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M Davis




Location: San Antonio, Tx.
Joined: 09 Nov 2010

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 1:55 pm    Post subject: Request for advice on Border Reiver kit         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I'm new to these forums, although I have been wearing out the 'search' function the last week or so. This place really is a great resource, and I'm glad I found it. On to the nitty-gritty...

I'm putting together a Reiver kit. I am somewhat focused on the Scottish side of the border (although I understand national identity was, ahem...flexible, for the reivers.) The time period is the 16th century. I am focusing on this time period since it seems to offer the most flexibility in armor, soft kit, weaponry, etc. I would like to reflect a reiver who is competent, experienced, and a commoner. Unless a claim of nobility can get him out of the gaol a bit earlier, of course.

I recently ordered and received Fraser's 'The Steel Bonnets', Sadler's 'Border Fury', the Osprey titles 'Scottish Renaissance Armies 1513-1550' and 'Galloglass 1250-1600'. Durham's (Osprey) 'The Border Reivers' is, unfortunately, on back-order; due sometime between December 2010 and January 2011. I've dug through a great Borderers site at http://www.theborderers.info/ and the Elliot Border Reiver DNA project at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gallgaedhil/. I've also been digging through the Lord Grey's Retinue site at http://www.replications.com/greys/resources.htm

This kit is primarily for wear to the few Ren faires in Texas and others in Kansas City, Oklahoma, and a few other regions. Historical accuracy is a high priority, but not absolutely so.(I am very grateful to Chad Arnow and Zac Evans for their extremely helpful advice on historical accuracy in this thread: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...inaccurate) e.g. I would like the jak to look period, but I am not concerned with how the linen is produced. I would like the boots to be reasonably accurate, but I'm not worried about the stitching technique. Etc etc. To be honest, I will most likely justify any geographic inacuracies with something like "Oh, that, I was a mercenary in (insert country/region/conflict here)"; kit from a notably older period could be justified as "family heirlooms".

1)Can anyone recommend other sources for research? I haven't dug into the SFI forums yet, but they look promising. I have Janet Arnold's 'Patterns of Fasion...1560-1620' on my wishlist. I'm still hesitant however, to run out and purchase books that, while valuable in a general sense of research and historiography, may not be applicable to this particular kit.

2)For body armor(budget: under $500), I am considering a jak from MATULS, specifically, this one: http://www.matuls.pl/index.php?IDP=1&Lng=...ategoria=6

Is this a reasonable option for 16th century reiver? Does anyone have experience with this jack, or a similar model? Does anyone have any experience with MATULS? Is there a better option I am missing?

3)For a sword (budget: under $600; I don't do any live steel training, and I don't think I will at any point in the future.) I am considering:

a) The 16thc. hand a half (order #17C14) by armourclass: I like this option since it would give me a bit more flexibility for future kits from other periods and regions. If I do purchase a hand-and-a-half, I would really like a ring-hilt. They look nice and seem extremely practical for cavalry in light armor without plate gauntlets.

b) The Early Basket hilt (order #17C15) by armourclass: This basket hilt seems like it would make this kit much quicker and easier to identify as Scottish (for the general population) or even simply English/Scottish (for those who might have a better grounding in these things). I don't particularly care for the feel or look of ribbon basket hilts, and from what I understand, the ribbon hilts came later than the 16thc anyway. As far as fullers are concerned, I really like the look of single and double fullers. Are these accurate for early basket hilts?

Link to both here:http://www.armourclass.co.uk/data/pages/17Century_Main3.htm

As with the jak, I would appreciate any advice/input anyone might have to offer on these swords. I know there are several options for swords out there, but these two seem to fall within my budget and kit period. Again, am I missing another, possibly better, option in this area?

Nathan Robinson mentioned in this thread:http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...iver+sword that shiavone (plural?) were used during this period. Is there a shiavone option in my budget? I've seen the Deepeeka schiavona, but the hilt seems a bit off, and it has received some less-than-awesome reviews. Nathan Robinson has posted pics of his Del Tin schiavona, but I can't seem to find it in their online catalogue. Has it been discontinued?

I have also considered the Windlass Munich sword. It's certainly easy on the budget. Would this be too far outside the period I'm going for? Does anyone have any experience with this sword?

4)I'm old, lazy, and my knees aren't what they used to be. A targe and its weight/bulk is, at this point, not on the kit list. I have a seen a few reeeeeaaaally nice ones though.

5) For boots, (budget: under $800) I'm still extremely uninformed on my options. I would prefer thigh-length, and I know I may need to adjust my budget accordingly. My time in the Army has taught me painful lessons on cheap boots and quality boots. I have absolutely no problem spending good money on good boots.

