items from Deepeeka, a lowish-end company. Visually, they're very nice. They even use decent steel. Not great, but decent. However, their items are way too thick and heavy, sold blunt, their quality control apparently isn't great and there's been issues with their hilt-and-tang construction, plus a lot of places sell their stuff as 'battle-ready' despite Deepeeka asking them not to.
However, they do have good points as well (though the price isn't one of them, getting them from an import company =| ). One, their short blades are actually pretty good, especially the pattern-welded. I -love- my Churra, a slender middle-eastern dagger with an increasing, ridged spine that can break maille, and let in air and infections to a wound. My rapier is actually quite nice, and though I havn't deconstructed it to get a good look at the tang, the heat-treat on it's pretty good. It's not whippy, it's not stiff and it returns to true from a pretty deep bend.
But the best thing about Deepeeka is that they are -learning.- They're slowly starting to improve, and I hope they hurry up with it.
Now, as for collecting in general. It's actually pretty damn easy. If you're in Victoria, you may have a little more trouble, but getting a police exemption is pretty easy and not too expensive. Oh, also, in Australia you can now no longer import throwing-weapons, or 'daggers.' You can still buy them made here, but not import them. Because knife-crime's committed using historically-accurate daggers that cost over a hundred bucks, not kitchen-knives and thirty dollar 'combat-knives' from army surplus stores, right?
Now, (dealing mostly with western items and terms, Japanese stuff I'll get to another time) the things you're looking for in a good, usable sword when it comes to collecting are the following:
Tang/hilt construction: You'll want what we call 'full tang.' The tang is the part of the blade that extends through the grip. If it's insufficient in size, it's going to break, and you're going to have a looong piece of metal flying through the air at high speeds. This, this is bad. It's a Bad Thing.
So we want full tang, or in some cases what we call 'tactical construction,' where the grip is just two slabs pinned through the tang, as in Piao Ci up there. Full tangs may be peened (the tightest form of construction, and very permanent)wherein the tang is hammered down over the pommel (the metal bit below your hand on the grip on a western sword) or may end in a thread that can be tightened or loosened with an alan key. This form of construction may come a little loose during use, but can be easily adjusted and tightened. This also has the advantage of you being able to quickly and easily disassemble the sword and check things out, maintain your tang, etc.
Steel!: Steel is probably the -most- important thing when it comes to a sword. Bad hilt? Make a new one. Bad tang? Cut the blade down, customise it. Bad sharpening job? Learn to sharpen. This all assumes a level of skill that many people don't have, but it's still doable. Bad steel? Fuck it right off. Anything listed as stainless steel is what we call a wallhanger, because it's purely decorative and you don't swing it at all. It'll break. Badly. Anybody that lists a blade as 'battle ready! stainless steel!' isn't to be trusted and quite possibly drives a van around primary schools. We're looking for medium-high to high-carbon steels and spring-steels. 1045 at absolute least, assuming a good heat-treatment. 1060, 1090, 9260 (a spring steel) are all good. Many won't list their actual steel type, but if it says 'high carbon' and everything else seems right, you're probably good to go. Shoot a few emails to the maker (not necessarily the retailer) if you're worried. Many will also not list the hardness rating of their heat-treatment (53's about right for most through-hardened swords) but again, if everything else seems right, you're probably okay.
Weight and balance: Swords based on traditional stylings - hell, any sword designed to be functional - should be usable. It shouldn't be so heavy that you get exhausted swinging it. It shouldn't have its point of balance too far out, or it'll feel heavier than it is. This has advantages in some weapons, and disadvantages in others. Basically, a heavy-on weapon (with its PoB further out) hits hard. Both because of where the weight is projected, and because you'll have to rear up and swing like a mother'sjumper to get it to go anywhere. A weapon with it's PoB further back will feel lighter, nimbler, livelier. Get it really far back and you might not be able to put much force into the strike, and but you'll have a really fast weapon that'll make lots of light cuts or nice thrusting stabs. You want the right kind of balance for the weapon.
