Albion Armorers Next Generation Templar Sword
A hands-on review by Chad Arnow
The early medieval sword retained the blade style of its Viking antecedents. The edges of the wide blade run nearly parallel for most of the blade's length before tapering to a spatulate or rounded point. These swords would be well-suited to oppose the leather and mail armour worn by most warriors since the shape of their blades and distribution of mass would give a great deal of power to the cut.
The Knights Templar formed near the end of the First Crusade as a group of knights who took monastic vows, swearing to protect pilgrims traveling from Europe to the Holy Land. Often living solely from alms given to them by travelers, early "Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon" lived a life of austerity and poverty. They later became an extremely wealthy and powerful knightly order, regarded with both reverence and fear. In the early 14th century, efforts by the papacy and the French monarchy drove the Knights Templar out of existence.
The Templar sword, by Albion Armorers, is intended to recreate a classic knightly single-handed sword. Like the rest of their Next Generation lineup, this sword is not based on any particular original but instead incorporates features from several originals, giving a fine example of its type. Its form and Spartan decoration make it entirely appropriate for a crusader-era sword. By calling this sword the Templar, Albion places it in that era that begins around the end of the First Crusade (1095-1099 AD). Its simplicity of decoration calls to mind the early days of the Knights Templar, and shows a sword typical of the 12th and 13th centuries.
Measurements and Specifications:
Replica created by Albion Armorers of Wisconsin.
When the edge is aligned properly, this sword cuts quite well. Of the half-dozen or so Albion swords I've cut with, this is the most sensitive to proper technique, which I, unfortunately, do not possess. In my hand, the Templar seemed likely to end up misaligned at the end of a swing. I experienced no unusual vibrations during any of the cutting I did. I'm sure that if I had more practice and/or training, this sword would reach its full potential in my hand.
Albion's standard grip is of stabilized birch, wrapped with cord and leather, and, as always, provides a secure grip. The grip is equally comfortable for a gloved or bare hand, and the length of the grip was well-suited to my sizeable hand.
Fit and Finish
Everything else is up to the standards Albion has set. The peening atop the pommel is very cleanly done; the finish on the pommel is equally well-done. The bevels on the pommel's face are crisp, and the taper of the pommel's thickness away from the grip is another nice touch. The grip is a pleasing dark red, which Albion calls "ox-blood." The leather seam is evident only upon visual inspection, and the cord risers at the top and bottom of the grip add to the tactility of the grip. The cross is a classic, yet elegant bow tie. The blade is as nicely finished as the investment cast mild steel hilt components are. The fuller extends to three inches from the point and is well-done overall.
This sword is ideal for people interested in crusade-era swords. It is a simple, yet classic and elegant design. Any minor flaws on this particular review sword should not be considered as a reflection of Albion Armorers's quality. Rather, it shows that occasionally little problems slip through and that a well-designed product will hold up to hard use in spite of minor issues with fit and finish. Albion's comittment to tried and true construction methods demonstrate exactly this point.
About the Author
Chad Arnow is a classical musician from the greater Cincinnati area and has had an interest in military history for many years. Though his collecting tends to focus on European weapons and armour of the High Middle Ages, he enjoys swords, knives and armour from many eras.
Photographer: Chad Arnow