Hello friends. We are taking the opportunity today to update our customers and fans on some changes at Arms and Armor. As many of the know, we've been working hard to dig out of a pile of orders that came in during the height of the Covid emergency. We had just put up a new website at that point that allowed folks to click and buy our products, at the same time that the government told everyone to stay at home and gave them all a thousand dollars -- somewhat interestingly, about the price of some nice new swords.
On top of this challenge one of our makers who has worked in the shop for over three decades has been battling cancer, a condition that kept him at home for a year, and has since dramatically limited his ability to do what he loves, building rapiers. Despite this challenge he has dedicated himself to passing on his skills to the new generation at Arms and Armor, in particular mentoring Nathan to ensure that there is no slip in the quality and finish of our world-famous complex hilted swords. We think our products are the finest production rapiers in the world, in large part due to the skill and commitment of our craftsmen who have studied and practiced for decades to produce pieces that look, feel, and function just like the original swords on which they are based.
We are making significant inroads catching up on backorders for all of our products and the momentum is moving in the right direction. Our two newest employees have spent the past several years in intensive training and now have the chops to make many of our products. This may not sound like much, but everything we sell is handmade by us in our shop in Minneapolis, MN, and it takes a great deal of skill and dedication to become competent at making swords, daggers, polearms, spears, impact weapons etc. Some of the skills are transferable, but learning to make each individual piece takes time, patience, and practice. In short, it is very intensive, both in time and in highly skilled labor.
This brings us to our second point. Due to changing market conditions we are shifting our product offerings to concentrate on what we uniquely offer. We are discontinuing some products now, and will be introducing a bunch of new products over the next two years.
Many of the items we are discontinuing are pieces that we have made for decades that no longer make sense given the changing marketplace, including most of our plain daggers, some lower-end polearms, and some swords that are currently less popular or that have provided continuing production challenges. If you have ordered a product that looks to be discontinued, don't worry, we are making all current orders.
Don't worry, we will still be offering our more complex daggers and parrying daggers. Arms and Armor Katzbalger Dagger
New products will include new complex-hilted offerings, significantly upgraded pole-arms, and updates to several of our longstanding pieces to make them even more amazing. We will be introducing a new hardened halberd and a glaive, a complex hilted longsword, and a new sword from the Oakeshott Institute Collection among others.
As always, the seven of us toiling in our little sword dungeon in Minneapolis want to thank all of you for supporting us through this time of transition, and hope that our products give you joy. There are few things that feel as good as seeing someones eyes light up when they they hold a sword that really speaks to them - your enthusiasm and satisfaction are what keep us going.
To sum up, production is finally catching up, some products will change, we are leveling up our guys, we hope that you are doing great!
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons