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Peter O Zwart




Location: Ontario Canada
Joined: 28 Nov 2010

Posts: 69

PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2011 5:52 pm    Post subject: Sword Quality         Reply with quote

I have had the joy of breaking a Windlass Lueterit sword while fencing (I lost) my brother and am now looking for a new sword. I know that Albion makes high quality swords but the are also expensive, Hanwei makes some nice looking swords but I have not found much about the quality of these swords while reading reviews. so I was wondering what I should be looking for in a sword and what manufacturers make good quality swords.
Your help is appreciated.

Edit: I just noticed that I posted this on the wrong forum and I am not sure how to move it Sad sorry moderator.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2011 6:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are you looking for another Viking sword?

Since you were fencing with that Windlass sword, I'm assuming that you want a blunt.

1) Albion Maestro Line or Skirmish line. The Skirmish Line has Viking swords. From $460.00 to $550.00

2) Hanwei/Tinker blunts - pretty good blunt Viking - Between $100.00 to $375.00, depending on where you buy it. You should find some reviews of these swords over at the Sword Buyers Guide forum - http://forum.sword-buyers-guide.com/index.php
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Peter O Zwart




Location: Ontario Canada
Joined: 28 Nov 2010

Posts: 69

PostPosted: Thu 17 Mar, 2011 6:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am looking for another viking sword, not particularly a practice blunt, but just an unsharpened sword, though a blunt would work too.
My question though was more about what I should look for in a sword and what are the quality's of different manufacturers. i.e. what is the difference between a quality sword and a cheap sword.
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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Mar, 2011 7:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know you said that you were not really interested in a blunt, but you might be interested in knowing that these are often made to a higher standard of construction than a regular "battle ready" sword. Just remember that manufacturers who produce these swords know that they are going to be used for heavy blade on blade contact. If you buy a blunt "battle ready" sword you might get something less durable than what you could have otherwise chosen.

If you want a good deal you can go to www.kultofathena.com and search there. They give you the ability to search specifically for weapons that are made for "stage combat." If I were you I would pick our some of my favorites and then take Roger's advice and look for reviews from your peers. the Sword Buyer's Guide is a great website for us sub-$300 people.

As far as understanding more about what makes a great sword, you've come to the right place. Check out the "featured articles" section on this site. The people that write these articles know their stuff. You can tell just know truly knowledgeable they are by looking at the kinds of industry professionals that post to these forums.

You mentioned that your sword was a windlass. I have very often heard complaints that windlass blades are "wimpy." You also mentioned Hanwei. I have also heard that many of these swords go through an excellent heat treatment process, especially for their price range. I do own one Hanwei sword, and I must say that I could tell a difference between that and other swords I own when I sharpened it.

Check out these articles in particular. I like them a lot. http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_properties.html and http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_heymister.html

Eric Gregersen
www.EricGregersen.com
Knowledge applied is power.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Mar, 2011 9:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter O Zwart wrote:
My question though was more about what I should look for in a sword and what are the quality's of different manufacturers. i.e. what is the difference between a quality sword and a cheap sword.


This is actually a huge question and one with a great deal of subjectivity involved in people's responses. I'd encourage you to read through a variety of reviews on our Reviews page. You'll learn much about the various criteria our reviewers use to identify if a sword is good or bad.

You also asked about "the difference between a quality sword and a cheap sword." You'll have to define each of those terms. Happy "Quality" can mean different things to different people. Ditto "cheap."

That aside, I think I get the general gist of your question. The main difference between good and bad swords, in my opinion, is how closely they match period pieces in appearance, construction, durability, and handling (in no particular order). [Note: some people include period-correct materials and construction methods in a list like this. I don't. I'd rather have a great CNC milled swords made of a modern steel than a mostly forged sword made with bloomery iron fittings and carburised steel blade smelted in someone's backyard. The latter will be much more expensive regardless of how correct it is.] Good swords, regardless of price, will get pretty close to or will hit the mark in my initial list. This results in swords that capture the look and feel of a period piece in 3 dimensions.