6) For plate armor (budget: under $600, if possible) I am considering a gorget from Best Armor (model NG 1.4 or NG 2.5):http://www.bestarmour.com/gorget_bevor_1.html, and a set of spaulders from Best Armor (model 2.5, though I am certainly not set on that particular model, they just look sharp with that shoulder-stop).http://www.bestarmour.com/arm_harness_2.html

7)Helmet: I'm not entirely certain I want one yet. I'm not excited by the prospect of walking around a faire all day wearing a brain-bucket. However, I can't help thinking that burgonet sure would look good. I have my eye Best Armor's Burgonet models SB 1.1, SB 1.4, and SB 2.1. Ultimately, it's difficult to justify the expenditure on something I'm not really sure I want to wear in the first place.http://www.bestarmour.com/burgonet_1.html

8)Leather-kit: for the various straps, baldric, belt, etc. is there anything I need to keep in mind? Was leather stained black during this period? Also, any advice about fittings? Was brass more or less common than steel? I'm reasonably competent with leather-work, so I'll probably tool most of these items myself. For fittings, I'm looking at Gaukler's http://www.medievalwares.com/ and Armour and Castings http://armourandcastings.com/.

9)Firearms: I'm torn. A wheellock or snaphaunce doesn't seem essential to the kit, and they just don't seem like a priority for me right now.

10) Dagger/ballock knife: (budget: under $300). I've seen a few options in this area. From what I've seen, E B Erickson does some really nice work, but I don't know what his price point is, and from what I understand, his backlog is around a year or so. I could be completely wrong, of course. Since it's reiver kit, I don't think a ballock knife is essential, and a dagger may provide some flexibility for future kits as well. Would anyone mind suggesting some options here?


So, that's where I'm at so far. Am I missing anything, at least regarding equipment? Does anyone have advice on any aspect I haven't mentioned yet?

Mods, I have read the terms of use for myArmoury, and I've made every attempt in this first post to abide by them, but I recognize that with so many links to so many manufacturers, outside forums, re-enactors sites, and others, I may well have overlooked one of the TOS rules. If so, I apologize; any rules violations I've made are borne strictly out of ignorance, not malice. Ultimately, I really am a meat-head, and I try to always take this into account.

To everyone, thank you in advance for your help and time. If you've made it this far into my post, I at least owe you a drink if you ever make it to Houston.

"Although walking is authorized, it is strongly discouraged."
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I haven't read this all, as I'm working, but wanted to quickly answer with a couple tidbits:

If you're wearing thigh-high boots, you'd be a cavalry guy. If you're a cavalry guy, you're less likely to have a hand-and-a-half sword. That, and the fact that the sword doesn't specifically fit your persona's needs, rules out the Armour Class H&H, IMO.

An Albion Munich would not fit at all with your persona, and it's a long, long sword, too.

A schiavona would not be a good match as it's out of context for the period and place.

Have a look at Darkwood Armory, as well, for swords.

Perhaps consider a heavy rapier / side sword as a weapon. Arms & Armor, Darkwood Armoury, and some items from Del Tin might fit your needs and budget. Kult of Athena is a US retailer of Del Tin items.

E B Erickson has a long waiting list (4+ years) that is currently closed. He also isn't known for daggers. Have a look at Tod's Stuff for dagger options.

I have to run...

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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a Border Reiver from either side could use an English Baskethilt. Check out Darkwood Armory - http://www.darkwoodarmory.com/index.php?main_...;cPath=2_6


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Darkwood Armory English Baskethilt
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out this topic on The Armour Archive, too.
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Dan Rosen




Location: Providence
Joined: 21 Jan 2010

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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 4:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello and welcome to the forums! The 16th and early 17th century happens to be my absolute favorite time period.

For your time period, you'll want to specify a bit more than just the 16th century, as fashions and styles in clothing, arms, armor, and so on changed very very rapidly even then. Even for a semi rural area like the Borders, fashions would've infiltrated to at least some degree. Let me say that I love that you're interested in the perspective of the lower sort. I'm the same way; I like knowing and representing how regular people would have lived. At the same time, it helps to prevent the idea that history was awash solely in a sea of silk and silver. I'm also glad to see that accuracy is a high priority for you; there are too many faux Reivers and Ren Faire Scots out there misrepresenting a rich cultural legacy.

Be wary of the illustrations in the Osprey books, especially Angus McBride's. Many are romanticized or lacking in research, though Graham Turner's work is usually pretty sound.

