Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search


Please help our efforts with a donation. It's time to pay our annual server hosting bill. We've collected 1110.00 towards our goal of 2400 USD. View Goal Progress
Last 10 Donors: Jean Le-Palud, T. Kew, Lukasz Papaj, Stefan Gruenewald, Jean Thibodeau, Joe Maccarrone, Kevin Colwell, Keith Nelson, J.D. Crawford, Dan Howard (View All Donors)

Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Product niches and competition Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2 
Author Message
Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2003 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Clark wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:

Not at all Joe. I think it makes for a very interesting discussion. Almost anything can be discussed as long as it's done in a mature manner. You are right, I'm sure that these developments at Albion have made other companies think. Even if it's just on the level where Gus has approached it from it's had an impact. He took a look and decided that it wasn't a reason for concern since it really doesn't intrude into his nitch, and therefore really isn't competition.

Personally I prefer these types of discussion over things like obsessing over the dimensions of scale line drawings, or speculating on the handling abilities of swords that haven't even gotten off the paper Eek!


Obsessing? I'm not obsessed ... well - my wife thinks I am. Happy

I think that A&A could be the company most affected by the competition - and I also don't think it is a dirty word.
It is something any industry needs as a driver toward excellence. One thing about A&A though is that their product line is very diverse, and medieval swords are only a chunk of it. Their offerings range from around $100 up to the price point of the most expensive of the next gen swords. Rapiers, poll weapons, maces, daggers ...


Agreed, I do see A&A as the most affected by this. Their nitch is much the same, but also different. The quality levels are very similar, but their product line-ups are different enough that I really don't see a lot of direct competition there. Most of Albions historic line-up goes from the high middle ages and back. Most of A&A's line consists of items from the late middle ages up through the renaissance(their real strength IMHO), as well as polearms, daggers and etc. Things that Albion hasn't ventured into yet. I see the two companies co-habitating quite nicely given their diverse product lines.

"I'd rather go upriver with 7 studs, than a 100 sh!theads." - COL Charlie Beckwith, founder SFODD
View user's profile Send private message
Howard Waddell




Usergroups: 
Industry Professionals

Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 783
PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2003 12:51 pm    Post subject: Let me throw in the Apple of Discord'...         Reply with quote

(Nathan -- you can delete this if you want...)

What I would like to see is all American and European swordmakers do well, each in their chosen area. Swords made by people who love swords.

The opportunists in the market -- the only ones that are making any money in this market -- are the big foreign makers. If we little American companies can take a bite out of their market, there will be plenty of business for all of us.

Case in point: a "popular" wallhanger sword company in Spain reportedly sells 150,000 swords worldwide a year. If the American makers could get just 10% of their market share, all of us would be so busy that we'd never need to step on each other's toes at all. And that doesn't even begin to impact India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan...

The three things we need to do are: education, education, education...

The more potential customers can know, about swords and about quality, the better off we will all be.

Best,

Howy
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2003 12:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Let me throw in the Apple of Discord'...         Reply with quote

Howard Waddell wrote:
(Nathan -- you can delete this if you want...)

Yep. I can delete anything. But thanks for the invitation.. haha! Grin..

But why would I? These are not only valid points, I was really hoping this conversation would hit this area.

Quote:

What I would like to see is all American and European swordmakers do well, each in their chosen area. Swords made by people who love swords.

The opportunists in the market -- the only ones that are making any money in this market -- are the big foreign makers. If we little American companies can take a bite out of their market, there will be plenty of business for all of us.

Case in point: a "popular" wallhanger sword company in Spain reportedly sells 150,000 swords worldwide a year. If the American makers could get just 10% of their market share, all of us would be so busy that we'd never need to step on each others toes at all. And that doesn't even begin to impact India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan...

The three things we need to do are: education, education, education...

The more potential customers can know, about swords and about quality, the better off we will all be.

I absolutely agree. We, as a small sword enthusiast group, need to start to tap the world-wide market of mass-produced swords. We also need to do our best to transition people's knowledge, interest, and exposure to include a higher-end, better researched, line of products. When I talk about increasing the size of the market, I really am saying that I believe we need to spread the already-existing market more evening to include these higher-end products.

I also agree that educatoin and exposure are key to this transition. This is the number one reason I started myArmoury.com.

