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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 9:59 pm    Post subject: User experience with Albion or ATrim blades         Reply with quote

Has any one had any problems with either Albion or ATrim swords, or the lower cost ATrim designed Valiant lines? I'm not looking for people to pile on if they have something against any of these makers, rather I just want to know iwhat people's experience has been with these makers. I'm looking to buy a new sword soon and am trying to decide between these three.
"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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Zach Luna




Location: Los Angeles
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 10:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a very broad query. You might benefit from checking out the reviews section:

http://www.myArmoury.com/reviews.html
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 10:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Valiant Armory swords are not really ATrims. They are designed by Angus Trim, but produced off-shore and imported. The leather is done here in the states. For the money, they are the most bang for your buck - and though not really ATrims, they are good all-around performers backed by great customer service. I've not had a major problem with one yet, and I beat the hell out of them.

Angus Trim swords are excellent performance swords and very hard to beat. I've never had a problem with one, nor have I found a better cutting sword for the money. My only complaint, and a small one at that, is that the furniture and blade can look a little too perfect - with a bit of machining present. However, in recent months, Gus has went a long way to greatly improve this, even offering peened versions without the hex nut. I consider these to be some of the most durable swords made, I have really put them though the ringer with no problem.

Albion swords are historical recreations based on actual swords from antiquity. I have a few of them and like them for what they are. They are made with pretty strict quality control, built within fine tolerances specified by each design. The general concensus is that they are the best production sword made being highly accurate representations of their historic counterparts. The biggest downside for me is the price; what they sell for now put them outside my personal budget unless I purchase them used. I hesistate to be as hard on my Albions as I am with other swords due to their cost to replace or repair if damaged.

I like all three for different reasons, but I personally prefer the standard ATrim for practical cutting. However, in closing, I'd suggest you get one of each! Wink

Good luck in your search. Let us know what you decide!

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 11 Aug, 2010 11:52 am    Post subject: User experience with Albion or ATrim blades         Reply with quote

Yes, it is a wide area of inquiry. I have read all the reviews on these maker's products that I can find both here and on other sites. Most reviews seem to be written shortly after the reviewer has received the blade and are usually fairly positive toward the product. This is good in that it seems most reputable makers seem to provide good product, however I was hoping for input from people who have lived with these blades for some time to see how they hold up down the road. I've seen some comments on other sites that imply that tang failures seem to be prevalent with many reproduction swords especially when used "con brio", although no brand names have been mentioned. So I was particularly interested to see if any body has experienced any such failures with the three makers I listed. I am aware that the Valiant ATrim's are "designed" by Gus but produced in China, but since they are on my radar I thought I'd throw them in for discussion.

I've also noticed a decided lack of data on the web from people who have been willing, or able to afford, to use an Albion rigorously and or test one to destruction (other than the ubiquitous YouTube vid of the Albion folks destroying one of their own Viking type blades).

I've also seen many vids and read reviews of cutting with these swords but there is much less data on their thrusting capabilities and or endurance/toughness, so I'd appreciate any input folks may have on that mode of use.

I'm not necessarily in the market for a period correct collector's piece, rather I look at these weapons as just that, a weapon, no different from my firearms or knives, so I want something that is first and foremost that, if it's exactly like something Sir Thomas Erpingham would have wielded at Agincourt, so much the better. I await your thoughts. Thanks.

"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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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Aug, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sounds like you don't need an Albion then. So get an atrim or a VA if you prefer. This could certainly be used as a "weapon" I guess.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Aug, 2010 12:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I use my Albion swords as hard as any other brand I own or have owned. That said, my life and interests and budget don't permit me to test things to destruction. That's expensive as it involves, well, destroying the item. Happy

I've taken blades against soft foam noodles (not very rigorous, but affordable and easy to clean up), as well as against melons and pumpkins. Larger pumpkins like some I've cut/chopped/hit offer a large amount of resistance and could break a bad sword. Also, since my foam noodles are held upright by being placed on lengths of PVC pipe, I've unintentionally cut PVC pipe with all my swords. Happy Occasionally when cutting melons or fruit, swords will nick the 2 x 6 board used as a stand.

My Albions have all come through unscathed every time. Based on the historic design, good heat treat, and quality of the steel (which is better in many ways than period materials) I don't doubt they'd they'd hold up to anything their historical ancestors would have. That's not to say they're indestructible....

I did have an Albion sword get damaged once. A group of swords fell over and the sharp edge of one sword hit the sharp edge of mine. My edge got nicked--not a big nick but noticeable. I don't consider that a flaw, though. Static, edge-on-edge hits are very destructive to swords as the edge is usually the hardest part of the blade (if the hardness varies) and the thinnest. Period swords show nicks as well. Most fencing systems work to have to void the static edge block as it's very destructive.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Wed 11 Aug, 2010 4:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok, let's be nice.

I'm not trying to run down Albion in any way shape or form, they make really nice stuff from the look of things and I don't at this time have a preference for Gus's or Valiant's stuff at this time either. That's the point of my inquiry, I don't have any direct experience with any of these maker's products and I just would like some experienced input from the folks that do own these products. I'm the type of person who shops the living daylights out of a product before buying and swords are no different. These are very expensive items and I don't want to end up with something that's going to come apart. I want the best value for my money given the amount I'm willing to spend, if that's a lower cost product, great, bit if you really have to spend the bucks up front to get something that will last, so be it. That's the reason I by Porsches, the money spent up front serves me better later than the money I might initially save on a less expensive car.

Lemme offer this analogy. If I was shopping for a combat pistol I would want to know if someone has had feeding or reliability issues with a particular make or model, or durability issues, and or customer service issues with a manufacturer. In that vein I do consider swords as weapons, they can be very beautiful weapons, even works of art, but their primary reason for existing is that they are tools for combat. I just believe that any tool for such a dire environment should have the utmost functionality and reliability first and foremost with aesthetics a nice second place. For example, I love Luger Pistols, they are magnificently made and beautiful to hold, but if I were going to a gun fight tomorrow, I'd take a Glock and not think twice about it (please let's not go down the what's the best pistol road, it's just an example).

Thanks for all you patient input, You are really a great bunch of folks, I'm trying not to step on any toes out there.

"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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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Aug, 2010 5:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Larry,
I'm assuming you're reacting to Jeremy's post. Not to speak for him (too much), but I believe he was responding to your statement "I'm not necessarily in the market for a period correct collector's piece." Albion's reputation and selling points have much to do with just how period correct they are. If you're not interested in that, then that might remove Albion from your choices.

I don't think anyone's getting upset here. Happy

I have yet to hear of Albion swords coming apart with use. I even saw an example years ago that left the shop with some not-to-spec gaps around the grip. It was still rock solid and didn't rattle or move at all even in cutting. Albion's method of permanent assembly is not only historically correct (though it's not the only historically correct method) it seems to be about the most rock solid in the production world. I've not heard many (if any) reports of them loosening up with time, unlike with other brands. Sure, grip leathers might come apart with very heavy use, but that's to be expected on any sword.

The Valiant and Atrim swords aren't as historically accurate in appearance because that's not what makers/designers have chosen to focus on. Atrim swords are known as cutting performers, though some have faulted some of his swords for being optimized for modern cutting and not for historical needs. I've heard of Atrim swords needing to be tightened up after some use, just like some other brands. This is easily accomplished with their non-permanent dismountable hilt setup (a feature that is decidedly not historical for medieval swords).

The Valiant stuff is intriguing as more thought is put into the aesthetics than on a stock Atrim. But the designs (as in, combinations of parts) are not quite historical in some cases. Their Atrim designed stuff is the newest of the product lines under discussion and long-term reliability isn't yet known.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Wed 11 Aug, 2010 9:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let me relate in these terms, since I am also a firearms collector.

An ATrim is akin to a Glock. Highly reliable, no failures. A true combat handgun of the highest caliber (pun intended).

An Albion is akin to a custom reproduction WWI M1911. Not quite the real deal, but as close as you can find to one without buying the actual antique.

A Valiant is akin to a Kel-Tec. Good and reliable with no catastrophic failures, but some very minor QC issues here and there - such as fit, finish, edge bevels, etc. Good value for the money.

Your opinion may differ, but this is how I look at them all; owning both the sword and firearm counterparts. 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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P. Cha




PostPosted: Wed 11 Aug, 2010 11:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So I guess the best way to go about it is, if the sword was a gun, which gun would you get larry?
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2010 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi All,

First, I'd love to have an Albion sharp, but I don't yet Confused

I have a Albion blunt with 3 years of heavy training on it. I love my trainer.

I just bought a Valiant Armory longsword sharp for cutting. "Dirt cheap" and it works well. I plan on letting my students cut with it. If it should become damaged "what the hey", it was dirt cheap and I bought it as a tool for the teaching tool box.

Using the hand gun analogy, I think this would be closer than JE analogy:

Valiant Armory "Atrim" line are like those good basic Filipino made Armscor 1911a1 that cost $495.00. Usable, fixable, ok to use, great deal for the money.

Angus Trim swords are like the Springfield Armory's "GI .45 Mil-Spec" 1911a1. Looks like the Filipino made 1911a1, nicer fit and finish, still not a "real" Colt 1911a1, but a damn nice solid firearm that will last a lifetime of use. A few hundred dollars more in price.

Albion swords are like the Wilson Custom Combat 1911a1, still a copy of the "real" thing, custom build, lots of hand fit and finishing, $1400 more in cost than the Springfield Armory's "GI .45 Mil-Spec" 1911a1.

All look the "same", All based on the same concept, 3 levels of quality, fit and finish. All will get the job done.

Same goes for the 3 swords.

Cheers,

David

P.S. When it comes to the 1911a1, I carry a real one. Made in 1944. Wink

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2010 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks folks, this is great stuff.

I had an off line chat with Jason and things are A-OK as they used to say. That's the downside to e-mail, without the human voice, or face to face contact, context and inflection can get lost quickly.

Sounds like I should expect good quality from any of the three makers we have discussed at least as far as basic function and reliability are concerned. So it's incumbent on me to determine how basic or stylish i want my sword. Most likely I'll not be able to have just one sword like most everyone on this forum, but for now I want a good value that I can depend on to last if i do my part in caring for/using it.

Further on this subject, beyond basic reliability, I would like opinions on the more subjective aspects of these swords. Specifically, I'm want to get a hand and a half sword along the lines of those in general use 1400-1500 AD, probably a type XVIII or something similar, ie one that is very effective in the thrust and still cuts with reasonable authority. Based on practicing techniques from both the German (Leichtenauer) and Italian (dei Liberi) schools I want a reasonably light sword that is very quick and agile. I realize that if you go too light to get agility you sacrifice some authority cutting so i want a best of both worlds balance if it's out there. I'm not sure what the optimal blade length should be (if there is one). Does a person's height or arm length come into consideration or is it just personal preference/trial and error. It would be really great if we could just ring up 'ole Leichtenauer or Talhoffer and ask, "Hey, what should I get?' But that aint happenin'.

My baseline datum is my wife's (yes, she knows how to use it) Cold Steel (no groans please) Hand and a Half that I bought her for Christmas 2 years ago. She loves the scary sharp beast, but I think that I want my sword to be a bit more nimble, especially in one hand, and it could be a bit lighter.

As far as the pistols, I like Glocks and 1911's, they both get the job done and they both have their quirks, good and bad.

"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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Michael Eging




Location: Ashburn, VA
Joined: 24 Apr 2004

Posts: 224

PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2010 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We had an Albion 1st Gen Crecy in our study group a while back, and I can tell you the weapon got heavy cutting duty and was incredible. The same goes for the Albion Mercenary that eventually gravitated into rotation. I have a Svante and a Landgraf, and given my experience with Albion cutting performance, have no doubt either of them would perform well. However, as others have mentioned, I have them for very different reasons where I don't necessarily want to push them to destruction. I have an Albion assembled Del Tin that I've had for about 6 years and it is terrific for much of my sparring needs.

Albion doesn't use a compression fit in their peened sword, so the creaking and popping in my Del Tin is non-existant.

This is really going to be a personal choice of what you want out of your sword. If you are going to really work the weapon hard, go for something you can use and replace if you need to. That pushes me into a lower price range that many of the Albions, but for others a Next Gen may be the right sword.

Good luck!

Cool

M. Eging
Hamilton, VA
www.silverhornechoes.com
Member of the HEMA Alliance
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2010 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well the glocks and 1911 of the sword world would be the atrims.

