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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 10:19 am    Post subject: Albion Kern - Opinions & thoughts appreciated         Reply with quote

Hi,

I'm extremely intrigued by this sword, but I'm finding little information on it regarding user experience.

http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...rn-xix.htm

Even if you haven't had the chance to handle or use one, I wouldn't mind some input as far as everyone's thoughts are concerned. I'm interested in acquiring one, so any and all information is appreciated.

Thanks!

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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 1:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not exactly "handleing experience" but that sword is used a fair bit in the 3rd serries of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spinnoff "Angel".
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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are you sure? I did not think the Kern was released until after the Angel series wrapped up. I remember seeing the MRL Irish sword in an episode, hanging on the wall behind Angel's desk in his sword collection. There was also the Del Tin DT2140 in the same display, and used in the series.
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Eric McHugh
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 3:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nat Lamb wrote:
Not exactly "handleing experience" but that sword is used a fair bit in the 3rd serries of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spinnoff "Angel".


Sorry, but no. This sword was never in a television show. The Kern is based on Peter's research into Irish ring-hilt swords. There are number of them in museums in Ireland. I believe most of these swords are from the late 15th to 16th centuries. One significant example is the River Suck sword.

The blade is based on hands-on research with the Alexandrian XIX that is in the Royal Armoury at Leeds. I can't remember what Oakeshott number it is, but I'm sure someone has a picture of it. This is an absolutely phenominal blade. It is a very quick blade with a wicked edge.
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 3:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Eric,

I have no experience with XIX swords, but how stiff is this one?
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 4:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With respect to the blade, the Kern is very similar to the Gallowglass which I know you have already handled Wink except that it is of course shorter in length, a little narrower at the ricasso, and the tapers are slightly different. The kern is a rather light and very fast sword but has a COG much further down the blade (7 inches) than most other medieval swords. This gives it a different feel than most swords. It feels more substantial of a sword to me when in motion than you would guess at first glance just looking at the weight; and the COG being closer to the pivot point and the COP help with aligning the blade when cutting imo. Although the Kern weighs less than most medieval swords, because of the light weight you can get the sword moving very very fast going into the cut. The balance and tapers (COG and COP and the PP for the hand) all seem to be historically correct vis a vis swords of that period in the National Museum in Dublin. Keep in mind it is primarily a 16th c sword type.

One other thing I have noticed with swords of this XIX type - if you like to do recreational cutting on light targets it helps to keep a finely honed edge on swords of this type so that they will "bite" initially upon contact into a cut, and stay aligned as the cut progresses because although the blade is relatively narrow at the COP, its hexagonal section gives it a fair amount of mass behind the edge and the angle behind the edge is a bit steeper than other sword types. One way to summarize this is that it is not the sword to give a newbie the first time they try cutting as edge alignment is quite critical and you will be partly compensating for lack of mass with speed and acceleration into the cut. As far as backyard recreational cutting, in skiing parlance, I would consider this a "black diamond". It takes a bit of practice to use effectively. I also have owned the Doge and the Doge is different in profile and section and was easier to cut with than the Kern.

If you go to this thread by Vincent http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=15288

you'll see the measurements of my AT1401 relative to the other swords. I customized that 1401 with a ring hilt pommel to give me a sword that was somewhere "in-between" the handling characteristics of the Albion Kern and the A&A Irish sword. Notice how the equivalent point mass for that sword is a little "out in front" of the cross compared to the other swords giving it a handling character a bit like a saber. I think that is probably a good analogy overall that these lighter weight Irish ringhilt swords of the 16th c with COGs down the blade have a bit of a "saber-like" mass balance and feel. Personally, I love them and think the Kern is a great sword but it is different.

I don't know if any of the above makes any sense but there's my $0.02. tr
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Darryl Aoki





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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Kern looks, from the photographs on Albion's website, to have a similar blade to the Doge, which I've got. While the handling is probably going to be affected by the drastically-different mountings, my impression of my Doge is that it's fast, with extremely good tip control for thrusting. The first description that comes to mind is "well-mannered," if that makes any sense.

Hopefully sometime soon I'll get a chance to do some practice cutting with the Doge.
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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That makes perfect sense, and I understand completely what you're saying. I am interested in knowing how the cross section is shaped and it's thickness as I'm more interested in a sword for it's 'slicing' abilities in the cut. How you just described it tell's me a great deal, so thank you very much.

Thom R. wrote:
One other thing I have noticed with swords of this XIX type - if you like to do recreational cutting on light targets it helps to keep a finely honed edge on swords of this type so that they will "bite" initially upon contact into a cut, and stay aligned as the cut progresses because although the blade is relatively narrow at the COP, its hexagonal section gives it a fair amount of mass behind the edge and the angle behind the edge is a bit steeper than other sword types. One way to summarize this is that it is not the sword to give a newbie the first time they try cutting as edge alignment is quite critical and you will be partly compensating for lack of mass with speed and acceleration into the cut. As far as backyard recreational cutting, in skiing parlance, I would consider this a "black diamond". It takes a bit of practice to use effectively. I also have owned the Doge and the Doge is different in profile and section and was easier to cut with than the Kern.

