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Updated: 2017-09-27T23:36:00+01:00

 



Best Kitchen Knives 2017

2017-09-27T23:36:23+01:00

Whether you want to slice veggies, fruits or prepare meat for your lunch, one thing is certain – you need good kitchen knives. If you have bad quality kitchen knives, you will struggle to cut the ingredients for your meal, and will waste a lot of time. Plus, you might cut yourself. So, be smart, treat yourself and invest in good quality kitchen knives.  They'll last a lifetime of use and pay for themselves in no time at all.  Chef's Knife Size Price Henckels, Professional S 20 cm/8 inch Check Price Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Inch Santoku (Editors Choice) 18 cm/7 inch  Check Price ZELITE INFINITY Santoku Knife 18 cm/7 inch  Check Price Paring Knife Size Price ZELITE INFINITY Paring Knife (Editors Choice) 10 cm/4 inch Check Price Victorinox - Paring Knife 10 cm/4 inch Check Price Richardson Sheffield Sabatier Trompette Paring Knife 10 cm/4 inch Check Price Serrated Utility Knife Size Price  ZELITE INFINITY Serrated Utility Knife 14 cn/5.5 inch Check Price Victorinox CP843 11 cm/4.4 inch Check Price DALSTRONG Serrated Utility Knife (Editors Choice) 14 cm/5.5 inch Check Price Boning Knife Size Price V Sabatier Boner (Editors Choice) 15 cm / 6 inch Check Price Wusthof Classic boning knife 16 cm/6.3 inch Check Price Victorinox C673 Straight Boning Knife 12.7 cm/5 inch Check Price   In this article, we bring you a buyers’ guide and the best kitchen knives on the market, so that you can make an informed decision and buy just the kitchen knives available. Kitchen Knives - What to Look For? Even though there are many types of kitchen knives, there are general things such as solid construction, sharpness, good weight, etc. that make a good kitchen knife. That being said, here are some features to consider when choosing a kitchen knife. Kitchen Knife - Construction When it comes to construction, we have stamped and forged knives. Stamped knives are made with the machine. The blade is made from a continuous sheet of stainless steel and then the handle is added. After that, the knife is sharpened and refined. This knife is much less sturdy and durable compared to its forged counterpart, but it is cheap. On the other hand, forged knives are produced with heat. Basically, heat is applied to a piece of stainless steel and then the knife is shaped. These knives are resilient and much stronger, but they are also much more expensive than stamped ones. Kitchen Knife - Weight A good kitchen knife is neither too heavy nor too light. However, there is not a general rule for choosing a knife of the right weight; this is totally up to you. You need to experiment with different knives so that you can see which knives are better for your hand - lighter or heavier ones. Kitchen Knife - Balance Clearly, balance and weight go hand in hand. A well-balanced knife is the one that you can have control over. This means the knife's weight should not fall too much on the one side.Handle The next thing to take into account is the comfort. So, you want to get a knife with an ergonomic handle. That way, you will do kitchen tasks with peace of mind, knowing that the knife won’t slip from your hand. Also, if you spend many hours in the kitchen, you need a comfortable knife to work with, otherwise you won’t be able to focus on your work. Kitchen Knife - Material If we're talking about higher end models, you'll encounter carbon steel, high-carbon stainless steel, and stainless steel kitchen knives. While stainless steel knives are durable, sturdy and easy to sharpen, those made of carbon steel are even stronger but less durable. Knives made of high-carbon stainless steel are the best of the three since they are more durable than carbon steel knives but also stronger than stainless steel knives. If we're talking about mid-priced models, perfect for everyday use and small tasks, you can use ceramic knives. They are lighter than stainless steel counterparts and are extremely sharp. However, you cannot sharpen them on your own, so you’ll have to take them to a prof[...]



The Best Survival Kit 2017

2017-09-30T21:42:37+01:00

Fact: the world will end at some point. Hopefully, it will come to pass in a few billion years with the sun swallowing the earth in a spectacular fireworks display. By that point, the human race will have colonised thousands of other planets and will experience the event by way of a live stream rather than 1st hand. Survival Kit If we’re unfortunate enough to experience a cataclysmic event before then or even a minor survival situation, then you can increase your odds of survival significantly by ensuring you have access to a prepared and well-provisioned survival kit. Unfortunately, disasters can often occur during periods when we least expect it, during such times being prepared will often have a significant impact on your ability to survive the situation. Chances are you, like me and many others, have been told by many authority figures, including the government, to have essential survival items at hand. You probably thought about it, agreed it was a good idea, then went back to watching Game of Thrones. Maybe you live in a high-risk area, somewhere that is prone to fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, or in the case of the UK, the adverse weather conditions are probably the most immediate concern. With that in mind you might have stockpiled some water, maybe some canned food & lentils, and stocked up on candles, batteries and torches. These items will likely get you through most minor disaster situations. But, what if the unthinkable happens? Horrible situations are unlikely, but they can happen. From tsunamis to earthquakes, to terrorist attacks, to floods, to volcanoes. The range of disasters that can happen are almost uncountable and can all pose serious challenges to your continued existence. Chances are that you’ll never have to exist in a world where every day is an epic fight for your continued survival, but let’s imagine an apocalyptic setting, taking a few proactive steps now could literally make the difference between life and death later. At the worst case, you’ll end up buying a few bits and pieces that you’ll rarely use and invested a few hours of your time. In the best case or worst case scenario, your preparation will mean you won’t become a statistic, you won’t starve and you won’t become a victim of a roaming scantily clad biker gang in 2025. How to Build the Perfect Survival Kit This is not your run of the mill survival kit or something which you might take away with your camping. This is fire and brimstone end of civilisation survival kit which will allow you to survive, even prosper, in all sorts of dangerous and adverse situations. While it’s pretty much impossible to account for every survival eventuality, or even please every armchair expert (there might be something you want to see included, in which case include it), but with the things in this kit, you’ll be far better prepared than 99% of the population, and even better prepared than someone that bought a commercially available kit. In researching the requirements for this survival kit guide, I’ve liaised with several experts in the field as well as tried to take an objective view of the numerous other guides available, taking the best parts and discarding the chaff. Where appropriate I have cited my references and tried to reason why an item is a must-have. The Pocket Survival Kit Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Kit A professionally put together pocket survival kit will likely only have a minor impact on your potential for survival in an apocalyptic scenario, but it also has the distinct advantage that it will fit in your pocket, which means you can always have it with you. Having this simple piece of kit with you before you head out your front door is a great idea. Ideally, a pocket survival kit will be part of a larger survival kit which will always be with you. A pocket survival kit is made up of a few simple items: • A waterproof container to house the kit• A candle• Compass• Fishing line and hooks• Flint/striker or other non-match based fire starter• Matche[...]



Bahco Laplander Review: Top-Quality Folding Saw in the Spotlight

2017-08-20T22:11:13+01:00

Are you looking for a top quality folding saw for bushcraft or pruning? Basically, you have a lot of factors to consider. Primarily, you need to take regard of the convenience. This is difficult to find, especially now that not all folding saws are well-balanced or hassle-free to grip. Moreover, it is also crucial to take into consideration the size of the saw in relation to the measurement of your hand. If you are purchasing online, it is easy to find out if the product you are interested in will give you no worries in user comfort. You can simply check out what its previous buyers have to say. Most importantly, you should also look for a folding saw that is control-fitted. This is regarded as the ideal selection if you want to attain utmost ease in operating the equipment. Apparently, with the aforementioned factors, the market has something to offer in advance – Bahco Laplander Folding Saw. You will see the reviews of the product not only in tons of websites but also in forums. It is also obvious that when you review the feedbacks, you will obtain only high praises from its previous and existing owners. Nonetheless, you may want to learn more about the product. This is not a problem since the following excerpt will introduce you to the high-quality equipment in detail. What Is Bahco Laplander Folding Saw?   Bahco Laplander Folding Saw is considered to be among the top omnipresent tools for pruning or bushcraft available today. At present, you can even consider the product as a legendary option. Why? This is due to the fact that it does live up to the hype you are seeing online. By looking at it esthetically, you will already find that the product has an attractive design. Although it is not common to describe a folding saw based on its appearance, you will still find the folding saw oddly attractive compared to its rivals in the market. You may even deem the folding saw as the best-looking one you will ever find. You can also compare it to a folding knife that puts together every tool you need. However, more people care about the performance of the saw, which it will not fall short in. Many have described Bahco Laplander’s operation to be seamless and highly rated in various feedback sections online. Expectedly, it comes with a 7.5-inch blade, which makes it a highly sizable tool. In truth, you can even put it in your pocket, providing ease when you have to move from one place to another. Although the tool is lightweight, you will be surprised that its performance can compete to any folding saw’s feat in the market. Do you know that you can use it as an alternative to your hiking tools that are practically heavy? Truthfully, there is a possibility that it can replace an ax in a way since it can be utilized in many situations. If you will check out the construction of the material, it can actually work alongside a large knife, and you will not even find any difference. There is more to its attractive design – build that gives way to quick and easy execution of tasks. You will also love the fact that the blade of the product can be detached and replaced at the same time. You can basically use a Philips screw in order to unscrew the pivot. Stunningly, it can chew through logs. You may be hesitant at first, but when you try it, you will be more than surprised. In record time, you can eradicate a three-inch wood without physical hazard. You can even decimate most materials with reduced effort. How Is the Folding Saw Used? You will be using Bahco Laplander in order to cut logs or branches, particularly coming from small to medium trees. If you are working on a medium tree, you may use the folding saw in order to decimate five-inch diameter of logs. It is actually impractical if you will use the seven-inch blade in order to cut through bigger branches. Moreover, you may need other tools to do such task. Bahco Laplander is also sold as a piece of equipment to cut through not only wooden logs but also bones and plastic. The XT toothing of the product [...]