.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Eric McHugh




Usergroups: 
Donating Members
Industry Professionals

Location: Crown Point, IN
Posts: 334
PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2003 3:08 pm    Post subject: What Howard Said         Reply with quote

Darn Howard, you beat me to it! Wink

I just want to add to what Howy said. I use to say that this foreign company "convinced some 150,000 people to buy their cheap piece of crap sword." Where I was wrong was the fact that this company sells swords that span most of the price points mentioned in this thread (Gus, A&A, Albion etc.). In other words, they convinced 150,000 people last year to spend A LOT of money on a poorly made piece of crap! Don't read anything into this next statement other than what is written: online forums are great (they serve to educate), but one of the negatives, at least for makers, is that they give the appearance that the sword market is much smaller than it really is. I am certain that many of these 150,000 people never heard of SFI, Netsword, myArmoury etc. but they decided (based on good marketing) that they needed to buy a sword from that company. Our goal, and what we believe the goal of any quality maker (present forum members included) should be, is to educate the market so that they will spend their hard earned money on a real sword...period. There are too many "opportunist" out there who do not really LOVE swords. Remember at the heart of all of the companies mentioned are people who LOVE swords. Not a day goes by that I don't swing a sword around in the shop. We love what we do. Our heart and soul is in it just like the other makers mentioned. It pains me to see some company who is just in it to make a quick buck convince so many people to buy their crap.

So, what we need to do is like Howy said educate, educate, educate, and he is right, if we took 10% of this companys customer base and split it between Atrim, A&A, and Albion (just hypothetically) it would mean one of the best years ever for Albion. I can't speak for the other two companies but I believe they would say the same thing. So, is there a big market for good quality hand made swords out there? Hell yes there is! So, no we don't want to compete with A&A and Gus (even though it may happen by default), we want to compete against the other guys. At the risk of sounding corny, it is like 150,000 people are locked away in some sort of bad sword Matrix, and the quality makers need to come along and liberate them. So, what is the Matrix? A stainless steel wall hanger.


Last edited by Eric McHugh on Fri 05 Dec, 2003 5:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Angus Trim




Usergroups: None

Location: Seattle area
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 870
PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2003 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:


In retrospect I probably should not have posted originally.

I'm glad the conversation has gone peacefully thus far.

...And...

Gus, I commend you for even addressing this topic...you too Mike.


I'm glad you did post Joe. I've wanted to say something along the lines I have earlier, but just never got around to it. Responding to your post may have been a bit impolite of me, but it seems to have started a reasonable conversation, and different thoughts altogether..

There's more potential for a good outcome than flames in this discussion..... I think that after the last big flareup on SFI last winter that we all were rather sick of it, and had reached the point that further conflict was just really stupid, and really not worth it......

swords are fun
View user's profile Send private message
Angus Trim




Usergroups: None

Location: Seattle area
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 870
PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2003 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Sigman wrote:
I guess that is a lot of it Patrick. I look at that word as a "dirty word" anymore and I shouldn't. It just has been used a bad thing quite a bit and that is why I guess. I love the fact that we are all getting along better in the industry. It really makes me smile to see this coming around.


Well Mike

You and I have swapped emails, what, four times now since this summer? Communication back and forth is so much better than misunderstandings.....

Craig and I talk about once a month. About the market, the economy and how its affecting things, about the WMA and happenings, and about any mutual concerns...... It so happens that we also don't have any misunderstandings...

He called me out of the blue this last summer. It suddenly came to his attention that I had a couple of swords sorta in the sub niche that they were about to release a sword into...... That was kinda nice, ya know? The Durer came out, and yes, it is sorta in the same sub-niche the AT1561 and AT1520 is, but then again its not {the Durer is actually patterned after an existing antique, my stuff is more generic}.

Are they competing for the same dollar? Well, maybe, sorta kinda. But oddly enough, one mutual customer has a Durer on order, and has stated that he intends to order an AT1520 next spring, so I kinda hesitate to consider that competion.

I think things are getting better Mike, though I also think more time might have to pass before everyone is real comfortable "at the same table" so to speak..

swords are fun
View user's profile Send private message
Angus Trim




Usergroups: None

Location: Seattle area
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 870
PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2003 5:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Let me throw in the Apple of Discord'...         Reply with quote

Howard Waddell wrote:
(Nathan -- you can delete this if you want...)

What I would like to see is all American and European swordmakers do well, each in their chosen area. Swords made by people who love swords.

The opportunists in the market -- the only ones that are making any money in this market -- are the big foreign makers. If we little American companies can take a bite out of their market, there will be plenty of business for all of us.

