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Tom King




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Nov, 2011 8:35 pm    Post subject: Suitability of Darksword armory weapons for armored combat         Reply with quote

From what I've seen of Darksword, their products seem to be great. My only concern is the suitability of their products (without modification or special ordering) for armored combat. The swords are listed as blunt, but there is obviously a world of difference between blunted and unsharpened. The destruction tests on their site make me a firm believer that they could handle anything i could at them, but i don't want to crease my buddies armor with every swing or have it go saw bladed after a few months of moderate use. It would be much appreciated if anyone could offer their experiences with Darksword products, particularly the two handed medieval Danish Sword and the Two Handed Sword of Svante Nilsson.
http://www.darksword-armory.com/1352%20-%20Tw...Sword.html
http://www.darksword-armory.com/1347%20-%20me...lsson.html
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Nov, 2011 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ignoring Darksword's unscrupulous practices of ripping off other sword makers, I've never had a good experience with any of their weapons. I've found them to cut corners on construction and the few I've handled have not felt very good in the hand. They also don't look at all historical to me, but that is a personal preference.

I will caveat this by saying that it has been a few years since I've handled one. There is very little on their website that makes me believe they've gotten any better... just because you can torture test a piece of steel does not make it a good sword.

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Nicholas Maider





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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 2:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, the tangs look like this on the darksword knight:
http://www.sword-buyers-guide.com/images/darksword-tang.jpg

Near as I can tell, that is the one second from the right on this chart:
http://www.albion-swords.com/images/functiona...ethods.jpg

For comparison, I believe Albion uses the hot peened type, which is all the way to the right. Even Cold Steel uses the middle two. I wouldn't own or use a darksword if they payed me.

Feel free to base your decisions any way you like, good sir.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nicholas Maider wrote:
For comparison, I believe Albion uses the hot peened type, which is all the way to the right.


Albion does use the one to the far right, but that tang layout can be peened hot or cold. Just using that layout doesn't mean it has to be hot-peened. After all, how can you tell if that diagrammed assembly uses heat? Happy

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Last edited by Chad Arnow on Thu 03 Nov, 2011 7:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you're looking for a beater - something to bash things with, than Darksword's product may be for you. Look at the Darkswords over on KOA, and you'll see that they have little or no distal taper. If you want a sword that looks and performs like something made , say 600 years ago, then you should buy from another maker.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They seem to focus on selling the idea of a sword at a very specific price point. Products at that price point often have to make some sacrifices to get there. If they push price and durability (which they seem to do) then accuracy and performance are likely areas where some tough choices get made.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
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Last edited by Joe Fults on Fri 04 Nov, 2011 9:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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W. Knight




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 9:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think this is a great point. After all, I am aware of absolutely no claims on the part of Darksword Armory that their swords are historical in design, and the fact that they use torture tests to sell their product tells me that they are specifically marketing their swords as beaters. Why all these sentiments that seem to indicate this company is pulling the wool over consumers eyes or trying to markets swords as historical when they are not? The way I see it, they are making beaters and marketing them as exactly that. Confused

Also, the OP was asking if these swords are suitable for armored combat (e.g. hitting a sword against a plate armored opponent) and expresses concerns about damaging his opponents armor . Would an Albion or an even better sword (all much more historical) be at all appropriate for such activities???? Question The first answers all seemed to indicate that the author of the OP should look for a better sword than a Darksword, but he has clearly stated the purpose for which he is planning on using it...
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Rob Stanford




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 9:52 pm    Post subject: Darkswords         Reply with quote

The ones I have seen typically have very rounded edges, but I dont spar against armour to answer question fully. I had the opposite problem, sharpening up a few - bloody hard work even with a belt sander...
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 10:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

W. Knight wrote:
I think this is a great point. After all, I am aware of absolutely no claims on the part of Darksword Armory that their swords are historical in design


My take-away from the text on their site is exactly opposite of your own. Not only are they placing their swords in the context of a period of time, a region, or what have you, they are in fact basing their products on specific originals.

One example of many: "This is a classic example of the Medieval swords found during the later part of the 14th C. and commonly used by the nobility during the 100 years war. The Medieval swords of the era were forged with the traditrional wheel pommel and slightly curved quillons."

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W. Knight




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 10:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Robinson,

Yes they do use many examples of historical swords on their site. Also, I see that they even say that their swords are "historically accurate" on the front page. But there is not a single production sword company out there that does not use some variant of "historically accurate" or "authentic" to one degree or another. In fact, Deepeeka, the one company that refuses to list any of its weapons as battle ready, due to their construction, does use descriptions of historical accuracy and authenticity quite liberally. I think all sword makers do this. And all swords that are not of the "fantasy" group, are also based to some extent (some more and some less) on historical swords.