The Best Victorinox Swiss Army Knives 2017 - The Best Pocket Knife Money Can Buy

2017-09-24T23:08:29+01:00

You might be an adventurer who spends his days in the wild, surrounded by breathtaking nature. Perhaps you are a family person who loves to go off the grid every once in a while and just enjoy the time with your family and nature. Then again, you might be someone who loves to be prepared for the unexpected situations at every moment. Well, whatever the case may be – chances are, you are looking for a multi-purpose tool that will make easy work of opening cans or bottles, cutting wood, or cutting food. We are talking about a pocket knife, of course! However, we don’t want to talk about those cheap models that will only make you waste your money because they are often useless. No, boy. We are talking about the real deal – the legendary Swiss Army Knife. Swiss Army Knife  Swiss Army Knife Weight Accessories Price Victorinox Huntsman 45 Grams 14 Check Price Victorinox Champ [Editors Choice] 210 Grams 32 Check Price Victorinox VIC SWISS CHAMP XLT 247 Grams 49 Check Price Victorinox Explorer 105 Grams 16 Check Price Victorinox Ranger Grip 55 225 Grams 12 Check Price Victorinox Swiss Soldiers Knife 140 Grams 10 Check Price Victorinox Alpineer 59 Grams 1 Check Price Victorinox Swiss Army 1 50 Grams 1 Check Price Victorinox Evolution Wood 17 141 Grams 13 Check Price Victorinox Classic SD 22 Grams 7 Check Price   So, if you are on the same page as us, and you’re looking for reliability and high-quality, then you’ve stumbled upon the perfect article. In here we will talk about the one and only – the Swiss Army Knife. This knife is known as “A cultural icon of Switzerland” and with a good reason. From the knifes history to the 10 best versions available, we have got you covered, so read on if you want to know more about the best of the best. What exactly is a pocket knife? Before we move on to the history of Swiss Army Knife, let us first talk about the pocket knife in general. We all have heard of this handy item, even if you have never used one. But, how much do you really know about pocket knives? A pocket knife refers to a fold-able knife that can fit into your pocket (clearly, that’s how it got its name). A pocket knife is a versatile tool as it comes with one or a few blades that fit inside the handle. Besides that, these pockets come with an array of tools, such as scissors, pliers, wood saw, head screwdriver, corkscrew, etc. Thanks to that, these knives can be used in numerous situations, from cutting fruits, to cutting wood, to opening envelopes, to opening cans and bottles. The first pocket knives we have heard of date all the way back to the early Iron Age. When you stop and think for a second, you will see that it is completely logical why these people have come up with a pocket knife. It must have made their life so much easier. A pocket knife makes OUR lives a whole lot easier, since they are perfect for everyday use and those unexpected situations, let alone how helpful it was to craftsmen thousands of years ago. The History of the Swiss Army Knife But, enough about those old times, it’s time to go back to present or at least to 1880s. At that time, the Swiss Army wanted to buy new folding pocket knives for their soldiers, so as to make their everyday life much easier. So, in 1891. The German knife manufacturer Wester & Co. delivered 15, 000 pocket knives. This pocket knife was called Modell 1890. Why these pocket knives were made by the German company, one may ask. That is because Swiss companies had no production capacity needed for delivering these products and in such a large number. But, it was not long before Karl Elsener (his company was selling surgical equipment) made a decision to start the production of pocket knives in Switzerland. Like with every person who made a decision and sticks to it, Karl Elsener started producing the Modell 1890 knives at the end of 1891. After a few years ago, Elsener wanted to improve the knives’ design and make i[...]



Kelly Kettle Review

2017-09-28T11:49:55+01:00

If you’ve ever spent time in the damp UK weather waiting for a small amount of water to boil in order to make a much needed cup of tea, then you know it can be exercise in patience. Not only do you need to build a fire which is reluctant to light, but you also need to build a stand to hold your pot over the hottest part of the flame, even then it can take what seems like ages for the water to boil. But there is a solution. The Kelly Kettle is here to help satiate the UK populations need for tea. Kelly Kettle At its heart the Kelly Kettle is an extremely elegant solution to the problem of boiling water quickly while out and about. With this simple piece of kit it’s easy to boil over 1 litre of water in as little as 4 minutes, with only the fuel that is naturally available. The Kelly Kettle accomplishes this feat by focusing a fires heat, as well as maximising the surface area exposed to the heat in order to increase absorption and transfer the heat to the water. The design of the kettle consists of a fire base and a kettle chimney, as the kettle is chimney shaped, not only does the heat applied to the kettle base warm it up, but also any smoke heat and flames that go through the kettle chimney will additionally heat up the water. This means water will boil very quickly. Our Kelly Kettle Review As someone that loves the outdoor, I am always on the lookout for innovative and interesting products that can help save me time and help save my back from carrying too much stuff. I am continually tweaking what I take away with me for a long weekend and revising what was useful and what wasn’t useful. As a consequence of this constant revision, I always have an eye out for a for pieces of equipment that are useful for a wide range of scenarios.  When bad weather settles on your camping spot or you’ve just had enough walking for one day, you want to set up camp, eat, enjoy a cup of tea and relax with as little fuss as possible. Being able to boil water and cook relies on being able to build and light a fire, as well as having quality outdoor cookware. In an emergency situation fresh water might not be readily available, in these circumstances being able to adapt your setup to purify and distil water could be critical to your survival.  I recently had the good fortune to see the Kelly Kettle in action as a local camping and outdoors fair, it immediately blew me away. The design is ingenious, simple and very effective. The Kettle was created over 100 years by the Irish Kelly family. It’s a unique solution to the natural fuel cooking system. No artificial fuels, gases, liquids or tablets required with this cooker.  I chose to buy and review the medium sized Kelly Kettle Stainless Steel Scout, which is capable of brining 1.1 litres of water to the boil in a bit under 5 minutes. This is perfect for couples, small groups or even solo travellers.  The whole package packs away very neatly into a durable nylon pouch, the kettle is just over 25cm tall and a little under 19cm wide and weighs in at a fairly substantial 1.08 kilograms which increases to 1.6 kilograms once all the accessories are included. This is obviously somewhat larger and quite a bit heavier than a lot of the portable cooking solutions that are available, however, there is an aluminium version available which reduces the weight by 25%. So as long as you don’t mind cooking or boiling your water in an aluminium container then you can save quite a bit of weight.  If you’re still off the opinion that it’s a little on the large side you could opt for the slightly smaller model called the Trekker which weighs in at a much more manageable 760 grams, this model is capable of holding and heating 0.5 litres of water, it’s much better suited to the solo backpacker. As with its bigger sibling, the Trekker is also available in aluminium, which is also around 25% lighter than the steel version. At the other end of the scale if the Base Camp version [...]



What Are The Best Hunting Catapults In The UK for Survival?

2017-09-30T22:34:40+01:00

The catapult is an age-old hunting weapon that should be part of any hunters kit. They are one of the most reliable and simplest weapons available, compact in size and inexpensive to repair and buy, there is no good reason not to have one in your collection. They are also a lot of fun to use. The question remains, what are the best hunting catapults available to buy in the UK? Hunting Catapult Name Weight Price Trumark FS-1 Folding Slingshot 130 grams Check Price Pocket Predator Hatchcock Target Sniper 290 grams Check Price Dankung Toucan ParaCord Wrap Hunting Catapult 300 grams Check Price Survival Slingshot Archer Catapult 350 grams Check Price Eagle Aluminium Steel Alloy Hunting Catapult (Editors Choice) 300 grams Check Price Fat Boy Stainless Steel Catapult 182 grams Check Price A hunting catapult can be anything from a very simply Y shaped piece of wood with some elastic all the way up to an aluminium alloy catapult with additional balancers and laser sighting aids. Modern hunting catapults are far more effective than the wooden toys I used as a boy growing up, they can be lethal in the right hands and incredibly accurate at far greater distances than you might expect. These catapults are made from space age materials and have been scientifically engineered in order to be as effective as possible.  Before we dive into the slingshots available, let’s first explore the advantages and disadvantages of adding a hunting catapult to your kit. As with many survival aids such as survival knives, the hunting catapult is often a low tech piece of kit, which at its heart is just a piece of wood and some elastic. The fact that it’s low tech works in its favour, the chances of critical component failure are low and any parts that do fail are readily replaceable for very little money or skill. When choosing a hunting catapult it’s worth considering the pros and cons associated with them:Pros With practise they can be very accurate and deadly Silent operation Exceptionally easy to reload Reloading takes seconds Simple design and operation Lightweight and small Easily repaired Cheap to buy Nature can provide ammunition Cons To be effective requires practise Store bought ammunition can be heavy and bulky Spare parts are required Overall the pros of owning a hunting catapult far outweigh the cons, which means they are must have weapons for any serious hunter, survivalist or prepper. It’s worth investing in a decent supply of ammo when buying a hunting catapult, a pack of 200 8mm ball bearings will cost between £5 and £6, and replacement bands will cost up to £10 for a replacement set. A good quality hunting catapult will start at around £20 and can go all the way up to £150. If you’re not sure what you want then I would suggest starting at the lower end of the scale and then investing in something more significant if you feel it’s something you’d utilise. TRUMARK FS-1 Review - Buy it from Ebay Often what makes a good hunting catapult is the elastic tubing used, with that in mind, that’s probably one of the first things you’ll want to upgrade with this catapult, replacing it with something with a stronger pull weight and greater elasticity. As an out of the box catapult, it’s good for a beginner or a child showing an interest, just don’t expect it to pack much punch, but that is reflected in the price. The wristguard and arms are made from resilient aluminium alloy. The catapult handle is made from moulded plastic and it’s capable of holding a reasonable amount of ball bearing ammo. I would have liked to have seen more thought gone into the ergonomics of the handle, while not uncomfortable, it could be better. The wristguard folds up, which means the whole thing is very compact and easily fits into a bag or large pocket. Anyone that has experience using a catapult will find the Trumark FS-1 a bit on the weak side of things, but for controll[...]



The Complete Guide to the Best Hunting Knives

2017-08-01T22:40:41+01:00

No hunter can be said to be fully prepared without a good quality knife. A quality hunting knife can serve multiple roles for the serious hunter, from killing an animal to butchering its meat, the knife is perhaps one of the most important pieces of equipment anyone can carry when out hunting. For hundreds or even thousands of years knives have been a hunters best friend, and to this day it's a staple for anyone looking to spend time in the outdoors.As with most things that have existed for such a long time, there are many variations, styles and specialist uses for hunting knives. We know from first hand experience that it can be overwhelming to sort through the endless options available and decide on something that meets all of your requirements. To that end, we’ve composed this article to help you in your decision making process, we’ve tried to cover everything you’ll likely need to know about the humble hunting knife. We’ve even tried out many knives and composed our list of the best hunting knives. Ka-Bar Becker Campanion Camping Knife Review - Buy it from Amazon There's no denying that the Ka-Bar Becker Campanion knife is good looking hunting knife. The blade is made from an impressive 1095 cro-van steel, and the whole knife measures in at a very manageable 10.5 inches.  The blade tip is a drop point and the handle is a non slip Grivory material.  Even though the warranty doesn't cover every scenario, it is limited lifetime warranty. The ruggedness of the Ka-Bar Becker Campanion knife impressed this reviewer and I wouldn't doubt it would last a lifetime of use. Böker Fahrtenmesser Jug Review - Buy it from Amazon This fixed blade Böker knife is very capable, not only in terms of sturdiness but also for all round quality.  Ontario Knife Company SP10 Raider Bowie Fixed Blade Knife Review - Buy it from Amazon Ontario Knife Company SP10 Raider Bowie Fixed Blade knife is a durable and razor sharp blade that has a usefulness that extends beyond being used as a hunting knife.   Haagen Fixed Blade Hunting Knife Review - Buy it from BladesPro The Haagen Fixed Blade Hunting Knife is one the cheapest options available on this list, but that does not mean it's less capable. The blade is well proportioned and the grip incredibly comfortable, there isn't a lot missing from this knife and it's a bargain as well. Stealth Black Fixed Blade Swiss Hunting Knife Review - Buy it from BladesPro Everything about this knife screams quality, right down to the black powder finish on the blade.  It is a clean and sleek looking knife that will look right at home in any hunters equipment. Hunting Knife History It’s an impossible task to identify when the first hunting knife came into being, which is mainly because knives have existed in various forms for millennia. It perhaps goes without saying that the knife is probably one of the oldest tools around, sharing a legacy with other stone tools such as clubs and hammers. There are many stone age records which demonstrate that ancient mankind would often fashion knives from stones, bones or shells, allowing the hunter to be more effective and deadly. Ancient Egyptians began to improve the knives they used when hunting, fashioning wooden handles for their stone blades, which increased the comfort and forces they could exert while wielding a knife. These stone hunting knives looked quite different from what we have today, but they were regularly used for hunting, while smaller stones knives would be used for more intricate work such as skinning and cutting meat.Apart from the massive technological breakthrough in form of metallurgy, the hunting knife remained largely unchanged for many hundreds of years, that was until Jim Bowie completely changed and revolutionised the knife. Jim Bowie was a American legend and frontiersman. In his lifetime, Bowie modified and changed knives to meet his very specific requir[...]



