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Kirill R




Location: Montreal
Joined: 31 Jan 2011

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 5:34 am    Post subject: Raven Armoury Scimitar         Reply with quote

I am strongly considering the purchase of the evolution scimitar by Raven Armoury, but there are a few things bugging me and I would like to request advice/opinions from your experiences as I am a (kind of) young starting collector and sword practitioner. The sword material is offered in steel, bronze, silvered bronze and silver. Since the cost of these swords is monstrously extravagant, I thought by going all steel for the fittings would lower the price, but they charge the same for steel,bronze,silvered bronze and about 15% more for silver.

Does this sound reasonable? Bronze and steel material cost the same?

Would it make sense to go with the silvered bronze? It will look like a much more expensive silver piece, but there will always be that nagging feeling from knowing that underneath it is still bronze. Plus, if it ever were tochip and reveal the bronze underneath it would look awful. For a piece this expensive does it even make sense to cheap out on the material for an 800 pound savings? Although, for 800 pounds you could get another high quality sword.

I asked for some modifications to the scabbard - change the tip of the scabbard fitting and some other very minor other changes. The price quoted increased by 750 pounds! I was quite shocked at such an increase for what I thought were small changes. I would rather get an Albion Munich sword. Maybe I am missing the subtleties here? Does it really cost the price of an Albion sword to change some fittings on a scabbard?

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Jean-François Picard




Location: Montréal, Québec
Joined: 05 Mar 2008

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They make nice blades, i've never had the chance to hold one but i cant seem to be able to justify their prices.
750 pounds for small changes... I would reconsider.
Custom makers could make you something similar, to your exact specs for a better price.
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Marc Bloom




Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Joined: 22 Feb 2011

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On a general note, lots of sword hilts were silver or gold plated bronze or steel. A solid guard of sterling silver would be soft and gold would be softer and heavier.

Are the steel hilt pieces forged or cast?
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marc Bloom wrote:
On a general note, lots of sword hilts were silver or gold plated bronze or steel. A solid guard of sterling silver would be soft and gold would be softer and heavier.


This isn't the whole story. Several historical swords were gilt with gold or silver, producing a material much thicker and durable than modern-day plating. Plating is extremely thin.

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Marc Bloom




Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Joined: 22 Feb 2011

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

True, modern plating is much thinner and less durable. We are not getting in as many battles either. My main point is that a slivered or gilt hilt isn't necessarily a negative.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 11:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marc Bloom wrote:
True, modern plating is much thinner and less durable. We are not getting in as many battles either. My main point is that a slivered or gilt hilt isn't necessarily a negative.


I personally think a silver plated hilt is a negative for several reasons including not being historical to many types of historical inspiration and the lack of durability. Many times plating is so thin, in fact, that one can wear through the layers simply by occasionally "dry handling" the piece.

Mileage varies.

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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have one of Hank's old Raven pieces just for sentimental value - I'd personally not say there was anything incredibally special about their swords. It's an OK blade, but there are many, many other custom manufacturers out there I had rather have for the prices Raven asks for their new products. Might want to shop a little in the custom realm and get something with your own flair to it which you could be happier with in the end.

My thoughts on the prices: If small changes cost that much, it makes me wonder if they are outsourcing hilt and scabbard components; having to have parts manufactured somewhere else rather than an in-house craftsman doing it. This would be one reason for such a large markup on something that could be easily changed by a smith on staff. It pretty much means anything ordered outside of a stock model is gonna cost twice as much. It's their way of saying, "We don't really want to do custom work, but we will if you pay for the new parts to be specially made somewhere else and sent to us."

I am not saying this is definately the case, but I have seen it happen a few times before with sword makers.

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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Kirill R




Location: Montreal
Joined: 31 Jan 2011

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not sure if I will be able to find custom makers that can produce a similar sword with respects to the design and attention to detail. The only ones that I am aware of that can come close are Christian Fletcher or John Lundemo. Simon from Raven claims to have taken years to develop the design and process necessary to build the "evolution" design. If that is true, then I assume custom smiths would not be able to produce this sword without significant investment.

Thanks Marc, that did make me feel better about the silvered bronze. From the site: "No two examples are ever identical as the fittings are hand forged and the blade hand ground."

Nathan, when asked about the plating Simon did say "Silvered bronze is a heavy plate of silver on bronze". I guess the real question is define "heavy".

If going all silver will create a softer, weaker weapon, that does not sit well with me. Silvered bronze will look nice, and have structural strength, but runs the risk of wearing off unless Simon's claim of heavy plating insures it does not. Another consideration is steel with a satin finish ... no plating, good structural strength , but I feel I am getting ripped off by being charged the same for steel as silvered bronze.

