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Bruce Mackley

Location: Michigan
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep, 2007 8:52 am    Post subject: New member... questions, questions!         Reply with quote

Hello all,

first of all, I'm extremely impressed with this site. Looks like a great community, too... although I really should spend more time working and less time obsessing over sharp objects.

I'm new to this, but have had a lifelong fascination with swords. I've owned a few in the distant past, but the passion abated with more pressing issues like raising a family, building a career, etc.

I recently took my teenage sons to a Reniassance event, and, well... i've been bitten again. I'm toying with the notion of starting a collection. I think it's a fair option, given that most of my peers are out buying Harleys and hot rods these days.

I recently purchased two CS Grosse Messers to display on the wall. All I was looking for was an aggressive-looking, functional set of sabers that wouldn't look out of place in a somewhat rustic-looking family room. The fact that they are giant cleavers is secondary to their clean lines and decent price. My boys are all over me to play with them, though... and my question is, what might be the best medium for target material? Pumpkins? Watermelons? Rolled-up cardboard? Any suggestions would be very welcome.

I find myself visiting the Albion site way too much lately... my check-writing hand is beginning to twitch. Wish me luck!

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Mike Arledge

Location: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 434

PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep, 2007 9:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote


Welcome to the addiction. Before doing any cutting, make sure to do a thorough inspection of your swords. Not only look for any damage to the edge, but make sure the handle shows no movement. Another test would be to wrap the base of the hilt/handle with the flat of your hand and listen for any vibration. If all seems in order, Cold Steel products can be safe to cut with.

I would make sure you are over-cautious at first, making sure you have a large area cleared before cutting. I might also suggest doing your first attempts free of onlookers in case any malfunctions occur.

Not trying to sound like you don't know what you are doing, but I generally think it is good to constantly remember that swords are weapons.

As for cutting mediums. My favorites are water filled milk jugs as well as pumpkins or watermelons. I just did some cutting of both this past weekend.

You have stepped into a fun world, and myArmoury is a terrific community to learn more, so read up, be safe and let us know how your first cutting session goes!

Mike J Arledge

The Dude Abides
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Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: NY, NY
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Reading list: 32 books

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep, 2007 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome to myArmoury Bruce!

Fruit isn't the best idea because the juices can get sticky and hard to clean off, and aren't the best thing for steel. They do look fun though. Wink Other targets used include foam pool noodles, though the debate rages at how worthwhile that is. Mike mentions the ubiquitous milk jug.

In Japanese sword arts we use tatami mats rolled and soaked over a couple days, then mounted on a sturdy wooden peg base, which are great to practice with but messy / stinky / less convenient. Also, some western sword types might not be engineered for that type of target and have a difficult time cutting them without knocking them over. Of course, a Grosse Messer seems like it would make short work of tatami as it is so cut-oriented, hefty with a wide thin blade. Nathan's review of the CS Grosse Messer says it's too heavy in fact, relative to historic examples, but that's only going to make it more of a beast in this kind of exercise.

I strongly second Mike's concern for safety. As long as you set down ground rules and treat your weapons like, well, weapons, you'll be fine.

-Gabriel L.

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Mike Capanelli

Location: Whitestone, NY
Joined: 04 Sep 2004
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 702

PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep, 2007 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome to the site Bruce! To add to what Mike said about cutting, I would start with rope to get your technique right before you start to cut medium to heavy targets. The last thing you want to do is damage the edge on your new blades.... or worse. I would also, if you haven't done this already, pick up a book or two on European swordsmanship before attempting any cutting practice. Once your angles are right here's a great site for cutting supplies.

I haven't cut with any of it yet but I'll be ordering some soon and will get back to you on how it performs. Again welcome to the site Bruce, I hope you get as much out of your experience here as I have.
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Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep, 2007 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let me add to the welcome. Happy

I'd suggest you do a search on our forums for info on the Cold Steel Grossemesser. I believe there are several reports of them breaking at the blade/tang juncture when used for cutting.