Pepper Spray UK

2017-10-07T20:27:08+01:00

When it comes to self-defence, the laws in the UK are very strict and rightly so. This can cause a problem for the general law abiding public, how can you effectively defend yourself from an attacker but still stay on the right side of the law. Mace is not legal in the UK, but there is a pepper spray UK equivalent which might just do the job and help buy you precious seconds to enact your escape, it's the perfect self defence spray.  Name Size Price Safehaus Mini Self Defence Spray 85 x 34mm 40ml Check Price TIW FARB Criminal identifier 85 x 34mm 40ml Check Price SABRE DID19 19 ml Deterrent Marking Spray 242 x 24mm 19ml Check Price Pepper Spray UK The choice of weapons which you can use to defend your family and yourself is limited, and is controlled by the government in order to stop the defensive weapons from being used in an offensive manor. You cannot and should not walk around with a 50 inch sword strapped to your back, nor can you carry a handgun or any other sort of weapon, even if you claim it’s for self-defence only. In all fairness, I know I feel safer knowing that it’s very unlikely that I’ll be a victim of gun crime. A weapon is still a weapon, no matter what the intention for carrying one was. If you’re caught carrying a weapon then it’s implied that the intention to use the weapon was there, which can of course mean you were prepared to seriously injure or even kill another human being. Which no matter how you try to spin it, it’s simply not cool. So when it comes to defending yourself effectively the choices and responsible options available to you are limited. The act of even holding and pointing a knife at a would be aggressor is against the law in the UK, the consequences of doing so can be very serious and are even worse if you actually use it. The crime rate in the UK has been dropping steadily for the last 20 years, but that by no means that crime is not a problem. Muggings, theft and breaks-ins are still a common occurrence, especially in the major cities. So, what can you do to defend yourself? You cannot legally carry a weapon with you to defend yourself, we’ll need to look into alternative UK legal methods of protecting ourselves, our children and our families. One of the most effective non-lethal weapons that has been proven to effectively deter an attacker is the pepper spray. Many police forces and other authorities around the world use these sprays, and they are an extremely effective deterrent. However, pepper spray in the uk is considered an offensive weapon, which makes it illegal to own and carry. I can wholeheartedly empathise with the law makers in the UK, they have a very hard task of protecting the public from harm, but that is doubly difficult when we consider that any self-defence tool can be just as easily used for offence. But what about the general law abiding public, surely we have rights when it comes to defending ourselves in some way? The answer is there isn’t a whole lot we can do and unfortunately the criminal element will rarely if ever adhere to the same rules as the rest of us, meaning we’re already at a disadvantage. The law is very clear when it comes to pepper spray in the UK, it’s laid out in Section 5(1) (b) of the firearms act 1968:This act prohibits any weapon of any description, designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other substance. Basically, the law categorically states that any sort of pepper spray, the type typically used by law enforcement around the world, that contains a noxious gas or liquid would be considered illegal to carry and illegal to use by any UK citizen. So what are the pepper spray uk legal alternatives that any member of the public can use and buy? The only legal alternative that the public has at their disposal and is in some ways the uk version of pepper spray would be one of the D[...]



The 8 Best Survival Knives

2017-07-26T20:19:05+01:00

I can barely recall my first kiss, it might have been at a high school disco, but I don’t remember who with. I’m a bit vague as to what I did at my first day of work. Most of what I learnt at school is a distance memory, don’t ask me what themes Romeo and Juliet examines. However, I can tell you exactly where, what I was wearing and who I was with when I got my first survival knife, which was well over 20 years ago now. Recalling the memory brings back some very fond childhood memories with my dad, which I hope someday to recreate with my own son. My first knife was an old sheath knife with an antler horn handle, it was a bit rusty and wasn’t particularly sharp, but it signified that I was to be trusted with a potentially dangerous tool and satisfied some very primal urges. My long love of knives began at this time and I’ve extended my collection significantly since then. If a film contains a survival knife you can bet that it’s going to be something cool, but is there really any practical application to having a survival knife, if you have one in the real world would it ever get any use? ATS-34 62HRC FIXED BLADE - Buy it from BladesPro HAAGEN FIXED BLADE - Buy it from BladesPro LEGACY LEATHER FIXED BLADE - Buy it from BladesPro STOCK FIXED BLADE - Buy it from BladesPro Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Blade Knife - Buy it from Amazon Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Fixed Blade Knife - Buy it from Amazon Ontario Knife Company - Buy it from Amazon Ontario Knife Company SP2 Air Force Survival Fixed Blade Knife - Buy it from Amazon In spite of our advancements in medicine, travel, technology and communications, millions of people around the world are thrust into disaster situations and are at the mercy of the elements or assistance from strangers. Additionally, thousands of people globally accidentally find themselves in a unexpected random life and death situations where the difference between life and death can depend on a little knowledge and the tools and resources available. So what? It is prudent, whenever possible, to keep irreplaceable survival tools close at hand just in case the unthinkable happens. Possibly the most important tool you can have is a quality survival knife. No other tool or piece of equipment can replace the survival knife, it’s proved itself throughout history as a must have piece of kit. Since modern man started making its way out of Africa, we have always relied on some sort of cutting tool to meet our most basic survival needs: shelter, fire, food and water. Over thousands of years the cutting tools have developed from simple stone tools into beautifully engineered survival knives. However, it should be noted that not all survival knives are created equally. I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try out many types of survival knives at BladesPro on an everyday basis. I can even take a selection with me when my partner and I go for a day or weekend into the wilderness. However, I realise this is not possible for most people. At the very least, a survival knife should be available when you’re likely to need it most i.e. when you’re out and about in the wilderness. The more often you have it with you, the more often you’ll likely find a use for it, even if it’s not a survival situation. I always have one in my car as who knows when you might need to cut your seat belt or smash a window. So regardless if you’re backpacking, fishing, hunting, skiing, hiking, boating or camping, a good knife is a trusted irreplaceable companion. I’m rarely if ever out and about without one. Survival knives are as the name implies, knives that help you to survive. A well made survival knife can have hundreds of uses, including: Cutting/Slicing Splitting Signaling Shelter Building Self-Defense Prying Tool Make-Shift Screwdriver Hunting Weapon Hammering Fo[...]



Guide to Types of Sword Steel – Everything You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know

2017-08-08T11:52:12+01:00

When it comes to picking a sword, it’s not uncommon to hear the question “What is the best sort of sword steel”. This type of the question is not easily answered, the best sort of steel depends largely on what the sword will be used for and what budget the buyer has. For example, someone that is looking purely for a decorative display piece will likely want a steel that remains shiny with very little maintenance. A stainless steel sword will probably meet this buyers requirements, the sword will remain bright and polished for years, however the sword will be useful for very little else apart from hanging on the wall. If on the other hand the shopper would like a real battle ready sword, one which is capable of taking and retaining a cutting edge, then the choice of steel is a little harder. Additionally, we may need to consider sword tempering and forging methods. We’ll go into more depth in the article below. Sword Tempering A sword begins its life as a billet of steel, this billet is heated and roughly formed into a sword like shape. This process may take a couple of hours, or a couple of dozen hours, largely depending on the size and type of sword required. Once the sword has been shaped into its final form, the sword will most often go under a procedure called tempering. Tempering is a key aspect of producing a functional sword, the steps involved are quite technical in nature and have a significant impact on the swords capabilities. Essentially tempering involves heating the sword to pre-defined temperatures, the sword is then rapidly cooled in oil or water (but not too rapidly). The tempering process is key to producing a hardened and tough blade. However, if the sword is cooled too quickly then the sword may end up being brittle or cracking. Many thousands of swords have met an untimely end during the tempering process. Sword tempering will have one of the biggest effects on the final swords capabilities, sometimes more than the type of steel chosen. Most swords are either mono hardened or differentially hardened. In a mono hardened sword, the whole sword is heated to the same uniform temperature and cooled at the same rate. In a differentially hardened sword, clay or other similar pastes are added to the blade in order to insulate part of the sword from the heating and cooling process. When this occurs the clay covered part will cool at a slower pace compared to the exposed part of the blade, this works to increase the hardness of the exposed blade while allowing the covered portion to remain flexible. The differential hardening process is very common in Japanese swords such as a Samurai Sword, creating the distinctive Hamon line. A Hamon line is the separation between the hard cutting edge and the softer flexible spine. A flexible spine allows the sword to absorb impacts which would otherwise dent or crack the sword. Mono tempered swords are typically marketed at beginners, they are able to take more abuse and are less likely to chip or become permanently misshapen. Despite the association with beginners, there are a lot of good arguments for buying a mono tempered sword over a traditional differentially tempered variety. Most of the swords originating from medieval Europe where forged using mono tempering methods, which was better suited to the slashing blows against armour and shields, the mono temper is better suited to taking punishment without chipping or breaking. If you’re experienced using a sword for cutting, then you may wish to consider a differentially tempered. These swords typically have a harder cutting edge, but you’ll need to be wary of form and technique, a misguided sword stroke may lead to the blade being chipped or irrevocably damaged. Most experienced sword makers today are well versed in the art of sword tempering, so there’[...]



