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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Mon 24 May, 2010 9:58 pm    Post subject: Suggestions/advice on selecting a hand and a half         Reply with quote

I'm looking for a hand and a half type sword for less than the proverbial king's ransom. I'm already forming some personal preferences as I delv deeper into learning and practicing the German Schule of using the long sword, but since it is difficult to try various sword on the market, I'm looking for suggestions as to which blades on the market would fit my needs.
My current reference points are the Cold Steel (no rude remarks please, I've seen some of the opinions on this forum regarding Cold Steel) hand and a half I bought for my wife last year, and the Cold Steel plastic wasters we bought and train with. Here are my observations/preferences so far.
A. I'm a little cautious about the build quality of the Cold Steel's based on what I've been reading, although we have not encountered problems with my wife's yet, so I'd like a bit better design and construction.
B. I'm leaning more and more toward a lighter, quicker, blade but want it to have a reasonable amount of authority when it connects in a cut.
C. At the moment I'm favoring a blade that is about 40% thrust, 60% cut as opposed to the Cold Steel which seems 30/70 thrust to cut to me, and seems a bit inaccurate in the thrust, but very accurate in cutting.
D. I find the Cold Steel to be a bit heavy for single hand, although it feels spot on two handed, especially in the cut. So I think I want something that is a bit more versatile and maneuverable with one hand. Perhaps I'm taking too much at face value the concept that original a hand and a half's were usable either one or two handed.
E. Has anybody found the 5160 steel in Gus Trim's blades to be significantly better/more durable than good ole' 1050 or 1060 mild and thus worth the extra expense, assuming proper heat treat?

"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
Roger of Hoveden, d.1201

a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Mon 24 May, 2010 11:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Especially if you're using this for WMA practice, you might check out Arms & Armor for their training line or Albion for their Maestro line (though they lack a Maestro-line hand-and-a-halfer, they do have one in their Squire line). For what they are, I think they are reasonably priced, but at about $500, your mileage may vary.
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JG Elmslie
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Location: Scotland
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PostPosted: Tue 25 May, 2010 5:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

they're not the most beautiful of swords, but I can strongly reccommend Armourclass, from scotland, for absolutely amazing WMA/Reenactment blades which will stand up to a huge amount of punishment. (The joke among my group is that come the nuclear war, the only survivors will be mutant cockroaches... with armourclass' swords)

in all honesty, I'd take an Armourclass blade over anything by Albion, every time, if it's solely for sparring. A combination of quality, durability, and price/value for money.

Their off-the-shelf swords have a few bad points - a slightly bulbous hilt that tends to be a little bulky for my personal tastes (I like wasp-waisted hilts) - but would really suit anyone with larger hands, and an occasionally over-long waiting list. (they're a victim of their own success there. but it also demonstrates the demand they have over here in the UK)

But they're well worth it for practice use.
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue 25 May, 2010 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Allen wrote:
Especially if you're using this for WMA practice, you might check out Arms & Armor for their training line or Albion for their Maestro line (though they lack a Maestro-line hand-and-a-halfer, they do have one in their Squire line). For what they are, I think they are reasonably priced, but at about $500, your mileage may vary.


What do you mean Albion's Maestro Line lacks a hand and a half?

The Meyer
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ma...-meyer.htm

The Liechtenauer
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ma...enauer.htm

the Epee de Guerre
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ma...guerre.htm

All three are hand and a half/longsword/greatswords.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Alen L




Location: Ljubljana, SLovenia
Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Tue 25 May, 2010 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may want to check out some of the Czech swordmakers, they're pretty good. I would especially recommend Pavel Moc, he is not overly expensive, and his swords are really well-made, though the waiting period might be a bit stretched out.
http://swords.cz/enonehalf.html

I've held and worked with quite a few of his swords, and they were all great, and one of his Cranach model is the best sword I have ever held so far. I think his prices are 280eur and up.

I've never really understood the point of using a hand-and-a-half sword single handedly, though, didn't even try much, to be honest, because it was uncomfortable, and it seemed to loose so much finesse without the other hand, so i can't verify how that'd feel with his swords in contact.

The other one is Lobko, found here:
http://www.swordcutler.com/zbrane_dlouhe_en.php

I own one of his swords, and it has held up fantastically so far, I've had it for about four or five years now, and it has lost none of its function, only the crossguard is slightly bent, which is fixed rather easily. Now with this one, i had tried some one-handed wielding (back when i started getting into swordsmanship), and it preformed quite nicely, though still not nearly as comfortable as the two-handed grip.
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Tue 25 May, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:


What do you mean Albion's Maestro Line lacks a hand and a half?

<snip>

All three are hand and a half/longsword/greatswords.


