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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 10:37 am    Post subject: Albion, does it live up to the hype?         Reply with quote

So I'm new to this site, and serious sword knowledge in general. I have a small collection, but they are all those wall hanging non-authentic lotr swords and so forth. So I'm now expanding my knowledge on REAL swords and would like to know if Albion is as good as they seem to be.

Also, are there any better manufactures in your opinion?

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Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 10:46 am    Post subject: Re: Albion, does it live up to the hype?         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
So I'm new to this site, and serious sword knowledge in general. I have a small collection, but they are all those wall hanging non-authentic lotr swords and so forth. So I'm now expanding my knowledge on REAL swords and would like to know if Albion is as good as they seem to be.

Also, are there any better manufactures in your opinion?


You'll get better responses from some of the other members who are regular users or
martial artists, Michael. But for my money, Albion's quality of product and service is # 1.

What you might want to consider is keeping an eye on the Marketplace where you can
usually save a lil $$$ on forumites parting ways with a piece of their collection or two ...

And for other manufacturers of better or equal quality, I always check into the links
page here at myArmoury ... B-)

Best of luck with your renewed fervor !
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have seen the opinion expressed that Albion swords are too costly for what they are. The person in question argues that he can produce swords of the same quality at a far lesser cost.

It's not my opinion, but there you go, the opinion exists Happy

It also depends on what you are looking for in a sword. For some people, a real sword is forged, period. So for them Albion is not suitable...

I have just ordered my first Albion, so I might have a more informed opinion later when it arrives Big Grin

--
Vincent
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 12:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Albion, does it live up to the hype?         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
So I'm new to this site, and serious sword knowledge in general. I have a small collection, but they are all those wall hanging non-authentic lotr swords and so forth. So I'm now expanding my knowledge on REAL swords and would like to know if Albion is as good as they seem to be.

Also, are there any better manufactures in your opinion?


Hi Michael. Welcome to the forums. What "hype" in particular are you talking about? What specifically would you like to know or are curious about? What are you specifically looking for? What are your needs?

I'm not sure if Albion is as good as they seem because I'm not sure what they seem like to you. Albion makes nice swords. They might not be for everyone simply because of their price point. However there are many manufactures out there at many different price levels.
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Alex Oster




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can chime in as owning 4 albion swords over the years. I think you can't beat the quality and company, but their prices have began to reflect their reputation. Its not taht they are not worth the price, but they have defiantely grown out of the average budget. If you're looking for a first "good" sword, save up and be darn sure of your choice. You can't beat their customer service and product construction though. Its just too bad that their prices are now twice what they were 3-4 years ago. I know they have their reasons, but it still is sad to read the bottom line. Wink
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 4:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex Oster wrote:
Its just too bad that their prices are now twice what they were 3-4 years ago.


I don't think it's surprising to anyone that costs increase over time, and this is not something unique to any particular manufacturer of any product. Intrigued by your statement, I did some research using the Internet Archive and major maker's websites. The following figures are the average percentage price increases based on a sampling of products from these makers in the period of 2004-2007 (3 years), which I present wholly without pledge to their exactitude. That is, it is based on information anyone can access but which is, like all information, inclined to (mis)interpretation.

Arms & Armor: 34%
Del Tin (from Art Elwell's site): 24%
Albion: 22%
Paul Chen (from KOA): 10%
Cold Steel: 5%
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Prices bumping up regularly is painful and frustrating, especially when that sword you've been saving for takes a price hike just before you buy it. The up side of this is that once you own a sword, assuming you keep it in good condition, it gains value. When the time comes to upgrade, you may be closer than you think.

Swords are an investment, and Albion has built a reputation that backs that investment very well. Cold Steel, whose prices have jumped up the least, has had more reports of blade failures than the other companies, so it makes sense that they are worth less. As of yet I am unaware of any such catastrophy from Albion, and they certainly see hard use.
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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 4:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Alex touched on a pertinent issue: price range. What do you plan to use the sword for, Michael? Having owned 4 Albion swords in the past, you can add me to the long list of those who know first-hand of Albion's quality from an owner's perspective (even though I have since sold all of them). Albion's prices reflect the amount of time invested in creating one of their swords from the concept to the drawing board to prototype to production to getting people to buy it. Albion's website has very-detailed articles on how one of their Next Generation swords is produced - definitely worth checking out.

