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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: simple question         Reply with quote

I have reviewed the forum descriptions and I think this is the correct place to post.

Why do lower end and even some custom viking or viking style swords CONSISTENTLY have grips that are to long. Invariable when a MRL, cold steel, or the new Frank Rembrandt sword are reviewed, not to mention some high end custom smiths we read and notice "the grip is too long". The grip doesn't have to be too long so why are these companies and even custom smiths making viking swords with grips in the 5 inch area.

I just don't get it. Just shorten the grip and the sword will be nicer, and look SO much better. TO me few swords look as awkward as a viking sword with a longish grip.

Jeremy
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Darrin Hughes




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simple answer Jeremy.

Because people keep on buying them.

In my experience, people will put up with all sorts of inadequacies in a product, with the excuse that it is "all they can afford" or "it's pretty good for the money". Personally I don't think people realise the power that they have as consumers. If you don't buy junk, then there won't be a market for junk, and manufacturers will have to improve or go out of business. Also, the excuse that "it would cost to much to change" doesn't neccesarily hold water. In the case of something like the grip length all that is required is to research the subject properly in the first place.

Unfortunately, this seems to be true of so many products in general, not just specialist items like swords. So often money is handed over for a product that is flawed, doesn't do what it should, breaks down after a year, etc. Rather than the customer just saying "no thanks, I'll wait until you make something I can use" and then going elsewhere.

Sorry about the short rant, but this is a bit of a soap box subject of mine. I get fed up with being told that we are living in a consumer driven society, when all the evidence would seem to point to the exact opposite being the case.

Cheers,
Darrin.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 10:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Darrin,

I will never buy a lower end sword or other A&A piece. I tend to get in trouble when I rant on the subject of the value of these items SO I decided to post what I believe is a very constructive and possibly helpful insight for these companies and others who continue to make viking swords with over long grips.

I believe that the aestetics could really be improved on these swords if they just had shorter grips-period. Do people not like viking swords with more typical grip lengths? I'm not sure if I understand the consistent nature of over long grips. It is like most viking swords feature this anomoly.

Please guys don't point out the RARE examples of longer grips- this is not typical.

Jeremy
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Tony Brass





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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I spoke to Cecil Querino of Kric Cutlery on this very subject. I have the KC Viking which is a simple durable weapon, with a grip Cecil himself considered too long. I asked him why he made the grip too long, and he said: that few people really know swords, and their history. When people grip the accurate length grip they don't like the way it feels, often because they want to use the sword incorrectly - perhaps like a katana or a rapier.

So sword makers are forced to an election - make historically accurate swords, that only the knowledgeable will buy, or adjust the weapon so that it "feels" right to those who just want a sword, but don't really bother to understand that each design is a specialized tool, meant to be used in specific ways.

KC used to make a "Crusader" sword. They discontinued it, despite it being a big seller. Cecil said that it was not really an accurate historical design, but people who had never held a sword would pick it up and love it. HIs historically accurate Teutonic, felt awkward by comparison, but is more accurate and much more useful for its intended purpose.

Remember, the sword business is a tough one. People like swords, and buy swords for many different reasons. Appealing to an audience that either doesn't know their history, or sometimes does not care about historical accuracy is a PART of that business.

A&A does such a great job with their products, that I really think it is unfair to disparage them, for necessary industry compromises.
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Jim Adelsen
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 11:35 am    Post subject: Re: simple question         Reply with quote

The main reason is people want a comfortable grip. Many historical Viking swords had grips that the average sword buyer would find uncomfortable. Lower end swords are very mass market. What are you considering too long? 4-4.5" seems to be pretty standard on high production Viking swords. Most custom stuff is done the way a customer wants it. If somebody wants a 2 handed Viking sword, they make it that way. If I were to guess I'd say the fantasy market is much larger than the historical market.

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
I have reviewed the forum descriptions and I think this is the correct place to post.

