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Thread: Expensive Mistake, or 'SLO Fandango'

  1. #1

    Expensive Mistake, or 'SLO Fandango'

    About a week ago, a friend of mine informed me that a friend of his said I was dumb. The reason? Apparently I'm a mug for paying too much for a sword.

    I'll admit I'm a novice collector, only owning a couple wallhangers and a PPK. but thanks to sfi, I'm learning.

    Anyway, I asked what in the blue hell he meant (I got a good deal on my PPK, paid 200 dollars for it). My friend, who is a complete layman, said his friend had bought a 'Heat tempered Carbon steel Katana' for 40 bucks. Apparently, it was a real masterpiece, because the website he bought it off said so.

    Last night my friend was going to thins guy's house to pick something up, so I tagged along.

    While I was there I asked to see his sword.

    With the smug expression of someone laying down an ace, he went and got it, and handed it to me. I would also like to point out he handed it to me so reverentially, you'd think it was Excalibur.

    I inspected it. Then pointed out the following:

    1: Carbon steel tends not to be stamped '440 stainless'

    2: The Hamon was a PERFECT sine wave, so likely to be etched, therefore not differentially tempered

    3: Any sword marked 'made in Pakistan' does not have much chance of being high quality

    4: The blade felt slightly loose in the Handle

    5. It wasn't a katana, it was a Wakizashi

    (Basically imagine the cheapest SLO you've ever laid eyes on.)

    Now I didn't do this with a know-all atitude, I didn't make fun. (hell, I had one just like it hanging on my wall). I even told him where he could het a PK for 130 bucks! I tried to give the guy a bit of advice, to stop him wasting money on crap, like I did when I first got started in sword collecting.

    Instead, I seemed to deeply offend his 'Discovery Channel Special, expert in an afternoon' sensibilities.

    He got pretty irate, and asked me "what the hell I know about swords'. I started to tell him I was still pretty much a novice, but had got some good pointers from SFI, but I was cut off by him stating he knows ALL about Japanese swords, and he KNEW if wasn't a 'Wakashiki', because they have STRAIGHT blades.

    Realising he'd rather make a complete fool of himself than admit he'd been mislead (I won't say ripped off, the thing was pretty, and 40 bucks aint bad for a piece of SLO 'art' I just said "Ok, whatever you say'.

    Anyway, we headed back out to the street.

    Now I PROMISE I wasn't trying to be a smartass, but after hearing so many SLO horror stories, I thought I'd better warn him about rat-tail tangs.

    Again, he told me I didn't have a clue what I was talking about, and to prove me wrong, he gave the sword a couple of hard swings. "See?" He said, and gave the sword one last overhead swing.

    Can you guess what's coming next?

    The blade parted company with the handle at about 40mph, and went BAM through the passenger side window of his car. I don't know if you've ever seen a car window explode, but that's what happened.

    I know I shouldn't laugh, and someone could have been injjured, or hurt, but the look on his face as his eyes went from the tsuka in his hand, to the window of his car, to the deep gouge that what was left of the blade had made in his seat cover was priceless. You know the look, sheer shock, mixed with 'my wife is going to kill me.'

    Moral of the story:

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but no knowledge at all means you can't drive your car in the winter time

  2. #2
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    Another case of pride goeth before the fall.

    Good story.
    "We are not retreating — we are advancing in another direction."
    — General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)

  3. #3
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    Re: Expensive Mistake, or 'SLO Fandango'

    OMG...I know it certainly wasn't funny for your friend, but your story gave me a good laugh (probably because no one got hurt!) He REALLY got humbled big time, eh?
    "Impossible" is a word that humans use far too often.
    - Seven of Nine

  4. #4
    the funny thing is, no, it didn't humble him.

    He's actually BLAMING me. For some reason me pointing out the defects must've damaged it.

    He actually said if I had said nothing, he wouldn't have had to 'prove' it. The guy really is a grade A moron.

    Just told him, "Yeah must be my fault, I should've said nothing, and let you swing it around like an idiot. Maybe while you were showing off in front of your wife. Better your car window than your wife's neck"

    (Just a thought, people 'accidentally' shoot people while cleaning guns....wonder if anyone has 'accidentally' killed someone witha defective sword)

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by Paul Malone
    the funny thing is, no, it didn't humble him.

    He's actually BLAMING me. For some reason me pointing out the defects must've damaged it.

    He actually said if I had said nothing, he wouldn't have had to 'prove' it. The guy really is a grade A moron.