Case in point: a "popular" wallhanger sword company in Spain reportedly sells 150,000 swords worldwide a year. If the American makers could get just 10% of their market share, all of us would be so busy that we'd never need to step on each other's toes at all. And that doesn't even begin to impact India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan...

The three things we need to do are: education, education, education...

The more potential customers can know, about swords and about quality, the better off we will all be.

Best,

Howy


I hope you don't mind me addressing you directly Howy..

But you've made a really great point. We all have far better things to do than to fuss about what the other is doing, or saying.

But, on the main note, I believe that you folks have started down a real courageous path. I also believe that the time is right for that move, and I suspect that you'll do well. Its not entirely like you haven't done something like this before, the move you made on the Conan stuff was gutsy too, but the time was right, and it worked out well.

My gut tells me that your move will work well, its the right product mix at the right time, in the right niche.......

swords are fun
View user's profile Send private message
Angus Trim




Usergroups: None

Location: Seattle area
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 870
PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2003 5:43 pm    Post subject: Re: What Howard Said         Reply with quote

Eric McHugh wrote:
Darn Howard, you beat me to it! Wink

I just want to had to what Howy said. I use to say that this foreign company "convinced some 150,000 people to buy their cheap piece of crap sword." Where I was wrong was the fact that this company sells swords that span most of the price points mentioned in this thread (Gus, A&A, Albion etc.). In other words, they convinced 150,000 people last year to spend A LOT of money on a poorly made piece of crap! Don't read anything into this next statement other than what is written: online forums are great (they serve to educate), but one of the negatives, at least for makers, is that they give the appearance that the sword market is much smaller than it really is. I am certain that many of these 150,000 people never heard of SFI, Netsword, myArmoury etc. but they decided (based on good marketing) that they needed to buy a sword from that company. Our goal, and what we believe the goal of any quality maker (present forum members included) should be, is to educate the market so that they will spend their hard earned money on a real sword...period. There are too many "opportunist" out there who do not really LOVE swords. Remember at the heart of all of the companies mentioned are people who LOVE swords. Not a day goes by that I don't swing a sword around in the shop. We love what we do. Our heart and soul is in it just like the other makers mentioned. It pains me to see some company who is just in it to make a quick buck convince so many people to buy their crap.

So, what we need to do is like Howy said educate, educate, educate, and he is right, if we took 10% of this companys customer base and split it between Atrim, A&A, and Albion (just hypothetically) it would mean one of the best years ever for Albion. I can't speak for the other two companies but I believe they would say the same thing. So, is there a big market for good quality hand made swords out there? Hell yes there is! So, no we don't want to compete with A&A and Gus (even though it may happen by default), we want to compete against the other guys. At the risk of sounding corny, it is like 150,000 people are locked away in some sort of bad sword Matrix, and the quality makers need to come along and liberate them. So, what is the Matrix? A stainless steel wall hanger.


"Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are mostly ceremonial."

You know, really that oughtta be my line, after all I'm the bad guy......*g*

Yeah, you're right about it all. None of us are really making any money at this, and at the same time that great passion we have for what we do is both really good and really dangerous.....

In my case anyways..... as I've definitly been a bit too feisty at times.

Competion, yeah well.....*g*

Really, the direction you folks have headed off on makes it a non-happenin' event. Still there will be times someone is lookin' at an AT, and decide that more money spent today on the ANG will be money better spent..... and conversely there will be times that someone is sweatin' bullets about buying an NG or PJML and decide that domestic bliss is better for now and opt for that AT for the time being........

I believe it was Markus Halter on the main discussion forum that just bought an Albion Riding Sword. In his thread he posted a photo of said Riding Sword with an AT {that I think he got from Countercut} and claimed that they layed side by side peacefully...... Right now, I can think of several people that own AT's, A&As and Albion swords. I suspect this trend will continue........

Peace

Auld Dawg

swords are fun
View user's profile Send private message
Brian M




Usergroups: None

Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 505
PostPosted: Sat 06 Dec, 2003 12:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a relative newbie I can attest to the educational value of this and other forums, as well as various period-related web-pages. Kudos to SFI for getting me interested enough to start doing research online. After I read pretty much all the info available online, that induced me to buy and read books. I now own The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, Swords of the Viking Age, and The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England, together with a boatload of related period books. Knowledge is the best weapon against "battle-ready stainless Pakistani wallhangars." I managed to not buy anything while I educated myself, and I credit the efforts of online forums and reputable manufacturers like Angus Trim for making that happen.
The word "competition" makes a lot of people think "acrimony." Not true. Just two firms chasing "X" amount of dollars in a similar niche -- which was why I mentioned the notion that perhaps A&A and Albion are avoiding direct (model vs. model) competition. In other words, it might be counter-productive if Albion released a "Henry V," a "SoSM-Vienna," and an "Edward III." My next couple of swords will probably be from Albion. But, if the bug bites me for a nice SoSM-Vienna, I'll dial up A&A. If I get into serious "WMA cutting," I will dial up Angus Trim. I think that profitable co-existence is possible.

