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Julien M




Location: London
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Aug, 2009 3:51 pm    Post subject: Hanwei Tinker Norman Sword         Reply with quote

This one looks like a great package for the price. Even the scabbard seems to exhibit a level of finish far beyond MRL stuff. I'm usually interested in later period swords, but that one might well be the exception.

If anyone has purchased one or is in the process to, I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on it.

Please post pictures!

Cheers,

Julien



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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Aug, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe forum member Steven Janus just purchased one. Here's his review on another forum.
http://sbgswordforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?...read=11826
I agree, this one looks like a good project sword. If I didn't already have a reeve, gaddhjalt, etc I'd be pretty tempted.
Who knows, I might just give in and get one as a fun cutter.
Dan
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Sun 30 Aug, 2009 3:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Dan,

Thanks for the link. It's true that the reeve comes to mind instantly when looking at this sword...that tea-cosy form pommel for sure.
Perfect project material indeed, a all plan is already forming in my mind! (I didn't realize those were peened though, thinking it was a hexnut assembly).
As often on SBGuide, most members tend to be concerned when a sword doesn't come razor sharp, and I've read a lot of fuss about the efficiency of the Hanwei Tinker edges on forums, but to be honnest, I set appleseed edges on windlass swords that come with no edge at all at the same price range, and it's not that big a deal to achieve. So if the blade geometry is there at the same price point and that the edge has to be touched up, I don't see the problem Happy.

Cheers,

J
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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
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PostPosted: Sun 30 Aug, 2009 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree on the edge thing. The important thing is that is has good distal taper and heat treat, the rest can be fixed. I was very impressed by the distal taper and heat treat on the Viking model from the same line. The hilt castings were also among the best I've seen at that price point. The biggest disappointments were probably the scabbard core which was fiberglass (though according to the review i linked this one may be wood) and the hilt assembly. When I received the viking, I was going to re-wrap the grip, so I removed the leather covering...immediately the cross began to rattle and could move at least an 8th of an inch up and down. The grip core also could slide around on the tang. Apparently Hanwei used a compression fit, but tucked the edges of the leather covering under the top and bottom of the grip. When the leather was removed, everything loosened up. This would be fine on a sword with a hex nut assembly....but apparently when hanwei changed Tinker's design to a peened construction, they overlooked that little problem. Luckily i found the grip on the Viking to be longer aesthetically than I preferred and had been considering re-assembling it anyway (it kinda made my decision for me). So currently the sword is apart on my workbench awaiting a proper wedging of the guard and re-peening of the pommel. So if you plan on re-wrapping the grip, you might want to be prepared to do some more hilt modifications.
i hope this helps,
Dan
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm a big fan of this sword type but something seems off to me in these photos, like the blade and the furniture don't match. It looks like the blade has a dull finish whereas the guard and pommel have a mirror finish. Is this right or is it just the photos?

Also, is the bottom of the pommel flat like a tea cozy pommel or partially rounded like the typical Brazil nut?

Anyone out there seen it in person yet?
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Joel Chesser




Location: Oklahoma
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking at the Cas Iberia web site, the sword looks like it has a curved bottom like a Brazil nut.
I'm tempted to say you are right, the hilt may have a higher polish than the blade. It would seem to me that would be an easy fix though. This is a sword I am really interested in. Brazil nuts have long been a favorite of mine, unfortunately it is rare to see a quality one in my price range.

http://www.casiberia.com/product_details.asp?id=SH2426

..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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M. Livermore





Joined: 20 Aug 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I saw the factory prototype at the Blade show in Atlanta in June. The finish on that sword was a tad brighter on the furniture than the blade, but not glaringly so. The pommel was most definitely rounded in a brazil nut shape. The prototype felt pretty nice and lively in the hand. From what I have read in reviews about the swords on the market now some things may have changed. The prototype had been ground to a remarkably sharp zero edge from tip to guard. Tinker told me the guys in the factory had sharpened it along the same general profile as the hanwei katanas. The edge did not seem quite right to me, and it sounds like they are still fiddling with it. Overall it seemed very nice for the price tag,
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 5:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd say it was a type B, rather than the classic Brazil Nut type A (or the tea cosy type B1)


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Oakeshott Pommel Typology
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Sep, 2009 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys, here's another picture that shows the pommel a little more clearly:

http://www.reliks.com/merchant.ihtml?pid=4465

I want to get some more Brazil Nut swords but I don't think I will know if this is the right one until its in my hand.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 2:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Curiosity got the better of me - I ordered one and it arrived today.

