Lately, I have discovered an overweening fondness for sharp things. Being in tech support, one needs a LART, and I have started a collection. So far I have a rapier, a shoddy dagger, a "ninja sword", a Fang of Baelin dagger, a Pappenheimer rapier (with little shields in the guard), a cheap dagger, a main gauche, an axe, a scimitar, and a shortsword and a nice dagger from Viking Metal Works. Do check them out, Glen makes some of the most amazing stuff I have seen! Check out pictures of the shortsword (which I have named Aries as in the Ram from astrology) and dagger I bought from there, and definitely look through his site! I have finally received them, after waiting several months longer than the four months he originally said it would take. THEY WERE WORTH THE WAIT!! Oh what lovely blades! =)
Another of the places online I have bought from is Swords-n-stuff.com. I got the Pappenheimer rapier there. At first I was somewhat disappointed with it, since as rapiers go it is *heavy* (picture a longsword with a big-ass rapier style guard). It is a very nice piece though, and one gets used to the weight. It is fast becoming my favourite sword. See picture. I have named it Pappy, as it is the father of all rapiers. =)
Yet another place I have had good experience with is fastknife.com where I got the Fang of Baelin. This is an odd, highly impractical dagger with two blades, sharpened on the inside (see pictures [1| 2]). It looked cool, and FastKnife has great prices, so I bought it =) However, it looks as though FastKnife might have become 1st Extreme Knives, the next item in this list.
And yet still another good place is 1st Extreme Knives, from whom I purchased the Royal Knight's Dagger , and also a hand crossbow (before I knew that hand crossbows are illegal in Canada!). And I had thought the two things I just got (6/9/01) were from somewhere else, but they also are from 1St Extreme Knives! These are what they call the "Arabian Sword 2" (which is like a cross between a scimitar and a big- ass Bowie knife, 18" long overall, and which I have named Boss Hawg since it is a chopper, and so is a hog (Harley)), and the Mughal Axe which is very cheap-seeming, a stamped piece of bright steel on a bit of table leg =) Fun to swing around though. They have lots of very nice cheap knives and swords and ninja gear, but knives are their specialty it seems.
Another place I have bought from is Black Sun Enterprises, from whom I bought the Moroccan Scimitar. The scimitar is from Toledo Steel, who make thin swords with lots of filligree and scrollwork and such on the hilt and pommel. This is of that ilk in full measure, and is also very point-heavy (as it should be I think, since scimitars are slashing weapons). I had a poll to suggest names for it on my LiveJournal, and was torn between two good names, so I gave it a name and a title. My scimitar is Fluffy, the Index Finger of Allah. =) ... Black Sun have lots of swords and daggers at quite low prices.
I have also bought knives from an actual store in meatspace now! I bought two things, the Knight's Dagger and a set of three miniature throwing knives. The Knight's Dagger is actually a knock-off of United Cutlery's Knight's Dagger. To see a pic of the original, click here. These came from a store called Pace's in Bellingham, WA. Cheap is good. =)
Also, I have bought a knife from Cutco, since my gf sells them. This is a hunting knife, and looks like this except with a white handle instead of black. They make great kitchen knives, but that isn't really my style of thing. =) I got a sharpener from them too, which I will use to practice on my cheap swords. I will learn to use a real stone and oil for the good stuff from Viking Metal Works.
Another place that I haven't bought from yet, but I WILL BE!, is Kris Cutlery. They have some truly amazing pieces, all hand forged and of appropriate hardness and materials, for prices that are within range of Swords-Online. These are great, authentic, battle-ready blades for around the same amount as the mass-produced stuff that most retailers online are selling. My friend Ken introduced me to Kris (perhaps because I brought him a replica Keris blade from Malaysia =) and I am in love. Or lust. Or something.
And then there is Swords-online.com. I have had bad experiences ordering from them, though three of my swords came from there (the fencing rapier (and now the main gauche that goes with it), and the Black Stealth Ninja Sword (which I named Ginsu, just because I can (= ), all of which I am quite happy to own). Firstly, when I ordered the fencing rapier, I watched (through UPS's tracking system) the package go from California to New Jersey and then here to Vancouver. Because of that outrageous journey, it has been dubbed Cannonball (from the movie "Cannonball Run" (thanks Bunny)). Odd as that was, it wasn't a bad experience. When I placed my second order there, I had trouble. I ordered three things, the ninja sword, a dagger from their used section, and a sword cleaning kit. The order stayed at "Preparing Order to Ship" for a *long* time, like a month and a half. Also, the dagger was taken off the order after two weeks, after payment had gone through on my credit card. The cost of the order was not adjusted. Finally, I received the shipment, and Lo! there was only the ninja sword, even though the cleaning kit was still listed. I wrote to them, asking for a credit and for the discount their "Web Famous" guarantee promises for late shipments. The response I got was unimpressive, asking me how much the discount should be for, ignoring the part about missing items. There was some dialogue back and forth (with weeks-long delays on their side, seeming very unprofessional in their replies), and I have emailed them again asking what is up. I have assembled all the emails into a webpage of the entire massacree in four part harmony and feeling, and it is here . The gist was, they would give me credit and the discount on my next order. So I thought "Ah! Satisfaction!" and placed an order for three things, the main gauche that goes with the fencing rapier (see pics above), the Baron shortsword and a third item I can't name because it is a present for someone who might read this (*wink*). It went well, I did what they told me to do to claim the discount they had promised. I received the order fairly quickly, too. Well, most of it. The Baron shortsword was not included. There was a nice, polite note on the manifest saying it was out of stock and that I wouldn't be charged for it. Well, I had ALREADY BEEN CHARGED FOR IT! So, I sent yet another letter, telling them to put the amount they owe me on the credit card (I am not ordering from them again, so a discount or credit on my next order wouldn't work, even if they actually followed through on it). This letter is included with the rest here. We shall see if I get the credit or not (and I will let you, Gentle Reader, know in this space).
Update: With no response after 20 days, I emailed them again. I was quite sarcastic this time, not being nice at all =) Yet still more or less professional, I think. I added it to the end of the entire masacree in four part harmony with feeling, which is of course here.
Final Update: Well, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, or something! The nastygram I sent this morning (06/27/01) generated a response within four hours! From a manager of some sort, asking for what exactly I had received. So I reiterated once again, and within half an hour of that, got a response saying my Visa had been credited! Find the final emails in amongst the entire masacree in four part harmony and feeling, here.
As I said, I am happy with the products I have received from them, and they have the best prices I have found. However, keep the above customer service issues in mind if you go shopping there.