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Michael P Smith





Joined: 02 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Aug, 2004 9:11 am    Post subject: Mad Piper Basket Hilts?         Reply with quote

Hi all,

Well, a review of available funds puts the Vince Evans basket hilt out of reach :/. BUT, I still see a basket hilt in my future. What do folks think of the baskets made by the Mad Piper? I am particulalry intersted in his Jacobite sword. It looks like he uses Del Tin blades (so that's not bad) but what abou the quality and historical accuracy of his baskets and scabbards?

Mike
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B. Stark
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Location: ORYGUN
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Aug, 2004 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, i owned an SW10 Stirling or S basket. Overall not bad. Some of his welds leave something to be desired. Many have commented on his barrel shaped handles. I'd say better than Hanwei but i suppose it's a matter of opinion. My concern was with the DT blade. He stated that he needed to grind them down some for fitting as I recall. As to what that exactly means is hard to say. As I was never able to get a look at the tang. Solid by all accounts but that was only in dry handling. Never cut with it. I believe I paid $450 for mine. I don't think I'd get one from him again though. Maybe an E.B. Erickson basket with an AT blade. Or if PMC was still hardline producing. In my experience his work is somewhat rough but do-able. Just don't get an over expectation. Or if you can handle the wait go with ArmorClass from across the pond. happy basket hunting. Big Grin
"Wyrd bi∂ ful aręd"

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Aug, 2004 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Several years ago Mac bought one of his baskethilts and posted some pics of it. The basket was decent but the blade's tang was badly mangled by grinding, It really didn't look safe to use. When I was looking for a baskethilt I contacted him. Through our discussions I learned that he really doesn't give much thought to where he gets his blades. His real concern seems to be the appearance of the basket. The blade is just something to hang the basket on.

Besides, anyone who thinks that Vince Evans work is "Not bad but too flashy" really needs to go back to school.

Look elsewhere.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Michael P Smith





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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2004 6:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Several years ago Mac bought one of his baskethilts and posted some pics of it. The basket was decent but the blade's tang was badly mangled by grinding, It really didn't look safe to use. When I was looking for a baskethilt I contacted him. Through our discussions I learned that he really doesn't give much thought to where he gets his blades. His real concern seems to be the appearance of the basket. The blade is just something to hang the basket on.

Besides, anyone who thinks that Vince Evans work is "Not bad but too flashy" really needs to go back to school.

Look elsewhere.


Yikes! I remember that thread over at SFI now... Vince Evans not bad? NOT BAD???? OK, no Mad Piper.... How about Armour Class? THey look like their in my price range.

Thanks for the reminder Patrick.

Mike
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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2004 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Armour Class has always been praised. Like said earlier, "If can stand the wait" they'd be well worth
looking at. I have a Mortuary hilt enroute from them, wait time from start to finish 22 weeks.


William
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Alex McCracken




Location: Columbus, Ohio
Joined: 03 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2004 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Howdy!

I've purchased a baldric buckle, keeper, and tip from Donnie at the
Mad Piper before, as has another friend of mine that posts on the
Scottish forum over at SFI. A mixed bag.

The good. We both thought that the buckles were really nice, and
very authentic. The craftsmanship was decent, with good, solid
brass being used, and correct period markings. For me, Donnie
even threw in a baldric pattern based on an original.

The bad. The keeper piece had dot-and-circle stamps on it that
weren't very well done. The thickness of the keeper wasn't made
deep enough for the leather I used (8-9 ounce cowhide), which
it was suppose to have been. Donnie fixed it, but after telling me
the entire cost for repair would be free, he charged me near 10
bucks for shipping. My friend had the screws on the baldric tip
pop off because they were cold welded, and not hot welded like
they ought to have been. We both paid around $100 for the work,
which we thought was a lot.

I also ordered the del tin 1740s era blade from him, which I shipped
to Mac who was gracious enough to hilt it to an Eljay Erickson SW11
basket for me. We both thought the Del Tin blade was worth the money,
as did Vince Evans, who's seen them in the flesh. I can highly recommend
those blades.

Overall I was happy, but the craftsmanship, for the money I spent, was
a bit sloppy. Customer service was okay, but could have been better.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Alex

Pray, n:. To ask that the laws of the universe be
annulled in behalf of a single petitioner
confessedly unworthy.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)


Last edited by Alex McCracken on Wed 18 Aug, 2004 9:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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B. Stark
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2004 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, Vince Evans, "nice". To each his own I guess. I've never seen one face to face but It's plainly obvious the quality of the Evan's claymores are about the best you could get. Sheez.
"Wyrd bi∂ ful aręd"

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?

