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Shad Ramsey




Location: New York, NY
Joined: 28 Feb 2008

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2011 12:13 pm    Post subject: Does Anyone have experience with HanWei Practical swords?         Reply with quote

I'm looking to purchase 15 Hand-and-a-Half Broadswords for an outdoor production for Henry V for this June. In the past we have always purchased our weapons from Lewis Shaw and of course those are some of the best out in the market. The problem is that we have such a large order this time and a limited budget. Believe me if I had the resources I would just go straight to Lewis.

I have done a little research on the HanWei Hand-and-a-Half swords for re-enactors and stage combat. The price is right and they seem reliable on paper. HOWEVER I have no experience with these weapons and I need more info before I make a commitment like this.

What I need to know is this:
Are they safe?
Are they durable?
Will they stand up to continued use throughout this production and over the years (since they will be used for some time to come)?
How do they hold up to being used outside?
How do they hold up to being used against swords from other makers (i.e. Lewis Shaw blades)

Any input, reviews, stories, experiences that I can get would be extremely helpful and appreciated.

Thanks!

S.R.
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Simon G.




Location: Lyons, France
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2011 1:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Shad,

Could you post a picture or a link to the sword you have in mind? I'm not sure what you mean by "hand-and-a-half broadsword", Hanwei doesn't have a model with this name...

Cheers,

Simon
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2011 3:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I imagine he is referring to the "Hanwei Practical Hand and a Half Sword - 5th Generation" seen here: http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...Generation

Not having that sword, I can't truely answer most of the questions posed. I do however have the Hanwei Practical Bastard Sword and Tinker Pearce Blunt Trainer Longsword, which are likely similar, so I can do some educated guessing.

As far as safety goes, all three of these swords are fairly safe in that a light blow won't cut you, but I wouldn't want to be hit by one without armour. They're not boffers by any stretch of the imagination and I can see where they could bust knuckles, put out eyes, etc.

For durablity, I suspect the leather on the grip will start to come off with use, since that is what happened to my Tinker. I used superglue to reattach it. (No idea as to whether or not the Bastard would have, since I reworked the hilt before using it much and it is heavily superglued.)

What do you mean by outdoor use? Rain? These two that I own have been used outdoors, but never gotten more than a few drops of water on them, which I took care to wipe off.

Standard weather conditions won't hurt them much I don't think. They've rusted more just sitting in the corner and due to my friend I practice with handling the blade and sticking the tip in the ground for some strange reason. I'll have to slap him around and make him stop at some point. Laughing Out Loud

The other questions I really can't even guess on, as my friend and I have been using these largely for solo drills so far (we're both newbies to the ways of the longsword) and only once did a drill involving blade on blade. This drill produced a few minor scratches where they contacted one another, but I hasten to point out this was edge to flat. I wouldn't recommend smashing them edge on edge.


Edit: I just looked up Lewis Shaw and realized you're referring to the weapons from Baltimore Knife & Sword. They seem to be slightly heavier and overbuilt for their size, so I think those are probably more durable than the Hanwei, though I don't know by how much.

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Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
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Craig Shackleton




Location: Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 20 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2011 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have used an early generation practical knightly sword. They are certainly durable, and relatively safe. i have a friend who has used them for stage and they worked quite well.

I've handled an early generation hand and a half, but not used it beyond dry handling

The practical line has a different grip than the tinker/hanwei line, and I would say that it is more robust. My tinker longsword grips started coming off very quickly, but the practical ones never did.

Outdoor use should be fine, but I'm not sure what the concern would be. Don't leave them wet for too long, clean and oil them regularly.

The ones I have also have nicely rounded edges, making them less prone to damaging each other or other swords. They are heavy and seriously rebated (The edges are thicker than the fullers). I would be surprised to see them seriously damaged by another sword of any manufacture. They will, of course, get dinged up with heavy edge on edge contact, but pretty much every sword will. These are seriously durable swords.

Ottawa Swordplay
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2011 3:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is what Hal Siegal of Therion Arms has to say about the Hanwei SH2106 -

This is the de facto standard of training and stage/reenactment combat blunt/rebated steel longswords, and one of the most popular items offered by TherionArms.

This Austrian longsword (commonly called a hand-and-a-half or bastard sword) is replicated from an original attributed to King Albrecht II of Austria. Classically simple in design with a flattened diamond-section blade and cruciform hilt, the original dates from the early part of the 15th century.

The triple-fullered blade features rounded edges and a more rounded tip than in the first three generations, making the swords much more responsive and safer for the full-contact use for which they was designed (I said safer, not safe - it's still a sword, dummy, don't do anything stupid with one).

The fifth generation longsword has a smaller wheel pommel than the earlier generations, making the sword much more comfortable to handle and bringing the weight down. These swords handle like a dream, there's a reason they are the #1 standard longsword in the Western Martial Arts and stage combat worlds!