Albion also has different lines of swords for different purposes. For instance, are you a fight choreographer? Or do you practice sparring with a partner? If so, that's what their Maestro or Squire Lines are for. The Next Generation Line swords are sharp and therefore are best for test-cutting and offer a primary perspective on how a sword would have handled during Medieval times (hence their price tags). Not to mention that you'll also get many looks of envy at the Renaissance Faire if you're seen wearing one with a costume!

Personally, I've always been partial to Arms & Armor. I've always been able to 'connect' with A&A swords moreso than with Albions. But in no way am I insinuating that Albions are inferior - not at all. You don't buy a Mercedes simply because you think BMW's are crap. The two are comparable in quality even if not in price. The two are staffed by extremely knowledgeable people who are skilled in their craft as well as assisting potential buyers. But if you're leaning towards Albion, you'll love talking to Mike Sigman! He's made quite a name for himself in the sword-collecting community as a very helpful person who cares more for helping you pick the sword you want instead of egging you to buy a more expensive item. That's especially true if you're a Green Bay Packers fan like he is!

Well, anyway, do let us know which one you decide on, Michael. When considering any Albion sword there is no wrong choice!



Razz

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't refute Eric's assessment. There are still several Albion swords with plain grip options priced at under $700, and many at around $800 U.S. The first one I bought two years ago, as a sort of self given late Christmas present, was an "economy choice" based upon an end of the year closeout sale (fewer than 10 remaining, end of the Crecey Grete) and was within a few dollars of $500 U.S. on "clearance sale." A "Next Generation" version (more refined, more complex, not on sale) would cost me $688 today.

What has changed is that there many Albion model offerings with a lot of additional finishing touches requiring significant manual labor to properly complete (incised engravings and cast pommels simulating elaborate engraving, more complex grips, etc.) You can find many $400 to $600 swords that will seem "fairly close overall" to an Albion, but may lack; the peened pommel construction, refinements in the hilt construction, and crispness in final finish of the blade and guard. Additionally, (have not made up my mind about importance of it), the Albion models are "limited" as there are a preset number (often around 500) that will ever be made. It is undoubtedly a gimmick, but, seems to work for them as they have sold out of more than half of their offerings historically.

There seems to be some major gaps in quality/quantity/uniqueness consumer demands; roughly $300 to $600 U.S. mass produced swords that are mechanically sound for hypothetical battle use, Albion swords ($700 to $1200 for most), and then one of a kind custom (pattern welded, exotic, etc. > $2000 U.S. typically) made swords. It is a market after all, and there are things as simple as a nice watch that you can easily spend far more than any of the above dollar figures on. In the end, the Albion models pass as authentic "kingly swords" that most non-collectors consistently ask "is it real?", which you will not find in such great quantities that you immediately recognize it as a mass reproduction.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Your question is totally a matter of personal opinion. Opinions will vary and that doesn't make any of them wrong.

My own personal opinion is that Albion makes very nice products. I have four of their swords. But they're not the only game in town. For certain projects/kinds of items, I'd go elsewhere (and have).

Whether their stuff is worth the price is also totally subjective. I haven't made up my mind on whether they're worth the price, but I do know that they're currently too expensive for me. All my Albions were bought at various discounts--the main reason I own them, actually.

Also, please don't buy into the hype that Albion's assembly method, often referred to as "hot-peening" (though that's only one part of the process), is the end-all-be-all-most-correct-method. Albion uses wedged components and hot peening. A&A most often uses compression fitting and a cold peen. Both methods are historical, serviceable, and durable when done properly. A&A can do hot peening on request as well.

Speaking of A&A, I like their products quite a bit. They are different from Albion (and not in a bad way). Also, they offer far more options in terms of customizability. With Albion, your only choice is typically the grip color. With A&A, you could ask them for tweaks to the blade cross-section/geometry, etc. and for a fee they'd do it. Also, A&A does daggers, some armour, and polearms, things Albion does not.

Small companies, like Arma Bohemia in the Czech Republic, are producing nice weapons through a variety of small local smiths for competitive prices. You can go fully custom for much less than some of the big name custom smiths.

