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Justin King
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 2:17 pm    Post subject: Throw it back into the lake, my son...it's a piece of junk         Reply with quote

I recieved my most recent sword purchase today and am just plain disappointed. I am not posting this to bash the maker and won't even name them to keep this from being imflammatory. It is a fairly high-end production piece from a well known and respected maker. I am on the verge of re-packaging it to send it back, other than the supposed blade quality the fit and finish of this piece is what I would expect from a sub-300$ import. The kickers for me on this particular sword are a pommel that is visibly (almost strikingly) mis-aligned with the grip, and a barely-visible copper shim used to tighten up a grossly mis-fitted guard slot. For a sword costing upwards of 600$ this is totally unacceptable to me.

I wanted to ask some other collectors how many swords you have returned, if any, for obvious cosmetic or other percieved flaws? And what types of flaws will "seal the deal" for you and cause you to reject a sword and return it? Are we too willing to shell out our hard-earned cash for someone's second-best efforts? Or am I just too picky?
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have only bought four, and returned none. The quality of swords I have seen, as a general rule for most better known makers, seems to be improving over the last 3 to 4 years. This was the case for mine, which were all excellent, and at the premium end of mass production price point, they just got closer to amazing perfection.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Brandon Minton




Location: Indianapolis, IN
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you paid that sort of money out for a sword, I imagine the maker will have a decent level of customer service and of course should be returned for free and be sent what you expected. Also, inquire with the maker on why the cosmetic issue exists in the first place and ask how did it get overlooked.
Now if you feel you might be as you said "too picky" then maybe you could take a picture or two and post them and see what the crowd of collectors and makers think. I personally don't find it inflammatory at this point that you think your sword that you bought and is now your possession is "junk". You have an opinion to your property and it's but one case of a maker's work so showing everyone what you consider junk could be educational.
I'd at least talk to the maker first and give them a chance to rectify the scenario. Good luck man.
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Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject: Send it back, my son!         Reply with quote

Justin,

Had it been me and I paid around six bills, I would definitely send it back. If the quality of the piece is not up to the standards you have for this price range (and I assume manufacturer), then you are fully justified getting your money back. As others have often stated, reputable makers understand this, and would stand behind their products. I would certainly let the maker know the reasons you want to return the sword. Your future business with them is at stake, after all. Good luck with this, and I'm sorry you're having to make this decision. I know things will turn out for the best.

Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 3:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Throw it back into the lake, my son...it's a piece of ju         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:
I recieved my most recent sword purchase today and am just plain disappointed. I am not posting this to bash the maker and won't even name them to keep this from being imflammatory. It is a fairly high-end production piece from a well known and respected maker. I am on the verge of re-packaging it to send it back, other than the supposed blade quality the fit and finish of this piece is what I would expect from a sub-300$ import. The kickers for me on this particular sword are a pommel that is visibly (almost strikingly) mis-aligned with the grip, and a barely-visible copper shim used to tighten up a grossly mis-fitted guard slot. For a sword costing upwards of 600$ this is totally unacceptable to me.

I wanted to ask some other collectors how many swords you have returned, if any, for obvious cosmetic or other percieved flaws? And what types of flaws will "seal the deal" for you and cause you to reject a sword and return it? Are we too willing to shell out our hard-earned cash for someone's second-best efforts? Or am I just too picky?


Hi Justin

Quality problems happen to everyone at times........ {I'm very seldom glad that I'm late, but in this case, I'm glad its not mine, because I'm late *g*}

Around Xmas time, I made a comment to someone, that I'd had my ass kicked several times for being late in the last year, but haven't had a quality problem, except putting the wrong guard on a sword. It seems that no sooner than I did that, then I did another guard wrong, and one of the old "backlog" pieces went out with the wrong size handle {I'd agreed to do a custom length, and forgot}.

That was all bad enough, but then I got an email from a customer over a sword where he didn't appreciate the straightness of the edge {or lack thereof}. Dumbfounded, I tried to get more info, and got more guff and definitely knew the customer was displeased. I was dumbfounded, I recall really checking that sword over, but you know, I'm along ways from perfect, and the edge might have looked like a snake for all I know....... he decided to keep it for its handling and cutting........

