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James H.





Joined: 03 Aug 2008

Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject: Angus Trim Swords vs. Albion Swords         Reply with quote

I am looking at both the Angus Trim Makerís Mark XIV and the Albion Knight Sword on the Christian Fletcher site. They seem like they match up pretty near the same on the specs with the only real difference being the points of balance. I like both hilt and guard designs and when I researched the makers they both had very high reviews with no real issues with either ones, except that the Angus Trim lines are screwed together pommels that had a ten dicey to loosen after heavy use, but was easily fixed by simply tighten them again and the fact they were screwed together meant they could be customized easier.
While both makers have high reviews the Angus Trim Sword is $450 while the Albion is nearly $800. These prices do not include the scabbard and belt which I would most defiantly have made too. I was wondering what if any is other differences that may contribute to the price difference, or if any one had expertise with them both and would know how one handle compared to the other and ease of care and how they hold their edges or difficulty of sharpening compare to one another. The chances is this will be the only sword I will ever buy, My wife would be too difficult if I started collecting them. So I will need one that would last me a life time even with use. Thank you if you have any information.
Basically I am looking for a quality cut and thrust.
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Nathan Keysor




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't say anything about Angus Trim's swords since I've never handled one. I do own several Albions and have owned various other makers in the past (Windlass, Paul Chen etc...). After I bought my first Albion I pretty much got rid of everything else. Even friends who don't know anything about swords can tell the Albions are well made. As far as pommel construction that is my pet peeve. I want my swords to be made as close as possible to the originals plus I've had screwed on pommels come loose at bad times (once again not Angus Trim swords). The Albions feel solid in your hand. I've ownd the Albion Knight which is an excellent sword. If you're wondering why I got rid of it if it's so good it's because I'm getting a Laird which has the same blade.

Nathan

PS No, I'm not a paid spokesman for Albion Big Grin

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
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Brian K.
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 4:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I've handled several Angus Trims and Albion swords, I can tell you that most of the differences are purely cosmetic. You can fix the pommel nut issue with some loctite.

Both are beautifully balanced and are excellent blades. I would swing towards Albion swords purely for a more artistic and cosmetic look only. Performance wise, they're in the same ball park.

Brian Kunz
www.dbkcustomswords.com
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just an additional consideration: Albion swords are taking an 11% price hike on the 5th. I'm sure Mike would be happy to work with you if you called him before then. I haven't heard or read anything bad about ATrimm blades, in fact I really like his new lines, but I want the historical accuracy Albion is known for.

Good luck!
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For me, saying the differences are only "cosmetic" would seem to indicate only a different level of finish or polish. While there is a difference in these qualities between the two, the differences between Albion and ATrim swords are much more drastic than simply that.

Albion products are, by and large, based on much more fist-hand research of historical samples than ATrims are and the final product is much closer to the swords left from antiquity. These differences are seen in the shaping of the hilt elements--the volumes, the proportions, the details--and also in the blade geometry. More than that, the sword as looked at as a whole (the hilt components as mated to the blade type, etc.) is generally going to be far more researched on the Albion side of things. Add on top of this the first things mentioned: the quality of finish, attention to detail, and precision of fit are also better on the Albion side of things.

Having said that, all those things come at a huge hit to cost. As you've noted, Albion swords are quite a bit more money: maybe as much as twice the price, or even more. The unfortunate reality is that they have to recoup the expense of all that research, engineering time, and hand finishing time.

Is the price difference worth it? Mileage varies. It all depends on what the customer wants. If a person is looking for a product that is made of quality materials, expertly heat-treated, durable as hell, and completely usable for most any task a sword might be called to do in today's world, the ATrim is well up to the task. Customers wishing for something closer to an authentic sword who might be doing living history or whatever would likely steer closer to the Albion. Price is never to be overlooked, however, as with anything there has to be concessions. Not everybody can afford to get exactly what they want: almost always we have to get what we can afford. Happy

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have yet to buy one, but have loved the cutting and handling feel of several A Trim Longswords that were loaned to me for cutting trials. At least for me, the key differences are finish/ polishing, and pommel assembly. When the Trim line does come out with a peened pommel, I will be early in the order line for a work horse cutting and drill sword.

An unbelievable number of hours can go into an aspect of a hand crafted item such as "finish." I know from my wood working experience that a nearly perfect finish can take me about as long as all of the planing of lumber, jointing, assembling panels, cutting, and assembly. If it were not a hobby, and I had to charge by the hour for near perfection in finish, I would have to nearly double the price I asked for each item with a high grade finish. When making a utilitarian item that will be thoroughly used and well worn (garage cabinets, tool cabinets, etc.) I don't go to the same extreme as when making a piece of furniture for someone else. I anticipate that others may evaluate level of finish in sword based on a similar criteria. If you wish to spar with it, frequently test cut, allow natural patina/corrosion, nicks from usage, etc. .....then perfection in finish polishing may not be worth a huge escalation in as purchased price.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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James H.





