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Jeroen Averhals




Location: Flanders, Belgium
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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2011 10:53 am    Post subject: Arma Bohemia Cluny sword review         Reply with quote

Arma Bohemia Cluny sword

First of all, this is my first review. I hope everything is clear, I fear some of my sentences won't be correct because english isn't my first language. My photography is even worse. If someone wishes, I will make some pictures in natural daylight which may be better.

Arma Bohemia is a Czech Living History and Reenactment shop. They have a huge catalog of all kinds of weapons and everything can be made. As I read they usually work with other makers. I ordered a copy of the Cluny sword in october 2008, the sword arrived in april 2010. The normal waiting time was six months. The blade that was sent to them was not of the desired quality when hardened so it had to be sent back. The workshop where the sword was made was flooded and some parts were lost. Sometimes it took a while to get an answer by email, since they also have to wait for their makers to answer. When they had the sword, sent pictures and I asked for some minor changes, they answered my mails at once. It seems that they only answer when they have an answer, sometimes annoying but quite logic.
I ordered the sword as a copy of the hand and half sword in the Cluny museum. The one they had made before was a blunt one so they couldn't give exact specs. They promised a sword with the POB about 5 cm from the guard. That sounded awesome, but it is even better.
When they received the sword, they sent pictures and I requested some changes to the finish, guard and pommel. All were made without any problems or extra costs. When ready it was packed well and shipped fast. When I received it I wasn't completely satisfied with the sharpening of the blade. Arma Bohemia ordered a new blade, sent it to another grinder/polisher and changed the blade without extra cost.
The sword isn't an exact replica of the sword in the Cluny museum, the form of the blade is different, as the guard and grip. The markings on the side of the pommel are a bit different and there is no 'rainguard'. It could be it's still very beautiful sister.

Measurements:

Weight: 1398 g
Overall length: 123cm
Blade length: 93 cm
Blade width: 3,5 cm at base
Grip length: 30 cm
Guard width: 24 cm
Point of Balance: 2cm from guard
Center of Percussion: 23,5 cm from guard
Oakeshott typology: Type XVIIIb blade, type G pommel, Style M guard

Handling characteristics:

This is an extremely light sword and it handles like a dream.It can be used with one hand without any problem. The balance is very good and makes the sword very fast.
The grip is waisted and thick enough to hold comfortably.
The blade is sharpened from guard to tip. There is no fuller so it is quite stiff.
The sword is sharp enough for test cutting but not paper cutting sharp.It cuts milk cartons and thin water bottles without problem. A small but thick coca cola bottle was to hard, the sword would cut into but not through it. I think this is normal considering the thin blade an low weight. It's thrusting abilities are wonderful, no problems whatsoever. I have no tatami or pool noodles so I have no idea what it would do on those.

Fit and Finish

The sword looks very good, all of seems to fit perfectly.
The guard is forged, Arma Bohemia says they use no cast steel. It has some slight imperfections, small scratches, some tiny holes but all those seem to form the character of the whole sword. It is not an exact replica of the original, but it looks good.
The leather of the grip is thicker than any other sharp swords I have but feels good. You can see the seam on the side but it doesn't bother. The risers are placed perfectly. The one closest to the guard keeps your hand from touching the guard. Which, in my experience, prevents the fingers being hit when the block isn't completely perfect.
The pommel is peened, forged and also has some minor imperfections, which I like. It is very large, this gives an unbelievable balance to the sword and seems right with the rest of the proportions of the sword.
The blade is handforged, you can see the very light hammer marks when looking over the blade. It does have a very small secondary edge.
The scabbard I ordered with the sword is wood covered with leather. It is well made and hold the blade well, though it would fall out when held upside down. The metal chappe is simple but nice.

Conclusion:

Arma Bohemia has made me the sword that I wanted, it looks and feels perfect. It is not the exact replica of the museum piece but has enough character of its own to be a beautiful handmade sword.
It cuts well for it's size and can do best what it's made for: stabbing.