Sarge, the Raven piece you have - is it a historical piece or a scimitar? Regarding outsourcing, I don't know, but it does say on their website that they hand forge everything.

I would gladly commission a custom smith for a more customized, better priced scimitar, but I don't think there is one who can do it - unless I can be proven wrong. For historical blades, I would choose Albion or Arms and Armor, for ordinary fantasy pieces I would go with C.Fletcher or Lundemo. The only reason I am considering Raven is because IMO I have never seen such a beautiful scimitar and do not know of anyone else capable of producing one so fine. I think it is because he is alone in the world (no competition), that he can charge such draconian rates and get away with it.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,227

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 5:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think you would be dissapointed with a Lundemo scimitar...
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would discourage anyone from approaching a maker in an attempt to recreate a design owned by Raven Armoury or any other company. It's best to respect the intellectual property rights and hard work of others.

Kirill R, if you have your sword made, please share photos with us here when it's done! There's far too few shown on the Raven site!

Cheers

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Kirill R




Location: Montreal
Joined: 31 Jan 2011

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2011 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed.

Will do, but keep in mind it may take up to 3 years!
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David Spencer




Location: Australia
Joined: 29 May 2010
Likes: 9 pages

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu 23 Feb, 2012 2:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just come across this thread and thought I'd share these photo's of some Raven swords I purchased last year.
They are
Dragon shortsword, is 23' blade 30.5' overall with a weight of 2lb 5 oz with a blade thickness of about 7mm at spine.

1893 Sabre is Overall length 37.1/4" with a Blade length of 32" and a feather weight of 1lb 9oz, they made 70 of these for the Royal Guard of Norway copied from an original loaned to them by the Forsvarsmuseet museum but they sold a couple of extra's to private sales.
XIII gothic is on the "in stock" page

The quality of the craftmanship on each of these swords is second to none, every detail is done to the highest standard, I personaly think of Raven 's sword as custom pieces and the price reflects that, but I feel they are worth the money.
there is more info on these swords on Raven's web pages, but if you have any questions please feel free to ask.



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Raven 3 1.jpg
Raven Armories Swords

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Raven Armories swords [ Download ]


Last edited by David Spencer on Fri 24 Feb, 2012 1:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
Joined: 20 Oct 2003
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Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,494

PostPosted: Thu 23 Feb, 2012 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A silver hilt, in and of itself, is not too soft for a weapon. If the sword is well assembled there would be no concern. Originals, and some of mine, have iron fittings which are rather "soft" compared to steel. There are even originals made with copper hilts that have stood the test of time. Hilts, simply, don't take a lot of damage, and if the sword is well assembled the entire hilts hilt shares the structural burden, thus preventing breaking at one junction. I would assume that Raven swordsare well assembled. Whether they are worth the price is a matter of personal choice however. . . .

Regarding the silver plating. It would depend on how it was applied. The type of thick gold plating seen in period isn't something that is going to be reproduced nowadays becasue the original process involving murcury is extrememly toxic. I do not know if silver can be hand applied in a period-appropriate manner or if it's historical method would be toxic as well. If it can be applied in a historical manner, then durability may be less of an issue. I know that Patrick Barta does some silvered hilts but I don't know his process. I would avoid electric plating- that which is typically done today, and which would produce a plating of poor durability. You may ask Raven if they use electric plating methods.

We don't see a lot of Raven swords around here and my knowledge of them is nil. They certainly are expensive though! I find their medieval examples pretty attractive if that means anything.

And regarding the weight- the difference between the different metals would be fairly minimal or even hard to notice.


Last edited by Jeremy V. Krause on Thu 23 Feb, 2012 10:11 am; edited 3 times in total
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Likes: 23 pages

Posts: 448

PostPosted: Thu 23 Feb, 2012 7:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Their sword's look very nice too me as well, and generally pretty accurate as well, although it's not that it can be really judged from pictures and videos.

Prices are completely wild though, so if I've ever wanted to buy one, I would probably try to contact anyone who've ever bought one for info, lol.

If they're well made as far as materials and period construction goes....
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Kirill R




Location: Montreal
Joined: 31 Jan 2011

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the pictures David! Have you handled these at all?
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Eric SC




Location: Redwood City, CA
Joined: 02 Feb 2009

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tried to buy that dragon head shortsword but was too late ha ha. I actually have something currently on commission with them that is similar.

This will actually be my fourth Raven Armoury piece. For reference I also have a Lundemo, have or have had several Albions, a few Fletchers, one Barrett and one Slobodian and a few other pieces.

From a practical standpoint the architecture of traditional swords is time proven. For the fantasy stuff, I think it's just the expertise of the smith projecting his knowledge into making something that feels right but with no practical experience. I generally find that any sword in the Fantasy category generally adds unnecessary weight.