We live in a golden age for collectors. We've never had this many choices. Serviceable and/or attractive swords can be found at almost every price range. The buyer only needs to decide what they're looking for (era, locale, intended use, budget, etc.) and they can probably find something to fit. Happy

Happy

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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 9:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, it great to seem that these forums are as active as they are, and that I got so many responses in so little time. But to basically answer your questions I don't have money available now (as I'm a college freshmen so I'm a little short on dinero) so I'm pretty much shopping around for when I do.

I'm also trying to build up my knowledge on swords (as I've already read 1/3 of the articles in the features section). All of my swords shake way too much at the hilt, the only good one is a katana I bought for 23 dollars (a REALLY GOOD friend).

So when I was asking about Albion I meant for a good sword (I'm not a choreographer or a reenactor, I just want a perfectly authentic and usuable blade just so that I can have the satisfaction of owning one, and possibly chopping up some bottles Wink )

I was looking for either a medieval arming or a longsword. I was reading reviews and I was thinking about the Constable from albion, though I haven't looked at A&A very much.

My additional question is that some people say they perfer A&A and I was wondering why. Is it the weight, cost vs. quality, sharpness, shipping, balance, reliability?

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jan, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
My additional question is that some people say they prefer A&A and I was wondering why. Is it the weight, cost vs. quality, sharpness, shipping, balance, reliability?


I have and like both and I would say that the A & A are more individually made swords each based on a specific historically documented sword, the A & A swords will vary more over time as the swords get subtle improvements over the years as the makers learn more detailed information about the specific swords ( More detailed statistics or measurements of the originals ).

The Albion Next Generation swords are extremely consistent per model i.e. dimensionally identical ! They are carefully researched but more generic as each model is a plausible version of a period type based on research and measurements of many different swords. Once the design is finalized all that model of sword will be very much the same.
( There have been exceptions were slight design changes have been made: The point of the Regent being made more robust by a slight change in profile ).

The Albion Museum line are based on a specific historical sword where every effort has been made to duplicate very subtle blade profile and distal profile dimensions and where each sword was carefully measured by Peter Johnsson ).

As mentioned before: Some people will prefer the A & A swords because the company will make custom changes, within reason. ( Money being a factor and also I don't think they would make changes that would make a badly handling or completely un-historic sword ).

Prices for A & A swords do seem to be a bit more affordable and they do make other things like daggers and polearms.

Oh,
Quote:
" weight, cost vs. quality, sharpness, shipping, balance, reliability? "
are pretty much equivalent though as both companies produce very period accurate swords.

For performance swords with a little less emphasis on period looks there are the Angus Trim swords that average half to two thirds of the price.

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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 12:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

1) shape is perfectly adherent to historical models

2) steel is excellent and hard to dent

Their squire line is quite cheap if compared with the quality.

Bette than that you can only go custom, and some customs lack the total adherence to historical mdoels of the works of Peter Johnson.