The Paul Chen/Hanwei 'practical' Austrian longsword is tailored to the needs of the re-enactor. Featuring authentic hilt styling with fully tempered rebated and non-pointed blades, these swords are made to withstand rugged use while providing the level of safety required by many of today's re-enactment societies. The blade is fullered for balance and has a rebated edge and a rounded tip. Included is a wood-grained fiberglass resin scabbard with suspension hangers and steel fittings.

Without any fanfare or notice, Hanwei presented their fifth generation of the Practical series longsword in May of 2010. (Despite our efforts to educate, Hanwei still call this the "Practical hand-and-a-half sword", but at least that's an accurately descriptive term).

(And yeah, it was completely without notice - I handle *a lot* of practical longswords, but one day I opened a fresh shipment for inspection, pulled the first one out, and had a serious "whoa, cool!" moment when I realized the swords had changed - and for the better!)


Because of the fire at the Hanwei factory, these may start getting scarce, at least for a while.

It isn't the prettiest sword around, but it will look fine from the audience


Last edited by Roger Hooper on Mon 04 Apr, 2011 4:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2011 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From my personal expierence, these work best when used against other hanwei practical swords. They tend to get chewed up pretty fast against better made blunts. They are safe and durable when used against each other. Their main downside as stage steel in my expierence is their distinct unswordlike shape. You can tell it's not a real sword from a pretty good distance so depending on how close the spectators are and how much they care, it could be an issue.

I liked the old DSA with the 2mm edges as stage steels actually. Looks like a sword, tough as hell...exactly what you need as a stage sword. Too bad their new edges are 1mm thick, which is quite unsafe for stage steel. They would of course NOT be safe for stabbing actions in any case as even if you blunt the sharp point, it's just too stiff.

I don't know what your budge is, but maybe contacting BKS for a bulk order price maybe a good option as well.
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Craig Shackleton




Location: Ottawa, Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2011 5:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
This is what Hal Siegal of Therion Arms has to say about the Hanwei SH2106 -

This is the de facto standard of training and stage/reenactment combat blunt/rebated steel longswords, and one of the most popular items offered by TherionArms.

[snip]

The fifth generation longsword has a smaller wheel pommel than the earlier generations, making the sword much more comfortable to handle and bringing the weight down. These swords handle like a dream, there's a reason they are the #1 standard longsword in the Western Martial Arts and stage combat worlds!

[snip]


I've read this before on Therion's site, and considered picking up a couple for loaners for teaching longsword. I find it weird though, because I've never seen one of these being used for HEMA/WMA purposes. I do think these are popular for stage combat, and possibly re-enactment combat (I don't know) but as far as I know, the tinker hanwei and the federschwert are both more popular for HEMA than this one.

Ottawa Swordplay
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2011 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Shackleton wrote:

I've read this before on Therion's site, and considered picking up a couple for loaners for teaching longsword. I find it weird though, because I've never seen one of these being used for HEMA/WMA purposes. I do think these are popular for stage combat, and possibly re-enactment combat (I don't know) but as far as I know, the tinker hanwei and the federschwert are both more popular for HEMA than this one.


The SH2106's main virtue is low price - especially good if you are going to buy 15 of them.

If I was going to buy another stage combat sword, I'd go for the Hanwei/Tinker bastard, or more likely, one of the Albion Maestros. They strike a balance between durablity and handling like a real sword. If durability is most important, there are some inexpensive models that are similar to crowbars
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Lewis Shaw




Location: Baltimore, Md.
Joined: 15 Jun 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2011 4:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I assure you I am not Baltimore Knife and Sword although I often use their larger blades.
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2011 5:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Hanwei Practical Hand and a Half is really your only bet to keep your budget and timeline reasonable. I found that the Practical Hand and a Half blade is more durable than the H/T blades, as the H/T blades have significantly thinner edges. The H/T has a better feeling in the hand, however, the Practical Hand and a Half 5th Gen does not feel bad either - now they have reduced the pommel size. The Hanweis I have owned do sustain edge damage moreso than a high-end maker such as A&A or Albion, but if you regularily maintain them with a mill file, you can mitigate this somewhat. Happy

Anything else would be considerably more expensive and take significantly longer to produce. There is a huge difference between $1500 for practice swords and $8250+ for practice swords. One thing you might consider is having the 'players' buy their own blades from a pre-approved list of manufacturers. That way, if someone wants to blow $500-$600 on a stage sword, they can - however, for those with more frugal tastes, the $100 Practical might suit them better.

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

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Jesse Belsky
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2011 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Shad, I'm happy to see another stage combat practitioner here on the forum. I feel like we are generally under-represented on myArmoury. I don't have personal experience with the Hanwei's you are talking about. I've mounted several Hanwei/Tinker blunts for stage combat, but they haven't been in use long enough for me to speak to their long-term durability. I can tell you that they come with a square factory edge that needs rounding in order to minimize nicking. I also reshape the tips so they don't look so darn blunt. The good thing about them from a stage-combat perspective is that they are lightweight when compared to BKS or American Fencers blades, so they can be wielded with a bit more control by unskilled or medium-skilled performers.

