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Dan K. F.




Location: Calgary, Alberta
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Aug, 2013 11:51 pm    Post subject: A&A Cavalier Rapier and POB         Reply with quote

Hi all,

I'm looking to make my first sword purchase and this forum seems like a great place for research. The sword I've got my eye on is A&A's Cavalier Rapier. They seem to have a great reputation and I really like the look of their late century swords. I have a few questions about this sword compared to rapiers in general:

1. I saw the review on this site but it was a bit short and I'm hoping someone here can expand on it a bit. The review mentions this sword's prowess as a thrusting weapon but how well would something with a blade profile like this (1.7 inches in width according to A&A) cut? I wouldn't do much cutting with this (if at all) but I'm just curious how a weapon like this would have been used. Would something like this be used with a buckler or dagger?

2. The review mentioned the point of balance is 3.5 inches from the guard. Is this typical for a rapier? This sword has a heavier profile so I'm guessing it would have been designed to serve more as a military sword (possibly for use from horseback?) rather than for civilian carry due to the weight and bulk.

3. What kind of delivery time should I expect for an A&A rapier? Kult of Athena mentions 3-4 weeks for some of their other rapiers. Is this an accurate estimate?

Thanks!

Dan
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Aug, 2013 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have the Town Guard, which is a first cousin of the Cavalier. Can't comment about the Cav., but here's the skinny on the similar TG. People get hung up on the hilt and class it as a rapier, but when you hold the TG you feel that it is a medieval arming sword that simply happens to offer hand protection. That should be true for the Cavalier as well, and I'm not sure why A&A makes the distinction in their catalog. Photos and stats make clear that both swords are great thrusting weapons. Handling the TG and feeling the effect of that very thick section emphasizes that. Photos don't show what an intimidating cutter this weapon is. To hold it, see where the COP is and feel the sharp edge there leaves no doubt that it passes Oakeshott's test for distinguishing between sword and rapier. Amputation of a hand or possibly even an arm would not seem to present much challenge to this weapon. It's a beast. I think you'd most often see it worn with a dagger, but not necessarily used with a dagger. My impression is that this is what you'd pull from your side when you discharge your pistols and start to ride down infantry. It's a field sword, no question. For infantry use in the period of its design, I'd think it would be paired with a target. I tend to associate the Cavalier design more with dedicated cavalry use, but I couldn't tell you why I have that impression.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Chad Hanson




Location: Winona, MN
Joined: 01 Aug 2013

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Aug, 2013 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Dan,

You're right, this forum is a great place for research. I've found it invaluable! Here's a great thread that should answer your question about PoB fairly well- http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3154.

And I'd agree with Sean, the cavalier should be a very capable cutter with that sort of blade profile. I wouldn't even call it a rapier, personally, but you'll find that there's a great deal of debate over what is and isn't a rapier.

As for delivery times, there are a lot of factors that could affect it. The best way to find out would be to contact A&A directly, they're a pretty friendly lot and do good customer service. I'm sure they'd be happy to help you out.

Welcome to the forums!

Chad

Member of the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association
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Dan K. F.




Location: Calgary, Alberta
Joined: 12 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Aug, 2013 6:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the information guys. It's great to have a community with such a wealth of knowledge to share before I start spending money. I've seen a wide variety of sword types from different manufacturers described as "cut-and-thrust" so it's helpful to get some clarification on exactly what that means for a specific sword.

For comparison's sake, what's the difference between A&A and Del Tin's offerings? Many of the rapiers appear similar but there's a significant price difference. From reading some of the reviews, Del Tin seems to have issues with their grips and the workmanship isn't quite the same but their swords do look very nice in picture form. I'm guessing this is one of those things where you can't really appreciate the difference until you're holding both in your hands.
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Lloyd Winter




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Aug, 2013 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's true you can't really appreciate the difference between a Del Tin and an A&A rapier without seeing them both, this is true of swords from other periods too but it's really important with the rapiers.

I think Del Tin rapiers are very good reenactment and fencing rapiers, ad they look pretty good too.
I used to think they looked really good, until I saw and then bought my first A&A rapiers. After that there was no going back for me. I only have one complex hilted Del Tin left in my collection, the rest were winnowed away as I acquired my A&A Vasa, Elizabethan and Dresden rapiers although the Dresden is by no stretch of the imagination a rapier Happy

The detail work that you get on an A&A rapier hilt is amazing. and well worth the extra cost in my opinion too.
I've used my Dresden ad Vasa rapiers for live combat and never had any problems. The Elizabethan is too pretty, and its sharp so I've only ever done drills with it.