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Douglas G. Taylor

Location: Southern California
Joined: 31 Mar 2007

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote


Once your hand starts the "Albion twitch," it's too late! The only cure is to put an Albion sword in it. I just got my first one a couple of weeks ago, and it's great! You're not alone.

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Bruce Mackley

Location: Michigan
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gentlemen... thanks so much. Great info.

And, I appreciate the cautionary statements... I'm not a huge fan of the emergency room or morgue. Safety can never be overstated. As I mentioned, I intended these items for display only. I own a CS Magnum Tanto, and the workmanship is very good.... I was hoping this would be the case with the Grosse Messer. I was a little surprised at the blade failure story I read early on. Reminds me of that old Bell hemet ad: $10 helmet for a $10 head!

I'll report back on my "event". My next-door neighbor is an Auschwitz survivor.... and I'm not sure how thrilled he will be seeing me out there swinging around a German-styled weapon!

I can't get enough of these sword reviews.

Thanks again.

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Tony Brass

Joined: 15 Oct 2006

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm a rookie, but a cutting medium I enjoy is simple cardboard. Get a big cardboard box and cut into the corners - try to get clean cuts, without just smashing the cardboard - from there its carpet tubes. Neither will damage your blade. Cardboard also teaches you to cut and stay balanced, as you already know that it will not offer such resistance as to make up for an overcommitted swing. Cardboard, I think also helps to teach blade alignment, as a poorly aligned blade will smash+cut vs. a nice clean line. I have the CS Grossemesser and it does well in this medium.
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Bruce Mackley

Location: Michigan
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat 22 Sep, 2007 10:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Tony.

I will no doubt be taking the advice from some of the other posts with regard to practice swings and so on... but I think cardboard is a fine target option. I wonder if tightly-packed sawdust within the cardboard would slow the force a bit?

I was nosing around, and ran across this...

(sigh). Makes me wish I'd saved my nickels and dimes... but two years is a long time to wait, although I'm sure it's worth it.

Thanks for your input.

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Tony Brass

Joined: 15 Oct 2006

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Sat 22 Sep, 2007 10:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I love the knecht. I have always loved silgle edge blades. Of course, saving your money and getting the sword you really want is the thing to do. But I lack patience, and before the knecht was a reality I found a nice alternative.

Check out Kris Cutlery's Dao. For $225, you get a very similar blade shape (I said similar, and concede a lack of expertise here), a hand and a half grip, and a nice rigid differentially tempered blade. The thing comes with a woos scabbard, and it cuts, I mean it REALLY cuts. I prefer european lines, and heavy pommels, and I'm not a big fan of brass fittings, but it is worth a look.

I have always been tempted to have the grip, guard and pommel "europeanized" to turn it into a knecht-like sword. If anyone has suggestions as to who could do such a job let me know.
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Bruce Mackley

Location: Michigan
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct, 2007 7:57 pm    Post subject: Twin sons of different mothers         Reply with quote

Hi all,

just a follow-up report on my purchase of two CS Grossemessers... destined for the wall above the tv. Well, they're sharp, and heavy... and I allowed myself some "play time" in the backyard with some heavy cardboard tubing. I have no doubt that in the right hands, this sword could very easily bisect someone with a single stroke.

I wanted to comment on the quality issue of these items... I'd read a few posts and needed to toss in my 2 bits. Although the swords are duplicates in design, weight and proportion, it's pretty obvious they were manufactured at different facilities, or under different circumstances. One sword seems very true to the pictures, while the other suffers from a flat bueing instead of gloss, wider grip rivets, plus some finish discrepancies on the blade. I purchased them at an extremely reasonable cost, and they're intended as decor anyway... to add some atmosphere during our Halo matches. In that they serve quite well.

My son and I have this running joke about swordsmiths... one time, he asked how to judge levels of quality. I decided to compare companies to food establishments. Cold Steel just went from "Applebees" down to "McDonalds".