If you're displeased, by all means communicate with the vendor. But, the less emotion you put in your communique, and the more facts, the better. I'm sure you'll come out alright in the long run.............

swords are fun
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Mike Arledge




Location: Indianapolis, IN
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 3:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I will flat out say I returned an Albion whose last 2-3 inches were either tempered improperly, or warped during shipping. There was a notable bend in the tip. There were no issues with doing this. It did not affect my opinion of them, it just meant this particular sword was not a keeper. Happy
Mike J Arledge

The Dude Abides
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Max Maydanik




Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 3:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Throw it back into the lake, my son...it's a piece of ju         Reply with quote

Hello Justin,
Personally, I do not think there is anything wrong with letting us know the name of the merchant. The more information and opinions we have about particular maker, the more informed decision we can make when placing our order with them.
If they are going to fix it or not is a separate issue and tells us more about their customer service rather than their quality control. Accidents and mishaps do happen, but if a dozen people report that their experience with a certain maker was less then pleasant, I would be grateful for them taking time to voice their opinions. I would encourage you to post the pictures of the sword and reveal the name of the maker.

- What do you prefer: a reconstruction of historical fencing or a real swordfight?
- Historical reconstruction of course. In the real swordfight, they just look at each other, mumble something and then ..a deathblow.
And in a historical reconstruction you have to think, plan your strategy and count points.
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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin,

I had a similar experience a long time ago with a very special bokken that I had ordered. I was very disappointed when I opened it and discovered that it looked like it had been made by someone with a brutal hangover who had never used a woodworking machine before in their life. I truly can't remember if I phoned the vendor or just sent it back with a letter asking for a better replacement or a refund. I received a new bokken that was beautifully made. Have you contacted the vendor? If you have, what was their response?


Ken Speed
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin:

I might make it public but I would first contact them and see if their customer service is good and they are willing to fix the problem, replace the sword or refund your money.

Keeping calm and polite is the best policy as the maker should be ready and eager to fix things without any harsh words being needed. If you are rude about it, and they seem unwilling to fix things, you won't be able to know if their lack of customer service was only because of your approach that got their back up. If they give very bad customer service and you were very polite then the bad customer service would be inexcusable and really worth talking about. ( Still good to vent politely and in a professional manner as your own politeness would reflect even more negatively on their bad customer service ).

If I had to return something to one of the makers that I have had numerous previous good experiences with I would feel very uncomfortable about it but I'm sure the maker would feel worse.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Fri 22 Feb, 2008 4:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 4:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I should clarify that the sword was purchased from a seperate retailer so my return communication will not involve the maker. I don't entertain any plans to send it to the maker to be re-worked. The copper shim in the guard is a flat indication to me that the maker is not controlling quality to the standard I would expect for the price point. If the fit was that poor the guard should have been rejected, and it was obviously not a case of someone overlooking the problem, if they tried to fix it by shimming it. The lack of craftmanship and professional integrity this implies is just disappointing to me. If the shim weren't there I might feel differently but this amounts to a dirty trick in my mind.
I may contact the maker and verify that this is in fact a piece that they made, and if it is, I probably won't do business with them in the future.
With mixed feelings I am going to refrain from mentioning any names here. I feel that I should do so for the information of the sword-collecting community but I won't take the reputation of a maker lightly either and without contacting them first I think it would be unfair.
My intention in writing this post was to hear what kinds of percieved flaws have caused others to return a sword in the past?
I admit that I am very critical as a collector but on the other hand at the price range I generally buy in I'm not exactly buying gumballs either. I don't buy 300 dollar swords because I know they will disappoint me more often than not. I expect a sword costing twice as much to show some craftsmanship and quality. In this case I spotted one major flaw, the pommel being offset, 20 seconds out of the box. For this much money it should take longer to burst my bubble.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:
I should clarify that the sword was purchased from a seperate retailer so my return communication will not involve the maker. I don't entertain any plans to send it to the maker to be re-worked. The copper shim in the guard is a flat indication to me that the maker is not controlling quality to the standard I would expect for the price point. If the fit was that poor the guard should have been rejected, and it was obviously not a case of someone overlooking the problem, if they tried to fix it by shimming it. The lack of craftmanship and professional integrity this implies is just disappointing to me. If the shim weren't there I might feel differently but this amounts to a dirty trick in my mind.
I may contact the maker and verify that this is in fact a piece that they made, and if it is, I probably won't do business with them in the future.
With mixed feelings I am going to refrain from mentioning any names here. I feel that I should do so for the information of the sword-collecting community but I won't take the reputation of a maker lightly either and without contacting them first I think it would be unfair.
My intention in writing this post was to hear what kinds of percieved flaws have caused others to return a sword in the past?
I admit that I am very critical as a collector but on the other hand at the price range I generally buy in I'm not exactly buying gumballs either. I don't buy 300 dollar swords because I know they will disappoint me more often than not. I expect a sword costing twice as much to show some craftsmanship and quality. In this case I spotted one major flaw, the pommel being offset, 20 seconds out of the box. For this much money it should take longer to burst my bubble.


