Thursday, January 26, 2006

Link to the SBG Overhaul Blog...

Ok, the new blog is up and running now, so if you want to check it out and stay in touch with what's going on at SBG, I suggest you check it out here.

This is where all the critical updates and changes will be recorded, so things will be pretty quiet here while until the SBG Overhaul is complete, while on the otherhand, the SBG Overhaul will be posting quite frequently.

I'll see you on the other side of the Blogosphere! (It will be worth your while to check it on a semi-regular basis, as there will be a few unexpected and exclusive surprises for visitors from time to time!)

SBG Overhaul

Paul
General Site News

At the moment I am just adding the finishing touches to the latest edition of the Sword Buyers Digest Newsletter. It's gonna be a big one - with the full interview with Paul Chen from Cheness Cutlery, announcements on the imminent site overhaul and how to get a 12% to 15% discount off the very best prices for good quality swords online!

It's also gonna be the last newsletter to go out until the site overhaul is complete, so if you haven't already signed up for it - now would be a good time (its going out at 1:00am on the first of February, so there isn't much time..)

The modifications to Sword Buyers Guide will also be starting a little later on today, with the changes being explained with a behind the scenes look at what is going on in a second blog (I'll let you know the link as soon as the newsletter is loaded and ready to go and the changes begin in earnest).

So please excuse the general chaos and the occasional "half dressed" days when SBG may look a little confusing. I am going to be trying to keep these disruptions to a minimum by planning each pages layout in advance and to be honest, because of the way these pages are build, there wont be any blanks or "Under Construction" signs, just a few pages here and there that don't match up with the general look and feel of the rest of the site.

Australia Post Update

My fellow Aussies can breathe a sigh of relief! It looks like the whole "Australia Post refusing to ban overseas shipments of swords" was an overreaction. Turns out there is new legislation that bans "weapons" from being transported overeseas by Australia Post, and by weapons they include gun parts, grenades, bayonets, etc - but in the fine print it specifically says that swords are excempt...

Now its still going to be a bit of a pain for a while as individual postmasters may err on the side of caution and make the wrong decisions, but at least it isn't an overall ban on swords. I was sent the full legislation below for anyone who wants to read it - check it out below if you are feeling bored...! :-)

That's all for now, will be checking back here again shortly...

Paul

REGARDING THE POSTING AND RECEIPT OF FIREARMS AND WEAPONRY TO/FROM OVERSEAS VIA AUSTRALIA POST

Australia Post will no longer accept international postings containing firearms, including all firearm components, or items of weaponry.

Items of weaponry include grenades, mortar shells, canisters, bayonets or items which resemble these articles (including replicas) for carriage to or from Australia.

Customers with import or export permits should be advised that their permits are still valid but that Australia Post will no longer carry these items.

EXCLUSIONS FROM THE DEFINITION OF “ITEMS OF WEAPONRY”

Australia Post will continue to carry items such as knives, daggers, swords, and axes, which have a valid import or export permit where required and are legally permissible to carry into Australia (if inbound) or into the country of destination (if outbound).

PLEASE NOTE: Australian Customs regulations prohibit or restrict many of these items. It is the responsibility of customers importing or exporting these items to make their own enquiries to ensure the goods are acceptable, and to obtain any relevant permits.

Information regarding Customs regulations on knives, firearms and warfare items can be found at 1300 363 263, information@customs.gov.au or www.customs.gov.au.

OTHER CARRIERS

Private carriers may accept these items. Australia Post is unable to recommend which carriers may/may not carry firearms/weaponry to international destinations.

ARTICLES CURRENTLY IN TRANSIT

Articles that may have already been sent from an international destination to Australia will be assessed on a case-by-case basis until the end of January 2006. A longer discretionary period will apply to articles sent by sea mail.

With regard to air-conveyed mail, from 1 February any firearms or items of weaponry detected from an international destination will be returned to sender.

DOMESTIC CARRIAGE

The domestic carriage of firearms and weaponry conditions remains unchanged.

POLICY DECISION

100% of imported mail carried by Australia Post is subject to X-ray, metal detector or sniffer dog screening. Suspect articles detected in Australia or en route by X-ray or metal detectors can cause substantial delay to entire despatches of mail pending security clearance.

