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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject: A&A Custom 11th century sword - minireview         Reply with quote

This will be a quickie review - my wife and I just had twin girls last week and I'm currently on break between feedings.

The next day I had another delivery - this time a sword from A&A. Its a custom piece but not a commission; rather a one-off that I purchased through one of their agents. There's a funny story how I came to own this, but I don't want to embarass anyone. Suffice it to say I was not sure what I was getting till it arrived, but I trust A&A and was curious to see the sword. The sword might best called an 11th century piece, with a type Xa blade. It shares much in common with an earlier piece they made for Tim Lison based on an 11th century Ulfbehrt, except here the blade and fuller are more narrow, the guard has more taper, and the grip is slightly different. They share a similar wide typ B pommel, or you might call it an A. Either way its a Brazil nut.

SOME STATS:

Full length: 35.5"
Blade length: 30.5"
Blade width: 1.75"
Grip length: 3.5"
PoB: 5.5"
Weight: 2.2 lbs.
Blade type: Xa

Its a relatively small light sword for its type. For contrast I have taken some pictures against my A&A custom Ingelrii, which has a 34" blade and weighs 3lbs.

HANDLING:

This is the lightest, fastest, most agile sword of this type that I have handled (perhaps with the exception of the Tinker/Hanwei Norman sword, but I think this one is even quicker). Whereas larger swords of this type require a flowing arm motion to control, this one can snap from one guard position to the next with a flick of the wrist. One might call it a light slasher, but its fairly stiff and has a serviceable point, so it should be a reasonable thruster as well. The handle gives a very firm grip and cradles the hand for both the handshake and hammer grip. Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred of Bebbanburg would have liked this sword for close-in fighting - makes me think of his sword 'Wasp Sting' (although that's at least a century earlier). On the other hand, I don't think it has the length to be a cavalry sword.

FIT AND FINISH:

In general up to A&A's usual production standards. Everything is tight, the steel has a nice finish to it, and the lines are even. The sword rings like a chime when it contacts anything hard. Minor criticisms are that the peen is left fairly visible in 'Del Tin' fashion, and the grip underwrap is not perfectly even. My most significant complaint (and its a general constructive critique for my friends at A&A), is that swords of this era should not have a diamond cross-section at the tip. The same can be said of the St. Maurice. I've shown the tip next to the tip of my other sword below, upon which I did some re-touching myself to obtain a more lenticular cross-section. I may do the same with this sword if it stays in my collection. This would also take some weight off the tip and likely drop the PoB to 5", based on my past experience, meaning even faster handling.

CONCLUSION

This is an interesting piece with classic early-medieval style, but not quite like anything else on the production market. For anyone interested in swords of this age, but who prefer a very fast light sword over a brute chopper, this would be an ideal sword to own.



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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting to see it by your big A&A. It looks small and narrow but actually is of dimensions quite typical for the period before "cavalry length" swords became the norm. When I saw an original brazil nut sword a year or two ago, I was surprised by how small and delicate it looked. This one would probably be ideal for someone trying to deal some damage to un unarmored foe with quick slashes around his shield... Very nice all in all although I prefer "heroic" sized swords... Wink

P.S. Congratulations on twin girls! Happy
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I love the work done by the guys at A&A so I say this with all due respect and humility.

I do wish that they would consider a new way to finish earlier period (type X, Xa, XI, XIa) swords so that the point sections do not transition into diamond cross-sections. This design element can really detract from otherwise fabulous looking swords.

I imagine that their may be a few historical examples featuring this aspect but they would seem to be in the small minority.

Other than that, this is certainly an attractive weapon. Regarding the relatively unfinished peen; I have seen historical examples finished this way, so, to me this isn't such a big deal.
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 8:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pretty nifty little sword you have there JD! It looks fun to swing around. I especially like it next to it's big brother. Thanks for sharing.
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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 9:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You've had twins and you are still intelligible? Congrats on both measures!
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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 11:12 pm    Post subject: Re: A&A Custom 11th century sword - minireview         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
....my wife and I just had twin girls last week and I'm currently on break between feedings.....