What I'm really trying to get across is that Darksword does not try to mislead customers in terms of historical design. Do their swords have distal taper? What about the weight issues? And proper balance? I'm not sure Darksword's swords have any of these things, but they do not claim they do, either. In fact, I don't think they address any of these things in their product descriptions, like higher quality makers do.

So, while they do use historical examples in comparison with their own weapons, what I see them stress the most is durability and a reputation for swords that are battle ready in the extreme. Personally, I get no sense of a desire to produce historically accurate swords, especially at the outrageously low prices they charge. They seem to be honestly marketing affordable beaters. (with a great blurb about historical authenticity and historical examples to boot, just like all the production sword companies! Happy )
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W. Knight




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 11:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I hate to question the top moderator of the forum so, (and my knowledge is much less than yours), so I hope I will be forgiven for asking--what was wrong with the description you quoted above? The sword is the "Medieval Knight Bastard Hand and a Half Sword" and it does indeed have a wheel pommel and slightly curved quillons. To this extent at least, this sword follows the appearance of its historical predecessors, and this is all the description indicated. Unless the issue is the part about what type of swords were used during the 100 years war? I'm not familiar with this era. What exactly is wrong with them describing the sword pictured there, in the way they described it? Question

All manufacturers usually say something about how their sword follows such and such a typical style or appearance, according to the time period from which their replica is being created from...
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Joel Chesser




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2011 11:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll start by saying that I have not handled any of their swords. Nor will I. As a matter of principal I 100% refuse to own any product made by this maker. My money will not support them. As has been mentioned earlier they have the propensity to rip off other maker's designs, not just historical ones but fantasy as well. If this was not enough I have seen several posts by individuals in this company with attitudes that were completely rude and inappropriate. In short their behavior has appalled me to the point I adamantly refuse to own their products.

That said there are several companies, with great reputations, making swords specifically designed for training and sparring that are within 100-200 dollars of the Darksword pieces. If safety or damaging another person's armor is a concern, go with something that is well known, widely used, and, most importantly, designed to do thing you want it to do. To me, the peace of mind alone that would offer would be worth the extra money. The correct tool can make all the difference when doing any task.

..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2011 5:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

W. Knight wrote:

What I'm really trying to get across is that Darksword does not try to mislead customers in terms of historical design. Do their swords have distal taper? What about the weight issues? And proper balance? I'm not sure Darksword's swords have any of these things, but they do not claim they do, either. In fact, I don't think they address any of these things in their product descriptions, like higher quality makers do.


There certainly is some confusing and some would say misleading info on their site. Take their 1302 Dark Age Sword, found here:



They list it as being based on one in the "Tower of London Collection, England." I've been to the tower and there's no sword remotely like that there nor has history produces anything similar until very recently. In fact, the only swords I've seen similar to that was made by modern maker Jody Samson. This is copied from (or at least heavily inspired by) his designs, down to the semi-circular blade indentations.

Or take their new messer, found here:



It's listed as "Late 15th century German. Original found in the Landesmuseum, Zurich." Yet this is also noted as being part of a "design a sword" contest. On SBG, the designer said (emphasis mine):

Quote:
When I designd this, it is actually not based on a specific messer, but a combination of messer, clip point falchion (like an Atrim Courtrai), and German hunting sword.


Claiming something is based on a historical design when it isn't creates problems. By the way, basing something on a historical design should include aspects like mass distribution, tapers, construction, etc. Historical design doesn't stop at rough pommel, guard, and blade shapes.

There have been debates here about their designs being lifted from other makers. Another maker might make a replica and choose to cut down the number of facets on a faceted pommel. Lo and behold, Darksword comes out with a version of the same sword that has the same number of facets as the other company's replica, not the original. The similarities between the Darksword and Albion versions are striking to say the least.



 Attachment: 46.3 KB
Darksword1.jpg
Copy on the Dark Ages sword as of 9:15 EST 11/4/11

 Attachment: 40.74 KB
Darksword2.jpg
Copy on the messer as of 9:15 EST 11/4/11

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Last edited by Chad Arnow on Fri 04 Nov, 2011 11:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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W. Knight




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2011 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Arnow,

Well I certainly see the point you and others are trying to make. I suppose it just puzzles me how Darksword is accused of downright deception, when so many other companies seem to do the same thing. Deepeeka's swords are almost all much more heavy and unnecessarily thick bladed and are plagued with threaded pommels, Windlass, too has serious problems with threaded pommels, and even Valiant uses the nut method to replace peening on most of it's swords. And the list could go on and on for many other low cost sword manufacturers. These drastic changes to historical designs make the swords just as (or in the cases of some companies, even more) unlike the historic originals as Darkswords swords, from my standpoint. And yet these companies, like every company, whether its products deviate a little from historic originals, or a lot, uses comparison to the historic types and even specific swords to interest consumers in their product.