Although some countries may accept the delivery of firearms and weapons, it may be necessary for these items (en route) to pass through the postal service of countries where they are prohibited and may be confiscated by customs and reported to police or other authorities. Again, this may cause serious delay to entire despatches of mail.

There is an increasing propensity around the globe for goods to be security screened in transit through airports and other (non-postal) handling points.

With an unacceptable increase in the number of incidents causing serious delays to mail and potentially creating security issues, we have chosen no longer to accept or carry the items which cause these effects.

ADVICE PROVIDED TO INTERNATIONAL POSTAL ADMINISTRATIONS

The following advice has been provided to international postal administration via the Universal Postal Union (UPU):

“The postal administration of AUSTRALIA asks partner administrations to be aware of the following prohibitions effective from January 2006 relating to any article in the international post.

The following goods are prohibited as imports (or in transit) from carriage by post:

(i) articles containing or suspected of containing firearms, weapons or items of weaponry including grenades, mortar shells or canisters, or parts thereof – even if rendered inert;

(ii) articles that resemble or may reasonably be taken for any item in (i) above, including replicas or stage props; and

(iii) any article, whether deleterious or not, that may reasonably be construed by its appearance or make up to constitute a potential security risk to persons or property.

Australia Post would appreciate the co-operation of partner administrations in informing postal users that the items described above are not admitted in the international mail stream to Australia. Should such articles be lodged or posted inadvertently, please do not despatch the postal article concerned to Australia.”

Australia’s entry in the UPU List of Prohibited Articles is being amended to reflect the above-mentioned prohibitions.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Major Site Overhaul Immiment!

I've decided that, since it's almost the 1st "birthday" of Sword-Buyers-Guide.com it is time for the site to get a bit of a facelift...

In fact, there are actually there are three major issues that I wish to address.

The first issue involves the general flow and readability of each of the major pages, with each major page to become basically a kind of overview with natural in context links to more detailed information and reviews (as it stands, heaps of stuff is "buried"!).

The second issue involves historical accuracy and comparisons to the original swords most modern affordable replicas are based upon. Originally, I wasn't going to concern myself too much with historical accuracy - but the bigger SBG has become, the more I feel it is neccessary to at least provide some reference points and compare the modern reproductions and contemporary replicas to the originals...

But the third development is perhaps the most exciting of all...

The third development is concerning price - namely, for every sword that I review or highlight I will actively hunt out the VERY BEST PLACE to buy it for the absolute cheapest price online (from a list of only the best, established sword sellers). I will also be working with some of the big guys to provide my visitors with deep discounts that far exceed the current best prices on the net!

So in short, within the next 2 months, SBG will be the place to not only get info on the best value for money swords, but to also save big $$$ getting them.

It's all very exciting stuff - and I'll be telling you more about it shortly as well as documenting the changes in a second dedicated blog. So stay tuned!

Paul

Friday, January 20, 2006

Australia Post Banning International Swords to/from Australia!

First it was the ban on sword possesion in Victoria. Now it seems that Australia post, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to ban the transportation of swords to and from Australia (though domestic shipping is still, at this point, acceptable).

Why?

I don't know.

It just doesn't make sense...

Now as you may know, personally I much prefer to ship a few swords at once from the US by UPS rather than reply on Australia post (see my article on this here

But for single sword purchases that used to be sent to USPS (US Mail) it means that the cost of shipping swords from the US has jumped from around $40 to $50 (USD) to USD$150 for UPS!(talk about a price hike!)

To help counter this, I've been talking with a few of my favorite sword sellers and manufacturers and I am trying to arrange to bring in some bulk shipments to Australia to sell/distribute from Sword-Buyers-Guide.com at prices as close to the original US+Australia Post prices as possible.

Hopefully, this will help redress the balance for the "1 sword at a time" local Aussie sword buyer - while making enough money to cover my costs and help fund the continued and expanding presence of my website (the costs of buying new swords to review + shipping + Voucher give aways + website hosting costs, etc, etc is really starting to get out of hand!!)

Anyway, it might be a few months off before I've got some swords up and ready for sale here, but I'll be doing what I can.

I'll keep you all posted.