Why do lower end and even some custom viking or viking style swords CONSISTENTLY have grips that are to long. Invariable when a MRL, cold steel, or the new Frank Rembrandt sword are reviewed, not to mention some high end custom smiths we read and notice "the grip is too long". The grip doesn't have to be too long so why are these companies and even custom smiths making viking swords with grips in the 5 inch area.

I just don't get it. Just shorten the grip and the sword will be nicer, and look SO much better. TO me few swords look as awkward as a viking sword with a longish grip.

Jeremy

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Easy Option: Get a sword you otherwise like, remove the pommel and grip and shorten the tang. That's an easy project requiring very few tools (simple tools, at that).

Difficult Option: Change modern consumer values for the reasons mentioned by others here.

Human physiology hasn't changed so much that we simply have to increase the size of everything X percent. To the extent that Americans drive the arms and armour market, we also distort it with our collective weight problem. If the average American man looked like he stepped out a Talhoffer plate, Windlass's gothic harness would be wasp-waisted instead of looking like a stainless-steel pickle barrel.

My own feeling is that if the preponderance of existing examples are a certain size or shape, we should first try to understand how those items could be effectively used as-is, even if that means changing our lifestyles. It's tough to hold a sword properly when you have a cheeseburger in your hand. Simply scaling up everything to keep pace with one's personal excess is a sure-fire way to grossly misunderstand historical arms and armour design and use.

I don't have much hope for the difficult option, so I go for the easy option. I try to upgrade the best of the cheaper stuff, get custom work when possible and, increasingly, learn how to make things myself so I don't have to live by somebody else's bottom line.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Wed 10 Oct, 2007 12:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: simple question         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
I have reviewed the forum descriptions and I think this is the correct place to post.

Why do lower end and even some custom viking or viking style swords CONSISTENTLY have grips that are to long. Invariable when a MRL, cold steel, or the new Frank Rembrandt sword are reviewed, not to mention some high end custom smiths we read and notice "the grip is too long". The grip doesn't have to be too long so why are these companies and even custom smiths making viking swords with grips in the 5 inch area.

I just don't get it. Just shorten the grip and the sword will be nicer, and look SO much better. TO me few swords look as awkward as a viking sword with a longish grip.

Jeremy


Broadly I'd agree, but there were examples of viking age swords with longer grips. You may not like the look, but if there is a, type M say, with a grip that is only about a quarter inch shy of 5 inches, it may be ugly but it wouldn't be wrong.
Geoff
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So I suppose my question would be why do they call it a "viking sword" when in truth it is a fantasy piece with viking styling? Since the mass market isn't that concerned with historical accuracy, then why do the makers call them such? If the market wants fantasy pieces with some historic styling, then call it what it is...
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
So I suppose my question would be why do they call it a "viking sword" when in truth it is a fantasy piece with viking styling? Since the mass market isn't that concerned with historical accuracy, then why do the makers call them such? If the market wants fantasy pieces with some historic styling, then call it what it is...


Unless a sword is at least an attempt at an accurate reproduction of a specific individual historical sword, it could be argued that it is a fantasy piece, in that we are imagining that there might have been one like that, but we don't know. The albion next gens, for example, are designed to use a set of characteristics that were found in swords of the era that they are trying to represent. We don't know (well maybe Peter J does, but I don't Happy) if there was ever any historical sword with exactly the set of characteristics that albion have put into their sword. Do we, on that basis, call them fantasy pieces and argue that they shouldn't call them 'Viking', or 'Roman', or whatever. As I posted above, there were viking era swords with longer grips. Probably not common, but they did exist. If that characteristic is included in a design, how is that different by more than a matter of degree or skill or quality from what albion are doing?
Geoff
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Chris Olsen




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ok im a little confused, first off I own and am holding the A&A viking long sword in my grubby little paw right now, how is it supposed to fit my hand? my pinky finger wants to ride on the pommel, something one of the viking re-enactors we have up in the great white north (minnesota) told me it was supposed to do. was i mis-led? was I bamboozeled?

just looking for clarification because.. well I don't know the answer.
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Jim Adelsen
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are definitely a lot of swords out there called Viking that shouldn't be. And many of these the grip is the most accurate part. But since Viking sells people will use it.