Many lesser swords look like they're designed by people who have only looked at 2D photos in books. While this is better than the really poor swords, these 2D swords miss many of the subtle shapings of pommels, guards, and blade cross-sections that make a piece look and act right. Imagine trying to make a car after only seeing a side view of it. How wide is the car? How thick are the tires and wheels? What's inside? What 3D details are you missing because they're hidden by the limited view? Etc.

With some makers, it's pretty obvious they haven't studied handling at all or enough. Swords will handle poorly or all their models will all handle exactly the same even if their types and purposes vary widely. For example, MRL for many years took the "swords should be flexible" mantra too far. Some swords should be very flexible, others much less so. They made them all extremely flexible, resulting in a reputation for whippy blades that persists despite signs of improvement. To get them to be flexible, they often thinned out cross-sections designed to impart stiffness for piercing and made the swords handle improperly because they didn't have mass and rigidity where it was needed.

The hands-on research is typically what sets good swords apart from lesser swords. This research is not cheap and plays into the price.

A&A and Albion top the production sword market precisely because they've put in the time to do it right. RitterSteel and others are on the other end because they haven't. For them, they may not want to be accurate because their target audience isn't us, or they may not want to or be able to put in the time to do the research.

For years, Del Tin was the production sword leader. They've been surpassed by A&A and Albion in my opinion, even though they make some great items and have introduced some great new products in recent years. Their look is above average and better than many outside of A&a and Albion, though some visual details can get washed out and not be crisp enough. Handling and weight range from great/spot on to chubby and clunky.

A&A and Albion can't be beat in the production world. Fit and finish and handling are spot on. They've put in the time and it shows. They have each developed relationships with museums and have handled and documented many historical pieces.

Windlass/MRL can make a decent product, though they miss on some details in look and handling. Recent offerings seem to be better than older ones. But they sometimes make their blades too flexible and mess the mass distribution up in ways that make the blade feel too light (the dreaded "whippiness:). Not all models have this issue. Many of their sword designs are not anywhere close to any particular historical example. They're not usually copies, but more pieces that are historically inspired.

Now we have the Valiant lineup helping fill in the gap between the more expensive swords and the really cheap ones. Early reports are quite favorable on handling, fit and finish, and durability. My beefs, and I haven't seen them in person, are with the hex nut hilt assembly some models have plus the fact that while they are historically inspired, they depart from historical norms and averages in ways I'm not comfortable with. For example, the Bristol's parts (guard, blade, pommel) are each historically correct individually; however, they did not appear together on a period sword.

Atrim swords are known for pleasant handling. In the past they have suffered from somewhat of a 2D look, but are getting better. New models seem to be huge improvements visually from models made just a few years ago. The dismountable assembly, while attractive to some buyers, is a huge turnoff for me.

The Hanwei Tinker swords bring Tinker's aesthetic sense and handling to large-scale production. Tinker and Gus are close friends and have worked together and the mutual influence shows in the handling and look of some swords. The HT swords, some of which are peened, others not, can be bought extremely cheaply, and seem to be a very competitive offering and seem to be a handling and durability improvement over older Hanwei-only models.

MRL, new Valiant models, Hanwei Tinker, and Atrim swords won't always hit the mark in terms of historical visual appearance. MRL models may also suffer from ill handling even in cases where they hit the visual mark better than some of their competitors. Quite a number of these swords use a modern, convenient, but historically inaccurate dismountable system or threaded components where peening is much more proper. But they are all much less expensive than more accurate swords.

In general, you do get what you pay for. Each consumer needs to decide how far they (and their wallet) are willing to go to satisfy their definition of historical accuracy and/or good vs. bad. For me, historically accurate = good. For others, it's solely performance. Or a certain look (perhaps derived from fantasy). Or just the price. Or, or or...... Happy

Sorry for the long post. Happy

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Mar, 2011 10:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you want to know about what goes into making a good performance sword, go read these articles over at Sword Forum - http://www.swordforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=132 -

I'll mention just one aspect - distal taper - where a starting thickness at the guard gradually thins down the length of the blade. All good swords use it (an exception being a pure thruster which will have a tapering width, or profile taper) As Gus Trim says in his article, it can be linear, convex, or concave - (sometimes it can get thicker for a short distance)

