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Michael Pikula
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Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jan, 2009 5:03 pm    Post subject: What is your Aesthetic & Budget?         Reply with quote

I am curious as to what aesthetic and budget is appealing to most people? I know the economy sucks, and even less people can afford to spend the ball park $1000 give or take on a blade, especially if the blade is not one that is of the style that appeals to the potential buyers. So I am hoping that in this thread people could post what style blade appeal to them the most, and what price range is affordable to them.
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Joe Fults

Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jan, 2009 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like a variety of things but my collection at the moment is largely longswords of German influence. I'd like to add a rapier someday and perhaps move away from weapons to soft and hard kit. My budget is effectively nothing since my wife has been idled until at least the end of March. No cash coming from her, so no spare money for toys. Only option I have right now is trading, not spending.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

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

Last edited by Joe Fults on Fri 16 Jan, 2009 5:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jean Thibodeau

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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Depends on how many sword or related products are in my order cue: If I have to pay for a few in the next few months it sort of cramps my ability to impulse buy or make an order for a new piece. If, I have nothing on order for the year anything from $500 to maybe $1500 if the sword, dagger, polearm, armour ...... is very much appealing to me or if I get and idea for something I want to design and have made.

The economy and uncertainty is certainly making me think twice about how much I can spend and I think I won't seriously consider buying anything over $500 for at least 6 months or until those couple of projects I'm still waiting for are fully paid up and ready to ship.

At the moment I'm vaguely thinking of a cinquedea or a coustille type large dagger as a possible future buy.

Could be a very wide 3" to 4 " blade near the guard, 15" blade with a triangular profile and just a bit of curve near the tip. A prominent central ridge to the reinforced point with two wide fullers on each side of the central ridge.

If a cinquadea maybe multiple fullers but still with a prominent central ridge in the last few inches near the point.

Not making any commitments here to buy, but you asked. Wink Big Grin Timing and cost being important factors as well as the " OH, heck, it may be more than I want to pay but it's worth twice as much as the asking price and I like it ... "

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

Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 1:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm trying to break the habit of buying little fun items that preclude me from buying nicer, more enduring pieces, but the $40 axe is often easier to budget for. I started buying axes when I could no longer justify buying a cheap wallhanger of any kind, and found that functional polearms are far less expensive, and often just as interesting as swords. Now I've developed more of a taste for polearms than I originally had for swords; which I now see as garnering vastly disproportionate attention in comparison with their role in history. Yes, swords are enchanting, but I'd take a wall of pikes over swords any day.

My buying stratagems are also stoutly tied to matrimonial diplomacy:
Anything under $60 I can impulse buy and get away with just a "hrmph" from my
Anything around $100 I need some form of tacit agreement. These often come on the form of Christmas/Birthday presents.
Anything in the $200-Albion range requires serious diplomacy (read:begging) and overtime at work.

Most years I have a big ticket item; last year it was the Valkyrja, and this year it might have been a custom helmet or riveted byrnie, but with recent power shifts in the US government, that AR-15 that was third or fourth on the list just jumped to the top. This is probably an overreaction from me. but if there is a policy shift prices will skyrocket long before any laws hit the books. I don't see swords being and endangered species in the US anytime soon, so they can always wait. Sometimes planning daydreaming about the thing is as much fun as owning it anyway.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Sam Barris

Location: San Diego, California
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 1:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm lucky enough to be in an industry that is still doing fairly well, so I've actually ramped up my sword buying in the last year or two, in terms of both quality and quantity, and intend to keep this trend up for at least the next two. The two nicest recent additions to my collection were an Albion Svante and a Bugei Lion Dog, both on the high end of the production spectrum (with price tags to match). I have to get this sort of thing in now, because once I'm out of the service and into graduate school, it has to fall by the wayside for a few years until I'm established in some other line of work. At that time (maybe ten years from now), I hope to comission some nice custom weapons, like an epee du combat, a Cretan dagger (I'd love to see Vince Evans do this one) and one or two others. This is years away, though. Right now I'm just dreaming.