I own a Liechtenauer (and love it). I'd call it more a full-on longsword versus what most (modern) people would call a hand-and-a-half. I could use it one-handed, but with its sheer size, it really, really lends itself to two. The Meyer is about the same size. I haven't fooled around with the Epee de Guerre, but if the images on Albion's site are really to scale, it would likely be the closest to a hand-and-a-half size.
That's the problem with naming conventions--they're fuzzy. Where do we draw the line between a hand-and-a-half bastard sword and a full-on longsword?
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
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PostPosted: Tue 25 May, 2010 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own both an Albion and the Hanwai/Tinker. Both are good candidates in my opinion. For a first sword, at a lower price, I'd recommend the Hanwai/Tinker at this time.

If you are just starting out you won't be doing any serious fighting with them (got to learn some before you play full on), and it is a light nimble sword. Later on, when you want to do some serious training, I'd go with a stronger blade like the Armor Class, Pavel Moc, Lutel, Albion or Slayers. Those cost more and take some more strength to use. Chances are also that you won't be buying "just one sword" in the end anyway.

Also you can get a sharp blade for the Hanwai/Tinker's so you can learn cutting exercises. All you do is swap out the grip, guard and pommel using an Allen wrench. That's a good reason to recommend it for right now.

At my school most buy the Hanwai swords and work their way up to better quality when they get more money and training. Ultimately though, it's your choice.
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Tue 25 May, 2010 4:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:
For a first sword, at a lower price, I'd recommend the Hanwai/Tinker at this time.


I'll second this recommendation because your tastes are going to change as you learn. Again and again and again. No sense in spending more than neccessary on one of your first learning tools when it will almost certainly be used up, forgotten or replaced before long anyway. The other advantage of this recommendation is availability. You can probably have on in hand in less than a week instead of waiting for months. Cool

"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 Tue 25 May, 2010 8:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
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PostPosted: Tue 25 May, 2010 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Allen wrote:
I own a Liechtenauer (and love it). I'd call it more a full-on longsword versus what most (modern) people would call a hand-and-a-half. I could use it one-handed, but with its sheer size, it really, really lends itself to two. The Meyer is about the same size. I haven't fooled around with the Epee de Guerre, but if the images on Albion's site are really to scale, it would likely be the closest to a hand-and-a-half size.
That's the problem with naming conventions--they're fuzzy. Where do we draw the line between a hand-and-a-half bastard sword and a full-on longsword?


I would personally describe a hand and a half sword as any sword which may be used with one hand, but to achieve their full potential requires the other hand in use, yet are not of a scale that would be a true two handed sword. Whether you choose to call them longswords, great swords, war swords, bastard swords, or just the vulgar hand and a half sword, they fall into that broad classification of a sword usable in one hand but requiring the other hand to achieve their full potential.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Tue 25 May, 2010 8:47 pm    Post subject: Suggestions/advice on selecting a hand and a half         Reply with quote

Thanks for the input. I did not even know about the Scottish (near to my heart) or Chech sword makers, I will take a look at them. As far as the Hanwei, I've seen them disassembled and I'm not very comfortable with the pommel threads going all the way down the the tang shoulder as this would create a stress riser that could lead to a failure. Definitely don't want the thing going airbourne through a swing! Albions look good, seem built well and have a good rep, but they are on the upper end of what I am comfortable paying. I realize my tastes will change with time, but as an analogy, I'm quite happy with my production Winchester hunting rifle, even though I really like a Dakota Arms, but I don't stay up at night worrying about how much better the Dakota would be (if I had the $), ie. for the price, the Win does everything I ask of it.

I measured the center of balance on my wife's, Cold Steel and it came in at around 4 inches which surprised me. Since many of the similar type swords out there (Valiant Arms, Gus Trim, Albion, etc) seem to have CoB's between 5 - 6 inches, I wonder if they would feel significantly point heavier than the Cold Steel? I did find two Trim swords that are at 4 inches, so I'm leaning towards them. They are roughly Oakeshott XVIII types with what I would call medium acute points as opposed to fine or awl points. They are lighter than the Cold Steel and I wonder if anyone has handled anything like them. I must confess that I'm looking for something similar to Cold Steel's new Italian Long Sword, but better quality, ie a sword that is a bit more agile but still delivers an authoritative cut.

Yes, I do feel that these type sword should be reasonably manageable with one hand and were probably originally designed that way given the fact that in fight with edged weapons, the possibility of having one arm injured is pretty high. Just as modern warriors train to use both hands and one hand for shooting the pistol, I would think Mediaval warriors did the same with the sword and probably wanted weapons that would be conducive in that role. Unfortunately, we don't have any of them around these days to ask.