Del Tn blades tend to the heavy side, and they come dull, but if you want a sharp they take a lot of work to get worked down to proper dimensions

Hope this helps


Last edited by Lloyd Winter on Tue 13 Aug, 2013 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Aug, 2013 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan K. F. wrote:
For comparison's sake, what's the difference between A&A and Del Tin's offerings? Many of the rapiers appear similar but there's a significant price difference. From reading some of the reviews, Del Tin seems to have issues with their grips and the workmanship isn't quite the same but their swords do look very nice in picture form. I'm guessing this is one of those things where you can't really appreciate the difference until you're holding both in your hands.


For starters, A&A swords are sharp by default. Del Tins are blunt due to Italian law. Del Tin's can be sharpened, of course, but I think anyone interested in a sharp sword should buy one designed from the ground up as a sharp.

Del Tin's are fine swords, but some have balance issues and the softness of their hilt components and grips can lead to looseness in the hilt overtime. A&A's are just better. Plus A&A will customize production pieces and does great custom work, too.

Happy

ChadA

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Dan K. F.




Location: Calgary, Alberta
Joined: 12 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Aug, 2013 8:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lloyd Winter wrote:
It's true you can't really appreciate the difference between a Del Tin and an A&A rapier without seeing them both, this is true of swords from other periods too but it's really important with the rapiers.

I think Del Tin rapiers are very good reenactment and fencing rapiers, ad they look pretty good too.
I used to think they looked really good, until I saw and then bought my first A&A rapiers. After that there was no going back for me. I only have one complex hilted Del Tin left in my collection, the rest were winnowed away as I acquired my A&A Vasa, Elizabethan and Dresden rapiers although the Dresden is by no stretch of the imagination a rapier Happy

The detail work that you get on an A&A rapier hilt is amazing. and well worth the extra cost in my opinion too.
I've used my Dresden ad Vasa rapiers for live combat and never had any problems. The Elizabethan is too pretty, and its sharp so I've only ever done drills with it.

Hope this helps


Yes, the reason I'm jumping straight to an A&A for my first purchase is I know from past experience if I buy something cheaper I'll just end up buying an A&A or Albion out of curiosity later anyway - buy once, cry once right?

Chad, I did consider picking up a Del Tin from Kult of Athena and just paying them to sharpen it but after doing some reading I reached the same conclusion. I shouldn't have to worry about custom work in the future because sword collecting isn't an addictive hobby at all, right? It's perfectly possible to stop at one?
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Aug, 2013 8:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan K. F. wrote:
I shouldn't have to worry about custom work in the future because sword collecting isn't an addictive hobby at all, right? It's perfectly possible to stop at one?


I love a good sense of humor. Happy This hobby (like most hobbies) is maddeningly addictive. I've been collecting over 15 years and my collection is still a work in progress.

Happy

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Aug, 2013 11:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I used to own the Cavalier. I absolutely love the hilt design, it's probably my favorite in A&As production line. I eventually got rid of mine as the blade disappointed me. At the time A&A only displayed a photo of the hilt on their sight, instead of a full length shot. I was expecting something along the lines of a blade similar to the Dresden, ie. longer and not as acutely tapered. It would work well in sword and buckler work. I was looking more for a heavy rapier than an arming sword, so I eventually sold it. If ordering one today I'd discuss the option of mounting the hilt on a different blade. Nothing wrong with the quality though. My next purchase may be another one.

You can't go wrong with an A&A rapier, they're the best in the production field. However, with A&As recent price increase Del Tins have become a better value than they were. In the past the price was close enough that it didn't make a lot of sense to go with a Del Tin, when a more qualitative A&A rapier could be had in the same price point. Still, Del Tin does offer interesting rapier variations no one else in the production niche does. There are several I'd like to own for that fact alone.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Aug, 2013 5:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Dan K. F. wrote:
For comparison's sake, what's the difference between A&A and Del Tin's offerings? Many of the rapiers appear similar but there's a significant price difference. From reading some of the reviews, Del Tin seems to have issues with their grips and the workmanship isn't quite the same but their swords do look very nice in picture form. I'm guessing this is one of those things where you can't really appreciate the difference until you're holding both in your hands.


For starters, A&A swords are sharp by default. Del Tins are blunt due to Italian law. Del Tin's can be sharpened, of course, but I think anyone interested in a sharp sword should buy one designed from the ground up as a sharp.

Del Tin's are fine swords, but some have balance issues and the softness of their hilt components and grips can lead to looseness in the hilt overtime. A&A's are just better. Plus A&A will customize production pieces and does great custom work, too.