Robin Smith wrote:
So I suppose my question would be why do they call it a "viking sword" when in truth it is a fantasy piece with viking styling? Since the mass market isn't that concerned with historical accuracy, then why do the makers call them such? If the market wants fantasy pieces with some historic styling, then call it what it is...

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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris Olsen wrote:
ok im a little confused, first off I own and am holding the A&A viking long sword in my grubby little paw right now, how is it supposed to fit my hand? my pinky finger wants to ride on the pommel, something one of the viking re-enactors we have up in the great white north (minnesota) told me it was supposed to do. was i mis-led? was I bamboozeled?

just looking for clarification because.. well I don't know the answer.


Use the search function and look for 'handshake grip', or for 'gripping a viking sword'. It has been discussed several times on here and Peter J himself posted a nice drawing of how to do it. Some of the appropriate sword reviews also show it in use. Not everyone agrees that it is the only method, but it seems to be the curently favoured explanation.
Regards
Geoff
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tony Brass wrote:

A&A does such a great job with their products, that I really think it is unfair to disparage them, for necessary industry compromises.


I think that the original poster was talking about lower end "arms and armor" items (as in a description of the items) rather then "Arms and Armor" items (as in the company). Especially since I would think that the Shifford Viking sword with its something around 4 inch grip wouldn't fall into the "crazy long grip" category that he's referring to I wouldn't think?

In any event although the question has been already answered my two cents is that the market gets exactly what it wants. How many people are actually wanting to purchase a historically accurate Viking sword? Well the answer is: "not a lot." The vast majority of people don't want a sword at all and probably the majority that do, are perfectly happy with the latest decorative wonder. Even if they want a Viking style sword they certainly aren't researching into what a Viking sword really was. If you put the Shifford Viking from A&A or the Clontarf from Albion in their hands chances are they aren't going to like swinging it. Why? Well because if one holds it in what one would consider a normal grip that pommel digs into the palm of your hand painfully. They don't know (and probably don't care) that they may be holding the sword wrong (or maybe not, but I really don't want to start that debate up again) all they know is that this pricey Viking sword doesn't feel as good in their hand as the 30 dollar one from down the way. So they buy the 30 dollar one.

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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Unless a sword is at least an attempt at an accurate reproduction of a specific individual historical sword, it could be argued that it is a fantasy piece, in that we are imagining that there might have been one like that, but we don't know. The albion next gens, for example, are designed to use a set of characteristics that were found in swords of the era that they are trying to represent. We don't know (well maybe Peter J does, but I don't Happy) if there was ever any historical sword with exactly the set of characteristics that albion have put into their sword. Do we, on that basis, call them fantasy pieces and argue that they shouldn't call them 'Viking', or 'Roman', or whatever. As I posted above, there were viking era swords with longer grips. Probably not common, but they did exist. If that characteristic is included in a design, how is that different by more than a matter of degree or skill or quality from what albion are doing?
Geoff

But the difference is in intention. Peter Johnsson isn't going to deliberately redesign a feature of a Next Gen just so that the masses find gripping it more comfortable, more appealing, or whatever. Plus, all characteristics found on the NGs are documentable to swords of the type represented. It creates if not a copy of a specific blade (which many in the NG line are rather close to swords in the Oakeshott's RotMS), then a representative member of the type. That is not the same, nor anywhere akin to saying Joe Sixpack can't properly grip our viking sword so lets lengthen the grip to make it easier for him.
Hell, while they are at it, they should go ahead and make it in 440 stainless, since Joe Sixpack doesn't want to bother with upkeep either.... WTF?!

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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
But the difference is in intention. Peter Johnsson isn't going to deliberately redesign a feature of a Next Gen just so that the masses find gripping it more comfortable, more appealing, or whatever. Plus, all characteristics found on the NGs are documentable to swords of the type represented. It creates if not a copy of a specific blade (which many in the NG line are rather close to swords in the Oakeshott's RotMS), then a representative member of the type. That is not the same, nor anywhere akin to saying Joe Sixpack can't properly grip our viking sword so lets lengthen the grip to make it easier for him.
Hell, while they are at it, they should go ahead and make it in 440 stainless, since Joe Sixpack doesn't want to bother with upkeep either.... WTF?!