Brian M
View user's profile Send private message
Robert Zamoida




PostPosted: Sat 06 Dec, 2003 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
At the risk of sounding corny, it is like 150,000 people are locked away in some sort of bad sword Matrix, and the quality makers need to come along and liberate them. So, what is the Matrix? A stainless steel wall hanger.


I couldn't agree more Eric! Take for instance another company, currently producing a line of swords from a very well known and loved trilogy. I bought one of those swords; I knew full well that it would not function like a similar sword from AT or Albion, but I figured it would make a great drilling sword, so I thought "what the hell". Well, one day I drilled with it at our school, and much to my dismay after a short time the leather on the grip managed to pull itself down to the center of the grip. But this was not the most distressing part; underneath the leather was not a wooden core, as I expected, but what appeared to be a tube of aluminum (thankfully, I did not pay full retail value). The point here is that those swords sell for about the same price as an AT, but are nowhere near the quality; unfortunately, and I really hate to say this (Sorry Gus), they probably sell better than an AT Cry Mad WTF?! .

Quote:
believe it was Markus Halter on the main discussion forum that just bought an Albion Riding Sword. In his thread he posted a photo of said Riding Sword with an AT {that I think he got from Countercut} and claimed that they layed side by side peacefully...... Right now, I can think of several people that own AT's, A&As and Albion swords. I suspect this trend will continue........


You're right Gus; right now my Albion Riding Sword is laying next to your Banneret from SFI with an Aquilonian hilt from CF, and in the next few months they will be joined by the Redeemer and then the Landgraf, and future purchases from you and Albion will be joining them, and maybe A&A as well. I have no doubt this trend will continue, because there is a common thread that runs through the works of all these companies, and others like them: people who love swords, making them for others who also love swords.

Rob Zamoida
"When your life is on the line, you want to make use of all your tools. No warrior should be willing to die with his swords at his sides, without having made use of his tools."
-Miyamoto Mushashi, Gorin no Sho
View user's profile Send private message
Angus Trim




Usergroups: None

Location: Seattle area
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 870
PostPosted: Sun 07 Dec, 2003 9:36 am    Post subject: The synergy         Reply with quote

One of the reasons I posted earlier, was to make public the reasons that you're not likely to see an "arms race" if you will, from the three US makers......

A big part of that is the synergy that exists between us, and has since the beginning of Tinkerblades some 4+ years ago.

If you go back even further, I'm an owner of an A and A sword, would have and should have bought more, and had had several discussions with Craig back in the days when I was the "reviewer" .......

Shortly after AT took off as a separate entity from Tinkerblades, I began a business relationship with Albion.

Without going into to much detail, if you look back, Peter Johnsson and I used to swap email regularly and share info. Same with Randal Graham and myself. Albionites that have possessed {or still do} AT's include Howy {Irish sword with blackened fittings} Mariah Clark, Randal Graham {Spanish Tercio}, and Eric McHugh. Bjorn Helquist has or had an EKS, and Peter Johnnson still has four AT's {over 2 years old now}.

Conversely, one of the first Albion gladii made with Wisconsin made blades visited the batcave, and so did the first Crecy...

The exchanges of info between A&A and myself include documents about antiques from Craig to me, and I shipped a couple of swords back east for a visit...... I'm not sure of any and all interactions between A&A and Albion, but I do know that Randal consulted with Craig on a heat treating matter a couple of years ago, and of course the visit that Eric McHugh mentioned earlier in this thread......

With the history of acrimony, it might not be politically correct to acknowledge this, but we already have influenced one another...... From my perspective, I am quite aware of Howy's "Dream", and have been somewhat infected by it, even thoug I'm over 2000 miles away, and have haled off in another direction. I've learned and still use lessons on the "market" taught me by Randal Graham. The old discussions that PJ and I had are a part of my design process too, only a liar wouldn't admit that those discussions weren't influential in what I do. I still have on my harddrive, specs given me ages ago by both Bjorn and PJ.

