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Simon G.




Location: Lyons, France
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 10:43 am    Post subject: Custom maker for a "branc d'arçon"         Reply with quote

Hello all,

It's just an idea I have, and I do not know if I will someday do it, but... I kinda would like ordering a sword that'd be really "mine" from a custom maker. And I wonder to whom I might turn, as I do not know much about them.

My idea would be what is called in French a "branc d'arçon" - it is a XIIIth century great war sword, type XIIa or XIIIa I suppose, but taller than what I have seen, as of now, offered by various makers. I did order an Albion Baron (and am very happy with it !), but, whereas the Baron is a "hand-and-a-half" (I mean in handling), and 120cm (48") long, a "branc d'arçon" is supposed to be a true two-hander, about 150cm (60") long - its name coming from the fact that it is too long to be transported at your side and must be fastened to the saddle.

Here's a branc d'arçon on a French maker site : http://www.comptoir-du-chateau.net/achat/prod...p;catid=51
I eyed at it for long, but now that I have my Baron, I find that one quite ugly. Also, it weighs 3,2kgs - that's 7 pounds, twice my Baron's weigh !

If you know of makers that have a decent, beautiful sword in that category, I'd be eager to know.

But I think I'll save some bit and wait for the opportunity to order my "own" sword. The design would be mainly historical, but I do not rule out taking some tiny liberties, while definitely staying in the realm of the "likely and probable" if not in that of the "exact actual". I do not have much other details at the time. As I said, it's just an idea, but one that really does attract me. So, if anyone in here knows of a custom maker that he would recommend for that endeavour, please tell me about him...

One last precision, I know custom swords are pricey so I do not ask for miracles, but I'd prefer this to stay in the "mostly affordable" range, like under 1500$, maybe 2000$. I'm looking for good worksmanship, but I do not need a gold-plated grip.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I would ask OlliN for a quote: There work is custom quality at about Albion prices and they are easy to work with and will listen to exactly what you want and try to do that.

As well Mark is a miracle worker as far as making extreme designs work as real swords with good handling. Big Grin
http://www.ollinsworddesign.com/

The whole story here if you managed to miss it or anybody else who managed to miss it. Razz
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8131&start=260

Send them an e-mail and discuss it with them, I'm fairly sure they can do something for close to the prices you mentioned and even a little else.

My own project with scabbard was around the same price you are ready to pay.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In addition to Ollin, I would check with Arms & Armor (A&A), who does nice custom work at what I've heard are very reasonable prices. Another option in that price range would be Michael Pierce (aka 'Tinker').
Happy

ChadA

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad you are right there are other very good makers but I guess I'm sort of biased by the recent great experience of working with Mark, although I have been very happy with the custom work done my A & A also.

Tinker would also be a good choice but for such a large piece his price might be higher as he has increased those recently and he limits his accepting custom orders to only the numbers he can handle without creating long delays and waits.

I could add Tod's Stuff to the list even if I haven't ordered anything from him myself I know that you have and are very pleased with him. Wink Cool

http://www.todsstuff.co.uk/swordsarmourshields.php

Also, Simon is in France and getting a sword from an English maker might be less costly for shipping ?
The best thing would be to contact a few makers and compare prices, style of work, delivery time estimates ( These always ballpark estimates as this is the most uncertain aspect of custom orders ).

There is a long list of good custom makers out there but I usually recommend mostly those I have had personal experience with and gave good customer service.

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




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the spirit of keeping it relatively close to you, you might try Castle Keep in Scotland, as well.
http://www.castlekeep.co.uk/

They have a bit of experience with claymores, so the long grip might be a natural for them.
Gordon
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Jessen Klaus




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Simon
The sword you have linked to are a blunt sword from Jiří Kronďák at
http://www.fabri-armorum.cz/
I would suggest that you take contact to Jakub Malovany from
www.armabohemia.cz I'm sure he can help you out.
I have bought several pieces from him and have no problems recommend him.(the same for Jiří Kronďák )

There are several good sword producers in the EU, and its cheaper too.
With shipping fee and taxes a sword from the states tends to be twice the original price before you have it.

Best regards
Klaus

Swords on waiting list
The Hauptmann,The Markgraf,
The Munich,The Knech,The Maximilian & The Dane

Sword's I'm selling/trading
Triton from Odinblades
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Simon G.




Location: Lyons, France
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks all for your replies !

Quote:
With shipping fee and taxes a sword from the states tends to be twice the original price before you have it.

