Q: Can you do gem-studded swords or swords with precious metal fittings?
A: Absolutely. Keep in mind that precious metals cost by the ounce, and that youíll need several ounces. You must either provide the gems or we have to get them from a jeweler. The cost for any such sword will be in the thousands. We will be happy to quote such a project if you are serious, but please donít ask if youíre hoping to get one for a few dollars. It cannot be done.
Q: Can you use titanium, because itís stronger than steel?
A: We can. Titanium is stronger, but it is less wear resistant, and will not provide as good an edge. This is used in blades that require a low magnetic signature, as in working around certain explosives. We donít recommend it for normal usage.
Q: What is my sword worth?
A: To answer this, we have to see a picture. Only the roughest estimates (ďMore (or less) than a thousandĒ) can be given on a description, unless you have a standard commercial product that isnít worth much. A detailed, clear picture at least, and often a close personal inspection are necessary for this. Please note that we give estimates for purchasing insurance or general information. As to appraisals of exact market value, that will depend on many factors, and we are not specialists in all areas. We may be able to refer you to a specialist in your type of blade if we cannot do this.
Q: Are WWII katanas valuable?
A: WWII Japanese blades are not katanas, and are not typically very valuable. They range from $50 to $1000, and over $500 is a rare sword indeed. These were produced by the millions for soldiers, and do not represent the best craftsmanship of the Japanese smith. A sword with documentation as to the owner or maker will usually be worth more, depending on condition.
Q: My sword was taken off a high-ranking officer by a relative of mine. That means itís more valuable, right?
A: That depends. Do you have a photo, a letter from the officer, or some other way to document it? If not, no. During wartime, stories get confused, misheard, and exaggerated. For example, an officer with a star on his helmet will be called a general, when in fact he was a simple Japanese Marine lieutenant.
Q: I have a sword from the Japanese Royal Armory/presented by the EmperorÖ
A: No, you donít. No such blades have ever left Japan, even in wartime. This is a common claim, and is simply not true. Such blades do not bear specific markings, and the Emperor never associated with common US military officers. If you have a photo of said sword being presented by the Emperor, youíll be the first in history.
Q: How much are Civil War swords worth?
A: Presumably, you refer to the US Civil War, not the English, Irish, or other. Depending on the sword, anywhere from nothing to tens of thousands. Bet on the low end unless you have two expert appraisals to the contrary. Also, there are later issue blades of the same style, millions of fakes and modern reproductions out there. Donít assume youíre getting a deal on a low price. It may be worth even less than that fantastic price.
Q: Whatís the best blade steel?
A: That all depends on what you want the blade to do. There are literally dozens of good blade steels. We need to know your specific usage to recommend one.
Q: Can you laser sharpen blades?
A: Lasers cut, they do not sharpen. The kerf (material cut away) of an industrial laser averages .008 inches. A good
edge is finer than this. Additionally, the heat involved would damage the temper of the edge. There is no such thing as laser sharpening.
Q: Can you make a sword just like this one I saw on a book cover?
A: Possibly. That depends on the picture, as most artists have only the haziest notions of blade design. It depends on how elaborate the design is, and it depends on your pocket book. Our custom made swords start around $500. See the question above regarding jewels and precious metals. If you wish a good costume piece that doesnít cost a fortune, we can try. But it also matters on what picture weíre working from. Remember: elaborate is never cheaper than plain. Additionally, we will want to contact the artist and make sure they donít object to someone copying their design.
Q: How much do swords cost?
A: The cheapest reproduction in our store is about $35. You get what you pay for. The most expensive commercial sword we carry is about $2000. Again, you get what you pay for. We can find some good quality pieces around $200. Below that, the quality will lack in one or more areas. Above that, the quality goes up.
Q: Can you make a blade just like those carried by the Saxons/Vikings/Mongols/ Imperial French/Ancient Greeks/etc.
A: Certainly. We have a 3000 volume reference library on the subject, and can work from your pictures or ours. Bear in mind that peasant tools and weapons were quite basic. European peasant knives, for example, bear a striking resemblance to modern steak knives. This was what they were typically used for, after all.
Q: Do you carry original European swords?
A: Rarely, and usually not very old. Swords from the Middle Ages can be worth hundreds of thousands to millions, because demand is high and supplies low. Axes, armor, and other accessories are far cheaper.
Q: Where do your handle materials come from?
A: Our woods are all ranch-raised or recovered lumber. Our bone, horn and antler come from several sources. We get natural shed horns from preserves and the wild, from animals legally hunted in season, from which we also use the hide, and the hunters eat the meat. We donít believe in wasting anything. We also have a source from a ranch that raises cougars in captivity, and has an unlimited hunting license for non-endangered game to feed their animals. Our ivory is either fossil ivory (at least 10,000 years old), which has the nicest colors and textures, is antique ivory with proper Federal paperwork, or is ivory from Botswana which is hunted under strict government and native tribal council laws. These animals are used to feed villages, manufacture native goods, pay hunting fees to support the San Bushmen tribes and provide tourism income, and are sold legally with proper paperwork. Please do not send us your own ivory to use without checking with us first, as unpapered ivory cannot legally be shipped, and you will put us in an awkward situation.
For those who want the utmost environmental concern, we also have a selection of beautifully grained North American woods (maple, walnut, birch, etc) and some marvelous imitation ivories and pearls that have a great look and feel. We can make scabbards of wood, metal, or plastics for those who prefer them to leather.