The Best Recurve Bows Available

2017-07-10T20:41:25+01:00

If you’ve decided you want to buy a recurve bow, choosing what kind of bow need not be a challenge. If you take a look at all models and options available, you might be forgiven for feeling slightly overwhelmed and confused. This is completely expected for a beginner, but the truth of the matter is no matter what bow you pick as an amateur archer, you’re more than likely going to be happy with the results. It’s still worth understanding what you’re going to use the bow for to help narrow our choices.  American Hunting Recurve Bow | 20-36lbs | Colour & Weight Options - Buy it from BladesPro Vertex Aluminium Alloy Recurve Bow | 30-50lbs - Buy it from BladesPro Traditional Aluminium Alloy Recurve Bow | 30-50lbs - Buy it from BladesPro   Professional Folding Straight Bow | 40lbs - Buy it from BladesPro Archery Recurve Bow with wood handle Kit 1 - Buy it from Amazon Olympian Recurve Bow Kit - Buy it from Amazon Why Do You Want a Recurve Bow? Are you only planning on using he bow for target practise, or would like to try hunting as well? (please bear in mind that hunting with a bow is not legal in every country)If you only intend to use the bow for target practise then you can probably pick just about any bow you want that fits with your budget. You could just simply pick one of the bows recommended below that fits in with your budget, looks good and you’ll be all set to fire some arrows down a range within a couple of days. While every recurve bow will work for shooting at targets, not all bows are good candidates for hunting. However, the number one defining features which dictates whether or not a bow will be suitable for hunting is the draw weight. The model, features and colours are all secondary to the draw weight of the bow. In case you didn’t know, the draw weight refers to the amount of force it takes to pull a bow string over a set distance, this distance is universally set at 28 inches for recurve bows. The draw weight directly relates to the power of the bow, so the higher the draw weight, the faster and further the arrow will travel. This is very important for hunting for a couple of reasons. When you’re on the range shooting at targets, you bow not need to be especially powerful. Your arrow is only required to penetrate a flimsy cardboard or foam target, which obviously does not require a lot of energy. However, when you’re hunting, your arrow needs to penetrate tough skin, layers of fatty tissue and on occasions bone as well. So how do you ensure your bow is powerful enough? The answer is to simply pick a recurve bow which has a draw weight which exceeds 40lbs. It is of course possible to use a less powerful bow for smaller game such as rabbits, in which case a 30lb bow would probably suffice. But for anything larger you’re going to need a more capable bow. The main problem is that not all beginners can draw a 40lb bow. However, after a few weeks off training and building muscle, nearly everyone will be able to draw 40lbs or more.  To Quickly Recap If you’ll only ever use your recurve bow for target practise, then you can safely pick just about any bow that you like the look off.  If your main priorities are hunting, then you can still pick any bow that you’d like, as long as the draw weight is at least 40lbs.  It’s worth bearing in mind that longer bows are generally more accurate, however, they are also more unwieldy. A long bow is probably not something you’d want to lug around in the wild. Do You Need a Take Down Bow? When you come to choosing your recurve bow, you’ll probably want to consider getting a take-down bow. A take-down bow is basically a recurve bow which allows you to remove the limbs from the riser. There are three good reasons for choosing a take-down recurve bow over a tra[...]



Six of the Best Ghillie Suite's Available

2017-07-05T20:59:01+01:00

You’ll have no doubt seen snipers featured in films or on the news, you might have even seen the uncanny looking half man half bush hybrid making an appearance. The weird looking human can owe his look to the ghillie suit. Gillie suits are designed to allow a sniper blend into the environment, so much so that you’d be hard pushed to spot one in the wild. Top Ghillie Suite's Dark Green Woodsman Bio Ghillie Suit Light Green Woodsman Bio Ghillie Suit Woodland Sniper Ghillie Suit Jungle Camo Huntsman Camo Ghillie Suit Army Ghillie Suit 3-D Helikon Camouflage Ghillie Suit Digital Woodland   The word ghillie originates from Scotland, where it was used to describe a type of game warden. A ghillie would be responsible for guarding the game on the land they were employed to protect. Occasionally a ghillie would be tasked with capturing a deer alive, which they would accomplish by lying perfectly still in wait for hours until a deer to approach. Once the deer was within range, the ghillie would break from cover and wrestle the deer until it was under control. The poor deer could then be returned to lords keep, where it could be shot in relative comfort in a pretend hunt. A modern day ghillie suit is essentially a specialised military uniform which has been modified to meet a snipers specific needs. The underside of the ghillie suite is often reinforced, waterproofed and padded in order to maximise the comfort of the sniper tasked with lying in the same spot for hours or even days. Camouflaged netting can be applied to the suit, which can then have shredded burlap or other similar materials applied. Ghillie suits are most often coloured to match the surrounding environment. Additional elements such as branches, vines, twigs, sticks and grass can also be incorporated into the netting to further enhance the camouflage and obfuscate the wearers outline. It’s very rare to encounter a straight line in nature, so the standard equipment given to soldiers, such as antennas and rifles often stands out and give away the position of an otherwise camouflaged soldier. To combat this, snipers may apply ghillie suit methods of concealment to their weapons, wrapping rifles in canvas and adding pieces of cloth to break up the outline of the gun. A soldier is trained to be aware of unusual or out of place things in their surroundings that could signify a risk or threat. Humans are one of the most recognisable outlines in nature. Spotters and snipers are all taught to look for colour and contours when attempting to spot potential threats in the terrain. A ghillie suit attempts to combat this by breaking up the easily recognisable human outline, allowing for the wearer to blend seamlessly with the surrounding flora. “With a good ghillie suit,” Army Ranger Sniper explains, “you could hide in a yard and people wouldn’t be able to see you.” Ghillie suits first appeared in the early 20th century. A visionary officer in the Scottish army named Lord Lovat used two specialist companies of solider in 1899 in South Africa. He picked out soldiers from the highlands that had ghillie experience, reasoning that their existing wilderness skills could be supplemented by additional training to create a formidable force. These men were tasked with reconnaissance and scouting during the Boers war. Lord Lovats scouts soon proved their worth in the field, significantly improving the intelligence gathered by utilising their ability to stay hidden close to the enemy for days at a time. The Lovat scouts continued to be used in the way during WWI and WWII. Around 1916, an elite contingent of the Lovats scouts was turned into a sniper unit. This unit was distinguished in its ability to gather intelligence and single out and pick off commanding officer[...]



Top 5 Paracord Bracelets of 2017

2017-06-27T20:44:19+01:00

When you’re in the outdoors hiking or trekking, there’s lots of kit you need to take. Depending on how long you’ll be away, you might take a backpack, plenty of water, food, a tent and a lot more equipment.Anything you do take should be easy to use, lightweight and should take up as little space as possible. Enter the paracord bracelet – also known as a survival bracelet. It’s so small and light, you won’t even notice it’s there most of the time, but this tool can be a true lifesaver, so it’s worth looking into getting one. With an almost unlimited number of ways to use a paracord bracelet, it’s a great accessory and can be worn comfortably around the wrist until you need it. What is a paracord bracelet? A paracord bracelet is a long piece of parachute cord woven into a bracelet.Paracord – or parachute cord – is a highly durable type of nylon rope. Originally used for parachutes during WWII, it is now a common item in military and aeronautical circles. Yup, even NASA use this type of rope in space!It’s also made its way to hikers and survival enthusiasts, as it is made of a durable, strong and lightweight material and can be used in more ways you can imagine, thanks to its strength and highly versatile nature.The rope is a so-called ‘kernmantle rope’. Several strands of thinner rope run through an external flexible sheath. This allows the rope to have huge tensile strength, provided by the thinner ropes, while the sheath provides protection from abrasion to the sides. The component parts of the rope can be used separately, for instance to increase the length of your rope, making for an extremely versatile piece of kit.The most commonly used type of paracord is the 550 cord. This type has a minimum break strength of 550 lbs. (250 kg) and holds seven inner strands. This is the material used for most paracord bracelets as well and will not let you down when you find yourself in a hard spot during a hike.A paracord bracelet is made up of a long piece of knotted paracord, with a clasp on either end to secure it around the wrist.For the average outdoorsy person, a paracord is a piece of equipment used mostly in emergencies, or at least only in very specific situations. You wouldn’t expect to need a paracord every time you step out of the house, but you do want it handy and ready to use in case you need it.Since taking large quantities of paracord with you can seem a bit redundant for most trekkers – especially when going on shorter walks – you should be able to carry it in an easy and convenient way.That’s why the paracord bracelet was invented.It is a highly efficient way of carrying a paracord with you. You won’t be bothered by the bracelet in any way while wearing it, but you’ll always have it available for almost immediate use you can unravel the cord whenever you need it. What can I do with a paracord bracelet? Apart from being a cool accessory, the paracord bracelet’s main aim is to be turned into paracord. That’s right, in order to use it, you’ll have to unravel the bracelet, something that’s not necessarily irreversible, but at the same time probably not something you’d want to do every day.That’s why a paracord bracelet is more suitable for the casual trekker, who won’t need paracord for every hike, but wants to keep one with them for emergencies or unexpected situations. Alternatively, if you do go on a longer hike, a paracord bracelet can also be a great back-up to a larger length of paracord you carry around with you whilst hiking.You’ll have to undo the paracord bracelet by either cutting the paracord near the end, or by undoing a clasp, depending on the paracord bracelet and the way it was knotted. Then, you’ll be able to use t[...]



Top Tactical Vests for 2017

2017-10-12T15:58:40+01:00

A tactical vest can be a critical piece of kit for a soldier, providing one of the first lines of defence for vital organs. In a modern day army, tactical vests are combined with plate carriers, as well as with load bearing vests. Vests are now made with modern materials, which makes them both long lasting, versatile and user friendly. You’d be hard pushed to find a modern military or security force that doesn’t utilise and equip their forces with a tactical vest, and for very good reason. Tactical Vest A soldier on the ground would need a tactical vest in order to carry body armour such as SAPI plates, and steel plates. These protective plates are critical for protecting vital organs from rounds and shrapnel, often the plates are enough to stop a potential lethal round from entering the body. Additionally, the vest will stop the protective plates from moving around, ensuring consistent protection is in place, keeping the soldier protected as he or she performs duties in potentially hostile conditions.A tactical vest will allow the spread loading of magazines and other tools on the vest, which is useful for the wearer to distribute weight evenly and keep vital tools within easy reach. A modern vest is made with ripstop nylon, and can come in a huge array of camo patterns. A typical example of camouflage include Kryptek patterns, as well as urban grey patters, which are ideal for city deployments, allowing for the wearer to blend in well with the typical city colours. The Krytptek style of camouflage are popular as they work with vegetation as well as other environments, such as desert.The Vietnam war saw the rise of load bearing vests in combat situations. The LBVs prove to be popular as they were cooler than flak jackets, but also provided a good deal of practical applications. An experienced soldier would often prefer to only carry what was absolutely necessary, the intense heat and conditions made carrying excessive weight difficult. Moving on a few years to the OIF and OEF combat theatres, and we again have soldiers working in excessively hot locations, but are required to wear thick uncomfortable body armour. LBVs are again a popular choice, however, due to the risk of IEDs, soldiers were required to wear full vests in order to maximise protection.A modern tactical vest will be made of modern synthetic materials in order to handle the harsh conditions to which they are exposed to. Nylon material, as well as over engineering of seams and joins ensures the products remain functional throughout a lifetime of use, this ensures critical equipment failure is less likely to be an issue. Any accessories or pouches that an operator chooses to wear are equally made of hard wearing materials, providing a reliable, sturdy and dependable tool which can take the abuse of harsh combat situations. Modern Tactical Vests Features Quick release mechanisms. Camouflaged. Multiple pouches. Molle webbing. Plate carrier accessibility.  Hydration options. Side plates are an essential component for protecting against directional fire coming in from the side. A tactical vest needs to be modular in design, this allows for the operator to customise the pouch placements and types to meet their specific requirements. For example, one operator may wish to have all pouches at the front of the vest, while others may prefer to stagger their placement close to their non-dominant shooting hand. Non Military Applications For anyone that’s not involved in military or security forces, a tactical vest can still be a welcome addition for a wide range of activities. For example, many outdoor activities benefit from the extra, readily available storage offered by a vest. Fishing and Hunting A[...]