Joined: 03 Aug 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 6:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all, I have a lot to consider here from these posts. If Albion is considering an 11% price hike then I feel this might be a narrow opportunity to own one before they exceed my price range. I also appreciate historical authenticity as well. Also from my understanding I can get a 10% discount for being prior military. However the realistic side it is hard to part with that much money when I could have gotten the other for four hundred dollars cheaper and still justify it to my wife. Hate to sound whipped but we share our earnings equally and she is the one that makes the more money. I will be calling or e-mailing Christian Fletcher tomorrow to see how ordering it through his site works since this is where I would want my custom leather works to come from and I will also call Albion to see how they handle orders. Any more advice is always welcome.
Also which lines ,Angus or Albion is easiest for honing the edges when they become worn? Thanks again.
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Thomas Jason




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 6:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My sentiments are very close to Nathans.

There are big differences between Atrim swords and Albions.

Albion sets out to reproduce historical swords, with nearly identical characteristics as the historical pieces they are based on.

Atrim swords are primarily designed to cut water bottles and for modern wma work.

Both are highly researched for their intended purpose and achieve what they have set out to do.

In my opinion, the Albions are the better of the two as they better match the handling characteristics of the originals that they are based on.

That said, Albions and Atrims are far from the only game in town, ther are othe production makers such as Arms and Armor, Armourclass and many European custom makers such as Mark Vickers that will make a custom piece for you that matches a historical piece exactly for a cost that is not that much more than an Atrim. Of course many of these makers have waiting lists that can be quite long.
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most of this has probably been said in one way or another, but to offer my two cents...If historical authenticity is a concern I would advise that you consider the Albion. I have yet to hear of a dissatisfied Albion NextGen customer, I have 3 and they satisfy on levels you may not even percieve until you really handle and study them.

Personally I would put an ATrim up against any other sword of the same type and expect it to come up at least equal in terms of durability and efficiency for its inteded use. They are built for performance and they deliver. If you are more interested in useability than historical details then you will likely be perfectly happy and well served by an ATrim.

Both makers use comparable methods for the major production processes and although I believe they use different steels for their blades, both use proven, modern heat treat methods. Albion uses cast fittings while ATrim uses machined mild steel, I suspect that ATrim's fittings may be a bit more durable but both are sufficient for the purpose at hand.
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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 7:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is something to be said for all the attention to detail Albion puts forth into their swords. It is a complete package, and there won't be any shortcomings to disappoint you. If I had the choice, I would take an Albion every time.

That being said, if you're looking to save, you can have some peace of mind in purchasing an ATrim. They are sound in both construction, and performance.

Nathan did phrase it very well, too.

Brian Kunz
www.dbkcustomswords.com
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James H.





Joined: 03 Aug 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 8:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks all. Well I have to say I think I'll be going with the Albion line of swords. While I am sure that Angus Trim's lines are also good, this may be the only real functional sword I will most likely get, unless I win the lottery or else America becomes over run with goblins one, Now it is a matter of trying to decide which Albion to get. I love the Knight, it seems the best all around cut and thrust with simple yet elegant design. But I also like the looks of the Caithness Sword which has the same blade but the pommel reminds me of Vikings which I like. The Prince Sword i also nice as well as the Poitiers which I like the down swept curve of their guards, however I am not so crazy about the pommel of the Prince Sword, a little to flashy. Hard decision ahead of me. Thank you all for your help.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 8:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have much to add to the ATrim vs. Albion debate that hasn't already been said. But, I'd second the recommendation that you look at Arms & Armor (www.arms-n-armor.com). In terms of price, they are usually between Atrim and Albion. They are much more historical in look than ATrim swords (to me).

Albion swords may be more aesthetically perfect or detailed, but A&A's are every bit as authentic in appearance. Albion offers more of the complex blade geometries, but A&A swords are durable, attractive, and historical. They're worth a look, in my opinion.

If you're set on buying only Albion or Atrim, they're both good. I've cut with a couple of Atrims and the handling was great and cutting was very easy. The level of finish and attention to historical shapes is much higher on the Albions.

Happy

ChadA

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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 9:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:
If you are more interested in useability than historical details then you will likely be perfectly happy and well served by an ATrim.


I think that hits the mark dead center. If historical accuracy is very important for you....focus on Albion or Arms and Armor. Otherwise take a look at the ATrims.