Swordmakers who use it - Albion, Tinker, Gus Trim. Arms and Armor as well, though I don't think they are as fanatical about it as the first three. I'm sure there are some others who use it to a greater or lesser degree.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell over the internet if a swordmaker is using it or not. It isn't something that is advertised, perhaps because they don't want to give away their secrets - or because the sword doesn't have any distal taper. There is one place that will give you some indication - Kult of Athena - http://www.kultofathena.com/ -. Sword specs there include the thickness at the guard and close to the blade tip. I wish they had taken a measurement halfway down the blade as well, but it is a lot better than nothing. Look at a Hanwei/Tinker, an Albion, a Del Tin, a Darksword armory sword, and you will see what I mean. If there is only one thickness measurement, that usually means no distal taper.

Finally. take a look at the Albion Squire Line Viking sword. It is probably the best Viking sword you can get for under $500.00.
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Peter O Zwart




Location: Ontario Canada
Joined: 28 Nov 2010

Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sat 19 Mar, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow! Thanks a lot for all the information.

Quote:
Finally. take a look at the Albion Squire Line Viking sword. It is probably the best Viking sword you can get for under $500.


Now I just have to find a used one of these Happy
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter O Zwart wrote:
I am looking for another viking sword, not particularly a practice blunt, but just an unsharpened sword, though a blunt would work too.
My question though was more about what I should look for in a sword and what are the quality's of different manufacturers. i.e. what is the difference between a quality sword and a cheap sword.


If you are fencing with it, or even "playing around", I'd really suggest you'd get a sword made for that purpose. Using a Windlass-style "blunt" can be really dangerous. Ideally, everybody needs at least two swords: a blunt for training and a sharp for historical correctness (and cutting practice).

You also need to think about your budget. Usually, more money = better sword, although country of origin and purpose also play a big part.
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Peter O Zwart




Location: Ontario Canada
Joined: 28 Nov 2010

Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
If you are fencing with it, or even "playing around", I'd really suggest you'd get a sword made for that purpose. Using a Windlass-style "blunt" can be really dangerous.


Hmmm I was under the impression that if I got a quality sword it should not matter if it was a practice blunt or not, maybe that is just marketing hype, like what got me to by the Windlass sword in the first place. then again I just the new Albion stage combat line so maybe that might fit the bill a little better.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter O Zwart wrote:
Quote:
If you are fencing with it, or even "playing around", I'd really suggest you'd get a sword made for that purpose. Using a Windlass-style "blunt" can be really dangerous.


Hmmm I was under the impression that if I got a quality sword it should not matter if it was a practice blunt or not, maybe that is just marketing hype, like what got me to by the Windlass sword in the first place. then again I just the new Albion stage combat line so maybe that might fit the bill a little better.


Well a Windlass blunt is really just an unsharpened sword, the edges although dull are still thin and could be dangerous and as with a sharp will take some damage if used extensively for practice.

I have seen Windlass blunts used as inexpensive training swords but they usually end up looking like saw blades and need constant maintenance to remove the sharp edges created by the notched blades: These have to be rounded out as they can cause stress risers where the blades are more prone to breakage and they can take a strip of flesh off someone's arm ( or any other body parts ).

A training blunt or robust " stage fighting " sword is made to take a lot of hard hits without being ruined easily. ( One can still damage them if one hits edge to edge with maximum force, but they will take years of normal training hits without looking like saw blades ).

The good training blunts are all around 50 R.C. to 52 R.C. while the Windlass sword tend to a bit softer and if used against an Albion they will not fare well in comparison.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2011 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd say go with the H/T Viking for the money - its really only one of about 3 options you have for a Viking type blunt. They are frequently right around the $100 mark, so you and your brother can get two of the exact same blade for roughly the same price as the Windlass you broke. Of course, there are the older blunt Hanwei Viking blades which are even cheaper which I have found stand up pretty well against like swords.

If you have $500 to drop in a single practice sword, do the Albion thing. You won't find the Albion blunts up used very freqently, and I'd hesitate to buy someone else's training blunt which has been through God knows what. I think in the beginning that this would be a bit more than you would need, at least until your tastes develop and you settle on a particular WMA style to learn.

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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