The Best Compound Bows UK 2017

2017-10-04T16:13:37+01:00

Bow technology has come a long way over the last few decades, nowadays compound bows are the most fastest, powerful and accurate bows available to buy. So, what benefits do these new-fangled bows have over traditional recurve bows of old, and how do you use one? What is the best compound bow for sale in the UK? Compound Bow Almost ten years ago, I took the time out of my busy schedule to learn the art of archery. To begin with, I hadn’t shot a bow since I was in school, which is more than a two decades ago, but now, a few years of practise later, I can hit a 5 cm circle multiple times at 80 metres or more. This article will be everything I’ve learnt over the years, as well as serving as an introduction to archery and the modern technology used, which I hope will help anyone not familiar with the topic. Additionally, I’ll cover some of my personal bow recommendations. Apologies to anyone that’s intimately familiar with compound bows, at times I may simplify some topics, this is only to improve readability and to keep this article from spiralling into an epic saga, rather than a short enjoyable read.There’s no denying that traditional bows are often beautiful pieces of art and are undeniably a lot of fun to use and shoot. But they are, simply put, inferior to compound bows made with modern materials and modern engineering know how.   Low Budget Option KaiMei C50 Compound Bow 50 lbs Draw Weight The KaiMei C50 Compound Bow is a great choice for shooters who want to try a compound bow without spending a lot of money. This bow is high quality and durable, making it the perfect choice for developing your archery skills. Don’t be fooled by the price. From our experience using the bow, it gives you more than you might expect for this price range. The materials used are top notch, and the parts work together seamlessly, making it a joy to use. Our only criticism is that you’d really need to invest in a decent sight to make best use of the bow, so may wish to factor this into your buying decision. This bow is a bargain and while it may not be as feature rich as some more expensive models, it’s more than capable of providing an excellent compound bow experience. If your budget is limited, don’t hesitate in buying this bow. What we liked: The quality of the materials. The price. What we didn’t like: The sight. Mid Price Option TopArchery Aluminium Alloy Compound Bow with 35-70 lbs Draw Weight The TopArchery Aluminium Alloy Compound Bow is one of the most versatile and best-selling compound bows that exist today. The bow is full adjustable, meaning you can tailor it to suit your requirements with very little effort. This flexibility means the bow is a great choice for beginners as well as experienced shooters. Both draw weight and draw length can be adjusted, so it suits both small and large shooters alike. It’ll suit both male and female shooters as well as the young and old. What we liked: It’s versatile. It suits a wide range of shooters. What we didn’t like: Very advanced shooters may want a better sight. High End Option TopArchery D690 Compound Bow 30-60lbs Draw Weight with Spincast The TopArchery D690 Compound Bow is a bow that will last a lifetime of use, it’s well made and is a great fit for teens to adults. It’s also quite affordable and provides a lot of kit for the money. The bows settings are adjustable for draw length and weight, do you can tailor the bow to meet your shooting needs. It’s probably the ‘last bow you will ever need’. What we liked: Everything. It’s light, well made and adjustable. What we didn’t like: Nothing. Just What is a Compound Bow Anyhow Every bow, whether ne[...]



Types of Japanese Swords

2017-06-22T22:57:02+01:00

Japanese sword making goes beyond the traditional Katana, in fact, there are several remarkable swords Japan is known for, all of which have their own well deserved reputations. Tachi Sword The Japanese Tachi sword is in some respects similar to the Katana, however, it can be distinguished by its more pronounced curve and slightly longer blade. The Tachi was primarily used by warriors on horseback, where the extra length and curve to the blade made it particularly suited to cutting down any enemy foot soldiers on foot. The sword is the predecessor to the Katana, as the preferred weapon the of Japan’s warrior class, and it evolved over the years into the later designs. The two are more easily differentiated from each other by the fittings on the blade and how they were worn. Katana Sword The legendary Katana is well known type of Japanese sword, which is often solely referred to by many as a ‘Samurai Sword’. The Katana has several characteristics which make it easily recognisable. The single edged blade is curved, slender and averages between 60cm – 80cm long. Most Katana will have a square or round hand guard and the handle will be long enough to accommodate two hands. The blade has long been associated the Samurai class of feudal Japan, it’s instantly recognisable for many due to its appearance in pop culture and it’s synonymous with Japanese swords. The Katana began its life around 1392-1573, during the Muromachi period. It’s thought the sword came to fruition due to changes to the battlefield environment, which required warriors to be more responsive and faster. The Katana was unique as it was traditionally worn with the edge facing upwards, allowing the wearer to draw the sword and strike there opponent in a single stroke. Wakizashi Sword A Wakizashi sword is a another traditional Japanese sword with a shorter blade compared to the Katana, the average Wakizashi is between 30 and 60 centimetres. The sword is similar in some respects to the Katana, and is shorter than both the Katana and the Kodachi. Traditionally, the Wakizashi would be worn with the Katana by Samurai warriors. This pairing of swords is called the daisho, or little big. The Katana in this pairing would be called the sword, long sword or killing sword, while the Wakizashi would be called the companion sword.  The Wakizashi could be used as a backup weapon, or in some circumstances could be wielded in the warriors off-hand, if the Samurai was skilled enough to use two swords at the same time. On occasions the sword may also be used to commit Seppuku, or ritual suicide, which lead to the title ‘Honor Blade’.When entering a building or residence, the Samurai would often be required to leave their Katana at the entrance. However, the Wakizashi could be worn at all times without causing offence. This made the sword something like a side arm, as it was inconspicuous and could be taken everywhere. It was also especially well-suited to fighting in confined spaces, seeing as the sword is shorter than a Katana. Some Samurai would even sleep with the sword under there pillow, or next to the bed, in order to be instantly accessible. Odachi Sword The Odachi is a very large two handed Japenese sword, the word Odachi roughly translated to ‘field sword’.Odachi look in many ways similar to a Tachi, however, they are significantly larger and longer. It is thought that the Odachi was carried by foot soldiers and where used primarily against mounted cavalry, the extra reach provided by the Odachi could allow a soldier to engage a mounted warrior directly. Odachi would generally only be used in open battlefields, as their large size made[...]



Norimitsu Odachi: Who on Earth Could Have Wielded Such a Sword?

2017-06-23T10:34:47+01:00

The Norimitsu Odachi is a very large sword originating from Japan. The sword is so large, in fact, that legend says it was wielded by a giant. Ignoring the myth for the moment, apart from some basic details, such as the sword was forged in the 15th century, it measures 3.77 metres (12.37 ft), and that it weighs an impressive 14.5kg, the rest of the swords history is largely unknown. The History of the Odachi The Japanese are no stranger to forging swords, their sword making technology and ability are renowned. Many types of sword have been produced over the centuries by Japanese sword smiths, but without a doubt the most famous sword originating from Japan and the one most people are familiar with is the Katana, due in part to its association with the Samurai. Regardless, there are a range of less well known swords produced in Japan over the years, including the Odachi. The Odachi, which roughly translates as ‘great / large sword’, and is also sometimes referred to as Nodachi, which translates as ‘field sword’, is a long bladed sword from Japan. Like the Katana, the blade of the Odachi is curved, and is commonly between 90 – 100 cm in length. Some Odachi where even recorded as having blades which exceeded two metres in length. The Odachi was a popular choice on the battlefield and was the weapon of choice during the Nanboku-cho period, which lasted for most of the 14th century AD. During this time, most of the Odachi produced where over one meter long. This sword, however, saw its popularity quickly wane, falling out of favour after a short amount of time. The main reason was likely due to the practicalities of wielding such a large sword effectively and changing battlefield tactics. Still, the Odachi continued to be used in battles right up the 1600’s, following the Osaka Natsu no Jin, during which the Toyotomi clan was annihilated by the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Odachi may have been used a number of ways on the battlefield. The most likely and common use was that they were used by common foot soldiers . This is backed up by literary works such as he Heike Monogatari and the Taiheiki. A foot soldier provided with a Odachi may have worn the sword slung across his back, rather than at his side as with the Katana, mostly due to its remarkable length. This, however, had a significant drawback, making it near impossible for the wielder to draw the blade quickly. Alternatively, it’s also possible that the Odachi may have been carried by hand. There are records indicating that during the Muromachi period, it was widely practised for a warrior tasked with wielding an Odachi to have a retainer who would assist him to draw the weapon. There is also evidence suggesting that the Odachi may have been wielded by mounted warriors, the extra reach offered by the Odachi would have obvious benefits for those on horseback. It has also been suggested that, as the Odachi was such an unwieldy weapon, it was not actually used in combat. Instead, it may have been used as an armies standard, in much the same way as flags where used in the western world during a battle. Additionally, the Odachi may have used exclusively as a ceremonial piece and used ritualistically rather than in battle. During the Edo period, the Odachi was often used in ceremonies. Furthermore, Odachis were sometimes used as offerings to the gods, being placed at Shinto shrines. Lastly, the Odachi may have been used by swordsmiths to demonstrate their expertise, it was considered a difficult sword to forge, requiring considerable skill. Norimitsu Odachi: Ornament or Practical Weapon? Legend states that the Norimitsu Odachi wa[...]