Where was it here when someone is describing options at Del Tin iin terms of edge thickness? I don't know what the default for American vendors but I do know a Del Tin I acquired from a freind came with the description that he had asked for a "close" edge. I think the mention here was Del Tin can offer 1mm, 2mm and 3mm edges. A 1mm edge from Del Tin is about what some Windlass swords came with and sharpen pretty readily while not becoming a steep secondary edge.


The larger issue of a compression fit vs wedged is where fitment is important. I read of a lot of Albions, for instance that creak in their handle even though the metal bits are/should be infallible. Any compression arrangement can loosen and A&A is certainly not immune to this. An example would be my own Black Prince where I blamed it on the bronze fittings I chose as continuing to rattle. It turned out (after finally taking it apart years later) that the pommel was bottoming on the tang and that the cross guard was a sloppy fit. So, there is an example of a compression hilt that might have gone better, soft fittings or not.

Looking closely at pictures of Del Tin and A&A rapiers, you will see the better finishing A&A is capable of and you can see they spend more time in the junctures of branches and plates. That said, I think Del Tin is kind of in a league by themselves price wise and definitely a lot nicer aesthetically than the other imports. Darkwood (Florida) is considered wonderful in the western martial arts corner but finish will come with a price and sometimes paid for, dissapointing in finish.

Of all the wishing and shoulda, coulda, it has always been A&A that catches my attention. There are though times when I see a Del Tin in other than retail photos and on the secondary market when I go "well, maybe". Still, the big bruisers from A&A call to me and if flush with all important wishes met, a Cavalier and Dresden set would suit me just fine.

Cheers

GC
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Dan K. F.




Location: Calgary, Alberta
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Aug, 2013 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I used to own the Cavalier. I absolutely love the hilt design, it's probably my favorite in A&As production line. I eventually got rid of mine as the blade disappointed me. At the time A&A only displayed a photo of the hilt on their sight, instead of a full length shot. I was expecting something along the lines of a blade similar to the Dresden, ie. longer and not as acutely tapered. It would work well in sword and buckler work. I was looking more for a heavy rapier than an arming sword, so I eventually sold it. If ordering one today I'd discuss the option of mounting the hilt on a different blade. Nothing wrong with the quality though. My next purchase may be another one.


I've read some posts about the Dresden rapier and how it was a beast of a sword. I think it's been discontinued though as it doesn't appear on the A&A website. I like the wider blade of the earlier military rapiers but I think something like the Dresden would have been a bit too heavy for my tastes. I think what I disliked about the Dresden is I don't understand the historical context of what it would have been used for. As an infantry weapon, wouldn't a late model longsword have been more versatile, given the bulk? It doesn't seem ideal for a cavalry weapon either as I've read straight blades can be unwieldy on horseback and a rapier isn't really optimized for cutting.
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Aug, 2013 8:21 am    Post subject: A&A Cavalier         Reply with quote

Thank you for all the kind words about our swords guys. It made my day Happy Sometimes when your wrapped up in the issues of everyday stuff its good to break out of it and see it from a different perspective.

The rapier/sword terminology originates from way back. The thought was to term things as they would have been identified in the day. This is more an intended use system then we categorize crazy modern folks use. The idea has stuck with us but they probably would have been more correctly grouped into side swords or id as arming swords, but that is with some 15 to 20 years more research knowledge and understanding.

Today we might make a different choice in cataloging and naming items. When you look at the totality of the sword market something titled "Black Soul Reaving Blade of Omnipresent Power and Charisma" Eek! might sell better than the names we choose but thats not our style. Wink

Sean describes these swords very well.

Patrick, we would be happy to do a blade of your preference on that hilt or a similar one if you are so inclined. There are many in this era that are intriguing and interesting.

Dan, thank you for your interest in our items we strive to make our items to exceed peoples expectations when they open the box. We are not always successful but we always work to make each customer satisfied with their purchase. I tell lots of people when they are interested in swords that buying the one that meets your needs in the best choice. No maker meets the needs of every sword buyer but finding the right maker for you is the best way to success in your collecting.

Thanks for making my day guys Happy

Craig
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Aug, 2013 1:30 am    Post subject: Re: A&A Cavalier         Reply with quote

Craig Johnson wrote:
Today we might make a different choice in cataloging and naming items. When you look at the totality of the sword market something titled "Black Soul Reaving Blade of Omnipresent Power and Charisma" Eek! might sell better than the names we choose but thats not our style. Wink


If that comes with a set of twelve-sided dice and some power crystals count me in! Big Grin

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Aug, 2013 9:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I sort of look at my A&A Dresden as a full sized arming sword with a complex grip rather than as a rapier in handling, but I do like it and it's versatility as a war sword.

I originally though of it as being heavy and forward balanced in handling, but I got used to it in time. Wink Big Grin

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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