Respectable dealers and makers: There's a lot of people you don't want to buy from. There's a lot of people that make -damn good swords for the price- that you might -risk- buying from due to their quality control, such as Huawei or Sinoswords. These people produce semi-custom blades (Of Japanese styling) for quite a low cost. The fittings and such are pretty low-end, but the blades can be quite good. However, quality-control isn't great. I've seen two people buy near-identical blades from one of these companies, and one was doing tameshigiri (Japanese test-cutting) and cutting bamboo no problems, the other got a massive chip and crack in his blade on medium targets. But for a little over 100 bucks, it's not too bad a dice-roll.
Companies like Hanwei are good. Hanwei is -very- good for the medium pricerange. At various dealers (Kult of Athena is amazing, pricewise) you'll get around the 300 or even sub-300 mark (respected in the sword community as generally being around the 'good' point for quality-to-price ratio)on many of their items. Their western items are good. Their eastern items are better, but also generally more expensive. The Hanwei-Tinker line of western stuff is -very- good, especially for the price.
Cold Steel makes some very durable stuff, but their marketing is bogus and some of their items can be heavy-on. Not necessarily too bad, and I feel they're starting to improve, but they're more a "Zombie Apocalypse/Superdurable beater" producer than a "Traditional/Budget Traditional blades" producer.
Darksword Armoury is also very good, I've heard (with some products of course being better than others, but consistent) and very durable, though some might be a little heavy-on for some peoples tastes. Also expensiveish, but good dealers can get you good prices, specials, etc.
There are upper-range blades that are -amazing,- but also cost quite a bit of money. These are your Valiant Armoury blades, your upper-range Hanwei katanas, etc. You can always expect good things from them, if you want to go out of your pocket.
Of course, you can also get custom blades from makers like Fableblades. It takes a while due to being put on a list, and some are better than others both in make and to deal with, but generally you can pick a good one from a bad one. Just look at their stuff. Does it look good? Does it -actually- look good, when you shake your head free from the overenthusiasm of having wanted a sword since you were a little kid reading The Hobbit and watching cartoons like He-Man and She-Ra and Conan the Adventurer, now that you've got this info? Do they have information up about what steel they use and such? (this is where custom-makers shine. They take pride in showing that their stuff is high quality, in every detail.)
Your desires: These. Are. Important. Buy what you -want.- Don't settle, or you'll have spent 300 dollars and be not entirely satisfied. That's a bad feeling. Even if you just want a 50 dollar fantasy sword made of stainless steel to hang on your wall, that's -fine!-. Some people like that. Just don't expect to be able to swing it around and such. Hell, there's even some high-end wall-hanger makers, like Kit Rae, who make -wonderful,- wonderful decorations in the shape of blades. They don't pretend to be weapon-smiths. They're for decoration, and some of them are absolutely beautiful, and Kit Rae is what got me into collecting in the first place. It's why I've got a thousand dollar sword that looks like a giant, weaponised rose. The difference is, I branched into functional weapons whilst still keeping the love of fantasy and decoration.
And finally: Look for reviews and information on makers and even individual blades. Check sword forums and such, ask questions, or search for answers. Ask the dealer, ask the maker, ask around for people who've used them and owned other similar and know historical versions and such. Get information. Get it -right.- Ask lots of people, but try and ask lots of people that actually know their stuff. Don't ask Yahoo Answers or Youtube. You'll get a lot of BUY A KATANA IT CAN CUT THROUGH A TANK kind of stuff.
And then I'll be angry at you, and you will have no cake. You'll notice I rag on these a lot. I've no problem with katana. I own one. It's a wonderful weapon. A well-made katana is a wonderful sword. But there's a lot of bullshit surrounding them, and it's not the blade I make fun of, it's the fanboys.
...Wow, looking back, that is one huge-ass post. I hope there was enough cake to sustain you. I hope you don't think I'm some giant windbag, just...blowing wind.
That would be bad.
Growlithes are a firetype, silly.