I had no idea shipping could be that expensive. I ordered a sword from Canada (Darksword Armoury) recently and it wasn't that expensive. I had requested a quote from a Czech maker for a similar sword and s/h was about the same. A maille hauberk from Icefalcon did not cost that much in s/h either. But I guess it might vary (perhaps especially when it comes to sharp swords ?). Anyhow, having a manufacturer in Europe sure could be a good idea, but if there is a good American, or Asian, or African, or Oceanian maker out there who makes gorgeous, honest and good swords, I'll go with him. I'm for Blades Without Borders Big Grin

Quote:
The sword you have linked to are a blunt sword from Jiří Kronďák at
http://www.fabri-armorum.cz/

Gee, I had no idea. They are not upfront about that, they kinda give the impression they make the blades themselves, even if they do not claim that clearly. What's worse, what they sell as a "branc d'arçon" from the XIIIth-XIVth century is actually, according to the maker, a Gothic two-hander ! Now I know why this sword looked odd to me. And they sell it 140€ above the maker's price. No comment !

As for the other makers you kindly suggested, Castle Keep does seem interesting and not overly expensive. I'll be sure to check with them. I forgot that A&A did custom work, and they of course sound like a good choice. But I'm also very interested by Arma Bohemia. I had already noted the beautiful, simple and tasty work they do for very honest prices. I think I'll ask them first and foremost.

But if anyone has other ideas or suggestions, please shoot !

And many thanks to all for your kind help and advice, these forums really are a joy to partake in !

EDIT : also, I'm curious about one thing that could also be useful in describing what I want to a sword maker : is there an equivalent for the term "branc d'arçon" in English ? Or does "great war sword" fills that niche, without further distinction between "great great war swords" and "small great war swords" ( Razz ) ?
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

English is not my first language so I can't help you there. But I thought you might be interested in using XIIa.4 from Oakeshott's Records of the Medieval Sword as an inspiration for your sword. It has 110cm long blade, so with a double handed grip that would be total of about 140cm or even more... It has octagonal pommel with a series of rosettes around the center that is decorated with a cross patee. (cross is on one side of the pommel only) Guard is simple type 1. I can't, but maybe someone can scan the picture of the sword and the pommel from the Records?
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 4:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:

EDIT : also, I'm curious about one thing that could also be useful in describing what I want to a sword maker : is there an equivalent for the term "branc d'arçon" in English ? Or does "great war sword" fills that niche, without further distinction between "great great war swords" and "small great war swords" ( Razz ) ?


From your description and the period it sounds like a thrust specialized sword meant to be used from horseback but maybe useable on foot.

To me that sounds like a Tuck or Tock from the French " Estoc " the word for thrust the action and a kind of early rapier.

Very early on the name may have applied to early larger than normal warswords that would be attached to the saddle of the horse.

It could also just be a big " saddle sword " if translated literally and not be only the specialized thrusting type of sword: Some very big, long and narrow bladed stiff swords being popular as well as wide but also big slashing swords being carried and maybe using the same name at some point in time ?

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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In 13th or early 14th century I doubt it would be specialized thrusting sword... It would definitely be XIIa or XIIIa but bigger than normal...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
In 13th or early 14th century I doubt it would be specialized thrusting sword... It would definitely be XIIa or XIIIa but bigger than normal...


I could be mistaken but weren't there some very narrow and thick blade used this early but mostly just for horseback use ?
But I agree probably something like the Albion baron or Duke and being just a really big sword for the period.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

I could be mistaken but weren't there some very narrow and thick blade used this early but mostly just for horseback use ?
But I agree probably something like the Albion baron or Duke and being just a really big sword for the period.


There is anecdotal evidence of swords being used to thrust, but no hard evidence that I can recall about large, specialized thrusting weapons that early.

Cross-sections necessary to make a good thrusting sword would have been more rare then, though there are historical examples from the late 13th century. There is a Type XV-esque blade depicted on an effigy from circa 1280 (William Longespée the Younger) and other diamond cross-sections in period art in the mid 13th century, but the early ones (especially historical examples) seem to have been single-handers instead of hand and a half or larger.

Specialized estocs are typically a 15th century and later things, though is probably a 14th century example someone will remind me of. Happy

Happy

ChadA

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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon, I would strongly suggest you contact Peter Lyon and see if he is available. His pricing may well be right for what you are looking at doing.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 2:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

From your description and the period it sounds like a thrust specialized sword meant to be used from horseback but maybe useable on foot.

To me that sounds like a Tuck or Tock from the French " Estoc " the word for thrust the action and a kind of early rapier.


No, the branc d'arçon is a slashing sword, a big XIIa or XIIIIa as Luka suggested. According to Liliane & Fred Funcken (you should know them well, Jean Wink ) the branc later evolved into the estoc ("tuck" in English) but it was not its first incarnation. Also, it was a sword for fighting on foot, meant to be used by the dismounted knight.

Images from the Funcken books :

Nos. 12, 13, 15 and 16 on this one are "saddle swords". Nos. 12 and 13 are 125cm (49") long overall. Nos. 15 and 16 are 150cm (59") long. If I am not mistaken, no. 16 is the sword A&A replicates as their 15th c. two-hander. Nos. 15 and 16 are about the length I'm looking for, but as you can see they are latter swords (no 15 is 15th century, no. 16, according to this book, is "end of the 14th c.". No. 12 is labelled as "15th century" - looks like a type XX - and no. 13 as "mid-14th c.").


