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David Giacalone




Location: Denver, CO
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon 19 Mar, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject: Does anybody have experience with Southern Swords England?         Reply with quote

Recently, I've seen a number of swords posted on ebay (from several sellers) that indicate that they are from Southern Swords England. The listing below is typical of what I've been seeing. They appear to sell both blunts and sharps.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Re-enactment-Quality-...27c4b97e4e

Does anybody out there have experience with or information about this seller?

thanks,

David
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Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Mon 19 Mar, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Southern Swords, as a sword retailer, are no better or worse than any other. It's just that the products they sell (or more specifically, the products of one maker, John Barnett) are very poor quality.

John Barnett swords are truly apalling, way below Windlass in terms of quality, and should be avoided. Some of the components can be harvested to make other, better, things, but on the whole they are just awful.

I have re-worked many of his company's products for the guys in my fencing salle, mainly to turn an otherwise unusable sword into something that can possibly be used. Unfortunately, because they are so cheap, there are many out there who have bought them thinking they have a bargain. You get what you pay for: the blunt swords are overweight crowbars, the sharp swords are very poorly tempered, the materials used are very low grade and the construction is very much to a slim budget.

Caveat emptor.

Julian
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William M




Location: Buckinghamshire , England
Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 257

PostPosted: Thu 22 Mar, 2012 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi there,

Southern swords are not my preferred retailer in the UK. Their website is a lot better than it used to be but their prices are not very competitive. Their Hanwei/Tinker viking is over 200, which is really quite high considering you can get them for around 130 at other online retailers.

They have a decent selection of Windlass swords, but I would advise buying from them unless you a) Know exactly what sword you want and have read reviews elsewhere as you cannot trust the swords description. b) Shopped around for the best price.


There are a few other alternatives such as blades-uk and barrington swords
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Christopher Halpin




Location: York, United Kingdom
Joined: 25 Mar 2012

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar, 2012 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing that Southern Swords shine at is responding to e-mails. I've always had a reply within a few hours and they've been very patient when e-mailing lists of things to find out what they do and do not have in stock, if not how quickly can they order them in etc.

Being able to quickly get hold of the people running the business always tempts me to buy and I'm more than happy to pay a little bit extra for the extra security and piece of mind you get from that.
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 683

PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar, 2012 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julian Reynolds wrote:
John Barnett swords are truly apalling, way below Windlass in terms of quality, and should be avoided.

You get what you pay for: the blunt swords are overweight crowbars, the sharp swords are very poorly tempered, the materials used are very low grade and the construction is very much to a slim budget.


Could you be a bit more specific? If I look at this website:
http://www.bladesandbows.co.uk/john-barnett-swords-29-c.asp
Then most things are maybe not 100% spot on, but certainly not awful looking either.

As I understand it, EN45 is more or less the standard steel grade used by British makers.

That blunt swords are overweight is nothing new and true for most reenactment-grade swords.
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Matt Easton




Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK.
Joined: 30 Jun 2004

Posts: 238

PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar, 2012 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul, they are horrendous. They are very lumpen and overweight and just don't handle like swords at all - more like crowbars, as mentioned above. Even more than an 'average' reenactment sword.
Avoid like the plague.

Schola Gladiatoria - www.fioredeiliberi.org
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/scholagladiatoria
Antique Swords: www.antique-swords.co.uk/
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Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar, 2012 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul,

Just because a sword is made from EN45 does not make it a good one......

I have worked on a number of Barnett swords and daggers, both sharp and blunt. For instance, a popular conversion I have done for fencers in my salle and others, has been to exchange the blade on the Barnett short sword to a fencing blade. So a number of these have passed through my hands. None of the sharp EN45 blades I have removed have been properly hardened or tempered. They all took a set. They may as well have been made from mild steel. The guards, on the other hand, are a nice piece of plated brassware!

Likewise the sharp blade on the Barnett 'Cromwell' sword (which has a chrome-plated guard unlike any mortuary sword I have seen). Likewise the sharp blade on his Tuck. And his parrying daggers.

Let's take the parrying daggers - I have converted a few of these to fencing daggers (I used to own one myself) by changing the blade for a much longer blunt. The quality of the steel used for the castings is very poor - granular and brittle - as I have found across the range of products. One hit from another sword and you lose quillons.....

It's a running joke in my salle that the Barnett 'practical' mortuary is totally unwieldable. It is a massively overweight crowbar. You could drive a truck over it without the slightest flex. You can't, however, use it for backsword sparring for more than one bout. Not without being Schwarzenegger. And the guard has a dangerously pointed rear quillon - like nothing I've ever seen on an existing one.

There's more; things that you only pick up from taking these things apart and working on them, that convince me that small changes in design and quality of materials, construction and attention to detail would make a huge difference to the range. But then, that would certainly have an impact on price.

Obviously, I've only deconstructed the later offerings (my salle is 16thC onwards) but I have handled many of the earlier period swords and I still remain unconvinced by them.

Julian
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Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 30 Mar 2008

Posts: 271

PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar, 2012 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, and may I continue to make the difference between Southern Swords and the products they sell, just to be clear. I have never had any problems with them, and it's not their fault that Barnett products are so poor.

I can also highly recommend The Knight Shop, both for price and service. Even at my grumbliest worst, they have still humoured me with excellent prices and great service:

http://www.theknightshop.co.uk/catalog/swords...cf75c1c6e3

it's where I usually go for everyday gear for the salle.

Julian
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Matt Easton




Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK.
Joined: 30 Jun 2004

Posts: 238

PostPosted: Mon 26 Mar, 2012 2:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Same for us. The Knight Shop are our main supplier for training weapons and they are working on lots of new products at the moment, both museum quality replicas and new training weapons (and safety equipment). They also now work collaboratively with the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
Schola Gladiatoria - www.fioredeiliberi.org
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/scholagladiatoria
Antique Swords: www.antique-swords.co.uk/
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 683

PostPosted: Tue 27 Mar, 2012 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the clarification. Big Grin
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