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Michael Pearce
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: CAS/H longsword prototypes are here!         Reply with quote

The Long-awaited production prototypes of the Tinker Pearce Line Longswords by CAS/Hanwei have arrived, and my first impression is... wow. The look is nice and clean- the wood handles are covered in a nice grade of black chrome-tanned leather, as are the wood-cored scabbards. The leather on the scabbards is both glued and stitched, as it should be. The metal furniture of both the sword and scabbard mounts is a bright finish that appears to be chromed but may simply be brightly polished. The blades are finished in an attractive matte finish. Either sword will fit in either scabbard, and they don't rattle in the scabbards(!)

The blades are Marquenched 5160 spring steel and exhibit 60 degrees of flex on initial testing. Further testing will follow. The blunt is more flexible near the point, as it should be for fencing. Both exhibit the correct sort of curve when flexed- stiff at the base and increasingly flexible towards the point.

When disassembled using a 5mm Allen wrench the tangs are as they should be with the correct dimensions and slightly rounded at the shoulder. The screw threads appear to be cut on a reduced section of the tang rather than welded on. The screw thread does not appear to be 1/4-20, but perhaps a slightly finer metric thread. This will not affect functionality. The furniture and handles are completely interchangeable between the two swords. Balance and polar-moment are dead-on. Both swords exhibit perfect harmonic balance. Handling between them is identical as nearly as I can tell.

The edges of the guard are a bit sharper than I'd prefer, but livable. Likewise the edges of the handle are a bit square- Hanwei is already aware of this and will fix it on the production swords. I've asked that the fuller be extended slightly so that it runs out under the guard on the sharp sword. Also- the sharp is inexplicably a 1/2 inch shorter than the blunt- given that they still handle identically I can live with that. Those are the 'flaws' that I was able to identify immediately. However- I would be happy with these swords if they produce them exactly as they are. Provided that they pass the rigorous testing that lies ahead, which will include scientific testing by Jim at Pacific Metallurgical for hardness and other metallurgical qualities.

Final prices have not been set but are anticipated to be in the neighborhood of $320-$330 for either the sharp or blunt. Both swords include a scabbard. Contrary to what I said above the scabbards aren't interchangeable- I was fooled by the fact that the sharp will fit in the blunts scabbard.

Stats for the 'Sharp-' Original (CAS/H)

Oakeshott Type: XVIIIa ( XVIIIa)
OAL: 47-1/4" (46-3/4")
Blade Length: 35-1/4" (34-3/4")
Blade Width @ Base: 2-1/8" (2-1/8")
Blade Width 3-1/2 inches from point: 3/4 " (3/4")
Blade thickness at base: .254" (.250")
Blade thickness 2 inches from tip: .090" (.090")
Distal taper is: convex (convex)
Hilt OAL: 12" (12")
Pommel Type: T-1 (T-1)
Guard Type: 2 (2)
COG: 3-1/2" (3-1/2")
COP: 21-1/2 (21-3/4")
Weight: 2lb.15oz. (2lb.14oz.)

Stats for the 'blunt-'
Oakeshott Type: n/a (n/a)
OAL: 47-1/4" (47-1/4")
Blade Length: 35-1/4" (35-1/4")
Blade Width @ Base: 2-1/4" (2-1/4")
Blade Width 3-1/2 " from point: 5/8" (11-16")
Blade thickness at base: .26" (.250")
Blade thickness 2" from tip: .073 (.070)
Distal taper is: convex (convex)
Hilt OAL: 12" (12")
Pommel Type: T-1 (T-1)
Guard Type: 2 ( 2 )
COG: 3-1/2" (3-1/2")
COP: 21" ( 21-3/4" )
Weight: 2lb.15oz. (2lb14oz.)

Now the pictures:




Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
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Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 11:16 am    Post subject: good job         Reply with quote

They look great. I will (> 90% sure) buy both a sharp and blunt. This sort of collaboration is exactly what the production sword market needs (well, what the consumers of the production sword market need!). I love, and will continue to buy Albion swords, but we are finally seeing more and more production swords starting to be able to compete with Albion's product, and at a fraction of the price (i know, and appreciate, that there are many many differences between Albion's product, and these swords, but still...the gap is shrinking).

