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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:14 am    Post subject: Patrick Barta Viking Sword         Reply with quote

Among the most beautiful swords anywhere were the pattern-welded swords of the Viking era. These blades were forged from twisted rods of iron. The patterns were intricate and beautiful and can still be seen on surviving blades from the era -- despite the fact that these blades are often in excavated (that means poor) shape. There are a few modern makers who make fine reproductions of Viking-era swords, complete with pattern-welded blades, but the price of a modern pattern-welded blade is usually quite prohibitive for most collectors -- as it was in the days of the Vikings, when only a special few could afford to possess swords.

We travel now a millenia from the Viking age to the fall of the "Iron Curtain" and the opening of economic and political relationships betwee the west and the countries of East Europe -- to be specific, the Czech Republic. For some reason or another, the Czech Republic has become a hotbed of reproduction ancient arms manufacture. There are several individuals and companies there which turn out all sorts of swords, many of them made "the old way" ie, forged over hot coals, one at a time, by hand.

One of the names which comes up often in a discussion of Czech sword making is that of Patrick Barta. He has established a bit of a reputation in the west as a swordmaker of great skill, who pays close attention to details. And his work is very affordable to western collectors. As well, he has made several swords for dispay in museums across Europe. Among his specialties are pattern-welded swords of the Viking era. So when the opportunity came for me to examine one of his swords first hand, knowing Mr. Barta's reputation (and not wanting to go through the 2 years wait), I jumped on it. Although his swords are affordable, they still aren't very common over here in the States.

This particular sword is #A05 on Patrick's website: http://www.templ.net/weapons/antiquity_and_ea...ge.php#A05 . It is based on a sword found in Oppland, Norway. This sword is described (and illustrated) in Ian Pierce's Swords of the Viking Age on pages 102-103. It has a hilt of Petersen type S/Wheeler type III. The blade is broken and may have been the victim of a ritual sacrifice. According to Ian Pierce, due to the size of the hilt, the blade "may have been massively long".

And speaking of massive -- that's a good way to describe this sword! It is large, perhaps one of the largest Viking-style swords I have ever handled.

Here are some numbers:
Weight: 4 lbs
Overall length: 39 inches
Blade length: 31.75 inches
Blade width: 2.25 inches
Hilt length: 7 inches
Grip length: 4.1 inches
PoB/CoG: 5 inches
CoP: 24 inches

Yes, it is massive, and quite heavy in the hand. The balance is decent, but much swinging of this sword would be quite a work-out in any case.

It is beautifully made. The pattern-welded blade (of a blodida pattern, I believe) is historically accurate and very attractive, and has a decent distal taper. The pommel is also historically accurate, being made of two parts, the top piece riveted to the bottom piece, covering the peened tang. The engraving is beautifully done (the original's hilt was silver plated; alas, this one is plain steel. Though I am certain Patrick could plate it on special order).
The sword comes with a scabbard. It's a wood core scabbard, with cowskin covering -- real cow skin. It's a furry scabbard!

This is a beautiful sword, and Patrick Barta's craftsmanship is amply demonstrated here. My main criticism is of it's weight -- it could stand to lose a pound or so. Doing that would improve handling dramatically.

But overall, what a deal this sword is! An authentic pattern-welded sword of high quality for an insanely low price, you just can't beat that. No, it's not Kevin Cashen or Vince Evans level work, but it's a darn good deal for the price. If Patrick works on improving handling characteristics (especially weight), he will be even tougher to beat.



 Attachment: 13.29 KB
PBViking4.jpg


David K. Wilson, Jr.
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Close-up of the pattern-weld:


 Attachment: 18.07 KB
PBViking3.jpg


David K. Wilson, Jr.
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sword in (furry!) scabbard:


 Attachment: 10.74 KB
PBViking1.jpg


David K. Wilson, Jr.
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gaurd engraving (the picture just doesn't reveal the fine details, it is of course much nicer in person):


 Attachment: 19.28 KB
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David K. Wilson, Jr.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey! That's great to know it went home to you. I very nearly purchased that piece, myself, when I saw it appear on eBay. But the timing was right before the Atlanta Blade show and I figured I should save my money.

For the record, I was also alarmed by the weight of the piece (as listed on Mr. Barta's site), but had found that it was made in that way because the original that was replicated was also made that way. I guess it was just a very big sword. (?)

Very nice piece!

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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
Joined: 04 Dec 2003

Posts: 288

PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 1:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I mař get one of those swords yet. The pricetag is very reasonable for a patternwelded viking sword. It is actually quite a bit cheaper than Bartas other vikings.

The owner of the original must have had a strong sword arm.

Do you have any full length pics of the blade?
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Markus Haider




Location: Austria, Europe
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 1:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A really beautiful sword. I would of course be interesting to know if the original has all the same characteristics.
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Nathan Bell





Joined: 21 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 4:09 am    Post subject: Re: Patrick Barta Viking Sword         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
If Patrick works on improving handling characteristics (especially weight), he will be even tougher to beat.