Respond to what Albion is doing? *g* I already have, though not as the question was put forth....... Looking at that first Crecy several months ago made me realize I needed to work on blade finish more, and we needed to get better on hilt work. And we have {we being myself, and those that supply me}. On New Production, pommels are now sanded, finish of my blades is better up to the shoulder, and our leather wraps are much tighter, as are the leather over cord we do, though you can still see the seams...... {still need to improve the finish in my fullers though}......

I cannot speak for the other guys, but for me and this enterprise in the NW, the need to continue to improve is great. But, improving while keeping costs in line takes time.....

Looking back over the last three years, you will see public discussions on various forums, where PJ, or the Dawg, has used language about sword properties that is very similar. Two years ago, Craig Johnson gave a talk on the Western Sword at WMAW that was peppered with "harmonic balance", and similar language....

The point of this, is that the three of us already have a great deal of similarity, once you cut thru the outer layers and image. Swords of all three now {including the NG and PJML} will distal taper from the cross, and have similar harmonic properties, caveating with the acknowledgment that different sword types and different blade geometries will require different manufacturing treatments.......

All three concerns are intimately familiar with the mechanical properties of various sword types, and all three are familiar with how a sword should handle and perform.

This is just my opinion, but if a person wanted a sword that would handle and perform like an antique, and didn't want to go full blown custom, then your odds would be better with one of these three companies than any other I can think of...

An arms race? *g* Well, I don't think so, because as mentioned earlier, we're all three into different sub-sections of the market, and all three headed in slightly different directions.....even though we share the same customer base to some degree.......

From my perspective, what we really offer today, is a tremendous and growing variety of models and price points. And a synergy of whose side benefit is we're all improving.........

Auld Dawg

swords are fun
View user's profile Send private message
Randal Graham




Usergroups: 
Industry Professionals

Location: Nova Scotia Canada
Posts: 79
PostPosted: Sun 07 Dec, 2003 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not trying to open new wounds, or scratch the scabs off old ones.
that's the caveat emptor....

this is been a way wonderfull thread. I must say I'm a little stunned over parts of it. All good, mind you...stunned in a good way...

I like where things are going for the most part. I didn't for awhile, I really thought for a long time people where out to get me, wasn't till recently I realized most all the bad stuff over the last four years ago revolved around me, my ego, and my temper...and boy, I am sorry. If you folks only could know how much grief I caused poor Howy and Amy, (and still likely do), over the most stupid things.
I'm glad they have Peter and his knowledge...even more importantly I'm glad they have his maturity and focus.

I like how it's all shaking out, in any case, and I do agree if the makers here could push back the imports a little more they'd all be in a much happier place. I like the quality improvements across the board, in form and function, it's been awesome to see. We've bashed each other in the past over the siliest things really, but what has happened behind the scenes with regards to some foriegn companies has been nothing short of absolutely criminal, and makes some of the events of the last four years or so seem awfully petty, and inconsequential.

this is a very mature place too. I have to say I didn't expect it to be, or remain so, but it has. the level of discussion on all topics across the board is much higher than it has been elsewhere and I must say it's been uplifting.

Anyway, I am sorry for my part it whatever the hell it was that happened. And I am glad to see where everybody is, and where they are going, in the sword business. And I really enjoy reading these kinds of conversations, it's refreshing, and for once, I think exceedingly benificial.

Kinda nice to be "allowed" to speak too.
:0)

R.H.Graham
Swordsmith
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Gordon Clark




PostPosted: Sun 07 Dec, 2003 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A couple of things -

There is a huge market out there for swords - but it is unclear how many of those people really want a quality sword, and how many just want a 'piece' of a movie (taking the LOTR swords as an example) that they can hold. The thing that irritates me about the stainless wallhanger market is not that it exists, it is the often occuring dishonest marketing.

That it exists is important for everyone in the business. There will always be a larger market for lowest common denominator type objects. Cars, wine, beer, food, .... swords - in all of these more people line up for cheap versions than for quality. But ... and this is the important thing - if it were not for the cheap versions, many people would not 'move up the ladder' and learn to appreciate quality.

Gordon
View user's profile Send private message
Angus Trim




Usergroups: None

Location: Seattle area
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 870
PostPosted: Tue 09 Dec, 2003 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since the "imports" were around before I started fabricating swords, in general I have no grief with them.....However, taken in context, one needs to have some concern if one wants to stay in the business of fabricating swords.