    Just told him, "Yeah must be my fault, I should've said nothing, and let you swing it around like an idiot. Maybe while you were showing off in front of your wife. Better your car window than your wife's neck"

    (Just a thought, people 'accidentally' shoot people while cleaning guns....wonder if anyone has 'accidentally' killed someone witha defective sword)
    Oh my lord...what IS it with some people? Maybe should be grateful that it was ONLY his car window that got busted, and NOT his wife's neck!

    The worst part is that it's bozos like your friend (no offense) that make the serious sword collectors look bad. I just hope these "bad apples" don't lead to the good ol' American gov't deciding that law-abiding citizens shouldn't be collecting long pointy blades...
    "Impossible" is a word that humans use far too often.
    - Seven of Nine

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by Paul Malone
    He actually said if I had said nothing, he wouldn't have had to 'prove' it. The guy really is a grade A moron.
    If you hadnt said anything he wouldnt have had to prove what. That it was a piece of crap?

    Seriously, Im glad he didnt impale himself but that is the funniest story I have heard in a long time. Thank you Paul for making my evening.

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by Paul Malone
    He actually said if I had said nothing, he wouldn't have had to 'prove' it. The guy really is a grade A moron.
    If you hadnt said anything he wouldnt have had to prove what. That it was a piece of crap?

    Seriously, Im glad he didnt impale himself but that is the funniest story I have heard in a long time. Thank you Paul for making my evening.

  8. #8
    It's too bad that your friend can't appreciate what you tried to do for him. You've acted like a gentleman and receive nothing for your good will.

    It's a shame people like him don't learn from their mistakes and refuse hear anything but what they want to hear. These kind of people propogate dangerous attitudes and ignorance.

  9. #9
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    I'm guessing this guy is about 23 or so and still real wet behind the ears. No-one likes to find out they are wrong about something they thought they were pretty solid on. A wise person deals with it and moves on. Most of us get pretty miffed about it, look around for someone else to blame and slowly internalize things until we have worked it over in our heads and accepted the truth. Then we either slink off in embarrassment and never mention it again, or go about learning.

    Give the guy a little time and talk to him again. You might want to mention to him that revelations like he suffered are pretty common at the beginning of the learning curve. Many of us go through them. I have gone through no less than 4 different SLO's, 2 of which I was CONVINCED were functional swords. One of them was pretty close really. I'd probably take it back if I could get it and re-hilt the thing.

    I had a similar 440 stainless "samurai sword" when I first started into swords. Total piece of junk, but I loved it and was convinced it was a good sword. Never lost the blade, but then again, I never really trusted it either. Funny thing is I paid nearly as much for it as some of you guys are paying for PKs, and that was over ten years ago.

    Let him know that it is relatively hard to find out good info about swords and that there is a lot of pure B.S. out there that is very difficult to pick through. Let him know about SFI.
    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    "Not to us Lord, Not to us, but to Thy Name be the Glory"

    Adsum, Domine: Totus ingenibus meis ad pedes tuos proponeo.
    Duce et regere servum tui, Domine, ab omnibus temptationem, ita ut honor purus et donum meum incontaminatus sit.
    "Here am I, Lord: All my talents at Thy feet I lay. Guide and guard Thy servant, Lord, from all temptation, that honor may be spotless and my gift unstained."
    - Katherine Kurtz "Healer's Song"

  10. #10
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    Is he 23 years old?? He acts like 12. That's how some kids in gradeschool used to act.
    ]

  11. #11
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    Hey, I'm 23!
    ...course, episodes like this often make me ashamed to admit it...
    'Nail 'em up!'
    - Willie Stark

    'I never heard a corpse ask how it got so cold.'
    - Richard, "The Lion in Winter"

  12. #12
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    Interesting story and pride before the fall is an apt observation.

    Just make sure you're not to proud of making the guy look like an idiot. Everyone stumbles.
    Joe Fults

    "INVENIEMUS VIAM AUT FACIEMUS (We will either find a way or make one)" Hannibal

    "Our life is what our thoughts make it" Marcus Aurelius

  13. #13
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    Re: Expensive Mistake, or 'SLO Fandango'

    Originally posted by Paul Malone
    About a week ago, a friend of mine informed me that a friend of his said I was dumb. The reason? Apparently I'm a mug for paying too much for a sword.

    I'll admit I'm a novice collector, only owning a couple wallhangers and a PPK. but thanks to sfi, I'm learning.