10 Legendary Swords from the Ancient World

2017-06-17T22:50:45+01:00

Not only are swords weapons, but they also very symbolic, and deeply ingrained in the human psyche. Over the centuries they have been used as symbols of power, used in countless types of ceremonies, as offerings, for coronations, as well as being used for trade. Over time, a number of swords have garnered their own legends and myths, linking the swords to famous events and people. Sometimes the swords themselves are the topic of legendary tales. In this article we’ll look at ten incredible swords from mankind’s history. Joyeuse: The Legendary Sword of Charlemagne The sword of Joyeuse, which is now housed in Frances Louvre Museum, is quite possibly one of the most iconic and famous swords in all of history. There are multiple historical records linking the sword to Charlemagne the Great, who reigned over 1200 years ago. The sword itself has been used in uncountable coronation ceremonies over the centuries, and is said have magical powers as well as having a rich legend and history. The Seven-Branched Sword: Japanese Ceremonial Sword Nestled in the foothills of Tenri in Nara prefecture, Japan, is the Isonokami Shrine. The shrine which is thought to have been built in 4 AD is home to several Japanese national treasures, including the famous sword Nanatsusaya no Tachi, or ‘Seven-Branched Sword’. If you’re able to read the inscription on the blade, you’ll learn that the Seven-Branched Sword was gifted to the King of Wa, or ruler of Japan, by king of Baekje, which is believed to be an ancient kingdom in the south of Korea. The swords design indicates that it was never meant to be used as a weapon, but rather it was intended to be used as a ceremonial piece. The Sword in the Stone of San Galgano If you ever find yourself in Tuscany, Italy, take the time to travel to the top of Montesiepi, where you’ll find a rather pleasant round chapel. Located in the chapel, inside a glass case you’ll see a 12th century sword lodged within a piece of solid rock. According to legend, the sword was thrust into the stone by San Galgano, a knight and local nobleman. The legend says San Galgano was out for a walk when he had a vision of Jesus, Mary and Twelve Apostles. A voice instructed San Galgano to renounce all his worldly possessions. San Galgano replied to the voice saying that giving everything up would be as easy as splitting a stone with his sword, to emphasis the point he drew his sword and thrust it into the stone. To his understandable amazement, the sword went through the stone like a hot wire through margarine, and has been stuck there ever since, allegedly. Goujian: The Time Defying Chinese Sword Over fifty years ago, a team of archaeologists uncovered a unusual and rare sword in a Chinese tomb. Despite the sword being over 2,000 years old, the sword seemed to have completely escaped the elements and was rust free. Additionally, the sword was able to draw blood when one of the archaeologists decided to test its sharpness on his finger, despite being a bit stupid, it seemed to prove the sword had managed to survive the ravages of time unaffected. Furthermore, the craftsmanship was incredibly detailed for a sword of this time, and was something of an oddity for the period. The sword is considered a national treasure, and was probably once owned by the Emperor Goujian of Yue. The Cursed Muramasa Samurai Swords During the Muromachi period in Japan (14th – 16th Century), there lived a swordsmith named Muramasa Sengo. By all accounts he was exceptionally skilled, but also slightly unhinged, and prone to bouts of violence. The legend states that his destruc[...]



Life of Miyamoto Musashi: Legendary Samurai

2017-06-08T22:12:37+01:00

Miyamoto Musashi was born in Japan around 1584 and died in June 1645. As well as Miyamoto Musashi, he was also known as Shinmen Takezo, Miyamoto Bennosuke and Niten Doraku. The legendary swordsman was renowned for his outstanding samurai skills and boasted an unblemished duelling record, winning all of his 60 contests. His nearest rival, Ito Ittosai, trailed by 27 contests. An incredible feat for an incredible man. Musashi, as he was commonly known, founded and developed the Niten-Ryu style of swordsmanship. It’s a technique that involves the use of two swords rather than one, at the same time – a master feat of multitasking. Musashi’s style of swordsmanship is still studied, practised and used today. Teaching and Guidance Little is known about Miyamoto Musashi’s early life with details being hard to verify. He did, however, author a book, which contained a little insight into his life. For example, Musashi states his full name as Shinmen Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara no Harunobo in the publication. The release was titled The Book of Five Rings, extensively covering expert swordsmanship. The chapters include; The Book of Earth  This section acts as an introduction. It discusses the strategy taught by Musashi along with swordsmanship. The Book of Water In this chapter basic techniques and fundamental principles are discussed. Musashi’s style, Ni-ten Ichi-Ryu, is described. The Book of Fire This section refers to instructions and hints when in specific situations during battle. Fighting methods are also discussed. The Book of Wind Other strategies that existed during Musashi’s time are referred to in this part. It’s not necessarily all still applicable today as the previous parts. It does teach people that knowing your opponent's strategy and technique is essential to success. The Book of Void  This chapter is the shortest of the five and is a sort of epilogue. Musashi discusses his thoughts on the correct mindset. The book is not only used by martial artists but by others who find the messages contained applicable in their own life. The teaching of mindset and mental ability, as well as understanding others, can be applied to almost anyone. Unsurprisingly, there have been numerous translations, revisions and updates of The Book of Five Rings over the years. The First Duel At the age of 13, Musashi had his first successful duel. He left his village a few years after his success to travel, engaging in more duels along the way. When war broke out in 1600 and Musashi took part in numerous battles alongside The Toyotomi clan during the conflict. His experience and raw talent was vital and saved his life. Successive Victories Musashi, aged around 20, then began duelling against the Yoshioka School. Musashi challenged the master of the school, Yoshioka Seijuro, to a duel. A single blow by Musashi to his counterpart’s left shoulder, saw Musashi emerge victoriously. Seijuro’s brother and the newly appointed head of the school wanted to avenge his brother’s defeat. Musashi once again was the victor after disarming his opponent. Understandably, the Yoshioka family were enraged at the two successive defeats and put together a team consisting of archers and swordsmen, challenging Musashi to a battle. This saw the birth of the Niten Ichi sword style. Due to being unfairly outnumbered, Musashi had to draw his second sword to defend himself. He did, however, kill Matashichiro during the opening stages. Musashi continued to travel, duelling and learning along the way. It is estimated that he battled over 60 times and was n[...]



What Not To Do With Your Katana

2017-04-19T23:03:04+01:00

We’ve already covered caring for your Katana, but what about not taking care of it, what should you avoid doing at all costs? You’ve invested your money and time into researching which type of Katana meets your needs, the last thing we assume you want to do is ruin the sword by doing something a bit stupid. We constantly here about people doing things to their swords which are obviously a bad idea, but just in case you’re tempted to do something similar, here’s our short list of things which you should NOT do to your Katana. Katana’s are excellent cutting tools, but please don’t think you can go up against the Oak tree in your garden and win. If you need to chop down a tree, I strongly suggest you invest in an axe, it’s far cheaper and they’re really good at chopping things down. Your Katana might do some impressive damage to the tree, but in the end, you’re going to regret your actions and the tree will win. If you really want to get into cutting with your Katana, do your research, and learn how to do it properly and safely. Connor MacLeod may have got away with wearing his Katana under his trench coat, but in reality carrying a concealed sword is only going to bad things happening. No matter how tempting it may be, don’t conceal carry your sword to the shops, on the bus or any other public place. It might seem like a good idea as you’re leaving your house, but rest assured something bad happening is just around the corner. Best case, the police might take your sword away. Worst case, you might lose more than your sword.  We get it, a Katana is the perfect length and shape to pry things open. The problem is, it’s not designed to withstand that sort of force, and you will end up with a broken or bent sword. So no matter how tempting it is to leverage your window open, or pry open a shipping crate, use a crowbar, not your sword.  Never use it as a weapon. Unless you’re an experienced martial arts practitioner with no alternative in a self-defence situation, then just don’t do it. You’ll end up causing serious injury to yourself, or even worse, an innocent bystander.  Fruit ninja is a somewhat addictive mobile game played on your mobile phone, which is the best place for it. If you really must chop up fruit with your sword, do it safely, and take care of your surroundings. Remember, the Katana we sell are not toys. If you’ve succumbed to the fruit chopping urge, then remember to thoroughly clean and oil your Katana afterwards. Fruit juice can be highly acidic and you might be surprised at how quickly your sword can change from flawless, to pitted and rusted. This goes for hand prints as well, your fingers are acidic and over time you can permanently mark your blade.  Don’t leave your sword outside open to the elements, it WILL rust. A stainless steel sword might survive a while outside, but anything made out of high carbon steel will rust quickly if not cared for carefully. You’ll also risk the sword being stolen, which is never good. The best place for the sword is in its sheath, indoors, with a light coating of oil.  Flaming swords look cool in films, in practise, you’ll ruin your sword, and possibly set yourself, or something else on fire. So don’t do that. Which brings me onto some other things you might have seen in films, such as throwing, juggling, swallowing or growing a mullet. No matter how tempting it is, just say no. You might just end up becoming a statistic and even worse, ruining swords for everyone else.   [...]



Ninja Swords: Everything You Didn’t Think You Needed To Know

2017-04-08T22:53:48+01:00

Ninja swords, everyone knows that they are a straight blade, with a square hand guard, right? If you even do a small amount of research into ninjato, you’ll quickly discover that there are two schools of thought when it comes to Ninja swords. The first school of thought, which is probably the most commonly believed, is that the legendary Ninja warriors used a unique blade as described above. This concept has been wholly adopted by popular culture. The other school of thought which makes the most sense is that as Ninja where primarily scouts and spies, they would not want a sword which distinguishes them as a Ninja warrior. Ninja Swords: The Truth I’ve been lucky enough to be able to conduct a fair amount of research into Ninja, going so far as to visit the birthplace of the Ninja in Iga. Despite my extensive research, there’s not a clear cut case for either argument. Ironically, this reeks of ninja subterfuge and misdirection. Within this article I’ll do my best to present the facts as I understand them, allowing you to draw your own conclusions as to what constitutes a real ninja sword. Ninja Swords: The Classic Option When most people are asked to describe a Ninja sword, they will most likely think of something like the example below. As classic short sword, with a straight blade and chisel tip. I, like most people who had done a little bit of research into ninjato, believed that the ninja sword was an invention of the martial artist Stephen K. Hayes, who went a long way to popularising ninjas during the 1980s. I firmly believed this until I saw this in the Iga Ninja Museum. There was a classic ninja sword proudly displayed in a reputable ninja museum. The plaque read: “A straight sword with a distinct rectangular guard. The sheath of the shonobi-gatana has a triangular end. The ninja could climb a fence by driving the sword in the ground and stepping on the guard, leaving no evidence by retrieving it by its long sword knot. Although popular, from the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the ninja’s sword was more of a symbol-like item rather than a practical one.” I asked around in the museum and gathered that the sword was not an original; it was in fact a replica. After doing a bit more digging and research, I discovered that there are absolutely no surviving original antique ninja swords anywhere. The obvious reason for doubting the existence of a Ninja sword is fairly obvious, why would a spy want something which readily identifies them as being a spy? There is also the small fact that there are no originals left in the world. These facts have not stopped the spread of ninja sword replicas. At this point the classic image of a ninja is very firmly part of modern day culture, even if it’s wrong. Ninja Swords: The Secret Option The other school of thought which I alluded to earlier, and is probably the most likely type of sword used by Ninja, is the concealed blade. That is to say a sword or blade which is not obviously a sword or a blade. This obviously provides several tactical advantages, allowing the spy to sneak a weapon into areas that they would not normally be allowed to. The Ninja museum in Iga has a great display of swords which are disguised as traveller’s staves. This type of sword is of course very plausible. Ninja where known to disguise themselves as merchants or farmers, and would need to travel great distances without looking suspicious. At this time it was often illegal for a commoner to carry weapons, so a ni[...]



