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Christopher E.

Location: PDX
Joined: 06 Dec 2005

Posts: 149

PostPosted: Mon 17 Sep, 2007 4:10 pm    Post subject: Albion Swords - Vocation Vacation         Reply with quote

About a week ago I got to spend two full days with the gentlemen of Albion Swords in what is called a Vocation Vacation. Vocation Vacations is a company out of Portland, OR that matches up folks with a business they are keenly interested in so as to try their hand at a potentially new career…although I think most people, like me, are really there to further their knowledge of their hobbies.

Anyway, last Christmas my lovely wife gave me a vocation vacation to Albion Swords in New Glarus, WI as a Christmas gift. I just got back and thought I’d let people know just how much I enjoyed this experience.

First off, the guys at Albion are really incredible craftsmen and artists. Each takes their craft, whether it be grinding, hilting, scabbard making, R&D, etc. very seriously. It’s apparent that they all love what they’re doing and though I’d categorize them as an eclectic collection of souls, the unifying factor that appears to bind them together is their universal interest in swords.

They graciously allowed me to disrupt their regular production flow (probably at fair cost to the company) to “work” at grinding a blade, injection molding and then cleaning up a wax casting of hilt components, and then hilting the finished piece, including preparing and gluing the leather for the grip, dying it and then string wrapping it for drying. I also got to learn just how tough their products are by cutting into 55-gallon metal drums with sharpened sword edges. I used to be pretty careful about handling their swords because they’re just so “pretty”. I won’t be ever again after watching a ¼ inch cut imbed into the rolled edge of a steel drum without being able to actually find any mark whatsoever on the sword edge.

I even got the added experience of being “killed” a number of times by Joe, their head grinder, who practices long sword technique while explaining to me how a period sword would likely have actually been used. This helped me understand edge geometry a lot better than I would have otherwise and gives me a much greater appreciation for the martial art that goes into Western sword fighting.

They made me feel welcome and allowed me to participate in the entire sword making process from soup to nuts. I truly enjoyed this experience and want to thank Eric and the others from Albion for guiding me through this learning. You guys are the best and I’m even more certain now than ever, having seen it first hand and up close, that your swords are some of the best in the industry in all aspects.
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Rob Kelly

Location: Connecticut, USA
Joined: 19 Apr 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon 17 Sep, 2007 5:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great post.

Congrats on the cool vacation and clearly awesome wife Big Grin


"Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But the good name never dies
Of one who has done well."
--The Hávamál
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Jean Thibodeau

Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
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Spotlight topics: 5
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PostPosted: Mon 17 Sep, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sounds like a great vacation and the sort of job one would pay to do instead of being paid for ! But I guess a " Vocation Vacation " is something one pays for. Wink Cool
You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Gary A. Chelette

Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 29 May 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 337

PostPosted: Tue 18 Sep, 2007 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd love to go to one of those, but my wife won't let me for fear of bringing another sword home. Cry
Are you scared, Connor?
No, Cousin Dugal. I'm not!
Don't talk nonsense, man. I peed my kilt the first time I went into battle.
Oh, aye. Angus pees his kilt all the time!
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