    Anyway, I asked what in the blue hell he meant (I got a good deal on my PPK, paid 200 dollars for it). My friend, who is a complete layman, said his friend had bought a 'Heat tempered Carbon steel Katana' for 40 bucks. Apparently, it was a real masterpiece, because the website he bought it off said so.

    Last night my friend was going to thins guy's house to pick something up, so I tagged along.

    While I was there I asked to see his sword.

    With the smug expression of someone laying down an ace, he went and got it, and handed it to me. I would also like to point out he handed it to me so reverentially, you'd think it was Excalibur.

    I inspected it. Then pointed out the following:

    1: Carbon steel tends not to be stamped '440 stainless'

    2: The Hamon was a PERFECT sine wave, so likely to be etched, therefore not differentially tempered

    3: Any sword marked 'made in Pakistan' does not have much chance of being high quality

    4: The blade felt slightly loose in the Handle

    5. It wasn't a katana, it was a Wakizashi

    (Basically imagine the cheapest SLO you've ever laid eyes on.)

    Now I didn't do this with a know-all atitude, I didn't make fun. (hell, I had one just like it hanging on my wall). I even told him where he could het a PK for 130 bucks! I tried to give the guy a bit of advice, to stop him wasting money on crap, like I did when I first got started in sword collecting.

    Instead, I seemed to deeply offend his 'Discovery Channel Special, expert in an afternoon' sensibilities.

    He got pretty irate, and asked me "what the hell I know about swords'. I started to tell him I was still pretty much a novice, but had got some good pointers from SFI, but I was cut off by him stating he knows ALL about Japanese swords, and he KNEW if wasn't a 'Wakashiki', because they have STRAIGHT blades.

    Realising he'd rather make a complete fool of himself than admit he'd been mislead (I won't say ripped off, the thing was pretty, and 40 bucks aint bad for a piece of SLO 'art' I just said "Ok, whatever you say'.

    Anyway, we headed back out to the street.

    Now I PROMISE I wasn't trying to be a smartass, but after hearing so many SLO horror stories, I thought I'd better warn him about rat-tail tangs.

    Again, he told me I didn't have a clue what I was talking about, and to prove me wrong, he gave the sword a couple of hard swings. "See?" He said, and gave the sword one last overhead swing.

    Can you guess what's coming next?

    The blade parted company with the handle at about 40mph, and went BAM through the passenger side window of his car. I don't know if you've ever seen a car window explode, but that's what happened.

    I know I shouldn't laugh, and someone could have been injjured, or hurt, but the look on his face as his eyes went from the tsuka in his hand, to the window of his car, to the deep gouge that what was left of the blade had made in his seat cover was priceless. You know the look, sheer shock, mixed with 'my wife is going to kill me.'

    Moral of the story:

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but no knowledge at all means you can't drive your car in the winter time
    Holy mother of pearl!!

    Man, you owe me the cost of cleaning off my computer monitor and keyboard, plus, this Diet Pepsi is burning the inside of my nose (chuckle. snort).

    Paul, now you aren't just making this up to make us old timers feel less bad about the somewhat rough introduction to swords we gave you?

    Seriously now, I know you aren't making this up and I want to thank you for sharing it with us. You just can't imagine how many new sword enthusiasts like your acquaintance come in here and argue till the cows come home that we are a bunch of elitist snobs trying to justify why we spend hundreds, nay sometimes THOUSANDS of dollars on a "mere" sword.

    When I first came to SFI, I thought all these people here were smoking dope. A THOUSAND dollars for a "sword"?? Are you guys nuts?!?!?!?

    I was pleased to find that there were some available for mere FEW HUNDRED dollars. Ya gotta remember, my background was in firearms. I understood why a gun would cost hundreds or thousands - heck, it has moving parts and contains an explosion for crying out loud. How can slab of shaped metal cost more, several times more than a gun???

    Just didn't make sense to me, as I sat their proudly eyeing my stainless steel wallhangers that had cost me between $10 and $40.

    Man, those were the days (LOL)!

    Don
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf."

    An unknown, but very astute person

  14. #14
    I swear I'm not making this up...and the guy wasn't 23, he's mid-thirties I think (I don't really know him, like I said, he's a friend of a friend).

    On the other hand I AM 23 ;-)

    People just don't seem to realise how 'complicated' swords can be, most people look at them as a big knife. It's a long piece of metal, how much difference in quality can there be?