However, if they are indeed claiming certain swords are replicas of swords in museums that do not exist, or are copying another maker's design (provided that design is not actually coming directly from a centuries old design from an original that was copied), then these practices are certainly unethical.

I have heard nothing but good things about the company, and they are growing even in a bad economy, and the one sword by them I own is as good as or better than its competition (in that price range) IMHO, so I admit I am puzzled by how they can be so unscrupulous as many suggest. But I also concede that my experience with them is limited, and much of what I know is mere heresay, so I cannot claim to have a definitive answer to the question, by any means. Would it be possible to see a pic of the Jody Samson original design sword they copied (with their 1302 Dark Age Sword)?
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2011 7:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think these are the swords to which Chad is referring:

Dark Age Sword: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.p...rn-made%29

Gladius: http://forum.sword-buyers-guide.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1119


Last edited by Jonathan Hopkins on Fri 04 Nov, 2011 7:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2011 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
they also don't look at all historical to me, but that is a personal preference.
.


Hard to say it's 'preference' - it's a fact of either looking authentically, or not. Wink

To my humble eye, apart from construction and material authenticity matters (which, obviously, are rarely very authentic even among top shelf makers) very shape and design of many of their swords is completely off.

I mean - two handed 'norman' Oakeshott XI sword with weird fuller that starts few good inches down the blade, instead at the very tang?!?

Complete collage....

I haven't seen many originals, I guess, but I haven't seen anything like that certainly.

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W. Knight




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2011 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
I think these are the swords to which Chad is referring:

Dark Age Sword: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.p...rn-made%29

Gladius: http://forum.sword-buyers-guide.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1119


I don't have any problem with the use of indentations on the blade, as this is a design element, and even if Jody Samson did come up with it, good design elements can be borrowed quite ethically. On the other hand, I do see the problem in the cross guard on the Darksword Dark Age Sword and the Jody Samson piece in the first link above. The overall design of the sword is clearly heavily influenced, but the near identical shape and decorative pattern on the cross guards is flat-out copied. There can be no denying that. Are there more examples of this on other Darksword pieces?

One more question, though: since all production sword companies do compare their products in some way to historic types and even originals, which company falls the shortest in terms of making an actual replica? We all know that no company under a certain price range makes anything near historic replicas, but I am asking which one probably falls the shortest.
Please think a moment before answering, and consider all the companies and what is known about their products. (the question is not directed at anyone in particular, just whoever wants to answer, as most members of these forums have been collecting swords long enough to be familiar with what each company makes)
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2011 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

W. Knight,
There are multiple issues in play and it's best not to confuse them.

Issue 1: Handling/construction. Yes, they're overbuilt. This is on purpose as a company decision. They are not designed form the ground up as sharp swords. They can be sharpened and they will supposedly hold up to all kinds of abuse. However, that doesn't mean they have historically correct handling capabilities. One could debate whether being overbuilt and having interesting/unusual handling qualities keeps them from being as historically accurate as they claim. I think it does disqualify them from that distinction in the same way Gen 2 and other overly heavy, poor handling swords are. But I wouldn't say this as any more deceiving than other makers whose work deviates from historical handling.

Issue 2: Claims of historical accuracy and designs that come out very similar to other companies. From their website:

Quote:
Our collection of battle ready Medieval Swords are based on originals, found in various Museums as well as private collections. It is this commitment to forging historically accurate battle ready medieval swords is at the core of our success.


Some of their swords are more or less based on museum pieces. They miss on important aesthetic issues, but I would call that an issue of accuracy of replication, not deception. Some swords, like the two I mentioned above, have no exact historical basis, yet are listed as having one. They have other fantasy swords, why not list these two in the same category? Even calling them medieval-inspired or something would be better than claiming a historical basis that appears non-existent.

There is also the issue of designs that might seem to borrow from other makers. Darksword's catalogue used to have one or two others of what were essentially Jody Samson designs which are now not part of their offerings, due to past controversy. Darksword's Black Knight can be viewed as a loose copy of Albion's Prince. The Copenhagen sword on which Darksword bases the Black Knight has two fullers and two additional facets on the pommel. Albion's sword is not an exact replica (as it's part of the Next Gen, not Museum, line) and has two fewer facets than the Copenhagen sword and a single-fullered blade. Did both companies look at an original and independently come to the same decision to drop 2 facets and go to one fuller? It's possible, but Albion's sword was out first. Darksword claims (quite vigorously) that they didn't copy Albion. It just seems odd that Darksword's "historically accurate" replica would deviate from the original sword in some of the same ways that Albion's purposefully not-exact sword does.