But I will add one thing, imho, in the last two years or so .... Gus has taken his work to a whole new level. Of course so did Albion with the NG line......but at this point I have quite a few of both and I would say the blades are equal in quality, with maybe a slight edge to Gus. But the hilt work from Albion is AAAAA+.

However, keep in mind that Gus is a one man shop for the most part. So his production is limited. I exchanged a few emails with Christian last friday and from what I can tell CF does not have much in the way of swords to sell. Gus has legacy orders and a backlog, plus I think he may still be finishing swords from last fall's "pay off the machine sale" in addition to getting this new Makers Mark line going. So sometimes the wait with Gus can be a bit longer than a production outfit like Albion. .... so an order with Albion before the price goes up seems awfully timely.

I think its great that we have a company like Albion to make historically accurate reproductions but if you look at Records, there was a fair amount of variability in blades even within type.... so its also great to have someone like Gus who is willing to experiment a bit with blade geometry in order to understand what makes for a great performing sword. in any case you can't go wrong either way really. and there are other choices too........ all researchable via this site. tr

ps. there are also some very nice Albions for sale via myArmoury right now..............
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James H.





Joined: 03 Aug 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 11:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I looked over at the Arms and Armor site, they do have some nice pieces and I do like the look and reviews of their French Medieval sword but the price difference are only around $100 or so for the ones I like compared to Albion. Maybe in the future I'll look int there custom hunting swords though. I think now would be a good time to take advantage of Albion's price though. However I do like Angus Maker's Marks line I an not crazy about the hilt being "screwed together" though I doubt I would ever put it through it's paces enough for it to loosen up. Also I am not crazy about the idea of a back log of orders. I know quality comes with patience but I would worry he may become rushed or else I could be left waiting a year +.
On another note, I really like Christian Fletcher's leather work and chaps. I seen a few other sites and was wondering if any one else knew of other custom scabbard and belt makers. Or should I start another thread for that. Thanks again.
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 12:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well Mr Brian K. started doing scabbard and belts recently. He made a very nice one for Mike Harris of this board (and customize a sword very nicely for me as well).

Also if this is your first sword, I'm not so sure about going all in on something like an albion though. Yes they are great swords...but you could end up getting a great sword of the WRONG type for you. Unless of course it is purely for ascetic reasons that your buying the sword. In which case ignore this Happy . If you have any martial usage inclination for this sword, you really should know what you like. If you have already handled quite a few swords and know what you like, then once again ignore this. If you have handled a few swords and just know which ones you like, you can share and I'm sure we can help you pick an albion blade that fits you. If you haven't handle sword before at all...then once again, I'm not sure going all in like this quite a good idea without learning more. I only bring this up because my first sword was a very expensive custom sword...that doesn't quite fit what I want a sword to handle like. It's a GREAT sword for it's type...but it's a not so great for me :P .
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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 1:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James, firstly good luck at stopping with one sword Laughing Out Loud

You have done the right thing by shortlisting two excellent swordsmiths. I am not going to discuss the differences because others already have, and I have never handled an Angus Trim sword although I would very much like to one day. What I am going to do is tell you about the Knight.

It is a beautiful sword. Apparently simple, but every aspect of it is much more detailed than it would appear in any photo you will ever see.

The pommel is not simply a hunk of circular steel, but is a very intricate shape. The faces of the raised central portion of the pommel bevel, so they are narower towards the peen block, and the curved transition between the outer circumferance of the pommel to it's raised center not only looks good and is executed flawlessly but also means that if you are handshake gripping the sword, your hand can sit naturally and comfortably against that part of the pommel.

The grip suprised me. If you look at a photo of the sword so the face of the blade, the guard and grip are seen at their widest, where the grip starts to narrow in that view, it actually starts to swell in the opposite direction. I know this sounds simple and not startling but it makes the world of difference to how the sword can be gripped and feels in your hand. It also adds a great deal of visual appeal, something you would never be able to appreciate from a photo because it is so subtle. Of the swords I own, this sits most naturally and effortlessly in the hand.

The cross was not as wide as I anticipated, even after viewing the sword many times either on Albions site or here at myArmoury. The simple bow tie shape with chamfering and bevelling to transform it from a hunk of steel into a fluid and graceful feature of the sword is a simple guard when compared to what many other swords have, but because it actually has many faces to it's surfaces this cross does not need any embelishment. It's form creates the visual interest. I don't have the sword in hand, but from memory I don't think the guard has a single flat surface on it. It is comfortable to loop a finger over the guard and wield it this way, although I do not know if that would historically be appropriate.