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Machiavelli, which shares the blade of the Kern, is a very good cutter. I was surprised by it. It's quite robust for such an agile/handy weapon.

What I like most about these types of blades is that they're robust and able to be used quite well for cutting with a lot of mass behind it. But at the same time, they can be made with a cross-section, profile, and a weight that allows for it to be quick. It's a real "cut and thrust" sword type for sure.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian K. wrote:
That makes perfect sense, and I understand completely what you're saying. I am interested in knowing how the cross section is shaped and it's thickness as I'm more interested in a sword for it's 'slicing' abilities in the cut. How you just described it tell's me a great deal, so thank you very much.

Thom R. wrote:
One other thing I have noticed with swords of this XIX type - if you like to do recreational cutting on light targets it helps to keep a finely honed edge on swords of this type so that they will "bite" initially upon contact into a cut, and stay aligned as the cut progresses because although the blade is relatively narrow at the COP, its hexagonal section gives it a fair amount of mass behind the edge and the angle behind the edge is a bit steeper than other sword types. One way to summarize this is that it is not the sword to give a newbie the first time they try cutting as edge alignment is quite critical and you will be partly compensating for lack of mass with speed and acceleration into the cut. As far as backyard recreational cutting, in skiing parlance, I would consider this a "black diamond". It takes a bit of practice to use effectively. I also have owned the Doge and the Doge is different in profile and section and was easier to cut with than the Kern.


I have the Doge also and it does seem to have some decent rigidity in the thrust even thought the blade isn't very thick.

The cross section is hexagonal with some profile and distal taper but only moderately so, giving it a lot of presence: In other words even though the blade is narrower than many cut dedicated blades, and might seem on first glance to be less of a cutting type sword, I think it would be very effective with tip cuts or cut with the last 8" of blade. And as mentioned it also is very much a finesse type blade and not a brute force cutting one with a fairly long blade.

Sort of a sword with handling reminding me of a true cut and trust sword that could be used with 1:33 technique ( even if a bit late in period for this ) and used with backsword " Silver " or even rapier technique ?

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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Feb, 2009 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well gentlemen, you are certainly convincing me this could be my next sword.

Jean, you said "I think it would be very effective with tip cuts or cut with the last 8" of blade."

Is that suggesting that there isn't much reverberation in the blade upon impact up beyond the center of percussion? It was my understanding that cuts attempted to be made outside of the COP would be harder to execute cleanly due to the vibrations getting larger past the COP. I only ask to better understand, because my limited experience is based on my own teachings of backyard cutting Big Grin

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Eric McHugh
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Taylor Ellis wrote:
Hey Eric,

I have no experience with XIX swords, but how stiff is this one?


Not trying to be a smart @$$ but, stiff compared to what? I mean it is a thinner blade, but many of these XIX were thinner, so they would tend to be more flexible even with a correct tempering. The flex is more of a function of the profile. So, the Kern, Mach, Condot...would have less stiffness in the blade compared to a XV for example. With that said, these swords handle very well. The tip goes where you want it. It tracks very nicely. Again, this is a function of Peter's design. The cross-section and profile of this swords allows for less mass in the blade than other similar size blades while not sacrificing cutting ability.

Can you tell I like XIXs. You can't go wrong with these swords. I owned two, the Mach and Condot, but alas I was a victim of the economic downturn. I can tell you that when things are better I will purchase another one of these XIX.
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 6:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blush
I stand corrected, I was making the statement based of what I could see, which was mostly the hilt and pommel, which is not the prefered method of acurately identifying sword charecteristics ot must be said
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian K. wrote:
Well gentlemen, you are certainly convincing me this could be my next sword.

Jean, you said "I think it would be very effective with tip cuts or cut with the last 8" of blade."

Is that suggesting that there isn't much reverberation in the blade upon impact up beyond the center of percussion? It was my understanding that cuts attempted to be made outside of the COP would be harder to execute cleanly due to the vibrations getting larger past the COP. I only ask to better understand, because my limited experience is based on my own teachings of backyard cutting Big Grin


I can't honestly answer this as I really haven't tried to do any heavy cutting with it but in just handling I'm think more in terms of fast tip cuts or draw cuts and the ease with which one can control the point.

I imagine that for a full force chopping cut being close to the COP would be better, but the blade isn't whippy: If I hold the Doge vertically and slap my hand holding the sword hard with my other hand the vibration at the tip is mild and seems less that with some of my other swords that oscillate a great deal using the same test.

I handle my swords a lot more often than I cut with them but I have been training with the longsword for a couple of years, if that means anything as far as evaluating how blade behaves when they parry ? Mostly wasters but also an Albion Liechtenauer, so I guess I have some idea about how a blade can vibrate in the hand on impact.