Blunt

When Arma Bohemia finished the sword, they also had a blunt one made for WMA. I couldn't resist and bought it too. These are the specs:
Weight: 1424 g
Overall length: 122cm
Blade length: 93 cm
Blade width: 3,5 cm at base
Grip length: 29 cm
Guard width: 23,5 cm
Point of Balance: 4 cm from guard
Edge Thickness: 2 2,5 mm
Hardness: 50 HRC
This is the best sword I have ever handled in WMA training. The rest of my club agrees. The balance is amazing and gives it lots of speed. I have trained 1 years with this sword and have filed the edges twice or thrice. Again, it looks and feels very good.

Jeroen Averhals



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Vigor et Veritas
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2011 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks great! I love the detail on the guard and pommel. I know the filed detail is present in the pommel of the original but is it on the tips of the guard like yours? The pictures I have of the original don't show the guard clearly enough...
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2011 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It looks like they did a very good job Jeroen.

I went to the Arma Bohemia site. For at least some of the items in their catalogue, they include a picture of the original on which they are based - very interesting.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2011 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm actually hoping to get one of those from Arma Bohemia myself. And a replica of another sword from the Cluny someday. I'm just not that far along on the commission queue. I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product though, once again, someday. Your review helps with that a little bit. It also toments a little too. Big Grin
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Jeroen Averhals




Location: Flanders, Belgium
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim,

If I look at the pictures in this thread:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ight=cluny
It seems there is no filework on the side of the crossguard.

Roger,

Thanks for your kind words

Joe,

It was because of your post I became interested in that sword, thanks a lot.
Arma Bohemia made a wonderful replica of another sword in the Cluny museum:
http://www.armabohemia.cz/imgnew/epees/epees/ep48v.jpg
They used a have a sharp version for sale without a fuller, a real beauty.
You tormented me a much with the replica of Cluny sword mabe by Ollinn, but I'm glad I have been of some help.
If you have some more questions on the sword, please ask.

Jeroen

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeroen Averhals wrote:

Arma Bohemia made a wonderful replica of another sword in the Cluny museum:
http://www.armabohemia.cz/imgnew/epees/epees/ep48v.jpg
They used a have a sharp version for sale without a fuller, a real beauty.
[Jeroen


They are working on another one of those, without the fuller, as well. Big Grin

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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

...except that the original sword has more than just no fuller :


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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah...there is the engraving and all that. :-)

You know, your photos continue to try to get me in trouble! Still, I'm afraid I can't afford to hit that kind of detail in a replication. The sword is not something that is widely available in the reproduction market. At least not yet. So I'm sure I'll manage to be happy with my Cluny posse when it gets done.

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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 6:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Yeah...there is the engraving and all that. :-).


Actually I wasn't referring to that, but to the strong ridge running all the way down the blade. The gilding/engraving is a plus, of course...But I'm sure you'll be happy wiht your purchase anyway Happy

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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fabrice Cognot wrote:
...except that the original sword has more than just no fuller


I think looking at this photo we could almost start another thread about the quality of historical swords and modern expectation of reproductions. There is no question that the sword in the photo is a fine example but look at how uneven the ridge appears, and there are other "irregularities" also apparent.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)


Last edited by Paul Watson on Mon 28 Mar, 2011 8:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Watson wrote:
I think looking at thsi photo we could almost start another thread about the quality of historical swords and modern expectation of reproductions. There is no question that the sword in the photo is a fine example but look at how uneven the ridge appears, and there are other "irregularities" also apparent.


Definitely.

Our modern eyes need to be de-educated for the symetric, robotic perfection post-industrial times brought. This very sword was worn and used by a Duke of Milan, yet still he didn't care for what we see as little (or huge) imperfections. And other similar examples abound.