For the most part my Raven pieces are fantasy inspired and i have no doubt they would serve in a battle but I don't think they would be ideal - in the same sense that if you have a viking sword in the age of plate, it's not heavy enough and most didn't have a point to get at joints but it would still serve if that was all you had. I get that feeling from fantasy pieces simply because their use in warfare is fantasy. This holds true for any fantasy piece so I don't get too worked up about comparing it to a traditional sword of a certain era and fighting style but if I were to change the fantasy raven pieces to be more practical, I would lose unnecessary weight and beef up the sword blade at all the fancy wasp waists or reduce needlessly large swells at the point for leafs or scimitars. Then the result would probably end up being a traditional looking sword which i have a few so the Raven fantasy pieces fulfill a different need for me.

If I were to start with a traditional sword, I would not look to Raven as they are pricey compared to others and I would probably go with an Albion.
If I were to start with a fantasy sword but I want as much practicality as is humanly possible I would definitely go with John Lundemo. I think he will limit the fantasy to prevent an impractical sword.

I personally buy Raven Armoury pieces because I like their designs and I understand the limitations but still want it built traditionally and very finely finished. They were also the very first sword makers that I sent money for a catalogue when I was still in high school a couple of decades (wow!) ago when sword makers were difficult to find and I have been dreaming about them every since.
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Axel Schünecke




Location: Munich, Germany
Joined: 03 Sep 2012

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep, 2012 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all,

sorry for digging this up again - but as a newbie here and just browsing the forums recently discovered, this last reply really touched me that I simply "had" to react.

I received my first Raven Armoury catalogue back in circa 1993 or so, when I was still in school, doing a lot of fantasy role-playing (table top and live action)... the only "swords" I owned were cheap katana replicas (even worse than the stuff you get today) and of course padded weapons for role-playing battles. So when I got that first catalogue, saw the Leafblades and Atlanteans I was simply blown away.

And of course - they were too expensive then to even thing about ever owning one.

Having gone through school, university, more than a decade "really" working, the thought of owning a sword sooner or later has never really left me. The idea sparked up again lately, probably from watching too many Game of Thrones episodes in a row.

So I started looking at Raven Armoury again (and was amazed they basically still look the same as they did almost 20 years ago), then did my usual routine of online searches, discovering forums and communities - really great after a great many years pretty much away from everything.

To make a long story short: I am right now waiting for my very first sharp sword, a dream come true... withe me now being more than twice as old as when I first looked into that catalogue.

Of course, my taste has shifted too - what would I ever do with one of those Atlanteans and how would I explain why I need to own an Elven sword at my age? So I got myself the simplest practical sword I could find from the time period I am mostly interested in - and ended up with an Albion "The Knight". Can't wait to get my hands on it! I have heard many great things about all kinds of swords and don't think I can really go wrong with my choice - had I found more statements like "Raven Armoury swords are simply the best weapons out there, fully worth their price" I would probably even have gone with one of theirs - however, since they are soooo expensive and very people own them, I did not really find too many statements in this direction. So I decided to start "one size smaller".

Still - when I am twice the age I am now and if I am still in good shape by then, I am almost sure I will have at least one Raven Armoury piece in my collection - because they helped me to keep the dream alive. Cost is really not relevant when you talk about dreams.

That's my little story for this evening. Glad I have found this forum!
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Eric SC




Location: Redwood City, CA
Joined: 02 Feb 2009

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct, 2012 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a cool story and almost the same beginning as my own. I first bought a Raven Armoury catalogue when I was in High School as well and only was able to buy from them many many years later too. How funny. I'm still waiting on something from them and that's about all I can do.
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Kirill R




Location: Montreal
Joined: 31 Jan 2011

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2014 11:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Axel Schünecke wrote:


Still - when I am twice the age I am now and if I am still in good shape by then, I am almost sure I will have at least one Raven Armoury piece in my collection - because they helped me to keep the dream alive. Cost is really not relevant when you talk about dreams.

That's my little story for this evening. Glad I have found this forum!


Thank you for the story Axel. It was quite inspiring!
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Kirill R




Location: Montreal
Joined: 31 Jan 2011

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2014 11:38 am    Post subject: Quick Update         Reply with quote

Quick Update: I went ahead with the Raven sword, choosing a custom (only slightly modified) version of the Evolution scimitar. Went with all silver, no plating. That was back in April 2011. We agreed on a 1 year payment and then delivery schedule.

Since then, there has been a lot of waiting, promises and hoping.

I am told the blade will finally make it before Christmas this year! Very exciting! I will of course post many pictures and do a review when received.
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