Patrick Henry
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2004 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If that's Mad Piper's opinion, then so be it. Stop knocking him down for it. You're welcome to disagree, but let's not beat a dead horse with a stick. This guy asked for opinions on the work, so let's give it to him.

I've bought a couple of those Del Tin blades that Alex mentioned. They were excellent for the price. Donnie spec'd them, but didn't make them, so this says very little about his abilities.

I've only seen one of his basket-hilts in person. It was quite nice for what the guy paid for it. It was extremely well proportioned and showed the maker understands how originals were constructed. The weight of the parts was very good, as was the outside finish. The inside of the basket had noticable welds and uneven finish, often with some sharp or rough edges. There was a liner in the basket that hid most of that stuff. I felt it would be more authentic for it to be taken to a better finish, but at the price point (under $500 for completed sword), it was pretty much in line.

The scabbard was quite nice with good metal pieces and nicely done metal work. I cannot attest to how durable it was (as Alex mentions above), but the presentation of it was well done.

The blade on the basket-hilt was not good. It was some Indian-made junk. It had a nice shape, but no real heat-treatment. Looking at the tang revealed really bad grinds, as if it was just slapped on there. As Patrick alluded to, many of Donnie's clients are into the reenactment aspect of things and the sword is a costume piece rather than intended for use. If the piece looks authentic while in the scabbard, I think most of his customer base is content. This is qiute a different philsophy than many of us here, so your own mileage may vary with this kind of thing.

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2004 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan's right concerning the Vince Evans comment. It's my fault for bringing it up. It really isn't pertinent to the question, and I do apologize. Let's let that drop.

Mike,

If you want a costume piece Donnie's work might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you're looking for a functional baskethilt I really don't think you'll be happy with what you receive.

Here's another source for baskethilts you may want to consider: http://www.castlekeep.co.uk/

I owned an Armourclass basket hilt and I thought it was a decent buy for the price. The basket was nicely made. They will sharpen the blade upon request, but be aware that they simply sharpen their existing blunts. This will change the blades geometry, and not for the better. Not an outstanding sword, but worth the money. Unfortunately basket hilts are one of those types that don't seem to have much of a middle ground in quality.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Alex McCracken




Location: Columbus, Ohio
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2004 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Nathan,

I didn't intend to say anything derogatory about Donnie Shearer,
but I DID want to convey my whole buying experience, which was
mostly positive. Apologies if I've crossed any lines.

Alex

Pray, n:. To ask that the laws of the universe be
annulled in behalf of a single petitioner
confessedly unworthy.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2004 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex McCracken wrote:
I didn't intend to say anything derogatory about Donnie Shearer,
but I DID want to convey my whole buying experience, which was
mostly positive. Apologies if I've crossed any lines.


You did fine. I think your recap told all the facts. I think you'd agree with me when I say that I wish we had more choices for these types of weapons. There's a lot of good sources out there, but not nearly enough.

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Michael P Smith





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Aug, 2004 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the very useful feedback folks! If I could only afford that Vince Evans piece, my choice would be made! Wink

Mike
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Aug, 2004 11:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael P Smith wrote:
... How about Armour Class? THey look like their in my price range.


Mike


Armour Class is pretty good stuff, especially for the price. I have two, a Stirling-style "Wave" backsword and a Stirling-style "Diamond" broadsword. The "Wave" is a bit over 3 lbs, but is very well balanced and has a feel I can best describe as "precise". The "Diamond" is a bit lighter and feels it, and is just as well balanced. The baskets are pretty accurate, probably a little larger than most originals yet far from being overly huge. For "standard production" basket hilts, they're about the best (quality-wise, I'd say they rank with Arms & Armor or Albion). If you can't get a Scottish-style basket hilt from Vince, or Eljay Erickson, or Erik Stevenson, AC isn't a bad compromise.

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Aug, 2004 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
For "standard production" basket hilts, they're about the best (quality-wise, I'd say they rank with Arms & Armor or Albion).

While I agree that Armour Class produces the best production basket-hilts on the market, I'd say that in terms of comparing product lines, I'd put them a step behind both Arms & Armor and Albion for quality of finish, dynamics, and understanding of proportion/volume/three-dimensionality when reproducing antiques.

That's just my opinion, though, after comparing about 10 AC products to at least three dozen models from both A&A and Albion.

It must be said that AC is also a few steps behind in terms of price point, though. And this is an important factor when doing any comparison.

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