For these details did not, and still don't, make this sword imperfect. And I'm more keen on these people's judgement when it comes to swords, than on ours.


I'm not advocating flaws though Happy it all depends on what makes a flaw.

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fabrice Cognot wrote:
Our modern eyes need to be de-educated for the symetric, robotic perfection post-industrial times brought. This very sword was worn and used by a Duke of Milan, yet still he didn't care for what we see as little (or huge) imperfections. And other similar examples abound.

For these details did not, and still don't, make this sword imperfect. And I'm more keen on these people's judgement when it comes to swords, than on ours.


I think there is at least one topic that discusses this somewhere on this site. If there's not, there should be.

It may surprise many to know that I am not a fan of machine-perfect symmetry, form, or line. I do not care for machine-perfect finishes without any organic properties. Like you, I am not advocating sloppy work and do not forgive it simply because it is "hand-made", but instead value high-quality pieces made from real people. I rather enjoy the level of finish on antique swords: with all the irregularities it brings.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Mar, 2011 9:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:

It may surprise many to know that I am not a fan of machine-perfect symmetry, form, or line. I do not care for machine-perfect finishes without any organic properties. Like you, I am not advocating sloppy work and do not forgive it simply because it is "hand-made", but instead value high-quality pieces made from real people. I rather enjoy the level of finish on antique swords: with all the irregularities it brings.


Yes in period it does seem that things where often just eyeballed when being made or judged as being good or good enough and that precise measuring during the making was indifferent by our standards of geometric perfection.

Now some where better " eyeballed " than others. Wink

In the sword show in the pic the sword's mid ridge seems a bit wiggly waggly and even off centre. Eek! ( But that could be uneven resharpening maybe ? But still a high end period sword ).

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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Mar, 2011 12:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
In the sword show in the pic the sword's mid ridge seems a bit wiggly waggly and even off centre. Eek!


It definitely is. It is even clearer when you look down the point of the blade : you can see the ridge going left, right, left, right....though it's not that clear when looking at a "normal" view :




But I believe it is also linked to the making processes involved.

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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Mar, 2011 7:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Definitely.

Our modern eyes need to be de-educated for the symetric, robotic perfection post-industrial times brought. This very sword was worn and used by a Duke of Milan, yet still he didn't care for what we see as little (or huge) imperfections. And other similar examples abound.

For these details did not, and still don't, make this sword imperfect. And I'm more keen on these people's judgement when it comes to swords, than on ours.


I'm not advocating flaws though, it all depends on what makes a flaw.


Salut Fabrice,

This is very interesting. Especially considering the fact that on other swords, symmetry was, if not perfect, far better than on this one... Should a modern maker make a ridge like this, it would be seen as sloppy, even ridiculous, I'm sure. Without knowing about this particular exemple from the Cluny, I would have said so myself. And it's so strange, the ridge is clearly off-centre, yet the guard itself is symmetrical with a small protrusion dead in the centre which looks like it should have aligned with the ridge... This makes the asymmetry of the ridge stand out even more. Of course it is probable that the hilt was done by another maker, what's strange is that he did not adapt the hilt aesthetic to the blade. Could this be more proof that no one cared if it looked off-centre?

I would like hearing from you and Nathan about the obviously thin line between "historical, pre-industrial look" and "sloppy". I admit this sword makes the issue puzzling for me. How many people here, seeing such a central ridge on a modern reproduction, would have dismissed the maker a joke and a fraud?

PS : perhaps this thread shoud be split?
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Mar, 2011 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fabrice Cognot wrote:
Joe Fults wrote:
Yeah...there is the engraving and all that. :-).


Actually I wasn't referring to that, but to the strong ridge running all the way down the blade. The gilding/engraving is a plus, of course...But I'm sure you'll be happy wiht your purchase anyway Happy


Not to worry...they are doing the ridge. Cool

Although I suspect it might be straighter in the reproduction, but probably not perfect.

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"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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