Dustin
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice. I'll probably buy this one or the other with the disc pommel soon, if the price is going to be acceptable here in Croatia. Will also the other model with disc pommel be finished soon?
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Michael Pearce
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Very nice. I'll probably buy this one or the other with the disc pommel soon, if the price is going to be acceptable here in Croatia. Will also the other model with disc pommel be finished soon?


I should be seeing a prototype before too long- I'll post when I do.

OK- I stepped up the schedule for testing and took the blade in to Jim at Pacific Metallurgical. For those that don't know PacMet has been heat treating my blades for 15+ years with unbelievably good results. They are an aerospace certified heat treater. Angus Trim has also used them since he began making swords as have some other makers with consistently fantastic results.

CAS/H's two banes have been heat treatment and welds. These swords don't have welds and it looks like they've got the heat treatment nailed too.

Both swords were tested at three or more places on the tang, producing an average hardness of HRc31.5. This is good for the tang. The blades tested at HRc 53.5- HRc 55. The hardness variance may be accounted for by the difficulty of testing surfaces that are not flat and parallel. This is borderline too hard for the swords with this material and heat treatment methods. They will have to dial this back by 2-3 Rockwell points for the production swords. Mind you- the swords are very strong and would likely be just fine at this hardness- but they will be more durable if they drop it 2-3 points.

We followed the machine testing with an unscientific test- but the results were closely examined by three people who are experts in evaluating the results- Jim, Angus Trim and myself. Gripping the two swords firmly I struck the edge of the sharp's forte against the blunts COP (the most likely failure spot excepting the shoulder.) The results were consistent with blades in this hardness range heat-treated by PacMet. Both blades were damaged to the expected degree and neither sword exhibited any perceptible spalling (chipping.) The steel was deformed to the expected degree in a fashion consistent with blunted AT or Tinker swords. This indicates that the Marquenching was done properly and has produced a very fine crystal structure. If it had not the blades would certainly have chipped. I have to emphasize this- this is a quantum leap in quality over what we expect from Hanwei's previous Euro swords.

The overall quality of the heat treat exceeds my expectations- but they will have to be slightly softer for the production blades. I've given conditional approval of the prototypes provided that the hardness is corrected, and will be forwarding a list of recommendations to CAS/H.

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
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Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Lin Robinson




PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Pearce wrote:
OK- I stepped up the schedule for testing and took the blade in to Jim at Pacific Metallurgical. For those that don't know PacMet has been heat treating my blades for 15+ years with unbelievably good results. They are an aerospace certified heat treater. Angus Trim has also used them since he began making swords as have some other makers with consistently fantastic results.

CAS/H's two banes have been heat treatment and welds. These swords don't have welds and it looks like they've got the heat treatment nailed too.

Both swords were tested at three or more places on the tang, producing an average hardness of HRc31.5. This is good for the tang. The blades tested at HRc 53.5- HRc 55. The hardness variance may be accounted for by the difficulty of testing surfaces that are not flat and parallel. This is borderline too hard for the swords with this material and heat treatment methods. They will have to dial this back by 2-3 Rockwell points for the production swords. Mind you- the swords are very strong and would likely be just fine at this hardness- but they will be more durable if they drop it 2-3 points.

We followed the machine testing with an unscientific test- but the results were closely examined by three people who are experts in evaluating the results- Jim, Angus Trim and myself. Gripping the two swords firmly I struck the edge of the sharp's forte against the blunts COP (the most likely failure spot excepting the shoulder.) The results were consistent with blades in this hardness range heat-treated by PacMet. Both blades were damaged to the expected degree and neither sword exhibited any perceptible spalling (chipping.) The steel was deformed to the expected degree in a fashion consistent with blunted AT or Tinker swords. This indicates that the Marquenching was done properly and has produced a very fine crystal structure. If it had not the blades would certainly have chipped. I have to emphasize this- this is a quantum leap in quality over what we expect from Hanwei's previous Euro swords.

The overall quality of the heat treat exceeds my expectations- but they will have to be slightly softer for the production blades. I've given conditional approval of the prototypes provided that the hardness is corrected, and will be forwarding a list of recommendations to CAS/H.


Michael...

What are the possibilities that Hanwei will transfer this quality to their other European blades? I have some of their blades now, but do not use them for anything except display.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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David Sutton




PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice swords. Will these swords ever be released with peened tangs? I for one would prefer it to a screwed on pommel.

Its good to see more sword makers upping their game.

Well done CAS/Hanwei! Wink

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'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

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Michael Pearce
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:

Michael...

What are the possibilities that Hanwei will transfer this quality to their other European blades? I have some of their blades now, but do not use them for anything except display.


I honestly don't know- they would have to change the material as well. But they are pretty smart fellas- I wouldn't bet against it.

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
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Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Michael Pearce
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 5:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Sutton wrote:
Very nice swords. Will these swords ever be released with peened tangs? I for one would prefer it to a screwed on pommel.


Technically these aren't screwed on pommels, but I know what you mean. To clarify this for those of you that might be unfamiliar with this assembly method the base of the pommel is slotted so that it fits over the rectangular section of the tang so that the pommel won't rotate, then a reduced section of the tang is threaded to pass through into a 3/4 inch deep 3/8 inch diameter hole that opens to the top of the pommel. A 3/8 inch sleeve nut then screws down over the end of the tang with at least a 1/2 inch of thread engagement. This arrangement actually has more metal bearing surface than many a riveted tang and may actually be stronger than many riveted tangs. But it definately isn't period for swords of this type; the earliest known use of this system (which is what inspired me to use it) dates to 1625 when it was used by a firm of Birmingham, England cutlers to secure the hilts of hangers- which is what I first used it on.

Back to your question! Barry and I have discussed the possibility of offering the sharp as a 'premium grade' with features that would include a peened tang. This would mean a new pommel casting so I would imagine that they will have to be sure that the demand justifies the expense. I'd suggest that folks interested in a peened-pommel version should email CAS/H and request it; they've been pretty responsive to suggestions like this in the past.

Thus far the view of the Practice Blunt is that it is a purely utilitarian piece and being able to take it down for maintenance is a good thing, so I don't imagine that there will be a peened tang version of the blunt unless people demand it.

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 6:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like the screw on pommel for this one.

M.

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David Sutton




PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the answer Michael.

I think that offering a premium sharp with a peened tang would be a good solution. I for one would be very interested in that. I can see the logic in keeping the 'bolt on' type of pommel for the blunt, much more serviceable and easier for maintainance.

Well looks like I'll fire an email off to CAS/Hanwei. They do seem to be very responsive to comments and constructive criticism of their products and are not afraid to revise and upgrade their line. Take their blunt sparing/re-enactment swords, they started off with a locking bolt type pommel (on mine the bolt is permanently fixed and sanded down) but I inspected one recently and they now have a meaty looking peen on the pommel, among other enhancements.

Another thing I'm hoping is that along with the other CAS/Hanwei line these swords might be more easily available in the UK.

'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tinker, I'm seriously looking for a pair of complex hilt blunt swords. Is there a option for you to weld some rings on the hanwei blunts for me or will there be such a model available later?
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Michael Pearce
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lancelot Chan wrote:
Tinker, I'm seriously looking for a pair of complex hilt blunt swords. Is there a option for you to weld some rings on the hanwei blunts for me or will there be such a model available later?


There is every chance that such a sword will be offered at a future date. As I said with the peened pommel- the more people that email the better the chances!

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
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Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Michael Pearce
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After having the prototypes tested for hardness and deformation characteristics at Pacific Metallurgical, I then took the sword to the Western Washington WMA Workshops and showed it to a number of prominent Longsword instructors as well as participants. Comment was universally favorable and some of the instructors have even agreed to write endorsements for CAS to use!

I used the blunt in Bob Charon's class and it performed extremely well, suffering minimal damage even when suffering some moderately severe edge-to-edge contact. In no case did the steel chip- it simply deformed as it should.

I've given official approval for production after only very minor modifications (like the grip.)

Yay!

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb, 2008 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This sounds like great news, Tinker. I'm looking forward to having another option for training blunts for my group, particularly at a price point that works for students who can't justify the more expensive trainers, but want something better than the inexpensive trainers.
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