    And no, I'm not trying to make a fool of him. Like I said, I'm a novice myself, and I cringe when I read some of my first posts on here (You know the type, thinking katanas are exactly like they are in the movies, and thinking I know quite a lot because I saw a discovery channel special).

    The difference between me and Kyle (That's the guy's name), is when I was told to do a bit of research and reading shortly after joining SFI, (Katanas where razor sharp I tell you!!!) that's exactly what I did... some research.

    Well, I suppose some people can be pointed in the right direction and have their attitudes changed by a little light prodding, some people need to half destroy their car.

  15. #15
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    Well...............

    just think of it as you doing him the favor of sparing him a darwin award.
    I used to prepare and arm myself for the inevitable zombie attack.... then i realized I had become a coffee zombie myself.... cooofffeeee...cccooofffeee!!

  16. #16
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    You can lead a horse to water..

    as the old saying goes.. But you cant make him drink!!

    Many do their best to be sensible patient teachers.. whether that be as a Martial Arts instructor in their Dojo, or as a coach helping people learn to fence.. a SCA Marshal, a SAFD instructor, or just that fellow who has a love of learning more about what inspires them and happens to share that knowledge with a friend over a cup of coffee..

    Remember.. Tolkein and CS Lewis were 'coffee-chat' buddies.. and although the idea is streached a bit.. so were Toscanelli and Brunelesci (SP? on both)

    We learn by sharing.. and it sounds like you tried sensibly to share your knowledge.. and your friends actions reinforced a good lesson for yourself..

    I guess to me this encounter was very much like public school.. you could have attended it and come away with insights and some new learning.. or you could have goofed off, paid no attention and been a fool..

    From what I read of your post you're the Gallant and he's the Goofus.. for all you "Highlights" fans..

    but remember his example.. and try and keep an open mind.. as it sounds like you have thus far..

    Your map is not the terrain.. neither is anyone elses.. and ideally the day we stop learning.. is that last day when we discover the Great Mystery. But thats just this weirdo's take on stuff..

  17. #17
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    Pride. Fall.

    Note how the pride is before the fall.

    Sorry to hear that your friend's "cool sword" became a 440 stainless missile, but that's what happens. I try to tell this to people... "don't go nuts with a display sword" but nooooo...

    In my case, imagine a self-proclaimed "swordsman" in the SCA using a 440 stainless Lord of the Rings wallhanger in actual combat. Supposedly, not only he does it, but so do all his friends. I can just picture them banging their Strider swords against each other and thinking they're A) educated and B) true swordsmen.

    Sigh. They'll learn. And so will your friend... eventually.
    "In the middle of our life's walk I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight road was lost."

  18. #18
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    What I find both so amusing, and troubling, is that Kyle is not upset with Paul.

    First off, Paul was trying to tell him the sword was not a real sword. So Kyle decides to prove a point (pun) and then learns that the sword-like-object is fact not a sword, and then blames PAUL because of it?

    Does Kyle now think that the SLO is how real swords performed? Is he now going to watch the Last Samurai and declare those Hollywood swords are not real swords because real swords fly apart when they get swung around two or three times?

    Incredible. Simply incredible.

    Don
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf."

    An unknown, but very astute person

  19. #19
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    Don, where have you been? Historically, swords were swung around until the sharp pointy bit flew off and stabbed your enemy. True swordsmen could missile their foes from about 100 yards with the break-away blades.

    Archers did not exist. They're something Hollywood came up with.

    Ammunition for siege weapons consisted of a knight's squire stuffed in a rucksack, not stones.

    Castles were actually made out of cheese from the moon.

    I could go on and on... :P
    "In the middle of our life's walk I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight road was lost."

  20. #20
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    Dang, man! You're right. Musta forgot.

    Don
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf."

    An unknown, but very astute person

  21. #21
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    Mid-thirties? Well, some folks grow up slower than others.

    I only really started growing up in my middle to late twenties. A divorce and a few dead-end jobs will give you some things to think about. I took a 6 month vacation hiking in the mountains to think about things and try to get my head straightened out (still working on that, bad life-habits take a lifetime to break).

    Our society doesn't place much emphasis on maturity and responsibility. We look at self-esteem instead. Self-esteem is B.S. except in extreme cases where poor self-esteem degenerates into self-hate. But I digress. We spend so much time worrying about how others impact our self-esteem that we fail to do anything to warrant it. I once had an argument with a younger man. He was being rude around the campfire and causing some of the other 6 or 8 hikers at the shelter site with us some discomfort so I tried to correct him in a gentle but authoritative way. He bristled and informed me that I was "disrespecting" him. I replied that so far I had seen little to respect in the first place outside of the fact that God had chosen to give him life, and that a person had to EARN respect through the conduct of their life. He GOT real upset at that, and I can understand why, I was a bit pompous and self-important at the time. I was also relatively fearless.