Deadpool Katana: A Look at the Movie Sword

2017-04-04T22:36:13+01:00

Last years’ Deadpool movie from Marvel was a resounding success. The movie went to show that a comic book inspired film could prove to be popular despite having a 15 rating. There have of course been other adult comic book films, Blade and Watchmen for example. Like those two films, Deadpool also uses the anti-hero as the main focus point rather than a more traditional super hero. It was of course a big gamble for Fox studio took by making Deadpool a film for adults, but the popularity of the film should go some way to showing film studios that comic book films made for adults can still make a healthy profit. In this article we’re going to take a closer look at Deadpool’s Katana. I like most people love films, but I’m definitely not a film expert, but I do my best to keep up to date with swords and consider myself to be quite knowledgeable. Deadpool is a fascinating character, he’s a loveable rogue who’s far more likeable than most holier than though comic book characters. Deadpool uses a variety of guns and Samurai Swords on his quest for revenge. The choice of a Katana is an excellent optipon for a swift and deadly assassin looking to reap as much carnage as possible in a short amount of time, the preferred weapon of the Samurai class was designed to be a one cut one kill weapon. If you’re looking to wield a sword which is capable of removing a villains head with one decisive cut, then the katana is the obvious choice. Deadpool Katana: Duel Wield Fun In the film, Deadpool uses two samurai swords to great effect, which, because it’s only a film, Deadpool has no problems sheathing and unsheathing the Katana from his back. In reality, a back sheathed katana is nearly impossible to draw easily; the average human arm is far too short. If Michonne from the walking dead needed to unsheathe her sword in a hurry, chances are she would have caused herself a serious injury on more than several occasions. Deadpool Katana: Tactical Weapons To avoid the issue with unsheathing a sword from your back, the Ko Katana becomes the perfect choice. Despite some misconceptions, the Ko Katana was not a weapon used by the Samurai as some sources would suggest, they are a modern interpretation of the Katana, designed for tactical use. What most people tend to think of as a historical Ko Katana is in fact a wakizashi. A Ko Katana is a blend of the two swords, taking elements of each to create a weapon that has a relatively short blade, and a long handle for two handed use. The Ko Katana can be drawn quickly and is perfect for close quarters combat, it’s the ideal choice for Deadpool, allowing him to be nimble and show off his superior reflexes and training. So, does Deadpool use a Ko Katana in the film? The answer is maybe. Sometimes it looks like the blade is relatively short, while in other part of the film the blade looks longer. It wouldn’t surprise me if they used multiple swords for different shoots to allow for a more aesthetically pleasing visual effect. The film version of the Deadpool Katana differs slightly from the comic book version. In the film the swords seem to have unwrapped handles, while in the comic books the handles use a more traditional diamond wrap. Deadpool Katana: Official Movie Swords Whether or not Deadpool is using a katana or a ko katana in the films, it almost goes without saying that the swords are used to great violent effect. Just like Logan, Deadpool likes to take the fight into melee range and put his swords to go[...]



Samurai Sword: Breakdown and Terminology

2017-04-15T23:06:22+01:00

You’ll be forgiven for not remembering every single part of a samurai sword. Japanese is not an easy language to understand for most of us, so don’t worry too much if you forget what a Kissaki is. You may be relieved to know that the vast majority of the Japanese population do not know Samurai Sword terminology, so even after reading this article you only remember a few of the parts, you’ll still know more than most people. To make things easier we’re going to divide this article up into three easy to digest sections, and I’ll give you my own personal tips to aid with memorising and the bits and bobs. So, without further ado, let’s get started. Samurai Sword: Picture Time They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What about a picture with words on it? Kashira: The Kashira is the very end bit of the sword, basically the butt cap. You might think of it as a money jar ‘KASHira’. Pronounced: Kar-shee-ra Menuki: This part of the sword is ornamental and can depict almost anything, you can get dragons, sunsets, or really whatever takes your fancy. They will most often be part of the theme of the sword. To remember, think about how many parts there are to the sword, it would be allot easier if there was a MENU to help remember them all. Pronounced: Meh-noo-key Tsubu: This one’s easy, the hand guard. This can be themed, decorated or plain, depending on the style of the sword. Pronounced: Sue-bar Seppa: The spacers on the sword. If you were a samurai, you might commit SEPPuku by thrusting the sword into yourself, all the way up to the Seppa. Pronounced: She-Par Saya: Everyone should be able to remember this one, it’s the wooden scabbard. Pronounced: Sai-yah Kurigata: The cord is tied around this knob. Traditionally it would be made from buffalo horn. There are no clever ways to remember this, you’re going to have to rely on brain power alone. Pronounced: Kooh-Reeh-Gah-Tah Koiguchi: The koiguchi makes up the mouth of scabbard. I like to think of a Koi carp opening it’s mouth for food. Pronounced: Koy-Goo-Chee Sageo: The sageo is the cord found on samurai swords. Only the very best sword SAGE can work out the OH so difficult knot used to tie the cord. Pronounced: Say-Gay-Oh Time for another picture: Ito: The Ito is the handle wrap and holds it together. IT’s OH so hard to wrap properly. Pronounced: Eee-Toe Fuchi: The fuchi is the handle collar. Pronounced: Fuu-Chee Same: In Japanese the word for shark is the SAME as the word for rayskin. Pronounced: Sah-May Mekugi: The peg that keeps the sword in place. Most modern swords will have two of these, but only one is required, the other provided a safety net. Pronounced: Meh-Koo-Ghee Ha: The blade of the Katana. Laugh at your friends as they attempt to remember all the parts of the Samurai Sword. HaHaHa. Pronounced: Har Habaki: The blades collar. Pronounced: Har-Bah-Key Munemachi: The collar notch. Can be used for measuring the length of the blade, from the notch all the way to the tip. Pronounced: Moo-Neh-Mah-Chee Bo-Hi: Used to lighten the sword, but sometimes called the blood line. Pronounced: Boh-Hee We’re nearly at the end of our samurai sword naming list. Nakago: The tang of the blade. You should not oil this part of the blade. With time it’ll get a black protective patina. Pronounced: Nah-Kah-Goh Sori: The curvature of the samurai sword. Sor-ree, your sword has been bent… Pronounced: Saw-Ree Nagasa: The length of the blade. Pronounced: Nar-G[...]



Exquisite Colourised Photos of 1800 Samurai

2017-03-22T22:31:54+00:00

The samurai were a warrior class of Japan, who rose to power and eventual control of 12th century Japan. Samurai followed an honor code called bushido.  Bushido was about controlling fear, disciplining yourself, loyalty, as well as kindness.  The photos below were taken during the final years of the Samurai and were colourised in order to truly show the samurai colours.   [...]



How and Why to Sharpen a Sword

2017-04-03T21:59:40+01:00

If you’ve received your sword and it’s not as sharp as you’d like, or through endless use it’s lost its edge, then knowing how to correctly sharpen your sword is a must have skill for any sword collector or enthusiast. There are three main methods for sharpening a sword which we’re going to look at in this article. Using traditional methods such as file and whetstone Using powertools Using modern day tools made specifically for sharpening blades It is incredibly important to consider and reflect on why you’re sharpening your sword? Does it really need it? If you have a sword for practise or goofing around with then I strongly urge you to not sharpen your sword, I have seen first-hand how easily a small mistake can lead to long term serious tissue damage. A buddy of mine dropped a brand new sword and subconsciously reached out to grab it, before he even realised what had happened the sword had landed hilt first on the floor and his attempt to grab the sword had ended with his arm being impaled on the point. Years later he still has a scar and it still hurts to the touch. This could have been far more serious. What if he had bent over to grab it? I don’t want to be patronising, you’re an adult responsible for everything you do, but please do think about the dangers before sharpening a sword. It’s also worth knowing that it is possible to create a sword that is too sharp for practical use. A katana or any other cutting sword does not need to be razor sharp. An overly sharpened sword will often do less damage to an opponent during battle, tending to glance of bone and chip. While a sword which is sharpened correctly will remove a limb in the same circumstances. In a scenario where you think the sword is not sharp enough, the best way to test is to cut with the sword using the correct techniques. If you’re looking to tough up the edge of your newly purchased sword then it’s a good idea to use a small piece of steel grade abrasive paper, some water and very carefully run the piece of paper at a 30 degree angle along the length of the blade and then to repeat the process on the other side. This acts to remove very small burs and notches and is often sufficient enough to restore the blade to the required sharpness. How to Sharpen a Sword using Traditional Methods Although the file a whetstone method of sharpening a sword is as old as swords themselves, it’s still one of the best methods available. It is time consuming, but it is safe and can be quite therapeutic and once perfected can produce outstanding results. The method is entirely done by hand and elbow grease, but it is an acquired skill, so it’s worth while practising on something other than your precious sword until perfected. I personally recommend using something like a cheap kitchen knife to begin with. The full details on the file and whetsone method can be found in this video. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pf9dRo3vbb8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> How to Sharpen a Sword using Power Tools Generally speaking using power tools to sharpen a sword is a bad idea. Power tools tend to cause friction which rapidly manifests as heat, this heat can quickly ruin the swords temper if you’re not careful. There are however some methods and tools than can minimise the chance of ruining your sword and can result in incredibly sharp swords. The first method involves [...]



Watch Genji's Sword Being Forged

2017-04-03T21:58:39+01:00

2016 saw the release of the now hugely successful Overwatch first person shooter. Developed by Blizzard, Overwatch contains several unique and memorable characters in its roster, with each possessing a set of unique and special skills, along with differing mechanics and weaponry.

The ever popular YouTube channel Man at Arms: Reforged has released an informative and fascinating look at forging Genji’s signature odachi.

While it’s been widely accepted that Overwatch is a first person shooter, many of the roster line up don’t use traditional guns. The games resident cyborg ninja, Genji, uses a sword throwing star combination in order to accomplish his role as a damage inflicting offensive hero.

According to Overwatch lore, Genji’s odachi is named Ryu-ichimonji and has never been inspected, examined or repaired by anyone other than Genji. However, that’s not put a stop to the guys behind Men at Arms from making an attempt at forging the legendary weapon.

This build was particularly tricky due to the traditional elements involved with forging the sword and the modern day tech that would allow for the glowing green strip that runs the length of the blade.

Genji is said to be a ninja from a centuries old clan, who after a near fatal fight is turned into a cyborg. The theme of bring together old and new is a prominent feature of the characters weapons and armour.
In order to forge this sword, traditional blacksmithing methods are used in conjunction with more modern techniques in order to make sure the sword is as genuine as it can be. Once the sword was finished being forged, it’s further enhanced with a set of LEDs under a sheet of plexiglass in order to create the green strip featured in the game. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IF6iBVGKREo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">

In case you’re wondering what an odachi is, it’s in some way’s similar to a traditional Katana, but far larger.