I feel very, very, very, very strongly that an accurate, comfortable, study soft kit should come before anything else. That way you have a strong foundation that functions as it needs to and gives you something to build off of and around.

Janet Arnold's book is fantastic, though a few decades old it is still the gold standard. It doesn't provide instructions or really much information about materials, techniques, or commonalities, but it does give very well done, scaled illustrations and detailed information of/about several extant garments. Even though these surviving garments are largely fashionable, by cross-referencing period artwork and a little bit of tweaking, you can derive from them some very, very accurate patterns for the common man. For example, some of the Italian doublets from the 1560's-early 1570's from PoF are quite similar to the doublets worn by middle class Englishmen in the painting "The Fete at Bermondsey" (Ca. 1569)
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joris_...c_1569.png

The "Tudor Tailor" is also a good choice. The information is painted at times with as broad brush and many things are very vague, but it's one of the best currently available. There's also a nice chart that breaks down what kinds of fabrics and materials were used for which particular garments which is phenomenally helpful and helps you to construct clothes that function as they need to.

There are plenty other books that go into a lot more depth on materials and things like that, but you can't really go wrong starting out with Patterns of Fashion.

The cut and styling of your clothes and armor are all very dependent on when you want to represent. The jack you posted is very, very 15th century in styling

I agree with the points on the sword. A schiavona is very distinctive to a certain region of Europe, while a Darkwood baskethilt as was posted (and a few varieties of it) would be an excellent choice for roughly the 1540's on. For your knife, I'd say definitely go with Tod's Stuff.

Unless you're specifically a horseman, boots probably aren't the best choice. There are some Dutch images from the 1550's-1560's that show common husbandmen wearing tall loose boots, but shoes would be your best bet unless you're supposed to be riding a horse at that very moment. Despite the appearance of commonality of boots in 16th century upperclass portraiture, those men simply wanted to look dashing. In the case of both shoes or boots, you'll want a very very low heel and rounded almond-shaped toes for post 1550 or so.

The plate armor you posted is also very 15th century, and it's not entirely inconceivable for someone to be wearing things like it on the border in the early part of the 16th century.

For your leather kit, I vote that you STAY AWAY from baldrics. There are very few examples of them in the 16th century (I can only name three), and all of those examples are on very rich or noble people and towards the end of the century (Henry, Lord Windsor 1588, Sir Walter Ralegh 1590, and a Lieutenant in Lant's Roll of the funerary parade of Sir Philip Sidney 1587). You'll want a hanger and girdle. There are some good choices here- http://www.tattershallarms.org/gear.html


Take some time to mull things over and by all means keep on asking questions!

Best,

-Dan

-Dan Rosen

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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Because I am descended from a reiver "family" ( Black Douglas, who came to the "colonies in 1622 ) & I have a thing for "English Basket hilts. I have given it some deep thought about doing a "Reiver Kit".

The major consideration I have is choosing the "class" of the individual, I wish to portray. The clothing,arms etc, "Hinge" on this, no matter the time period.

At this point, I am leaning towords being a a land holder with a Sm. to med. tower for my residence, & being able to "field" med. size forc4e of Men ( both mounted & Foot Louns.

But for now, I am learning. Please continue your posing on your progress

Jack.
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 8:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello M Davis,

Wrong "jack" with the one from Matuls, that is a 15th century style.

What you want is either a sleeveless "padded jack" or "jack o plate" Not the same style or type. They have some nice examples at the The Borderers website. You can make a real "jack o plate", a faux-"jack o plate" like the one you'll see on their site (it's missing "plates") or a padded one for use but be sure to make them in a "peascod" style as making it look like you had a beer belly was the style of armour

This Almain Collar is a better choice of armour for a Reiver. I'd restrap it with period buckles.

One of the coolest helms (to me) of the era was the "secret" a steel paaded skull cap that is worn under a oversized bonnet or flat cap. I have such a helm and hat for my outfit.

If your willing to be a foot loon, you can go with a matchlock, latch, or longbow, padded jack, almond toe buckle shoes and be able to travel light. The horsemen have the horse to carry the lance, pistol, sword & targe and the rest of the gear.

I'm not feeling well tonight, so this is all your going to get out of me at this time.