The blade is good 'n wide, the edge is very fine and every aspect of the blade from it's profile to fuller and it's distal taper from solid shoulders where it exits the guard to it's thin,thin point is perfectly formed.

As far as backyard cutting goes, I have only put it against light targets. It has cut an unfilled milk bottle (ie no resistance) in two. It has removed the top of a milk bottle and then returned to pass through the middle of the bottle before the top had come off. It has accidentally removed part of the cutting stand (an old wooden bar stool) twice. Once my brother in law removed part of the cutting stand with bad edge alignment so the edge was damaged. This damage was only such that now that part of the edge reflects light whereas the rest of the edge does not. It has not affected the performance of the blade whatsoever. The second time it hit the stand it removed a sizable chunk of it with no damage whatsoever, as the edge alignment was fine although the aim was off. It has been accidentaly released after a swing onto exposed aggregate concrete by a friend (a first time user who unfortunately had not washed some sunscreen off the palm of his hands using the sword) , it scratched up the surface and scuffed the pommel and guard, but the pommel and guard damage was mostly able to be polished out. The scratches remain on the blade, but this has given the sword character. So the Albions are tough also and can stand abusive (accidental) punishment.

Don't look at the Knight and think it is a simple sword, because it is not simple at all. There is so much to it that you can only appreciate in hand.

As an aside you may want to consider the Oakeshott. It is a bit more expensive, but it is a unique sword and it's designer Peter Johnsson said it only didn't make the Museum Line because it weighed a little less than the sword it was based on, and it's fuller has a true radius instead of being flat. He also said if there were only 5 or 10 historical swords he could have, the one that the Oakeshott was based on would be one of them, and that sort of testimony is worth probably more than anything else anyone here can write.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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James H.





Joined: 03 Aug 2008

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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no real fencing training, just some book guided wooden sword which does not amount to much, though I have handle real swords before, my friend was a collector though he was on the high end of the spectrum and would never let a novice like me put his blades at risk. Not that I blame him in the lest. Basically what I am looking for is a good cut and thrust sword, emphasis on the cut and slash but still can handle lite armor thrust or better as well. It would have to be lite and comfortable in my hands and easily guided. I am not an overly big person, 6 ft. tall and about average medium built and my hands are medium.
I love history, most particularly Viking and Anglo-Saxon history, hence my appeal for the Albion Caithness Sword though I am afraid I might grow tired of the Pommel after a while, as well as Celtic of Roman era Gaul and Spain. I actually had thought of buying a bronze sword or early style Celtic long sword at one point but decided I would like more finesse in my blade. Something to use, not flashy but still retain elegance and style. Nothing overly complex. and nothing that would demand the use of two hands to wield. Power with sleek design and user friendly and a good all round "mission statement" or "purpose" Is a good way to put it I guess.
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Mike Harris




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James,

I have an Albion Knight, and I had one of the Maker's Mark Type XIVs for a little while. They are distinctly different swords, though they are both light and quick in hand. The Knight has a bit more blade presence of the two. The MM Type XIV is a bit quicker and easier to control the point. And it gives up a bit of cutting performance. I returned the Maker's Mark sword, as it didn't fit my style. However, if you are more concentrated on the thrust it's an excellent choice, and it still cuts pretty well. I just prefer a bit more blade presence. I consider the Knight to be on the light end of my preferred blade types (Type Xs, XIs and XIIs).

Bottom line IMO is that they are both excellent swords within their design parameters, with regards to performance. As has been mentioned, if you are seriously concerned with historic plausibility... that's is, something that would be seen as a normal sword, and desired "back in the day" then Albion is the choice. However, that choice comes with a substantially higher price, as you noted. If you are more concerned with having a sword that performs up to the highest expectations of the day, and can be easily disassembled for customization or repair, the ATrim sword does that with aplomb and has a substantially lower sticker price.
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 9:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well the knight sounds like a good choice for what you want there James. Yeah if historical accuracy is important albion over atrim all the way Happy . It sounds like you at least know what you want in a sword after all...and the knight would be a good fit for what you want I think. If you like the "lively" and agile blades though, maybe looking the prince or kingmaker would be better then the knight. Both will cut well and have good thrusting ability with good point control (I personally like type XVIII blades over the XVI). The poitier can cut, but it's much more thrust oriented so I don't think that is something your interested in.
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Michael R. Black





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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 10:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I dont really have anything to add regarding differences between albion/atrim swords, except to say I own and like both.

I'm posting because the issue of custom scabbards came up, and I wanted to recommend Russ Ellis of Tritonworks. He has done several projects for me and I have been quite happy.

Michael
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