Paul

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year
...And general site news

Happy new year guys! I hope that 2006 will be a prosperous, safe and happy one for you and your families.

Well, the latest edition of the Sword Buyers Digest should have just hit your inboxes and it's a big one. Lots of general site news, announcements, some cool vids and of course the members lounge.

However, I've just made a few site changes that weren't in this issue - notably, you might be wondering where the reviews on the Windlass European sword and the Cold Steel Scottish Broad sword have gone...?

Well, have no fear (?) I've placed both of these under the Medieval Swords category. And of course, this can only mean one thing...

...Yup that's right - I am making space for more content and reviews! I'll tell you more about exactly what's coming up shortly, but suffice it to say, I am pretty excited.

Anyway, I won't harp on - just thought I'd wish you all a very happy and safe new year! Catch up with you all again shortly.

- Paul

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

P.S. - Just in case anyone is ACTUALLY reading my blog (I get hundreds of vistors to Sword-Buyers-Guide.com a day, but I've got no idea who, if anyone, actually reads this blog!) I've decided to turn on the comments option. I was just getting crap spammy comments before so I turned it off, but on the off chance that there is actually someone, somewhere who stumbles on my blog - feel free to comment, good, bad or indifferent!

(Oh dear, I can almost hear my voice echo!!! Hehehe!)
International Sword Shipping (for Aussies!)

As many of you know I live in Australia - and since there aren't really any sword sellers in Australia who offer much value for money, I order by swords from the USA (specifically from Arms of Valor, as you already probably know!).

At the moment I am preparing for my next order - and I'll keep you posted on my "shortlist" as I go - but I thought I'd add a few little pointers for those of you outside of the US who wanna order some swords (boy, my American friends sure have it good over there! Shipping isn't a concern, lucky guys!!)

First off, shipping costs.

To ship a single sword from the USA to Australia costs around US$150 for UPS. You can get smaller swords sent by the "mail" for around US$50, but you can't track the order anywhere near as well, you have to worry about custom duties, etc and basically, it's more of a headache than its worth. With UPS, swords come ULTRA fast, in fact the fastest order time has been 3 working days!

Another great thing about ordering sword by UPS is that I've never had ANY hassles with customs, duty, etc - they just come straight to my door :)

(I assume though that it might be a different story in Victoria due to the prohibitive sword laws...)

Miminizing shipping costs

Where it gets interesting is that the cost of sending 1 sword is almost the same as sending up to 4 medium sized swords as UPS charge a single sword at a 30lb weight limit (due to their size). So it makes sense to order more than 1 sword at a time from an economical point of view. If you can't afford to buy several swords at once, go in with some friends!

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of these tips with my Aussie readers since getting decent swords here is such a pain in the ass!

In the meantime, I have the fun (and actually quite difficult) task of selecting my next order! It's actually quite difficult as I have to balance my own personal desires with what I think will be helpful to people to review on Sword-Buyers-Guide.com.

More on this in another post!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Only 4 More Sleeps To Go...

Yup, that's right - only 4 more sleeps before the 15% discount on Gen2 swords from my friends at Arms of Valor is over, gone - kaput!

So If you've been procrastinating on getting some of these cool beater swords my only advice is - DON'T! This kind of discount isn't likely to come around again for quite some time...

All you gotta do is put the initials of my site (SBG) next to your name in their checkout when you order and you'll save a total of 15% - but this offer only lasts until midnight the 19th of December...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Medieval Swords Action Vid

Been a bit "dead" here on the blog I know, but I'll be making up for it...

Just for a bit of fun, I've decided to gather as many of the old "vids" shot with my digicam and upload them to Sword-Buyers-Guide.com.

The old digital camera doesn't have sound, but I've added a cool soundtrack to the the first vid, which is basically footage of my two favorite Gen2 medieval swords - the "Maximilian Sword" and the "Historical Black Prince".

I also recently bought a new one that DOES capture sound but I am having some troubles uploading it to the site (thanks Kodak!) however I'll eventually iron out all the bugs - or failing that - have a nice pic of a "Die Camera Die!" on the members lounge next month! (hehe, just kidding!)

Anyway, the medieval swords vid is here so if you want a bit of a laugh, check it out! It certainly demonstrates first hand just how tough and sharp these swords are!