Rise and Fall of the Katana and Samurai

2017-04-15T23:02:45+01:00

A legend, iconic and instantly recognisable, very few swords have been subject to so much literature and film as the Japanese Katana. Wielded by the Samurai class in Japan, the Katana is famous for several reasons. The blade quality is legendary, taking a master swordsmiths weeks or even months of work to produce a single blade. There is also a mystical relationships between each blade and it’s wielder, made popular by publications and popular culture, for example Kill Bill volumes 1 and 2. For the most part of Japanese history, only the Samurai class where allowed to carry a sword. If a peasant was discovered carrying a sword they were more often than not killed on the spot, and in an ironic twist of fate, it would often be the Samurai sword which would be used for the killing blow. Samurai would often carry other weapons beside the Katana, for example the bow, spear or even fan.  The Samurai and Katana The Samurai and Katana shared a special bond which was considered sacred, it was thought that the sword should only be used as a last resort. The Katana was the extension of the Samurai and was believed to be linked to the soul, as such it would take a dire situations to be drawn, what constituted a dire circumstance was debatable. It could be saving the nobility, family members, defending your life or something mundane like killing a peasant for carrying a sword. There are some inconsistencies with Samurai logic! The Katana was traditionally paired with a dagger or smaller sword. In the scenario of the shorter sword, it was called a wazashi, or wakizashi which measured on average between twenty four and twelve inches. The dagger in the Katana pairing was named a tanto, and measured in at between twelve and six inches. The pairing between the Katana and Wakizashi was referred to as the daisho which aptly translates to ‘little and big’. The longer blade was used for cutting while the shorter would be used for stabbing. A well-seasoned and expert practitioner of Kenjutsu could even wield both swords at the same time, a feat which is by no means trivial. The renowned sword master and writer of “Book of Five Rings”, Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) was fabled to have honed a dual wielding sword technique which he named niten’ichi or two heavens / swords as one. Using this method of wielding a Katana and Wakizashi at the same time Musashi was able to take part in over 60 duels and come out as never being defeated. Needless to say being able to fight with a sword in each hand offers advantages but is without doubt incredible difficult to do so effectively. A Katana has a long curved blade with a chisel like tip, which is sharpened on one side and has an unsharpened back, this can sometimes be called a back sword. Due the design of a curved blade and a chisel point it means the Katana suitable for both slashing and for stabbing, although as true for all curved weapons the Katana is better for slashing vs a straight edged sword. The blade of the Katana is on average 28 inches long, and would normally be worn through a sash with the blade facing up, this allows for a quick drawn and slash motion. The tachi is a similarly shaped sword which is longer than the Katana at 31 inches. The tachi was especially favoured by Samurai on horseback, owing to the extra reach the longer blade provided it would allow the horseman t[...]



Sword Maintenance and Care

2017-04-15T23:07:04+01:00

The antique sword business is without a doubt booming, but it’s unlikely you’d want your own swords to have the antiquated look ahead of its time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sword caring advice out there, some of which is just plain wrong, counterproductive or misleading. You may come across articles which advise you to use WD40 to prevent rust on your newly purchased sword. However, an experienced sword collector would most likely advice against such a choice. It’s easy to understand why a beginner might be confused. Truth be told, there is no one fit all solution that will help care for your sword. The best method depends on the type of sword, how it’s being used, how it’s being stored and the climate and conditions the sword is subjected to. There are a few basic tenants of sword care which you can use to find the best solution for your unique circumstances. Cleaning Your Sword One of the few good points about owning a stainless steel is that they are pretty much rust resistant, which means you only need to wipe them down and occasionally reinvigorate the shine with a spot of window cleaner. If you own a much better quality functional katana or other type of sword that is made from carbon steel then you need to give a bit more consideration to preventing rust. You’ll often find that sword manufacturers will coat newly forged swords with allot of grease, this is to prevent rust while the sword is stored or during transit. When you receive your new sword one of the first duties which you’ll want to perform is to remove the manufacturer applied grease. This is easy to do with a lint free cloth and a spot of rubbing alcohol. Quick word of warning, take care when cleaning. A new sword is likely a sharp sword and can easily cause injury for those not paying attention. This is one job where you’ll want to have your full attention on the task at hand, especially if you’re new to handling swords as they can be cumbersome. Sword Oil You’ve cleaned your sword and you now have a shiny beautiful katana, but the blade is now vulnerable to the elements, so it’s time to apply some oil. But what oil works best?The truth of the matter is that it doesn’t really matter too much, as long as you always have a thin layer of oil on your blade, the sword will remain protected. What you decide to use will probably depend on what you can get your hands on. We can definitely recommend the following commonly available oils: Machine Oil, also called Sewing Machine Oil or 3 in 1 Liquid Paraffin or Mineral Oil And if you can get it, Choji Oil It is possible to get something called sword oil, but in our experience it’s less effective than the options above, costs more and can lead to rust, so there’s no reason to not get one of the cheaper alternatives above. The important thing to remember is to always ensue that the oil hasn’t dried up, so until you know how long an application of oil will last, it’s a good idea to check regularly. Choji oil is the traditional oil used oriental swords, and it’s essentially just mineral oil with a bit of clove oil added for fragrance. It’s not necessary and you’ll not be missing out if you can’t get your hands on it. How frequently you’ll need to oil your sword will depend a great deal on your climate. In a temperate zone you migh[...]



Authentic Katana Laid Bare

2017-03-31T11:28:31+01:00

Katana Samurai Swords If you’re looking to buy yourself an authentic Katana Samurai Sword, something which has been hand crafted in Japan (which is called a Shinken or True Sword), expect to pay £10,000 or more. If you’d rather buy something traditional but made out with Japan, you’ll likely pay anywhere between £1000 and £3000, this would be for a sword that is for all intents and purposes crafted in a traditional manner. You may be asking yourself, why does it cost so much? What’s the difference between a ‘real’ Samurai Sword and something which is affordable and looks the same as a sword from Japan? This article is to assist in understanding what the real thing is, a sort off beginner’s intro to sword making and where the costs come from. We’ll also look to dismiss some common misconceptions, and burst a few fantasies surrounding the Japanese Samurai Sword (hopefully we’ll not upset too many people). So without further ado let’s get started. Forging a Japanese Samurai Sword The process for forging an authentic Samurai Sword is the same for all Katana created in Japan, whether it’s an antique Japanese sword or a high quality modern day Katana, the steps can be broken down into three distinct elements: folding, laminating and differential hardening, which is the process of claying the sword and treating the blade with heat to create hardened areas and the famed hamon lines. Are these steps really necessary in order to produce a useable quality Katana, given that modern day industrial steel is far superior to anything available to previous generations? Are Japanese swordsmiths performing these steps in order to ensure an excellent product or are they done merely done because that’s how a traditional sword is forged? The answer is not straightforward and it’s important to understand each process. Let’s dive in and examine each stage in the forging process. Folding Steel There’s an incredible amount of misinformation and fantasy surrounding the folded steel used in Japanese swords, so much to so that’s it’s easy to be misled and start to believe some of the wilder claims made. You’ve perhaps heard that a real Japanese Katana is made from steel that has been folded over a millions times, leading to a blade that is of such formidable quality that it can cut through nearly anything, from gun barrels, to armour plated vehicles, literally anything can be cut open with such a blade (blame dodgy Hollywood films and Manga). The truth is, it was incredibly rare for any traditional sword to be folded in excess of 16 times; this is still capable of creating an impressive amount of layering, easily exceeding 32 thousand layers. So why spend all this time folding the steel and what does it accomplish, will it allow the sword to pass through armour like a hot knife through butter? The truth is, with modern steel, the folding process is redundant and can actually weaken the final sword. In ancient Japan, the iron available to swordsmiths was pretty poor, filled with impurities that without treating would lead to a weak final product. The Japanese being the innovative bunch that they are worked to remove the impurities present in their steel using a special furnace named a Tatara, over the course of 72 hours the ore would be treated unti[...]



Forget Everything You Think You Know About Ninja

2017-03-18T20:48:55+00:00

Ninja The classic image of a Ninja is firmly cemented into popular culture. A black clad figure stealthily stalks his prey, or steals something of value; he’ll then vanish into the night using a range of gadget such as ninja stars or smoke bombs to assist in his escape. How much if any of this is true? Ninja or shinobi existed in feudal Japan and they performed the role of mercenary or covert agent. They were often tasked with sabotage, assassination, espionage and using guerrilla warfare tactics. Any method of warfare which was deemed as dishonourable by the Samurai caste fell firmly into the realms of acceptable tactics to be utilised to their full effect by ninja. Traditionally speaking, shinobi where specially trained mercenaries and spies, and appeared in records in the 15th century, however there is some anecdotal evidence that they may have existed as early as the 12th century. The rise of the Ninja can be largely attributed to a period of great unrest in Japan during the 15th to 17th century. This is a time where anyone willing to be a spy or assassin would readily find their services in need, therefor demand for such underhand tactics fuelled the surge in a type of warrior at polar opposites to the Samurai. By the time of the unification of Japan during the 17th century the demand for ninja services was waning and the now famous shinobi started to disappear into obscurity.It was not until around 1868 that stories about shinobi started to gain traction in Japan. The legends and folklore associated with Ninja during this time where fanciful and attributed mythical abilities to Ninja, such as walking on water, invisibility, control of the weather and flight. As such, todays pop culture is largely based on folklore rather than firm facts. There is little in the way of firm historical facts about the ninja. This is likely because of the underhand tactics and the nature of the services the Ninja performed, the function of the Ninja was to remain unnoticed. The ninjutsu techniques used by the shinobi are the skills associated with ensuring your opponent or target does not know of your existence (shinobi-no-jutsu, shinobijutsu). Any literally scholars during the time of the ninja would also much rather document the deeds and battles won by the Samurai rather than the lower caste shinobi. There are fortunately some facts that are considered accurate which allows us to build up a picture of the shinobi and what they actually did. What did Ninja do? Villages dedicated to training and housing ninja where part of the land scape of 15th century Japan, these where part of the Iga and Koga clans of that time and where producing highly skilled and professional ninja. There is certainly a distinction to be made between the professional ninja clans, which included a hierarchy and specialised training, and Ronin or Samurai hired as spies or assassins. Records exist indicating that ninja were used as special forces troops at times, with one account describing how a troop of 80 specialised ninjas where used to stealthily infiltrate a castle, set fires and subdue the 200 strong garrison stationed within. The ninjas main purpose was espionage, which with the aid of disguises they would infiltrate enemy camps and fortresses, steal plans, passwords, a[...]