As for aesthetics, I'm building what might be called an eclectic collection. A few Albion longswords, an Albion Knecht for variety, a nice katana, a rapier from A&A in the very near future. I don't really have any set patterns, since my buying habits are guided more by what I want to study than loyalty to any particular style. Some people love to put together collections of the same family in order to explore subtle variations within the type (the claymore and schiavonna seem to be popular choices for this sort of thing, and it's really cool to see something like that), but the closest I can see myself getting to that would be the three swords I'll have in various flavors of Type XVIII (Svante, Munich, Dane), and that just sort of happened that way unintentionally. Others devote themselves to a specific company, and here I have to admit that most of my sword budget has been headed Albionward, but I think I'll be spreading it out a bit more over the next few years.

I've also been trying to invest in some high-quality training weapons. I have an Albion Meyer on the way, and I'm going to order a nice bokken and jo from Kingfisher Woodworks when the geography works out so that I can join a dojo again. I'm also interested in one or two nice pieces of armor. Not full harness (yet), but just a nice breastplate, helmet and mail hauberk. Just so that I'm not buried in swords without an actual period kit of some kind. And the mail I made for myself in college is nice, but less appropriate next to my new swords now that I know just how inaccurate it truly is.

Basically, I've just started with nice swords and am still trying to find my happy place. So far so good, but I'm sure my definitions will be revised many times before it's over. Big Grin

Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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M. Oroszlany

Location: Czech Republic / Slovakia / Hungary
Joined: 12 Jan 2009

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 2:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I only recently decided to pick up historical fencing as a way to keep fit (well, actually to become fit). As a first purchase I will probably go with a low end training weapon from Peter Regenyei (the english version seems not to be working) He seems to be recommended by several fencing schools in the area as making well balanced and reasonably priced weapons, and is located relatively close to me.

I really like this design in particular: which I think falls in the "historically plausible" category, as it's not marked as a replica of a historical piece.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Jan, 2009 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting question. I'll give you my own buying style right now and then answer the un-asked question I see from you: what should I make and what should I charge as a maker right now?.

My budget is limited right now and for the foreseeable future. I'm limited to what money I can making selling things from my own library and collection along with a few things I pick up to resell. This also means my collecting income is sporadic. So my purchases the last few years have been mainly daggers, usually custom or semi-custom pieces. My standard for historical accuracy is pretty high, though I look at the end result more than the means used to produce it (ie modern methods are okay as long as the end product captures a historical look). I tend to only buy from people who I know study antiques. Otherwise, the work lacks the subtle 3D things that complete the historical look. My overall budget and style of fund-raising lead to purchases usually in the sub-$500 range right now, usually far under $500.

My swords are all Albion, A&A and Armour Class. They're the best I feel I can get without going fully custom, which is simply not an option financially and may never be. I'd be hard-pressed with my budget to buy a sword that meets my standards these days. Luckily, I like the swords I currently have and can use my limited funds to fill out other areas of my collection.

So that's me. Happy

If you're looking for advice on what to make to stay afloat in today's market, here's what I say. As with anything in life, you need a balance and you need to be flexible. You may find people with deep pockets willing to spend big money. But you'll also find people looking for a deal. You may find fewer people looking to commit to an expensive custom project with a far-away delivery date.

If I were building an arms and armour business, I'd probably regularly make smaller and/or less complex items (and less expensive) to build skill and have stock available for impulse buyers and people who have cash in hand now but may not want to commit to a queued project since they don't know what their finances will be later. I'd also work to keep my queue as small/short as possible for the same reason. I'd build my skill and customer base through not biting off more than I could chew and perhaps try to make my money based on volume rather than big ticket stuff (ie many less-expensive items rather than a few expensive ones). That volume will hopefully lead to a loyal customer base who will spend more with you as soon as they can.