In today's market, the real "entry level", is thru these imports. Stuff made in the Phillipines, India, and yes, China, can be had at a price, and with enough quality, to wet some folks appetite for more and better......... and this is where I and the midrange guys like A&A and Albion come in {as well as companies like Armart}.

Ever wonder why the most verbal makers and smiths have quit talking in such wonderful detail in how they do things? Its because these large overseas manufacturers, or their US importers, are plugged into the various forums, and cutting and pasting what we say, thus cutting down development time and costs for some of them..... and offering reasonable quality at prices Western Europeans and Americans can't match.

The katana market was, ahh, influenced by this. Hanwei benefitted tremendously by the online discussions, and shortly after the introduction of the first Hanwei kats in the US market, the lower priced US kat makers ceased to exist, except a very few minority.

The first two Armarts that came here as samples for potential Museum Store marketting, conversations between the SFI staff resulted in future pieces having, you guessed it, distal taper and reasonable harmonics {based on a baseline of four years ago}. After a conversation between a friend of mine and Paul Chen a couple of years ago at the Atlanta Blade show, the Hanwei Euro swords suddenly greatly improved, they now featured distal taper, and had the basics of harmonic balance {sigh.....}.

Caution flags were raised across the West, as it became apparent that our grip on just being in business was real tenuous.......... Consequently, folks got cautious what they said in public. Some folks just refused to get too detailed in online discussion, and others {me for instance} would occassionally add just a bit to a discussion that would potentially send a lazy competitor down the wrong road, and still have to "learn it" the same way I did, or by researching the antiques, either way being expensive in time, energy, and money.

An awful lot of what I have learned in the last two years about "harmonics", and the related stuff, is still here in Kent, Wa. I certainly haven't shared certain key elements, even with my friends, as one just doesn't know who will stand and blab at large events......... and this may be a minor element in keeping me in business {I think you'll find the other two just as protective of certain key elements of what they do. }.

A couple of years ago, I started down a sidepath, developing rapier and sidesword simulators. With the rapier simulators, the SCA is the largest potential market, so being "SCA legal" is paramount. Having greater strength, resisting taking a set, and handling like a real rapier would be a bonus. I did all this, and got these things verbally passed by SCA corporate well over a year ago {paperwork wasn't done immediately}. Unfortunately, I then had two problems, a difficulty getting hilts done, and my big mouth. I mentioned on line, some of what made these potentially quite special.......

Within three months of my "mouth" going off, the first Hanwei rapier simulators showed up in the local SCA kingdom. The blades were "soft", but they had, you guessed it, distal taper and reasonable harmonics. They did not handle like real rapiers though, but conversely you could get three Hanwei rapier simulators for the price of one AT, with a better looking guard.

At that point I gave up. I shelved the simulator project because it was apparent that the Hanwei's were going to dominate the market, and there wouldn't be any real room in the marketplace for superb handling, durable, and expensive simulators with so-so aesthetics, with Hanwei in the same marketplace...........

But not so fast.........

The first Hanwei's here locally started taking a set, and also snapping.........*g* After getting the opportunity to inspect these, I realized that I hadn't really given the "farm" away after all. As I had learned more and more about the harmonic properties of sword blades, I had carefully not gotten too detailed in the discussion of what I call the "harmonic convergence" in some key areas of the blades. These locii are where the forces that traverse the blade congregate, and can cause failure there because of blade geometry problems, and / or blade temper problems........

The Hanweis that failed had both problems, temper and geometry........

*g*

So a small door opened back up for me in this market. That and one WMA group believing in me enough to order three......

I still am having problems getting enough guards. I am also the most expensive supplier of production rapier simulators, and expect to be for the forseeable future. Hanwei's place in the market is the entry level, and for those that aren't too into historical accuracy of handling. Mine is the upper echelon of the performance side of this market {performance and durability}.

I'm not liable to talk about the steel, the temper, the way these distal taper, and certain other key reasons they work the way they do......

The point of this commentary, is that the imports have their place. All of the imports. But they are very dangerous to us locals. We also have our place, and its quality......one of the reason you have seen such a vast improvement from all three of us in the US.

And you can bet, that as much as the three of us share in the future, we will keep certain key things to ourselves, such that we have the opportunity to stay in this business we love so much........

Auld Dawg

swords are fun
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Product niches and competition
Page 2 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2 All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum



All contents © Copyright 2003-2013 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum