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J Anstey





Joined: 21 Jul 2007

Posts: 233

PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject: My first European Sword!         Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Today I received my first European Sword - An Albion Clontarf with light brown grip! Woohoo.

Being a JSA student and instructor I was pleasantly surprised by how lively the weapon feels. Having said that you would have had to have been a strong individual to carry a shield and wield a sword like this for hours on end.

I have tried the handshake grip and hammer grip (good thread back there) and both feel okay. The hammer grip is a bit uncomfortable with the digging into the heel of my palm. My initial impression is that you need far stronger forearms to use a sword like this than with a katana.

I would be interested in seeing any vid footage of the type of cuts normally associated with a blade such as this (if such footage exists)

Ahhh so many swords, so little time.

Cheers

Jason
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Darrin Hughes




Location: England
Joined: 22 Jun 2007
Reading list: 20 books

Posts: 228

PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations.
I got my Clontarf just over a year ago and it is a great looking sword, I love that blade. One thing though, I know you say that the grip feels OK, but I'm curious as to what you think of the shape, as I tend to think that it could be more rounded and seems a little thin. It's not anything that would make me want to get rid of the sword, it's far too nice for that, but I am starting to think about having the grip re-done if at all possible. It's currently out being fitted up for a scabbard, so I might ask if the grip could be changed at the same time.
Anyway, enjoy your new sword, and don't let me put you off. I know that these grips tend to be one size fits all and so they're bound to feel different for each of us, it's still a really nice sword.

Cheers,
Darrin.


Last edited by Darrin Hughes on Mon 18 Feb, 2008 9:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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J Anstey





Joined: 21 Jul 2007

Posts: 233

PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2008 10:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Darrin

The grip does feel very narrow to me, but I just put this down to historical accuracy and my own lack of understanding of the type of physical actions used to cutting with such a sword.

So I must admit that my first reaction was this is a strange thin grip, almost half the diameter of what I am used to, this makes me feel that I have to grip much tighter thus the need for massive forearms. This is not a criticism or and comparison between 9 -10 century Euro and 15-16 century Japan by any means. My pre conceived ideas about East versus West have completely changed since visiting and learning from this forum.

I would be interested in hearing more your handle rewrap if you get it done and also the scabbard.

Cheers

Jason
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Darrin Hughes




Location: England
Joined: 22 Jun 2007
Reading list: 20 books

Posts: 228

PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again.
I have a feeling (although I could of course be wrong) that this grip is more a case of Albion trying to make something which is different to the grips on their other Viking swords, rather than maybe what is right for the sword. I have one other Albion Viking sword, the Thegn (more of a Saxon sword really) and despite being a smaller and lighter sword, the handle is more rounded, and to my mind more comfortable. I don't like the handshake grip, with the hand sliding over the pommel, as I always feel that the grip is not secure enough for serious chopping. This means that I use a hammer grip, which leads to cramp.
It might be interesting to know if anyone alse reading this has the Clontarf and one or more of the other Albion Viking swords, and how the grips compare.
As far as having the grip changed is concerned; I've spoken to Tod, who is doing the scabbard, about the possibility of putting a thin strip of laminate either side of the handle to give it a more rounded feel, and then re-wrapping it with a thicker, stiched leather grip. Hopefully I should be able to report back on this fairly soon. If it works then it could be a fairly simple fix for what I think is otherwise a very nice sword.

Cheers,
Darrin.
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B. Stark
Industry Professional



Location: ORYGUN
Joined: 25 Jan 2004
Reading list: 11 books

Posts: 393

PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb, 2008 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sadly, there seem to be no extant Viking era swords that have had their grip cores survive(that I have seen). A few have ferrules still intact and they look rather dainty. It is really hard to say what the actual crossection was like. Chances are they came in all sorts of subtlties or they followed a general pattern. Regardless, the thickness of the grip will likely not eleviate the pinching caused by the wide flared pommels of Viking era swords. Plain mechanics of the wrist will prevent greater extension of angle when in a hammer grip, but you tend to use your shoulder and upper are more in the blow(which is a good thing). Handshake grip, I find, lends itself to more subtlety in cut placement(much like the use of the same grip in the renaissance) and thrusting.

I have found that of I choke up on the grip, even wrap a finger over the guard, the pommel is less of a hinderance for a tighter more hammer like grip. Personally I have had no issues with using the handshake grip on any Viking swords (this included a couple DT's in the past). I've handled all the Albion Vikings extensively. The grips follow a certain design concept where they are wide and flat towards the guard then taper and thicken towards the pommel. I have small hands and the stock grip works fantastic for me. You probably add a little more "belly" in the middle of the grip or perhaps a couple thick risers. I also thick that a cord underwrap really enhances the "traction" of the grip.

"Wyrd bi∂ ful aręd"

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?

Patrick Henry
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