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Tom Speight




Location: Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2011 4:36 pm    Post subject: Southern Swords mortuary?         Reply with quote

I don't post here very much, but I follow things as much as I can.... which inspires the following question.

I've been looking for a decent mortuary sword for a good long while. I've been thinking about one of the Paul Chen/Hanwei ones (having read lots of reviews), but I heard about the Southern Swords brand from the UK. I hadn't heard of them before, but their mortuary sword looks really nice....elegant, even. It's also even less expensive than the Hanwei, so much so that I wonder if it's too good to be true. From the price, I at first thought it had to be a latex LARP weapon or something.

I don't expect a battle-ready or 100% historical sword for what they're asking, even though they bill it as 'museum quality' and 'handmade,' but it'd be nice if the thing would be decent for practice and maybe the odd bit of test cutting.

I'm also not sure, from reading their website, who actually makes the swords-- they mention carrying Hanwei, Windlass, etc. products.

Has anyone any experience with these? (Picture attached, rather large)



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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2011 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know a thing about them but I looked at their site. They still show the Hanwei Mortuary Sword but Hanwei stopped making it a couple of years ago. They do still provide the practical version however. The mortuary hilt you referred to looks very nice but photos don't tell the whole tale as a rule.

The price certainly seems low. Be advised, however, that shipping from the UK can add quite a bit to the expense of anything you order from there.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Nicholas A. Gaese




Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Joined: 06 Aug 2007

Posts: 100

PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2011 6:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good evening,

Just looking through the site myself it seems the sword in question is made by Mr. John Barnett. I dont know his products but looking through the descriptions of other swords is a little discuraging. Their Gallow glass sword is listed as being 139cm in length and 3.7 kg in weight (!) Thats much more than a sword of its size should weigh. Sopposedly it has a full tang and comes with a choice of blunt or sharp edges, so these swords can be used for cutting but pictures show a very thick cross section so thats probably why they weigh more than they should.

The sword in question though doesn't look to heavy so maybe it'll be fine? Hopefully someone familiar with the maker might chime in.


Regards.
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 770

PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2011 6:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That *might* be a John Barnett morty sword. Now, I've never handled a JB Morty, but I have handled a few other JB swords (including a Scottish-style basket hilt). Suffice it to say, I was less than impressed. They struck me as overly heavy and poorly balanced, for the most part.

If you want a cheap morty sword, I'd recommend the Hanwei Cromwell. The finish is a bit cheesy, but the sword itself is solid, with a nice weight and balance.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:

If you want a cheap morty sword, I'd recommend the Hanwei Cromwell. The finish is a bit cheesy, but the sword itself is solid, with a nice weight and balance.


Plus, I may be wrong on this but I believe the Cromwell and the 'Practical' Mortuary are both screw-on-pommel construction. Once you unscrew the arms of the basket from the pommel, you should be able to take off the Cromwell's basket hilt and put on the Mortuary's hilt. IIRC though, the Cromwell's blade is fairly light; the Mortuary might do a little better with, say, the Scottish Backsword blade.

Of course, this means you have to buy more than just the one sword... not that that's ever a problem :P
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Sep, 2011 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Take a look at this very positive Review of one of the Armour Class Mortuary swords.
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Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Sat 01 Oct, 2011 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is definately a John Barnett Mortuary. I have seen, handled and even modified a number of his later period swords, including the blunt version of this one.

This would not be my first choice for a mortuary (that would be Armour Class) as there are a number of issues with his swords. Firstly, they are very overweight (as said above), and certainly the blunt version of this sword is massively overweight and almost unwieldable in the salle. Secondly, the temper on the blades is very dubious - I have yet to see a Barnett sharp blade (I have worked on 6 so far) that is properly tempered and doesn't take a set when flexed. Thirdly, construction is a little odd - the pommels on some of these Barnett basket swords are hollowed out, and slip over a nut at the top of the grip, and are then held by a threaded tang button, then peened. Unusual. Also, and a minor point, the back of the guard which is normally curled round on a mortuary, goes into a point on this sword, which sticks in to your wrist when fighting with it in the salle. This is, also, not really historically correct. On the plus side, it is cheap and strongly built.

Southern Swords, on the other hand, are a good company to work with in my experience.

Julian
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Stephen Wheatley




Location: DORSET ENGLAND
Joined: 15 Nov 2008

Posts: 90

PostPosted: Sat 01 Oct, 2011 1:33 am    Post subject: Mortuary sword         Reply with quote

Entirely agree with Julian, these things look and handle like they've been made cheaply in India by someone with a grainy photo to work from. The basket is hideous, the blade massively heavy, the fullers off - centre - the whole thing bears no relation to any pattern of mortuary sword ever produced. The only thing to do with it is scrap it, and construct a new basket (if you can live with the dodgy blade that is).
Stephen Wheatley
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Tom Speight




Location: Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2009

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2011 8:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gentlemen, thank you for your answers. I put in an order for an Armour Class sword.
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