As for what your looking for in a sword, the XVIa or XVIIIa would both work well(the atrim XVIa bastard sword maybe a good fit for what you want in fact). The VA line less so as those tend to be more cut oriented swords so far. For german/italian longswordmanship, you may also wanna look at the hanwei tinker longsword. That one is more thrust and less cut then the atrim XVIa, but it handle very nicely for that style of combat. Your gonna wanna redo the edge in all likelyhood however. Or have sonny redo the grip and scabbard and the edge with the VA custom shop.
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Ken Jay




Location: Portland Oregon
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2010 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree - if you're wanting a sword as a weapon get an Atrim. It's the "Glock" of the bunch - very durable and performance oriented. I had a few over the years and can vouch for Atrim quality and capability.
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Zach Luna




Location: Los Angeles
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Larry Bohnham wrote:
Specifically, I'm want to get a hand and a half sword along the lines of those in general use 1400-1500 AD, probably a type XVIII or something similar, ie one that is very effective in the thrust and still cuts with reasonable authority. Based on practicing techniques from both the German (Leichtenauer) and Italian (dei Liberi) schools I want a reasonably light sword that is very quick and agile. I realize that if you go too light to get agility you sacrifice some authority cutting so i want a best of both worlds balance if it's out there....
........

.....As far as the pistols, I like Glocks and 1911's, they both get the job done and they both have their quirks, good and bad.


I think you might like this sword:

http://www.christianfletcher.com/Christian_Fl...Sword.html


It's an ATrim hand-and-a-half sword with a XVIIIa/XVIIIc blade, a permanent peened assembly like an Albion, and fittings from the VA signature line. It's a lovely performer in one hand or two. The only drawback is that there's not one in-stock and ready at the moment, but you can always email Christian to inquire.
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Aug, 2010 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Late to the thread but...........

I will also throw out that you might want to contact Michael (Tinker) Pearce. Tinker and Gus Trim are good friends, live near each other, and have been traveling down the sword making path together for many years. They do their heat treating similarly, and since you are looking for a longsword I can tell you that Tinker "gets" longswords. Some of the nicest XVa and XVIIIa,b,c longswords I have seen have been made by Tinker. I have a XVIIIb that he made, and it is one of the best longswords I have ever held. A longsword by Tinker will be a bit more expensive than a stock ATrim, but probably cheaper than an equivalent Albion at this point and you can have it made to your own specs. TR

(still jealous of Jean buying that Tinker Type XVII sword too, that was one nice (and unique) longsword!!)
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Aug, 2010 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
Late to the thread but...........


(still jealous of Jean buying that Tinker Type XVII sword too, that was one nice (and unique) longsword!!)


Thanks for remembering, and it's still nice and has much more presence in the blade than one would expect so even though a type XVII is very much a thrusting weapon this one could cut or even bludgeon pretty good I'm guessing ( Haven't cut with it or bludgeoned anyone ..... lately. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud Cool ).

Oh, and I agree Tinker Swords are really good handling swords and looking better all the time. Tinker also seems to give the option for his hex nut dismountable handle swords or the choice of peened assembly these day for a more period look.

Don't know if he is currently taking customs orders but there are usually one or two swords available for immediate purchase on his site.

http://tinkerswords.com/forsale.html

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Jason Goldsmith





Joined: 24 Jun 2010

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PostPosted: Fri 10 Sep, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just ordered a custom type XVIII from Tinker (arrives in 3 days!!!), so I think he is still taking orders Happy
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Sep, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Re: User experience with Albion or ATrim blades         Reply with quote

Larry Bohnham wrote:
I've also noticed a decided lack of data on the web from people who have been willing, or able to afford, to use an Albion rigorously and or test one to destruction (other than the ubiquitous YouTube vid of the Albion folks destroying one of their own Viking type blades).


I use the hell out of my Albions. They are working swords, and they, in my experience, offer the best possible performance of any production swords doing things that historical swords are supposed to do.

However, things that historical swords are supposed to do are not necessarily things that most people want to do with swords today.

That aside, the best cutting longsword I have ever used, bar none, is the Albion Brescia Spadona.

I have owned and used many Atrims, and they are also very good swords. Nothing like Albions, but very good for the price, and they are usually very good cutters. If you can live with a reduced level of historical accuracy, constantly needing to tighten the loosening hilt and other such issues, I highly recommend them.

As for Arms and Armor, I only use their blunt training swords (top notch!) and I own one of their rapiers (also superb!), so can only comment on those. Their polearms are also fantastic.

The NYHFA website (link in sig below) has some videos and articles showing the performance capabilities of Albion swords.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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