Also, regarding historical accuracy, they miss the mark in other ways. They offer an interlaced belt design on scabbards for swords that pre- and post-date the era in which that design was popular. They seem to cast peen block into pommels when they should be separate. Their 1332: Two Handed Gothic Sword has a weird ricasso and a fuller on the blade which the original doesn't have. Their Svante sword has a weird metal thing where a leather flap should be. I can see leaving the leather flap off if it takes to much effort to reproduce, but replacing it with a weirdly shaped metal addition to the guard looks strange and will affect mass distribution. The ricasso is also mot correctly shaped. So they have swords based very loosely on originals with significant deviations in blade forms (fuller and ricassos on replicas that aren't on originals, for example) and other things that are still classified as being historically accurate.

They make stronger claims of historical accuracy than a company like Windlass and I feel they miss the mark by a wider margin. They would be better off saying the designs are historically-inspired. Of course, that would generate fewer sales. Many people are indeed swayed by claims of accuracy and simply don't know better.

Darksword makes products which appeal to people. People to whom they appeal should buy them if they fit their needs. Happy I'd love it, though, if they backed down somewhat from claims of accuracy that are difficult to back up. Some consumers place a lot of trust in the maker because they can't or won't do research themselves.

If people are happy with Darksword products, then I'm happy for them. I just want people to know what they're buying and make sure it fits their needs. When maker claims are challenging to back up, consumers don't always benefit.

Happy

ChadA

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Last edited by Chad Arnow on Fri 04 Nov, 2011 11:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Torsten F.H. Wilke




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2011 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey, this thread got me wondering...

All issues and predispositions aside, would you rather be given a comparable MRL sword or one from Darksword armoury if you found yourself in a very dire combat situation on which your life depended, and you were afforded no other choices? Which particular weapon would you actually choose? Could it be from another comparable maker?

I was trying to imagine this from a rank and file foot-soldier's perspective, not a pedagogical one.
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2011 9:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As the designer of the messer above, I felt I should chime in with some of my thoughts:

I have owned a few Darkswords over the years. None of them have been what I could call an extraordinary example of the medieval sword. They are overbuilt, exceptionally difficult to sharpen, sometimes heavy, and have little or no distal taper. With that being said, I can also say they are very sturdy - at least in my experience. I myself have never damaged one even with continued steel on steel abuse, working a wooden pell, or simply doing things with them that should not be done with a sword - such as busting a cinderblock or putting it though a car door.

In recent years, Darksword has worked to improve their product line. They have steered away from some models which were obvious copyright/trademark infringements, they have allowed people in the budget sword community to design some of their models, they have thinned their blades and added more distal taper, they have thickened/widened their tangs, they stopped using pommel nut construction and now peen everything, they stopped using pot metal and started using mild steel on all their fittings, and their scabbards are better than they were. It does seem that they have tried to improve somewhat on their tarnished reputation. They still have a long way to go, but in all fairness, I think they have worked on it.

My messer design was not spot-on, as far as the finished product went - when compared with the original design drawings. However, Darksword did make a diligent effort and attempted to get it right. And, just as was promised to all of the contest participants, Darksword delivered on the designs - the prize being your design given to you free. This was more of a step reaching out to the community than any other sword manufacturer has done in recent memory.

Does Darksword compare to my ATrims, A&As, and Albions? No. Those are painstakingly hand-crafted swords of the highest caliber. But, the couple of Darkswords I have do compare well with some of the offerings from Windlass, Cold Steel, Hanwei, Generation 2, and Deepeeka. They are more durable than all of the aforementioned - at least in my experience, so there is a niche for select buyers.

Would I recommend Darksword to someone? That would depend on what they wanted to do with it. If they only wanted one fantasy-type sword to abuse the hell out and did not care about handling, historical accuracy, or weight but did not want to spend alot of money - I might recommend a Darksword model. If they wanted a design which had a historical precedent, excellent handling properties, or other attributes important to the collector or WMA practitioner, I'd recommend something else.

Reflecting on some of the comments above, only the buyer could decide if they were happy with the product or not. I have friends in the community which both love and hate Darksword for one reason or another. For me, the couple I own serve their purpose - budget swords that take abuse I would not subject another sword to.

Just my $0.02 there. I certinally hope not to offer any offense.

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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