    The point is that there are a lot of folks in the world who believe that they are owed deference simply because they draw breath, and that disagreeing with them is disrespecting them and thus off limits. Such people are doomed to ignorance by their own lack of humility and willingness to listen and learn. 2 ears, one mouth. A wise man (or woman) listens twice as much as they speak (With respect to the lovely Assumpta Serna who phrased it so well in "Sharpe's Rifles."

    Lest I again come off as a pompous ass here, I', 35 years old and still need the occasional kick in the behind to realize I've got an awful lot to learn and have to continue to earn respect every single day. I use the signatures I use to remind me of humility, because in the end, all I am and all I have, I owe to God and am responsible to Him for it. My ultimate goal is to live a life, that on the balance, I am not ashamed of, and which has been of service to Him in some way.
    Furthermore, I must also teach my children to seek a similar goal regardless of the path they choose.

    My faith is my own and I do not seek to enforce or inflict it on anyone, but neither will I hide it beneath a bushel-basket so it cannot offend the easily offended. That's not what the first amendment is about in the US, quite the opposite.
    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    "Not to us Lord, Not to us, but to Thy Name be the Glory"

    Adsum, Domine: Totus ingenibus meis ad pedes tuos proponeo.
    Duce et regere servum tui, Domine, ab omnibus temptationem, ita ut honor purus et donum meum incontaminatus sit.
    "Here am I, Lord: All my talents at Thy feet I lay. Guide and guard Thy servant, Lord, from all temptation, that honor may be spotless and my gift unstained."
    - Katherine Kurtz "Healer's Song"

  22. #22
    I would also like to point out that when I told Kyle that his 'sword' was an SLO, I wasn't trying to be a smartass.

    The start of the conversation actually went something like:

    ME : "Hey, nice piece of work, you see some 50 dollar swords that are terrible, even the tsuka wrap comes off as soon as you look at it, I actually have one just like this. They're good display pieces"

    KYLE : "So why did you shell out 200 dollars for one then?"

    ME : "I didn't, I spent 140...and I spent that because I wanted a real sword, there's this website that sell Paul Chen...." <Cut off>

    KYLE : "What do you mean 'real'? This is real! If it's so fake, let me hit you with it!!!"

    Me : <Laughs> "Sharpness has nothing to do with it, look..."

    at that point I pointed out all the stuff I mentioned in my first post.

    Oh, quick update, He's now trying to get his money back from the website (I'm trying to find which site he bought it from), he's also gonna try to get them to pay for his car window. After all it's their fault for selling him a 'defective' sword.

    I would try to explain to him that the sword wasn't defective, it was a display piece. and he might as well try to sue toys R us because the toy lightsaber he bought won't actually function. But I think it's SEVERE brick wall time....and it trying to talk to a.

  23. #23
    Originally posted by TGulics


    Ammunition for siege weapons consisted of a knight's squire stuffed in a rucksack, not stones. :P
    LMAO Do you mind if I take that for my signature, I was thinking of something from Musashi's Book of Five Rings, but that is sheer genius

    Echos of Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  24. #24
    Paul,

    I've seen some funny stories here and on other boards but that one takes the cake.

    When he said "Let me hit you with it" you should have challenged him to a cutting contest right then and there. I know hindsight's 20/20 but I'm meaner than you and that "is" what I would have done and I would have made sure there was an audience in attendance (standing very far away of course.)

    First I would have started with a few light plastic juice jugs full of water. Then 2 liter Pepsi bottles filled with water and finally (if his sword survived that far) some 1/4 inch plywood to see who could cut the deepest. Can you imagine what would have happened?

    Poor little chip on his shoulder boy would have gotten laughed at and he would have angrily accused that mean 'ol manufacturer of selling him defective merchandise and then when all the excitement was over he would have run home and cried his poor little eyes out. The little prick!

    People like that, are not in my circle. I cannot and will not abide them.

    Thanks again for the laughs.

    eric
    The pen may be mightier than the sword...but I'd rather have a sword in a dark alley - Andrew Warnick

  25. #25
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    Show him the stainless sword breaking video and tell him that he's lucky the car was the only thing in the way of the flying blade....

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