The type of steel used in creating a blade is important to all of us. Your decision to buy a sword is based on both personal preference and planned usage – whether display, martial arts, or performance cutting. Although the type of steel is only a portion of what makes a blade more suitable for one activity over another, and we know that quality of the temper is often just as important, we believe all customers should know exactly what their blade is made of.
In the spring of 2021, we began a testing program at an independent industrial lab of items in our inventory. We discovered that some blades did not match the steel that was represented to us by manufacturers. More on that here. Whether an oversight or a deliberate falsehood, we do not believe that is ok – we use our supplier’s information in our specifications on the website, and misrepresentation to us leads to lack of confidence from you.
As a result, we are instituting a new program that we believe will increase transparency and build trust in our industry. Although we will manage the program, we invite all retailers to share this information on their site. Retailers can download logos for participating manufacturers and brands here.
As of October, 2021, we have asked manufacturers and brands to voluntarily participate in our certified steel program. This program gives manufacturers and brands the opportunity to provide valid evidence or a signed statement that the steel compositions provided by the manufacturer are accurately represented.
To gain certification, each manufacturer would need to provide, on an annual basis, a signed statement that the specifications represented by the manufacturer of all their products are accurate.
Additionally, manufacturers that would like to have platinum certification could provide:
– A certificate of testing from an independent laboratory that provides the proportions of the elements that have been forged for at least one specific purchase order, submitted annually.
– A certificate or document from their steel supplier that certifies the steel used in the manufacturing of the blades in a specific purchase order.
A copy of the certification submission form can be viewed and downloaded here.
We believe in transparency and accurate representation. We do so much that we started a testing program that had not been done in the twenty year history of Kult of Athena, and one that we have not seen at other retailers. It will be costly, but we hope you will appreciate it.
Every brand that sells steel weapons on our site. Every one will have received this information and request by October 1st, 2021. Please note, intentional misrepresentation is not a common problem, but it is something we want to monitor.
We already have major manufacturers committed to the program, and we hope more do so. Some manufacturers sell through distributors, and we will rely on the distributor’s ability to contact the respective manufacturers.
This is a voluntary program. Many manufacturers and suppliers are rightfully proud of the value and quality they provide in their work. If the manufacturer has the resources to dedicate to this effort, we know they will appreciate the recognition you give them for walking the walk. Not every manufacturer has the resources – time, money, and access to labs – or the willingness to share competitive information regarding the steel they use. Others are part of large, bureaucratic organizations that are filled with red tape and will be slow to adopt.
We will – but it will be limited and random. Each independent, lab-based test costs hundreds of dollars and by necessity, each test destroys the blade. This is a costly endeavor.
We wish we could, but the answer is no. We are a small business that cannot put quality control experts at all of our suppliers.
We believe this effort demonstrates to suppliers – and you – how important we believe accurate representation of steel type is.
This results in an update on the specification of the item on the site, a discussion with the vendor regarding future plans, and requires immediate certification of the next delivery.
We have identified two manufacturers whose blades did not match their descriptions.
In one case, this is part of a broader pattern of disregard for normal business operations and we have ceased doing business with the supplier. In the case of another, we followed the steps above and have continued to work with them. More on these here including steps we are taking with customers as a result of unintentionally listing this information on our site.
Manufacturers and Brands Committed to the Program:
for October 2021 onward (updated on 9/24/21)