Ah, same principle different situation I guess: Your vendor is also responsible for selling or re-selling a substandard product and should refund your money or get a replacement sword if it's a possibility and you are willing to wait.

Could the sword have been damaged by some amateur sword repair or attempted " home " customizing by a previous owner ?

In any case the " GOOD " vendors should accept the return of a faulty product or stop being considered as being " GOOD " vendors.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The vendor has a good rep. and a clear return policy so I have no reason to doubt that they will make good on it. I can't comment on whether another party besides the maker in question may have re-fitted or otherwise tampered with the guard and pommel, possibilities like this are precisely why I don't want to give the maker's name out.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you can be patient, talk to the vendor and let things play out. You can always tell the rest of the story later if you feel you need to regardless whether things come out for good or for ill. Not every story has to be completely told on the first telling.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Sean Smith





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the vendor makes good, you might want to list them. Never hurts to have more names of vendors who have good reputations. Even if it is simply " I bought a sword from X Vendor, and they were happy to return it.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Throw it back into the lake, my son...it's a piece of ju         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:

I wanted to ask some other collectors how many swords you have returned, if any, for obvious cosmetic or other percieved flaws? And what types of flaws will "seal the deal" for you and cause you to reject a sword and return it? Are we too willing to shell out our hard-earned cash for someone's second-best efforts? Or am I just too picky?


I haven't returned any but there was at least one that should probably have returned that had a very substandard rat-tail tang.
If rat-tail tangs are bad, this one was the worse possible example of one. ( This was a Walhanger before I knew how to tell the difference, the blade itself was decent which makes the bad tang even more disappointing ).

Things that would make me send it back.

A) Expensive enough to be worth the shipping costs and my time rather than just trying to fix it myself or salvage something from it if it was really low end cheap.

B) Really bad tang on what is supposed to be a mid to high end sword.

C) Bad heat treatment, warpage, terribly wavy grind lines, serious asymmetries unless consistent with what a period piece might have and assuming that this was what I was buying.

D) Scratches, rust, dings, notched edges, damaged point that couldn't be easily fixed by a little sharpening.

E) Getting a custom sword or polearms substantially different than ordered in design or important details that were agreed to. ( Exception made if the maker was given a lot of latitude to change the design ).

F) Bad structural design flaws or a good design badly executed.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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B. Stark
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shimming by itself (when done right) is not a horrible thing. Yet, that is something that should be utilised to "repair" a sword(temporarily) until more permanent work can be carried out. Hence it is unaccetable for a "new" sword.

I have returned swords. Not in several years though and not with any of the present companies I purchase from. Primarily Windlass/Del Tin swords in the past.

"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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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe there are a number of instances where guards and pommels were shimmed with iron, copper, and/or wood historically. So a shim isn't necessarily a safety issue in and of itself.

That being said, we deserve to feel that we got our money's worth, regardless of how much money was spent. If you're not happy, see if vendor/maker can make it right. They probably will.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Feb, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Buenas Justin.

You may have read I am almost a quality merchant Wink and want to point out to you that after sales is part of quality.

The maker obviously had a glitch in the quality controll but even yhough this should be prevented by his system if it does occur you should put the after sales system into work.

So, contact the seller.
If that does not work contact the maker.

At the moment you are a dissatisfied cutomer and should enter your claim into the part of the process that is part of total quality. Do not grumble YET Idea

Good luck!!!


peter
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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Feb, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Arledge wrote:
I will flat out say I returned an Albion whose last 2-3 inches were either tempered improperly, or warped during shipping. There was a notable bend in the tip. There were no issues with doing this. It did not affect my opinion of them, it just meant this particular sword was not a keeper. Happy


I had the same problem a few years back with a Sempach. They took care of it double quick. I've since owned a plethora of Albions and that was my only problem. To stay on topic though I'd just give em a call. The manufactures at that price point that I've had experience with were always ready to answer questions or address concerns. As for just accepting something like that for myself I wouldn't. You spent the bread and have a right to be happy with your purchase. That's my 2 cents at least.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Feb, 2008 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not a sword maker, so I have no dog in this fight, as the expression goes. I have, however, handled a fair number of swords ranging from about 900 down to 300 years old (and many more recent, of course, but no need to talk about them). The problems you mention would not occasion so much as a raised eyebrow from a serious collector of REAL pieces. They are often remarkable for lack of symmetry, alignment, somewhat haphazard finishes, etc., etc. They are clearly not the products of an industrial age, but are done by hand and eye (and usually some water powered equipment) in a hurry to meet a particular price point (this goes doubly for armour; the typical close helm, when seen head-on, is downright wonky!).
jamesarlen.com
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