First impressions:

Historical Accuracy: overall a good rendition of a rather plain and general type X with a B pommel and a spike hilt guard. Its a bit on the small size for a post-Viking sword, but one can pull out historical examples with very similar dimensions. It does not have the classic blade profile of an X, which would be pretty much parallel for the first 2/3 and then gently tapering to a spatulate tip. This blade profile actually has a slight bulge in the middle followed by a sudden transition to a more narrow, linearly tapering second half. Kind of looks like it started X and then changed its mind to XII halfway through. However, if one looks at the variations in historical examples one can see that they are not all 'classic', so one cannot say this is wrong*. But see my notes on the finish below.

Handling: As the specs would predict, this is a very sweet handling little sword. The distal taper is much more developed than one normally sees in swords in this range, resulting in excellent balance and mass distribution without the need for heavy hilt components (which are in fact relatively light)- it is a real 'floater', especially compared to other swords of this type. It accelerates and stops with ease - very easy to control. The grip is just the right size and shape for this sword and provides excellent traction. The pommel is rather flat and slides easily along the palm for hammer-handshake grip transitions. If you don't like handshake, you can pretty much stick with hammer except at the most extended blade positions the pommel edge will hit the wrist. In summary, great, great handling.

Blade: the edge geometry is also superior for a sword in this range. The edge appears to be integral with the blade - no secondary bevel. So even if it is not super sharp from the factory, it should still cut like a demon (haven't tried yet). The manufacturer claims that the blade is harmonically balanced, and from what I can tell in dry handling this is true.

Scabbard: quite above average as well -decent leather over wood- and the swords fits nicely into it.

Fit: everything seems tight. I like that the blade fits snugly into the guard, in contrast to Windlass products.

Finish:
- The fullers are not perfectly even but pretty good
- The hilt components are refined in a very plain and simple way
- I just don't like the blade finish on Hanwei products. It has a very obvious machined look that screams out industrial age.
- Moreover, it clashes with the mirror finish on the hilt furniture. I guess both of these could be evened out to be more or less shiny with fine sandpaper (see Patrick Kelly's article)
- looks like the person who did the peening missed a few times and dented the pommel, no big deal**

So, it is not perfect. For that, one needs to pay at least another $500. In an alternative universe where all swords cost the same, I would rather have the slightly wider and more uniform blade of the Albion Reeve***, and I actually prefer swords with more blade presence, especially those from this historical period. However, I am not aware of another sword of this type, in this price range, that can deliver this level of functional quality and potential for performance. In fact, even if you have a Reeve I would still reccommend this Norman sword for guilt-free test cutting etc. Moreover, if the blunt version handles like this one it would be a great pick for someone who wants a sword with an early medieval look that can be used for fencing.

I would say that these Tinker-Hanwei and Fletcher/Trim-Valiant collaborations are really re-defining the middle level of the market in terms of combining reasonable historical accuracy and performance at a production scale. Hopefully Windlass catches on to this trend as well, I would like to see more of this happening.

-JD

PS - if there are any requests, I can take some pictures tomorrow (I'm off work this week).****

Editorial updates:
*I think I was expecting a blade profile more like their Tinker/Hanwei 9th century Viking sword, but assuming the profile on this Norman sword was designed intentionally by the Artist, one can't blame him for wanting to do something different.
**Looking again, the peen job was not sloppy. They simply did not polish it down afterwards, at least not as much as done on some swords. However, there are a few scratches on the guard that I missed the first time.
***Or, to be fair, the Tinker/Hanwei Viking sword, which only costs a bit more. But more cutting power on the blade always has a cost in terms of handling, so one can't have it both ways.
****pictures have been added below.