Well, I agree and disagree. PJ has said that he has designed swords so that they are cheaper to manufacture and thus cheaper for the customer (hence the preponderance of one piece pommels, for example, in the viking swords) and personally i get the intention that he does design for eye appeal (and if not, he is succeeding without trying Happy). One sees among surviving originals those that are uglier to my eye than anything that PJ has produced so far. I agree that I would rather have a next gen than most of the other things out there, but is their intention different by more than a matter of degree from that of other manufacturers? They produce high end swords for people who are prepared to pay high end prices. Other manufacturers go for the lower end, in both senses. Both intend to satisfy their market. As for the rest, I'm a little uncomfortable with derision directed at other people's tastes. If people prefer swords with handles that they find easier to hold, even if that handle represents a minority type among the originals, what is wrong with that?
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Well, I agree and disagree. PJ has said that he has designed swords so that they are cheaper to manufacture and thus cheaper for the customer (hence the preponderance of one piece pommels, for example, in the viking swords) and personally i get the intention that he does design for eye appeal (and if not, he is succeeding without trying Happy). One sees among surviving originals those that are uglier to my eye than anything that PJ has produced so far. I agree that I would rather have a next gen than most of the other things out there, but is their intention different by more than a matter of degree from that of other manufacturers? They produce high end swords for people who are prepared to pay high end prices. Other manufacturers go for the lower end, in both senses. Both intend to satisfy their market. As for the rest, I'm a little uncomfortable with derision directed at other people's tastes. If people prefer swords with handles that they find easier to hold, even if that handle represents a minority type among the originals, what is wrong with that?

I don't think we disagree so much. I think there is nothing wrong with the preference for such a sword. The problem lies with the lower end manufacturers passing the swords off as typical historical examples. In effect revising history IMO.
As for the Albion design paradigm and the one piece pommels; weren't those only the first few (now sold out) models? I know for me atleast, the ones I am most attracted to (the Hersir and Huskarl), have the two piece pommels. I do agree PJ certainly seems to design with his market in mind. But, excluding the one piece pommels (a mistake IMO), Albion does not tend to compromise just to appeal to the AVERAGE consumer. Compromises to appeal to the educated and discriminating consumer are totally acceptable Laughing Out Loud Razz

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 4:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
So I suppose my question would be why do they call it a "viking sword" when in truth it is a fantasy piece with viking styling?


My question is why do they call it a "Viking sword" when the style pre-existed the "viking era?" Most of these offerings are not far removed from swords depicted at the fall of the Roman Empire, Merovingian era and swords all across Europe. Better quality examples "made during Viking era" (Ulfbrecht, etc.) being made far South along the Rhine, and well East of there? It seems more appropriate to just call such swords "Migration era swords." Maybe broken back seaxes? ( I don't know what) seem appropriate as being specifically associated with "Vikings."

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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct, 2007 4:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:

As for the Albion design paradigm and the one piece pommels; weren't those only the first few (now sold out) models? I know for me atleast, the ones I am most attracted to (the Hersir and Huskarl), have the two piece pommels. I do agree PJ certainly seems to design with his market in mind. But, excluding the one piece pommels (a mistake IMO), Albion does not tend to compromise just to appeal to the AVERAGE consumer. Compromises to appeal to the educated and discriminating consumer are totally acceptable Laughing Out Loud Razz


I thought the Berserkr had a one piece pommel, but I may be wrong (or maybe that is correct in this case?). That aside, yes, they were the earlier ones. Since I own both a Jarl (two piece) and a Squire line viking (one piece) I guess I fall in the 'pretends to be discriminating but really rather average' category.
Geoff
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct, 2007 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

Just for clarification when I wrote "A&A" I was referring to the hobby/industry of arms and armor.
Arms & Armor of Minnesota makes a great product and the guys who work there are top notch in my book.

Jeremy
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