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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian, once agian not about the Kern but the Machiavelli which has the same blade. The italicised comments below are from a disscusion I had with someone.

I don't know enough about swords to comment fully but the Machiavelli is just like every other Albion I have held or own. It just feels right.

I have only cut a couple of light targets and it seems to marginally lack in this manner vs the Knight which is to be expected, but really who cares because the light targets I use do not emulate the expected historical demands of a sword. Point control is very good and the velocity of the foible seems to be greater than either the Knight or Sovereign, although it appears to take a split second longer to execute a strike or get the blade up to speed. These are all really just uneducated impressions.

I do enjoy the different feel in handling you get whether you have the fore finger through one of the rings or not. I do not even know if this is meant to be an optional way to use the sword or if the intention is for the fore finger to always be through one of the rings. It seems it cuts better when the ring is not employed but thrusting control and recovery is improved when it is.

The blade does seem nice and robust, the cross section seems to retain enough substance for this without being too thick to be able to effectively cut and still being able to have a narrow blade profile.



I agree with Jean in that tip cuts would be very effective, made in part possible by the fact that because the blade is long for a single hander, the tip moves very fast when swung. Although the blade is hexagonal, each face is not a pronounced flat plane. To me it sort of seems like a narrow lenticular profile with a flattened face in the middle on each side. Draw cuts would be effective along any part of the blade length apart from the ricasso, it is quite sharp, but with still enough mass behind it due to the blade geometry for full cuts. The point is as sharp as the blade profile would suggest, more so than a XII but not as sharp as a XV, XVI or XVIII. The comments above fro the Machiavelli about use of the finger rings would equate to fingering the guard of the Kern. Point control is very good especially when you conside rthe length of the blade. I have no idea and would only be able to guess how the Kern's lighter weight of longer POB would compare however.

I would try to convince you to buy a Machiavelli just to see how you treat the scabbard at the throat area, but I would also like to see what sort of Irish creation you would come up with for the Kern. Really the solution is simple buy both Big Grin

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 4:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Watson wrote:
I would try to convince you to buy a Machiavelli just to see how you treat the scabbard at the throat area, but I would also like to see what sort of Irish creation you would come up with for the Kern. Really the solution is simple buy both Big Grin


Thanks for all the input, and as I quoted you for only the last thing you said, I appreciate the rest as well. In regards to purchasing both? I would rather buy that nice Svante in the marketplace for that price Cool

Regarding the scabbard for the Machiavelli, it would be an interesting challenge for sure. The wood core would be easy, but would you finish the throat with terminated leather, or a metal locket? Challenging indeed.

In regards to my next purchase, I'm starting to think the Kern might not suit what I'm looking for, although it would make for an excellent addition to my collection in regards to sword types & usage. It would seem these blade types make for adequate cutters, but not excellent. Say for example tatami, or simple water bottles. It may struggle with tatami, and water bottles could become a every other one sort of experience.

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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As is usually recognised the test cutting is primarily a measure of technique not a true measure of the swords ability, although of course the sword does have an effect on what can be achieved. My technique is not good, I haven't cut tatami, and when cutting water bottles or milk jugs with the Machiavelli I have never had a failed attempt. When I said it was marginally less effective in cuts than the Knight you need to remember that the Knight is a very good cutter. I have cut a milk jug in two with the Knight when the bottle was empty (ie no weight resistance) I have had situations where the milk jugs gets cut in two with the Knight and the top half sits there and only moves a couple of seconds after the cut due to the water moving it. I haven't encountered these situations with the Machiavelli but believe me that these XIX blade types are very good cutters.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2009 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I could afford it, Brian, I'd send you my Machiavelli for a scabbard right now.

Alas...

By the time I could justify such a thing, maybe you'll have already figured out the challenges and made a few, though. Happy

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PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2009 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Again, not the Kern, but I do have the Condottierre, which has the same blade. I haven't cut with it, but I'm sure it shares the XIX cutting characteristics that were mentioned above - kind of tricky, but once you get the hang of it a great performer. It is light and agile in your hand.

One thing that hasn't been talked about -- On all Albion XIX's ( I also have the Gallowglass - like Eric I am a XIX lover) they have done a wonderful job of creating those XIX ricasso and fuller groove patterns. I have seen other swordmakers' version of these patterns, and their work doesn't come close to what Albion has achieved with their XiX's. Its just one more thing that elevates the sword to another level.
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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Feb, 2009 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm really getting close to just ordering this. I'm split between the Kern, and the Kingmaker. But I'm also contemplating just getting a Knight and saving $400

Either way, I've decided with the Kern to have a campaign worn light brown grip, and antiqued hilt & pommel. I would also do the same with the Knight. As for the Kingmaker, I haven't decided. Thought I would like to antique this as well.

As you can tell, I've made up my mind at least as far as I'm wanting my next sword to show up looking like it came from a museum Wink

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