Last edited by J.D. Crawford on Fri 11 Sep, 2009 1:54 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Joel Chesser




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting. This sword is rapidly moving to the top of my 'to get list". Pictures would be awesome!
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This "shiny furniture" and "satin blade" seems to be a hallmark of the Tinker/Hanwei line.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D., you reminded me when you said it looks a bit small to you... Few months ago I have seen an antique sword similar to this one but with more classic type A brazil nut pommel, badly corroded blade I think would be X or Xa when new, with something I think were the left-overs of an inlay, and with very small look. Both the blade and the fittings looked very elegant and graceful, but small. It really looks fragile compared to let's say my Del Tin St. Maurice. Of course, I took corrosion in consideration, but still... Hilt parts weren't that corroded to loose that much of volume. Obviously some warriors preferred agility and speed to heavy punch...

Last edited by Luka Borscak on Thu 10 Sep, 2009 3:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Douglas S wrote:
This "shiny furniture" and "satin blade" seems to be a hallmark of the Tinker/Hanwei line.


Not the case with my Hanwei Tinker Viking. And I'm happy it isn't. Wink
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
J.D., you reminded me when you said it looks a bit small to you... Few months ago I have seen an antique sword similar to this one but with more classic type A brazil nut pommel, badly corroded blade I think would be X or Xa when new, with something I think were the left-overs of an inlay, and with very small look. Both the blade and the fittings looked very elegant and graceful, but small. It really looks fragile compared to let's say my Del Tin St. Maurice. Of course, I took corrosion in consideration, but still... Hilt parts weren't that corroded to loose that much of volume. Obviously some warriors preferred agility and speed to heavy punch...


Yes indeed! Another good example is X16 in 'Records of the Medieval Sword', which has pretty much identical dimensions and appearance to the Tinker-Hanwei sword (an inspiration?). Oakeshott dates it at 950-1000 and says "This is an excellent sword, quite light and well balanced".

I will get those pictures up tomorrow...when I find my camera...and get it charged up.
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Tom King




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep, 2009 6:45 am    Post subject: practacle norman         Reply with quote

about a year ago a bought the stage combat version of the hanwei norman. while being blade heavy (which I like) it is built like a rock. I've had problems with the peening on the practical knightly (sir william marshal sword) with the hilt coming loose but the norman has no loosness in the hilt or blade. since the practical is a great basher, the norman should be a good cutter. Hanwei's quality is also ecellent.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep, 2009 7:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom, I think we might be talking about different swords. Hanwei has a practical Norman sword that costs about $100 that has been out for years. The Tinker / Hanwei Norman Swords (Blunt and Sharp versions) just came out recently and both run about $250.
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep, 2009 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:


However, I am not aware of another sword of this type, in this price range, that can deliver this level of functional quality and potential for performance.

I would say that these Tinker-Hanwei and Fletcher-Valient collaborations are really re-defining the middle level of the market in terms of combining reasonable historical accuracy and performance at a production scale. Hopefully Windlass catches on to this trend as well, I would like to see more of this happening.


PS - if there are any requests, I can take some pictures tomorrow (I'm off work this week).


Hi JD,

Thanks for your informative post. It confirms what I expected of these swords, and none of the cons you mentioned seems to be a big deal at that price point. I also agree on your views on the middle range market...valiant, hanwei getting the input of big shots such as Tinker, Fletcher and Mr Trim is driving the quality forward and dragging prices down. To me, windlass appears to have missed the spot so far...as I didn't notice any significant changes in their product lately...hopefully they will catch up on that.

Yes, (many) pictures are welcome BTW!

Cheers,

Julien
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep, 2009 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys - and here are a few pictures. Don't tell my wife what I am putting on her favorite coffee table when she's at work!

I think you can see the interesting blade profile in the shot looking down the sword from the pommel end. The other shots show the sword held in hammer and handshake grip (I never realized how hard it is to take photos with my left hand). For comparison, I have also added a shot along side a better-known sword with a similar guard and pommel (Dan will recognize this one).

-JD
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Tom King




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep, 2009 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Tom, I think we might be talking about different swords. Hanwei has a practical Norman sword that costs about $100 that has been out for years. The Tinker / Hanwei Norman Swords (Blunt and Sharp versions) just came out recently and both run about $250.
i haven't looked at the hanwei catalog recently and my browser wasnt loading images. The peening on the pommel looks the same though so my comments on workmanship and quality of the hilt are still relevant.
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