I have a knight, I think one of the first seen in Italy, and knowledgeable people who have really seen and handled originals are just stunned by its realism.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 3:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I read somewhere (maybe even somewhere here) that A&A are not as durable blades as Albion. Is it true?
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Michael, Chad is right on target in stating that it's a matter of personal opinion, preference and taste. Speaking for myself, I am a big fan of Arms & Armor although I have a huge amount of respect for Albion as well as owning two of their swords and I am working on a third at present, which will either be the Valkyrja or the Reeve, but most probably the Valkyrja.
I have 9 swords, 1 rapier and another on the way for my wife Gayle, 5 daggers 2 of which are Gayle's, 12 polearms and 2 bucklers by Arms & Armor.
Albion uses 1075 steel and Arms & Armor uses 6150 steel, I am no metalurgist so I am not going to dare make any comments of the various kinds of steel, I am far too ignorant of knowledge in this area to say anything one way or the other.
For a price, Arms & Armor can do anything with a sword that you want done, plus their standard production but "one sword at a time" prices are extremely reasonable and they use a very superior steel for Western European Swords. Though most of their swords are a flat diamond cross section, this does have a couple of advantages, it keeps the prices down as it takes more time and labor to do fullers, etc. Another attractive reason to me for the flat diamond cross section is that it mimmicks the Japanese katana's cutting ability, in that the material being cut flows away from the blade, whereas if you have a central fuller, this allows for the material being cut to collapse back upon the blade thereby impeding the depth of the cut.
Please keep in mind that I am not a seasoned sword expert, although I am a recent black belt in karate from a hard to get that rank school. So I have a certain amount of knowledge in the execution of various unarmed strikes with various forms of the hand and foot, wherein some strikes penetrate deeper into the body and others that are more blunt may cause an overall major amount of surface damage. Such as a double finger strike to the side of the throat will get towards the back of the throat to grasp between the fingers and thumb so as to crush or possibly pull the throat out the front of the neck. The same strike with a fist is not going to get towards the back of the throat but will certainly crush it. In like manner a
"Grosse Messer" is going to cut far deeper than will an Italian thrusting rapier.
Kind of the same concept as the various cuts by various swords as opposed to the myriad of more blunt arms of the mace, flail, warhammer, etc. Therefore I have some kind of knowledge as to what kind of blade is going to cut deeper or which kind of blade will be faster on the recoil, so on and so forth. But I have a Whole Lot to learn, a real lot to learn!
In other words, I am not a doofus learning the European sword, I am a fairly accomplished karateka (practitioner of karate) who is learning the European sword with the attitude of a humble beginner seeking the guidance of various European Swordsmen all of whom I have only the highest respect and esteem for what they have accomplished in their art Exclamation
So I am very particular and scrutinizing about the swords that I buy and I can honestly tell you this, "you cannot go wrong in buying an Albion Sword!
There's also a number of other very fine makers of the European Sword, of which I don't want to start listing names because of my human error to forget a few of them and I have too much respect for all of them to risk slighting the mention of their good names!
The high end swords that I have are as I mentioned, "Arms & Armor" and "Albion Swords" and these are the companies who's swords I know the best.
Arms & Armor will never be rid of me as a customer! LOL!

Sorry if I babbled too much, I was hoping to help in a different approach so as to widen perspectives of thoughts in the wisdom of choosing the sword that is "Right for YOU"!

Most Sincerely!

Bob


Last edited by Bob Burns on Mon 07 Jan, 2008 11:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
I read somewhere (maybe even somewhere here) that A&A are not as durable blades as Albion. Is it true?


I suspect that's pure hearsay. I fence with blunted A&As and Albions, and A&A is the official supplier of more than one stage combat group (including the Globe theater). Even if there is a difference in durability (which I have not noticed at all), the difference doesn't seem to be enough to make a difference.

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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 8:54 am    Post subject: Re: Albion, does it live up to the hype?         Reply with quote

Michael, you can't go wrong with an Albion, although what type of sword you want is something to research and think about. my only advice is when you get to the point where you think you can afford one, keep an eye on the marketplace here as A&A and Albion swords routinely come up for sale here at a bit of a discount. right now for example there are several Albions and A&A's for sale at very reasonable prices. tr
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arms & Armor less durable? Not a chance! I cut all sorts of water filled plastic jugs from the gallon water jugs to the extra heavy duty huge detergent jugs and "if" I get any kind of a tiny nick and I do mean tiny, it will be either on the Berserkr or the Vassal but rarely on an Arms & Armor sword. Both companies use a very superior steel, as I said I am no metalurgist but I have been told by others that there is no better steel for Western European swords than 6150, which is what Arms & Armor uses.
Sincerely!

Bob

Both these companies are absolute top notch quality production sword companies.. It does not get any better than these two with out going to a private swordsmith for custom work and a whole lot more money!
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To clarify, the "nicks' that I have encountered have been so tiny I had to find them by "feel" and they have been few and far between. Nor have they been exclusive to the Berserkr or the Vassal, I've had them on Arms & Armor swords too.
I just got the feeling that perhaps I did not explain myself correctly. Furthermore, any nicks that I have encountered have been "easily" honed off the edge without compromising the edge.
I hope this clarifies what I meant, if not please write a post or contact me.
I am in the process of buying another Albion for a reason, they are amongst the very best swords that can be bought Exclamation

Most Sincerely!

Bob
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William M




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2008 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would agree with Vincent, in that my problem with Albion is that their blades are mostly machine made. This is a big problem to me, as the sword does not feel 'real' . Also for the price they ask there are plenty of other options about where you can get an excellent handmade sword. Now when I say handmade I do not mean using your hands to put a steel blank in the machine, but actually forging and so on.

William
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