Cheers,

David

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

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Hadrian Coffin
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 10:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello,
As for the leather you seem to have the right idea going... Most of Gaukler's stuff is very nice. The fitting's material varies by object... for many items copper alloy metals are very common, other metals used include tin, pewter, and a few sparse finds of ferrous metals. The ferrous based finds are more rare for this type of item in general due to the fact that they would have had to be forged/chased rather then cast.
For leather be sure to use vegetable tanned leathers. A very brief overview of 16th century leather dyeing can be found here
Another helpful read about leather decoration is available online, Leatherworking in the Middle Ages, I would contest a few details that come up in the articles (it is an assemblage of a few different articles) but overall it is fairly sound.

For the hanger...
The best I have seen available are the ones from Karl Robinson and Leo Todeschini
There are various manufacturers of fittings for said hangers... I am currently trying to find one that I really like, which is difficult. Of the various extant examples not a single 16th century example, I am aware of, has simple plain leather. I would assume that the majority of period hangers contained at least a small amount of decoration either tooling and/or saddle-stitching. The simplest example has some lovely saddle-stitch design on it. One other has punched and tooled decoration and near identical fittings to the aforementioned piece. The rest of the 16th century examples are extensively embroidered. The majority have latten fittings, but two have forged/chased/filed ferrous fittings.

For shoes... boots are not very appropriate (as has already been mentioned). Sarah Juniper is probably the best on the market... at 150-200 for 16th shoes she is comparatively expensive, but well within your budget. If you read this you can see some of the details she adds that are simply non-exsistant in other shoes.

A purse will be necessary both Leo Todeschini and Karl Robinson mentioned above create very nice ones. Otherwise if you are interested in making your own Purses in Pieces is an exceptional book.
Other small details, such as an eating knife, are important as well. Leo Todeschini aka Toddstuff is very good for this kind of thing.

For swords if you could up your budget by about one to two hundred dollars (perhaps use the money you are saving on boots Wink ) you could get a piece by Arms&Armor which is a bit higher quality then Darkwood from what I've seen. If not Darkwood's pieces are very nice as well.

The last comment I will make will concern the clothing. The soft kit is the foundation of a solid interpretation. In reality the other items swords, armour, etc. are nice but in reality are just flash. With a solid soft kit you can represent a time period, a sword or helmet, well nice, can't be worn alone. I am an advocate of hand-sewing as it does not add as much time to the garment as many people expect... but in reading the initial post it seems fairly unimportant to you. Mr. Rosen already provided some nice information.

Cheers,
Hadrian

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2010 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A hanger or short double-edged sword with simple hilt (maybe a sidering) would probably have been pretty common.
-Sean

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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2010 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also am slowly working on a Border Reiver Persona.
I would just add about the boots. As has been mentioned not every one living on the border was a reiver and of course there were foot loons. But if your going for the tradtional border reiver with horse and lance then tall boots would be appropriate being that they would never be far from there horse.

but for more information about reiver boots: http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/viewto...highlight=
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M Davis




Location: San Antonio, Tx.
Joined: 09 Nov 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2010 11:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First, I'd like to sincerely thank everyone who has taken the time to give me advice and guidance for this kit. It was a pretty hefty first post, I know, and I really appreciate everyone who dug through it to help me out.

Dan Rosen: Thanks for the lead on "The Tudor Tailor". I'll put it in the wish list as well. Your point about high-boots is kind of an eye-opener for me. The persona is definitely "light-cavalry" (an emotional attachment more than anything; my first deployment was with the 1st Cav. Maybe silly, but there it is...), so I think boots might be in order. However, your post made me wonder: If I'm wearing high-boots, that kind of implies that my horse is tied up in the parking lot of the faire, and I've just stopped by for some watered down beer and (pork) turkey leg before I head out a'reiven'. Also, high-boots in Texas in spring and summer: not fun. I think I will most likely go with some knee boots, which seem like they might be a good compromise of the necessary protection during riding(at least to some degree), simple comfort, and social-status accuracy.

And thank you for the nice detail of advice on the period toe construction. I think that's one of those seemingly small details that can make or break a period interpretation.

Also, thank you for the pointer on baldrics. That's yet another detail I was completely aware of. Too much Hollywood, I suppose. I followed up on your tattershallarms suggestion, and I've also begun looking at Tod's Stuff and digging through the forums for ideas. Like I said, I simply didn't have a concept of the variety and importance of a quality harness. I don't have the resources to try my hand at a quality scabbard, but I think I may try my hand at a harness. I'll need to wait until after I've ordered one and have it on hand to really understand what separates the great, the good, and the meh of harnesses.

Hadrian Coffin: Thank you for the advice on medieval leather-working. Definitely fills a gap in my knowledge. Re: hangers: I'm going to have to really dig in to this area. LOTS to learn here.

