It is not every week that I get to do something substantive for this column, so this week I chose to try an experiment that I suggested to Blannelberry some time ago, after my original article/video, Hacking at Humans, on choose a sword as a secondary prepper weapon. As many of you know, he is a blade snob, so when I did my original project with swords, he claimed that my cheap examples from China would fall apart as soon as you whack something with them.
One of them actually did fail, as you’ll see in the video, but I kind of expected that because it was pretty out there to expect different. On Ebay you have to be careful, because there are a lot of cheap swords that are meant for decoration, and they are not hardened carbon steel. I bought that green one about a year ago and I thought I remembered that they had advertised it as such.
There are also some great buys on Ebay. You just have to look at feedbacks and selling history. There are swords that will say “high carbon” steel, some that will give you a percentage, and some will just say T10, which is a specific Chinese brand of sword steel. What is the difference between a $300 sword and a $100 sword? I have yet to figure it out, and I’ve actually asked some of the sellers from China directly. To some degree it is just how they look.
On Budk it’s a whole different story. I’ve been a customer of theirs for years, and with Budk you just have to read the details. If you spend $14.95 on a knife or small sword, most likely it will be stamped stainless with a black paint on it, similar to the Michone sword in the video. But if it says hardened carbon steel, or T10 or whatever, that is exactly what you’ll get, and they generally will also tell you how sharp it is as well.
Why do the blade snobs refuse to accept that from a self defense standpoint, a 50,000 lb. per square inch press does every bit as a good a job as some dude in his garage with a big hammer? I don’t know. I have had a specific blade snob tell me that he’d rather have a 5″ custom made $600 folding knife than one of these $40 Budk swords, because the sword was just going to fall apart. Wake up! The international blade market is extremely competitive between India and China, and it has been for years. Quality has come way up, and prices have gone way down.
I touched on a point in the video that kind of explains why a handmade American knife costs way more than an import hand made, or partially machine made knife. We don’t make knives in the US anymore on a very large scale. Even most of the Gerbers are now import, so much so that they have a specific “built in the US” page on their website. And swords? Forget it. There are plenty of small makers, but the entire art of blade craftsmanship has had to be relearned.
Why does China take our currency in trade for durable goods like these swords? Our money is just paper, or blips on the screen, and since Richard Nixon decoupled our dollar from gold in 1971, our currency is completely unbacked. The answer is that in that same era, the Saudis agreed to only accept US dollars in exchange for oil. That led to a world hegemony for the dollar, and it because the only true international reserve currency since that time. Without dollars, you can’t buy OPEC oil, so China, and the rest of the world, sell their natural resources, and the almost slave labor of its people, for our currency.
The election of Donald Trump showed that America has had enough of this system. It has cost us nearly all of our legitimately high paying manufacturing jobs here, and the unlimited flood of dollars has created the most immoral zero interest financial system in the history of mankind.
But for now, while you can swap this worthless currency for cool stuff, do it! Since my last article the prices have come up probably 20% for high carbon or T10 full tang katanas from reputable Ebay sellers. The clock is ticking, in more ways than one.