Here's a pic of Bertrand du Guesclin, about 1380. Comment says : "He is armed with the great sword for fighting on foot. This sword, too long to be carried at the side, was hung from the saddle. It is a new adaptation of the old branc, called branc viennois ("branc from Vienna") or branc pavinois ("branc from Pavia"), well-loved by knights during the second half of the 13th c., the "branc (or brand) d'acier cler" ("clear-steel branc") and the "branc that hung at pommel" in the chansons de geste. "

It is that kind of "old branc" that I would be looking for.

Luka Borscak wrote:
I thought you might be interested in using XIIa.4 from Oakeshott's Records of the Medieval Sword as an inspiration for your sword. It has 110cm long blade, so with a double handed grip that would be total of about 140cm or even more... It has octagonal pommel with a series of rosettes around the center that is decorated with a cross patee. (cross is on one side of the pommel only) Guard is simple type 1. I can't, but maybe someone can scan the picture of the sword and the pommel from the Records?

You bet I'm interested ! It seems that's quite exactly what I am looking for, thank you very much. In fact, there is a picture on this site's spotlight page on type XIIs (it's really a wonderful site !) :
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_spotxii.html
140cm is a good length. I read somewhere (but, this somewhere being an internet forum, pass the pinches of salt around, people) that a good length for such a non-Renaissance two-hander would be from your foot to your armpit - for me that would be about 145-150 cm (57" - 59").

Also, thanks Paul Watson for the Peter Lyon suggestion, I heard of him and IIRC he's quite good. I looked around his site a bit, but unfortunately the pics aren't very good, so it's hard to tell the quality of his work. Will try searching a bit more for examples of what he does (if anyone here has one, please chime in !).

EDIT :
Peter Lyon's website wrote:
My big break came in 1998 when I was asked to make the swords for the film production of The Lord of the Rings.

Uuuuh... Okay, now I know where to look at for examples. Wow. That would make for a very nice bragging right. Eek!
But, after that, is he "affordable" ?
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Gordon Clark




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a Peter Lyon sword described in this thread: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=13128

Here is a pic. Very good quality. Might be a long wait - not sure..

Gordon



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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, 6 years... That's damn long ! I don't know if I'm prepared to wait more than 2, maybe 3 years. I suppose it cannot hurt to ask him how long it would take, though.
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Gordon Clark




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:
Wow, 6 years... That's damn long ! I don't know if I'm prepared to wait more than 2, maybe 3 years. I suppose it cannot hurt to ask him how long it would take, though.


Six years was because of a combination of things - your expereince might vary widely. Best to talk with Peter.
Gordon
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:



Here's a pic of Bertrand du Guesclin, about 1380. Comment says : "He is armed with the great sword for fighting on foot. This sword, too long to be carried at the side, was hung from the saddle. It is a new adaptation of the old branc, called branc viennois ("branc from Vienna") or branc pavinois ("branc from Pavia"), well-loved by knights during the second half of the 13th c., the "branc (or brand) d'acier cler" ("clear-steel branc") and the "branc that hung at pommel" in the chansons de geste. "



Ah, really big sword then ! I guess I focused too much on the later one's that evolved towards the Tuck.

How about this one from A & A it sure looks a lot like the one in the picture/drawing: Any stylistic or period differences could be dealt with by having A & A do some custom modification on the hilt as the blade seems about right !
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/sword156.html

Found the pic in the book and it looks almost like the same sword. Wink Cool If not the same it would take very little to make it so ! I have this A & A and it's a huge but not excessively heavy one, and I can recommend it highly.

A standard model would take less time to get that a modified or fully custom model: Give Craig at A & A a call or send an e-mail.

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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you are ok with 15th century, A&A is a good choice.
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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
How about this one from A & A it sure looks a lot like the one in the picture/drawing: Any stylistic or period differences could be dealt with by having A & A do some custom modification on the hilt as the blade seems about right !
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/sword156.html

Found the pic in the book and it looks almost like the same sword. Wink Cool If not the same it would take very little to make it so ! I have this A & A and it's a huge but not excessively heavy one, and I can recommend it highly.

Yes, the A&A is a "branc d'arçon", but a bit late compared to what I'm searching for. It has a diamond cross-section ; I'd be looking for a sword this size, but with a XIIa or XIIIa blade type. 15th century is far too late. I'd be looking for about 13th c. In fact, I even wonder whether there existed earlier "great swords", like about the end of the 11th c. (First Crusade). I will try to do some research on that. Any thoughts ?

Also, the idea behind this sword would really to have a one-of-a-kind. As far as serial-made go, I have my Albion Baron I'm very happy with. Razz
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