Now, American Fencers broadsword blades (which you can no longer get) were durable but so very heavy. I think BKS is now the industry standard for stage combat broadswords, and their blades are super durable and tend to have more profile taper and hefty pommels, so they are more wieldable than most swords with Amfence broadsword blades that I have encountered.

You might speak directly to Lewis Shaw about what kind of swords he could produce at (or near) your price point. He does magnificent work and his hilts are beautifully detailed, but he also does more "munitions grade" work. I would have a chat with him before assuming you can't afford his work. That said, no individual maker is going to be able to sell as cheap as a foreign factory-made product, so if price is your primary deciding factor, you may have no option but the Hanweis.

I think if you are making a big investment in fighting swords its worth the money to go with a product you know will last. I like the HT blunt blades, and I plan to continue using them, but they haven't been around long enough to say for sure that they compare favorably with bulkier blades designed for the rigors of stage fighting. They are absolutely lighter weight, and with care to the edges they may turn out to be ideal stage blades. If you need these 15 swords to last a single season, I imagine the Hanweis will be a great buy. If you need them to last a decade, I would think twice. If Lewis Shaw is unable to make the weapons within your budget, I would look to Baltimore Knife & Sword next. Their stage blades (which Lewis often uses) will last forever, ring beautifully, and can probably be ordered from existing stock from one of their dealers.


good luck,
Jesse Belsky


As a PS for the rest of the forum, I do think that feedback from the WMA practitioners community about blade performance is very useful in terms of answering a question like this but its worth noting that good stage combat weapons have to meet some additional/parellel criteria. Durability is the key factor. This is the reason stage blades tend to be a built overbuilt and overweight. A stage sword owned by a busy theater company might be used in a few shows each year, but while that show is being performed, the sword gets used hard 5-8 performances a week for months at a time.

Actors are hard on swords. Well trained stage performers can minimize the abuse to the blades, but if you have 15 actors fighting, chances are better than half of them will be trained by the fight choreographer from scratch for that production, and their skills will be limited. Additionally, sword fighting on stage (like film) is designed to do many things, including fulfill audience expectations of what a "real" sword fight looks like. For that reason, there is a LOT of edge to edge contact, in direct cut/parry format, which chews up thin edges very quickly. A nicked blade is a dangerous blade (able to cut exposed skin its supposed to be pulled safely across), so edge maintenance is important. Unlike in a WMA group, this maintenance is not being done by the user, its being done by a props department person who may or may no appreciate the importance of their job in keeping people safe.

Finally, if a sword fails (breaks, comes apart) in WMA sparring or practice, hopefully protective gear will shield those in the immediate area from harm. Whatever the case, the audience is probably small. If you swing a sword in a crowded theater and it comes apart, it can fly right into the audience and do some serious damage. Ruining the ending of the play is the BEST outcome (MacDuff has to strangle MacBeth with a shoelace). I've seen broken sword tips fly off into the crowd, and it is terrifying. I've heard plenty of stories that are worse.

When you consider that theater companies and actors don't usually have a lot of money to buy new stuff and swords are forced to last far beyond their retirement age, durability is a huge safety concern.

I may be underestimating the amount of abuse WMA sparring weapons take since i'm not a WMA practitioner myself. I'd be curious to hear from others about how they think the use/abuse compares, so that when questions like this come up its easier to evaluate feedback from one side and its relevance to the other.
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Simon G.




Location: Lyons, France
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well if this is about the "practical hand-and-a-half", they are used quite a bit here in Europe by WMA groups.

From what I hear they are controversial. Apparently part of them (most ?) hold up well and serve long, providing very good value for money. But some seem to fail spectacularly and quickly. Thus for some these Hanwei swords are good for the price, for others they are not worth a damn.

I did a short stint with a small stage combat group this year, there was one of these. Up to this point it held up well to something like 6 months of use in typical stage combat antics (large sweeping cuts, hard edge to edge parries etc.). It encountered a Gen2 blade and a Hanwei/Tinker blade ; among those three the practical hand and a half suffered the least damage, with the Hanwei/Tinker suffering most (due to its thinner edge).

My advice would be to use them if you cannot afford something like Albion's Maestro line (I got to handle these too and man, do they handle like a dream). They do seem to be a very good value for money. BUT buy them through a trusted vendor you can go back to in case of blade failure, because there does seem to be the occasional QC problem with these swords.
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Chris Bosselmann




Location: Oldenburg, Germany
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Apr, 2011 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here in Germany those Hanwei Swords are THE standard for beginner training in fencings schools.

But not even more... no one would use a Hanwei for advanced training or in any case outside the training hall.

I own two Hanweis to borrow for partners but I don`t like them very much - they are what they are: cheap.

http://www.gladiusvivit.de - temporary down.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct, 2015 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does anybody know what kind of leather is used on the grip of the Practical Bastard and/or Practical Hand-and-a-half? Synthetic as in the Hanwei Tinkers, or something else?
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