I still have my eye on the Albion Knecht.

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Joe Fults

Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,646

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct, 2007 11:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This time of year I really like to do a few pumpkins.

Juice does not have to be a big deal with a little planning, and water filled jugs are filled with water after all. Everything, even backyards, can be cleaned up.

"The goal shouldn’t be to avoid being evil; it should be to actively do good." - Danah Boyd
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Jessica Finley
Industry Professional

Location: Topeka, Kansas
Joined: 29 Dec 2003

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sun 07 Oct, 2007 5:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It may be too late in the season, but sometimes you can find cheap "tatami" at Wallgreens. Yes, the drugstore. This summer they were selling "Grass beach mats" for $1 each. After rolling, tying wtih string, and soaking for 24 hours, they work quite well for cutting and are significantly cheaper than real tatami. They certainly aren't perfect, but we found them to be quite informative as far as showing how well we are cutting.

Don't know if they would still be out, though, with Halloween and Christmas gear already out.

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Bob Burns

Location: South Indianapolis IN
Joined: 09 Sep 2005
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 112 books

Posts: 1,019

PostPosted: Sat 13 Oct, 2007 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Bruce! Mark Arledge took the very words out of my mouth by saying "Welcome to the Addiction"! So I will say,
"Welcome Back to the Obsession" Laughing Out Loud

Well since reading your post, I know you've been in Albion's website and no doubt have observed the "Vassal"
(which I have and Love to no end), the Soldat, the Meister and of course the other sword of this nature, the "Knecht" which also grabs my appetite!

Here, I will help heat up your addiction by posting the link to another top shelf sword company which is Arms & Armor, highly endorsed by the late Ewart Oakeshott "The Dean of Swords"! They will also make custom swords and polearms too! If that helps your check writing hand? Laughing Out Loud

Well Bruce, I am just recently 50 and it was not until my late 40s that I discovered my unquenchable passion for medieval Western European Swords and Renaissance Swords. Especially, having been a very serious student of karate, I don't know how I've gone totally oblivious to the reality of my absolute Love for these European swords and polearms!
I was particularly attracted to your post because of the mentioning of Grosse Messer Swords. I do not as of yet have a Messer, but as stated I do have Albion's Falchion and it's just a total dream of pleasure to wield!
This sword is the very definition of "Responsive"! WOW! The way it responds to the articulations of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder and body! It flows, cuts and thrusts with such ease, that it's an incredible experience the first time you wield it!
I saw the concept art the day it went up on Albion's website and I went TILT with excitement, anticipation, and blatant Lust! I did not even look at the price, there was no point in it, I had to have this sword, no matter what the cost Exclamation
I absolutely Love all 10 of my Arms & Armor swords and both my Albion's, but I've never been grabbed by any sword with the emotional impact that the Vassal had upon me!
I wasted no time in ordering it through ( 17 miles from me, very impressive showroom, lowest prices around) and I was one of the first few people to acquire this ferocious little gem!
A funny story, Ryan the owner of Kult of Athena, ordered one for the store and one for me, the one for the store came in first and had a black grip, all my Arms & Armor and my Albion Berserkr have black grips, and I had ordered it with an oxblood grip, so I asked Ryan if I could switch Vassals and he said sure. So as it turned out, Ryan fell in love with the Vassal too and he kept the one I ordered for himself and had to order a third one for his store in oxblood, and it's mounted on the showroom wall in pristine condition waiting for a home. Not that I would try to cause you temptation Laughing Out Loud

It's really great to have you here and you were exactly correct "myArmoury" is one Outstanding Website and it's opened so many doors for me in my quest to learn. In this addiction and obsession, I know beyond all question that I have found the most impassioned interest of my lifetime! Much more so than any interest I've ever had before, even more than karate!

This will be my passion for the rest of my life, I know that beyond all doubt!

I very much look forward to your postings Bruce!

A Big Welcome to You!

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