"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
Roger of Hoveden, d.1201

a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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Neil Gagel




Location: Oklahoma City
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PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2010 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The added benefit of the H/T Longsword is that replacement blades are fairly cheap - I think KoA has them for just under $100, so you can actually feel fairly comfortable experimenting with sharpening and blade care techniques without fear of ruining a precious investment. I've learned more about blade profiles and sharpening and edges through reading + experimentation on a relatively cheap blade than by just reading about it. I will warn you though, those HT blades are tough and it takes a lot of work to make any real impression on them...
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2010 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Suggestions/advice on selecting a hand and a half         Reply with quote

Larry,

Are you sure you were looking at a Tinker Hanwei? Reason I ask is that his stuff and the rest of the lot from them are a bit different. Tinker Hanwei base blade photos that show the tang from KoA look reasonable enough to me:

http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=OH2402
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=OH2403
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=OH2396
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=OH2397

As for the rifle analogy, maybe, maybe not. I've changed very few firearms out over the years to get what I satisfied with (lucky perhaps) but I've run through more swords than I care to count. Going to vary by person but if you're really making an effort to learn sword play I'd not discount change in taste or using that first training tool up.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2010 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a pair of the Hanwel-Tinker longswords - one sharp and one blunt, that I use with my WMA group. I am quite happy with them for the price. I got both for around $400 from KoA. Either has seen a good bit of use, and both have held up quite nicely. They ae now entering their third generation, and the bugs seem to have been worked out - though early on they had some tang problems, those have now been fixed.

You'd be hard pressed to find a better deal for the money on blunt/sharp combination with the same feel.

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: Suggestions/advice on selecting a hand and a half         Reply with quote

I don't want to beat this to death and I'm not the sort that has to right every time, but I just went over to KoA and looked in their bare blades section, and there on display are several of the Tinker Bastard sword blades. Albeit, the picture is not the best but to my eye the pommel threads appear to be cut right down to where the stud flares into the main part of the tang. This may indeed be just fine for the loads that that part of the blade sees, but it's just not the way most fabrication and design manuals would like to see it done. The Valiant Trim designed and Gus's own blades that I've seen bare all have the threads stop a good 1/4 inch or more before they bottom out against the main tang section.

It's good to know that some of you have had good service from the Tinker blades, which would indicate that they are probably ok for the job they have to do. I'm just trying to get the best sword that fits my preferences at the best possible price, that's all. Keep feeding me ideas, this the process that often yields something I didn't think of yet.

"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
Roger of Hoveden, d.1201

a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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Andrew Maxwell




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2010 6:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JE Sarge wrote:
I have a pair of the Hanwel-Tinker longswords - one sharp and one blunt, that I use with my WMA group. I am quite happy with them for the price. I got both for around $400 from KoA. Either has seen a good bit of use, and both have held up quite nicely. They ae now entering their third generation, and the bugs seem to have been worked out - though early on they had some tang problems, those have now been fixed.


Have yours been used against different trainers? I know there was some talk about the early ones getting chewed up rapidly by harder blades like Albions and the old Hanwei Practicals- is this still an issue or are the newer ones more robust?

Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man's power to live long. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2010 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew Maxwell wrote:
JE Sarge wrote:
I have a pair of the Hanwel-Tinker longswords - one sharp and one blunt, that I use with my WMA group. I am quite happy with them for the price. I got both for around $400 from KoA. Either has seen a good bit of use, and both have held up quite nicely. They ae now entering their third generation, and the bugs seem to have been worked out - though early on they had some tang problems, those have now been fixed.


Have yours been used against different trainers? I know there was some talk about the early ones getting chewed up rapidly by harder blades like Albions and the old Hanwei Practicals- is this still an issue or are the newer ones more robust?


Mine has worked fine thus far, and it's been hit by an A&A Zohgo, Albion Lichtenhauer, VA I-Beam, Del Tin 5161, and older Hanwei Albrecht trainer. I have filed off a few burrs here and there, but nothing like my older Hanwei trainer. That thing used looked like a hacksaw blade after using it 2-3 times. I'd say it's as solid of a 2H trainer as you can get for $200. Happy

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Andrew Maxwell




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2010 9:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JE Sarge wrote:
Mine has worked fine thus far, and it's been hit by an A&A Zohgo, Albion Lichtenhauer, VA I-Beam, Del Tin 5161, and older Hanwei Albrecht trainer. I have filed off a few burrs here and there, but nothing like my older Hanwei trainer. That thing used looked like a hacksaw blade after using it 2-3 times. I'd say it's as solid of a 2H trainer as you can get for $200. Happy


Thanks- sounds like they have definitely improved a lot then

Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man's power to live long. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Tue 01 Jun, 2010 8:31 pm    Post subject: Suggestions/advice on selecting a hand and a half         Reply with quote

Thanks again for the input, especially your experiences with the training blades. However it's becoming evident that I should have been a bit more specific about what I'm looking for. I'm more interested at this time in finding a sharp blade and was hoping the comments would pertain more to that line. Just my fault for assuming everybody would read my mind since that was what I was thinking about. At some point I'll probably want a good training blade once I feel I've gained sufficient proficiency with the waster. So I'd appreciate your thought about a live, sharp blade.
"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
Roger of Hoveden, d.1201

a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 01 Jun, 2010 9:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I still select the H/T Practical Longsword sharpened version for an entry level hand and a half. It's a higher quality blade and it's lower in price than the Cold Steel you were looking at. It's a good beater than can be customized to your liking, and if you flub a cut and damage the blade, you can replace the blade and not have to buy another sword.

It's only $212 here:

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...word%0D%0A

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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