He may have "fixed" the weight/handling problems somewhat. My recently acquired PW celtic longsword weighs 1.85 lbs/840 g.
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Ben Sweet




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice grab! Any clue as to how thick the blade is and I can not tell by the pics, is there distal taper/profile? I am curious as to where the 4 lbs comes from...that's alot of damascus! And since I have become quite lazy in the using dept. of late, that beauty would make one "piece of art" on the wall...congrats on the beauty!!
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congrats Dave, that's a nice catch!

I don't deal with e-bay as a general rule, but this shows that you can get a keeper every once in a a while. I've long been interested in Mr. Bartas work, especially his pattern welding. He's pretty affordable when compared to others.

Nice!

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Lee O'Hagan




Location: Northamptonshire,England
Joined: 30 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congrats David,
Fine looking sword,
Nice work from Patrick,
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 802

PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Hey! That's great to know it went home to you. I very nearly purchased that piece, myself, when I saw it appear on eBay. But the timing was right before the Atlanta Blade show and I figured I should save my money.

For the record, I was also alarmed by the weight of the piece (as listed on Mr. Barta's site), but had found that it was made in that way because the original that was replicated was also made that way. I guess it was just a very big sword. (?)

Very nice piece!


Thanks! Actually I had considered that as well. As Ian Pierce says, the original hilt is pretty large. So perhaps the weight isn't too far out of line.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
If Patrick works on improving handling characteristics (especially weight), he will be even tougher to beat.



David-

My understanding from Partrick Barta is that the sword he modeled your replica off of would weigh close to 4 pounds if it were in-tact.

Is your understanding of the original different?

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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kenneth Enroth wrote:
The owner of the original must have had a strong sword arm.

Do you have any full length pics of the blade?


"I cannot lift this!"
"Grow stronger!"

The only full-length shot I have (a stock shot from Mr. Barta, I believe):



 Attachment: 7.19 KB
PBViking10.jpg


David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
Thanks! Actually I had considered that as well. As Ian Pierce says, the original hilt is pretty large. So perhaps the weight isn't too far out of line.


Haha, looks like we posted basically at exactly the same moment.

That original is a weird one for me. I'm not a Viking expert at all and I realize there's a ton of variance. In truth, the thing that kept me from really pulling the trigger on that purchase (other than the Blade Show!) was the original he was replicating just isn't what I'd consider my first choice cause it's so friggin' huge! The decorative elements, on the other hand.. are absolutely stunning! Personally, I think you have one hell of a sword at a great price there, David.

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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Markus Haider wrote:
A really beautiful sword. I would of course be interesting to know if the original has all the same characteristics.


Well, since the original's blade is broken, it's difficult to tell. But as I quoted Ian Pierce, the blade may have been quite long, in keeping with the size of the hilt.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Sweet wrote:
Nice grab! Any clue as to how thick the blade is and I can not tell by the pics, is there distal taper/profile? I am curious as to where the 4 lbs comes from...that's alot of damascus! And since I have become quite lazy in the using dept. of late, that beauty would make one "piece of art" on the wall...congrats on the beauty!!


Yes, there is some definite distal taper (exactly how much there is I am not sure since I don't have the tools, but it is noticeable). As to where the weight comes from, could be a combo of factors. The blade is pretty wide and the fuller seems to be fairly shallow. Plus, the hilt components (gaurd and pommel) are large too.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Congrats Dave, that's a nice catch!

I don't deal with e-bay as a general rule, but this shows that you can get a keeper every once in a a while. I've long been interested in Mr. Bartas work, especially his pattern welding. He's pretty affordable when compared to others.

Nice!


Thanks! I agree, eBay can be a real crapshoot. Unless you know exactly what you're looking at, it is usually best to avoid using it.
But every once in a while, something comes along that is worthy of consideration... it's a rare occurance, but it's worked for me a couple times...

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
David Wilson wrote:
Thanks! Actually I had considered that as well. As Ian Pierce says, the original hilt is pretty large. So perhaps the weight isn't too far out of line.


Haha, looks like we posted basically at exactly the same moment.

That original is a weird one for me. I'm not a Viking expert at all and I realize there's a ton of variance. In truth, the thing that kept me from really pulling the trigger on that purchase (other than the Blade Show!) was the original he was replicating just isn't what I'd consider my first choice cause it's so friggin' huge! The decorative elements, on the other hand.. are absolutely stunning! Personally, I think you have one hell of a sword at a great price there, David.


Thanks again! It was indeed a "lucky spot". And you just can't beat the price, no way. Patrick Barta's stuff is way underpriced (but I promise I won't tell him that yet... *g*).

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jun, 2004 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And people think twohanded fourpounders are heavy. It's just more to beautiful pattern welded steel to admire. And once you're proficient with it your other swords will feel like feathers. Perhaps the main thing that makes these swords special is that he smelts his own steel.
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