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Marc Ridgeway




Location: Atlanta , Gawga
Joined: 24 May 2006
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Posts: 133

PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 5:17 pm    Post subject: Rob Miller Custom Brazil Nut Pommel War Sword         Reply with quote

Castle Keep : Isle of Skye Brazil Nut WarSword by Rob Miller

Marc Kaden Ridgeway
21 August 2012
Atlanta, GA



Many of you know William Swiger. That uber-collector, that SBG moderator, that multi-forum community member, that devourer of classifieds listings. Bill has become a familiar person in this community, and even a friend to many of us.

Many of you may also know that Bill recently became a benefactor of the community in a huge way with this thread http://forum.sword-buyers-guide.com/viewtopic...ticipation in which he gifted a sizable collection to less fortunate collectors.

As the crowning acheivement of this charitable act, Bill commisssioned a custom sword with Rob Miller of Castle Keep : Isle of Skye and had it shipped directly to me.

Words can not express how touched I am with this incredible , selfless display of generosity... Bill Swiger ... I salute you sir.

Following is my review of this most generous gift.

I would like to apologize for the review... I have been battling an illness for over a week, and was just unable to produce photos or a review that I felt did this sword justice.

Oh , and Bill... don't worry . The swords is on her way to you , well packed and insured, priority service Wink .






Historical Overview

I can't offer too much in terms of insight here, as the commissioning was between Rob and Bill, but I believe that Bill's intent was to have an example of a true early warsword, with a Type A , or Brazil-nut pommel. The following were historic inspiration.

To this end, I believe Bill and Rob's project to be a success.








Specifications

Blade : 37.75 in
Grip : 8 in
Width : 2 1/8 in at base
Weight : 3 lbs 9.2 ounces
COG : 6.5 in
COP : @ 22 in





Aesthetics : Fit & Finish



The heart of this sword is undoubtedly the blade. The hand-forged blade, almost 38 inches of steel , is crafted in the XIIa fashion . It is expertly shaped and impeccably polished. Starting at a width of 2 1/8 inches at the base, the blade tapers to a somewhat spatulate tip. A well executed fuller traverses 2/3 of the mirror polished steel.










The guard is a hand shaped , elliptical , style 1 , and the pommel is a well shaped Type A brazil nut variant. The assembly is compression-hilt , fastened with a hot - riveted peen.












The grip is hock-bottle shaped , and wrapped in lustrious leather in a chestnut brown finish. There is a central riser, as well as risers on both ends. The leather is supple , tactile , tight and well wrapped; the seam straight and even.







Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Marc Ridgeway




Location: Atlanta , Gawga
Joined: 24 May 2006
Likes: 3 pages

Posts: 133

PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The scabbard is crafted from calf skin hand stitched over a ash wood core. There does not appear to be wool lining. The scabbard is tight and well fit , and the blade nestles perfectly in it. The two point suspension and belt are adorned with steel loops , buckles and strap ends. The scabbard itself is tipped with a steel chape , that is adorned with a round , fluted finial.
















Overall, despite a few variances which emphasize its hand made nature, the fit and finish of this sword is tight , precise and well done. The only exception to this is that the guard has just the tiniest bit of play on both the x and y axis. Of course , I can only suppose , but my guess would be that variation in the humidity between Isle of Skye , Scotland and Atlanta , GA may be the culprit. With any luck it will self correct upon arrival in Germany with Bill.












Marc Kaden Ridgeway


Last edited by Marc Ridgeway on Tue 21 Aug, 2012 6:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Marc Ridgeway




Location: Atlanta , Gawga
Joined: 24 May 2006
Likes: 3 pages

Posts: 133

PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Handling Characteristics


There's not much doubt about it... with an 8 inch grip , almost 38 inch blade , and weighing in a 3lbs 9 ounces, this is not a small sword. Throw in a not-so-neutral point of balance of 6.5 inches , and you get what we have here: a heavy hitting sword of war.

Although not exactly quick, neither is it the least bit floaty , and tracks well.

The handle provides a nice grip, and with plenty of room to grip with both hands, the pommel does not affect the grip or swing.

Personally, I enjoy the dynamic handling... hard hitting and cut dedicated.










Cutting

This being another man's brand new custom sword, I did not allow myself to cut with it... though I was sorely tempted. Hopefully , Bill will be able to update as it has the feel of a powerful cutter.