Congratulations, J.D.!
I hope the mother and the babies feel fine. And believe me - it's a happy adventure to be girl's father.

The sword is nice and neat, but I also would prefer the bigger one.
Nevermind - congrats for it too.

"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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William Swiger




Location: Reston, VA
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 12:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Outstanding sword. Congrats on the twins as well Cool
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the comments. I'm still a fan of the larger swords, but this one does look nice beside its 'older brother'.

Thanks also for the congratulations! I've had an interesting time raising kids; two boys 18 and 25, and now two baby girls.

Here's my mini-review on the girls:

STATS
length: 19 inches
weight 6lbs
P0B: somewhere near the middle?

HANDLING
Sometimes difficult to get a grip, but both work well with either one hand (football grip) to two hands (cradling position). Handling both at the same time a bit of a challenge. Definitely not built for speed or power at this point in time. Best used with soft fluffly targets.

FIT AN FINISH:
Kind of wrinkly at first but fatteneing up niceley. Somewhat hard to keep clean; both require frequent polishing.

CONCLUSION:
Cute and cuddly!
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

lol!

Congrats!!

Very cute. Happy
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Benjamin Rial




Location: Northern Minnesota
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations on the sword and the twins. Beautiful pics of both!
"The only thing new in this world is the history we don't know."-Pres. Harry S. Truman

www.forgedintime.com

Vel Arte, Vel Marte
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Justin H. Nez




Location: Hyde Park, UT
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Your twins review is the best review I think we have had here on myArmoury that I can remember.
True commission pieces. I mean they took eight months to forge and temper and who how long the waiting period was before they could really even begin to be sculpted. They are about as close you can get to stars falling from heaven and taking shape here on Earth.

(we won't take about the price tag...not the one now, the one later when they are in their teens and tweens...)




In all seriousness, they are beautiful!!!! Congratulations is too small a word....

"Nothing in fencing is really difficult, it just takes work." - Aldo Nadi
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin H. Nez wrote:
I mean they took eight months to forge and temper and who how long the waiting period was before they could really even begin to be sculpted.


Heh, heh, how about 8 years? I think that even beats Patrick Barta's waiting list. Happy
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Justin H. Nez




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But well worth the wait! Big Grin
"Nothing in fencing is really difficult, it just takes work." - Aldo Nadi
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2012 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So J.D.,

What is your method to re-shape the point section? You did a great job on the one you show here.
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2012 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
So J.D.,

What is your method to re-shape the point section? You did a great job on the one you show here.


Hi Jeremy, nothing fancy, just a sanding block, different grades of sandpaper, and some elbow grease. Although I might start with a file next time to make it go quicker. I described the process here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=21278
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Lewis Ballard




Location: Houston, TX
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2012 6:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sword is very nice, but little girls are the best thing in the world. (We're on the five year plan, with a 12 year old, a seven year old, and a two year old.)
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Oct, 2012 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thought I might complete this review with pictures of my cutting results with this sword. I did this few months ago when I got the sword, but forgot to post the pictures.

1l bottle:





2l bottle:





Both together:

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William Swiger




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Sep, 2018 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blast from the past but I got this sword off Luka a few years back. He had such a funny story with it. He had the sword out in in a local area in his country and an old lady called the cops. Even though it was not illegal, they took it away from him and it took a year to get it back...... Big Grin
Non Timebo Mala
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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Sep, 2018 4:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William Swiger wrote:
Blast from the past but I got this sword off Luka a few years back. He had such a funny story with it. He had the sword out in in a local area in his country and an old lady called the cops. Even though it was not illegal, they took it away from him and it took a year to get it back...... Big Grin


Same thing happened to me last year in Scotland. Some people are waaay too sensitive/paranoid these days.

'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Sep, 2018 4:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a blast from the past! I must have deleted the photos for more space. Never thought someone would look at this review again. Glad it found a good home.
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