I'd also use websites like this one to reach people. You've already contacted us about submitting pieces for official reviews and that's a good start. Encourage your customers to do the same: submit (honest) official reviews rather than just posting on the forums. Our reviews are very widely read by people who never visit the forums.

While you have to do what you have to do to eat and care for your family, if you price too high or don't meet the demands of today's market it will be a tough go. Smiths don't always adapt to changing conditions and it has cost some of them.


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Gabriele A. Pini

Location: Olgiate Comasco, Como
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Jan, 2009 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm at the low-end of the tread, being a student and the rest, so I'd like to buy a sword as cheap as I can, but still battle-ready.

In the meantime I'm producing what armor I need (fortunately my society is based only on chain mail) and I started a project on the weapons-farmer tools of the medieval age (this being very cheap and easy to reconstruct).

Last edited by Gabriele A. Pini on Fri 16 Jan, 2009 11:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jason Elrod

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PostPosted: Fri 16 Jan, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well at this point I am at a crossroads. I have a new $800+ scabbard and belt to pay for and then my hobby depts are paid up.

I have been saving about $150 a month to put toward swords and the other various hobbies including booze Big Grin that I have however I'l probably half that amount to $75 or below due to the economy especially since I supply equipment for new commercial building construction. Luckily I work less than 30 miles from DC so the downturn has been less substantial for me than other people in other places.

l'll probably stay within the upper level of production sword pricing but I'll just buy fewer swords, although the CAS/Hanwei Tinkerswords have really peaked my interest so I might buy one of them. I might also expand my collection out. I feel that non-sword items such as daggers, messers, shields and polearms are underpriced in todays market. . . really they've been underpriced all along and might expand my collection out with a couple high production lower priced item such as a Arma Bohemia Messar or an A&A Mace.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Jan, 2009 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Style: Military swords of ca. 1450-1650, but concentrated between 1500 and 1600. Mainly longswords and common infantry swords of all types, with emphasis on Germany/Austria. I feel that we don't see enough simple swords of the period--baselard, katzbalger, hanger/messer, complex-hilt field swords, etc.

Budget: The recession coincides with my desire to increase the quality of my collection by reducing its size. Over the last seven years I bought and sold lots of lower-end items, sometimes at a cash profit, always at a knowledge and skill profit. In the last year or so I've sold or traded the remainder of that stuff in order to acquire fewer items of better quality, preferably in need of serious work so I can save a bit of money, develop new skills and add value to my purchases. By summer, I expect to own only two or three swords with values in the $500-$800 range (though I will have considerably less invested in them) and one sallet valued somewhere within that same range (assuming extensive work turns out as hoped).

Barring other sales, that pretty much exhausts my arms and armour capital. After that, I forsee a turn to making a few knives, experimenting with wooden targets and working on what are essentially salvage projects.

These days I rarely see arms in the sub-$400 range that appeal to me even as projects. There are a couple of exceptions, but those tend to be from companies like Windlass and I'd rather invest in smaller and more dedicated and knowledgeable arms and armour manfucaturers as much as possible.

I need to thin out my library a bit, maybe knock out some WMA titles I don't use. That could fund some small projects. Still, books are by far the most valuable (in every way) part of my arms and armour hobby.


"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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M. Eversberg II

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PostPosted: Fri 16 Jan, 2009 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Budget's nearly non existent, but I'm selling off some of my stuff at the cheap to change that. By this spring, I should about ca 900USD to put into a project revolving around the new Tinker swords.


This space for rent or lease.
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Michael Pikula
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the interesting input. I realize that my original post was a little vague as to what I was asking and Nathan was kind enough to send me this link:, to a thread that asked my question in a much clearer way.

I suppose I am in a unique situation since at some point I too would like to be able to purchase blades from other makers and companies since there isn't much that can beat a side by side comparison of two blades. When there isn't a pair of fresh eyes that know what they are looking for in term of Q.C. looking at work that is not ones own, and then going back to it can help to bring out the little details that could sometimes be over looked. But for now eating 2.5 meals a day and having a bag of coffee on hand yields a good day!
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