The Good , The Bad & The Ugly

The blade... in both its shaping and polish is beyond clean. Bright and precise are the adjectives that I find best describe Rob Miller's blades. The fittings are well done , showing just enough variance to underscore their hand crafted nature.
The leatherwork is luxurious , and the package as a whole has a nice flow.

Only two details fall a bit short on this warsword. I feel that the blade-slotting on the guard may be a little rough, and there is a slight bit of motion on the x and y axis of the guard.

Hopefully the latter with be easily resolved by Bill, or , will resolve itself.







Conclusion

This is the second of Rob's swords which I've held in my hand and both have impressed me mightily. The craftsmanship is first-rate , and the work has a precise and vibrant quality. The blades are hand forged and shaped as of old... as are the fittings .
Rob can make a sword in the pattern of his "stock" models, or in the case of this sword , make something completely custom. He does his own scabbard and suspension work as well, and quality work at that.
I highly reccomend Rob Miller's Castle Keep to anyone looking to own a sole-authorship custom sword from a highly skilled maker with a price as attractive as any "high end" production company.


I would like to thank Bill for the opportunity to handle and review this awesome sword , and to apologize for the quality of my photos and review. I have been quite ill for the last week.

Thanks for reading.






Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Josh Wilson




Location: WV
Joined: 01 Nov 2010
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Posts: 141

PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 6:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice!
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Tim Lison




Location: Chicago, Illinois
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 9:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WOW! I've already said it but that sword is gorgeous!!! I really like the blade. The grip is just beautiful too. Seems a fantastic sword! My congrats to William for having such a beauty! Thanks to Marc for posting these pics!
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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 10:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful! Blade-slotting is for me one of the most challenging parts of hilting a sword, and many medieval swords show that craftsmen in the old days had similar difficulties. I am particularly impressed by the leather work, luxurious is a good word to describe it, the burnished luster is just fantastic.
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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 5:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I LOVE that sword, really nicely done. Looks great and is rather unique.

I am fairly new to both the myArmoury as well as SBG communities and in my short time I have come to the conclusion that Bill is 100% a gentleman and a top notch and enthusiastic collector/seller/buyer of this sword hobby that we all seem to cherish.

The donation of swords is news to me but just underlines this impression I have formed.

Congrats on a beautiful new sword.

Bryan
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 7:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A most impressive and unique sword! I would love to own one by Rob Miller but have not gotten around to it. From the pictures posted on the web he seems to be one of the top craftsman out there.

Brazil nut warswords are rare indeed, especially with a true type A pommel. This is the first replica I've seen. Most of the 'later' ones from 13th century have type N pommels; these were somewhat popular for a while in Central and Eastern Europe in territories linked to the Teutonic Knights. The second historical example above seems to border on N.
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
A most impressive and unique sword! I would love to own one by Rob Miller but have not gotten around to it. From the pictures posted on the web he seems to be one of the top craftsman out there.

Brazil nut warswords are rare indeed, especially with a true type A pommel. This is the first replica I've seen. Most of the 'later' ones from 13th century have type N pommels; these were somewhat popular for a while in Central and Eastern Europe in territories linked to the Teutonic Knights. The second historical example above seems to border on N.


I agree. If I can find a nice candidate which a craftsman feels comfortable with, I would go for a reproduction.

I don't know if the community knows as much about these weapons- I mean the smaller details which would make for a really close reproduction.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Thu 23 Aug, 2012 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alfred Geibig's "Beiträge zur morphologischen Entwicklung des Schwertes im Mittelalter" contains a wealth of info on this type of sword, including multiple views of the pommels. I have yet to see a replica which replicates the 3-dimensional shape of these pommels. They are usually almost circular when viewed from top or bottom, and both much wider and thicker than they are tall. My experience forging such pommels suggest that the purpose of the shape is to make forging and drifting the tang hole easier. I am now in the early stages of forging an exacting replica of the first sword in the photos above. I don't know if you can make it out in the photo, but this sword has a guard that has been sort of "pinched" around the fuller, an odd little detail that I don't think i have seen on any other sword. It's pommel is quite unique too, with some bevels that other similar pommels lack. The Rob Miller sword is a truly beautiful sword and absolutely top-notch work, but it is more of an inspired-by than a true replica of the type. It reminds me of Rob Stark's sword on "Game of Thrones", not quite a replica but not quite entirely a fantasy sword, but a loose interpretation that looks like it could have existed. I find such projects to be really fun, as they give the craftsman freedom to be creative while still staying true to the "feel" of authenticity.
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