I agree with you about Sarah Juniper. Her prices seem pretty reasonable if you consider the quality of her work. I'll be following up this line as well. As I said above, since this is a cavalry persona, and the weather down around Houston is usually wet or really wet, I'll most likely go with knee boots.

The eating knife and purse are also very good details. I don't think I want to put all this effort (and money) into this kit just so I can pull out a spork when it's time to eat.

Finally, your post (as well as Dan Rosen's) has made me completely reconsider the priority of the equipment I'm putting together. I think my first approach to this project was a bit naive; I really didn't understand how much work other people, like yourself for instance, have put into this hobby. I also think I was being a bit shallow, in the sense that I was looking for quick solutions for a hobby that seems to offer quick solutions OR quality solutions. It seems, in my admittedly limited experience so far, that those traits are rarely fused.

So, enough of the heavy. You, and others on this board, have me fired up. I'll get this thing as "right" as possible. I may have to settle for some less-than-ideal solutions before I have it all together, but I will at least pursue this kit with a higher standard of research and effort.

Nathan Robinson:Thank you for the heads up on the swords I was considering, in particular the Munich sword and schiavona. I think that at this point, I should focus on my soft kit. That will give me a better idea of the time period, and the appropriate sword. I think you may have just saved me a lot of money and maybe more than a little grief. Re: the H&H sword: I'm still getting my bearings on all things sharp and pointy, but weren't H&H also used by cavalry? Or do you think the H&H is inappropriate for this kit based on geography/culture/availability? I admit it: I really like the bastard swords with compound hilts.

Roger Hooper: I like that hilt a lot. That would also be an easy fit for this kit. Thanks for the link. The description says that darkwood will put a broad blade on it, but the drop-down menu for the sword doesn't seem to include a broad-blade option. Do you, or anyone else, know if darkwood offers a blade suitable for reenactment, preferably with at least one fuller?

Jack Englund I'm not sure if my branch of the Davis's actually are related to the Davison grayne or not. They could be Welsh, or both, for all I know. But the Elliot DNA project has several DNA haplotypes from other Davises who are most likely related to the Davisons. You should check their link out; it's in my first post, buried under all of the questions.

David Teague: As little as I know about medieval weaponry, I know even less about armor. Thanks for the heads up on the Almain Collar. I think the jack will most likely be the biggest project of this kit. I haven't decided exactly what kind I'm going to make, but I think I'll take a crack at it. I also like the idea of a "secret": it's subtle, period, and doesn't scream "oh hai guys look at this armor i just bought lol omg!!!".

Hope you're feeling better today. Thanks for taking time out in here even when you weren't feeling too great.

Sean Flynt: If I thought I could get away with a katzbalger for this kit, there's a good chance I'd pull the trigger on one. They seem so well-designed for their purpose. Ah well. Thank you for advice as well.

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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2010 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M Davis wrote:

[b]Roger Hooper:
I like that hilt a lot. That would also be an easy fit for this kit. Thanks for the link. The description says that darkwood will put a broad blade on it, but the drop-down menu for the sword doesn't seem to include a broad-blade option. Do you, or anyone else, know if darkwood offers a blade suitable for reenactment, preferably with at least one fuller?

.


Here is Darkwood's blade page - http://www.darkwoodarmory.com/index.php?main_...Path=11_12 -

If you're serious about getting one of their products, you should get in touch with the Darkwood people. I'm sure they can come up with a blade that fits your needs.
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Dan Dickinson
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to clarify, I believe he was talking about the Windlass Munich sword
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=501144 not Albion's. http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...xviiib.htm
However, even though it would be a good sword to use from horseback, I still don't believe it or the nicer reproduction made by A&A http://armor.com/sword192.html would be right for your period as it's early 17th century, not 16th.
I hope this helps,
Dan
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2010 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Dickinson wrote:
Just to clarify, I believe he was talking about the Windlass Munich sword
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=501144 not Albion's. http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...xviiib.htm
However, even though it would be a good sword to use from horseback, I still don't believe it or the nicer reproduction made by A&A http://armor.com/sword192.html would be right for your period as it's early 17th century, not 16th.
I hope this helps,
Dan


Good call. I didn't notice that on my first quick pass.

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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Just to clarify, I believe he was talking about the Windlass Munich sword
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=501144 not Albion's. http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...xviiib.htm
However, even though it would be a good sword to use from horseback, I still don't believe it or the nicer reproduction made by A&A http://armor.com/sword192.html would be right for your period as it's early 17th century, not 16th.
I hope this helps,
Dan

I asked about the time period when I got my Arms and armor one a few years ago. There is evidence of them from 1540-1690
Z
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