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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Sep, 2013 7:08 pm    Post subject: A Suontaka Sword from Castle Keep         Reply with quote

Last week I purchased this sword from Robert Muse by way of the Marketplace and I thought I'd share my impressions. (Thank you to Robert for a quick and easy transaction.)




I had not intended to make another purchase this year, what with two orders currently outstanding. However, I've wanted an example of Rob Millers work for some time and the price became too attractive to pass up.

The sword is inspired by the well known sword found near a womans grave in Suontaka, Finlad. I use the work "inspired" because Robs version is not a direct replication. Normally I'm not much for bronze hilt furniture but in this case it works well on this Type AE hilt. I've seen photos of the same sword rendered by Rob with silver furniture and I think the bronze is a more attractive choice. The inclusion of the bronze panels and ferrule into the ash grip really complete the hilts rich look. All of the bronze components are cleanly cast, and the Urne style animal motif seems to be accurately replicated from the original. The forged, 31.5 inch blade is cleanly finished in a high satin sheen. It's edge is keen but not razor sharp and its profile is closely akin to Geibig's Type 5.

Robert has mentioned some deficiencies is the swords construction that should be mentioned. He mentioned his main points of contention as being a crooked guard and a bent blade. Both of these are true. However, Their degree of severity is in line with other handmade swords I've handled, better than some in fact and as such I find them acceptable. The blade isn't bent per say, this may be too strong of a word to use. If one sights down the blade there is a slight warp in one of its edges. The guard is canted to one side, but this really isn't severe enough to be observed on casual inspection. It may have taken me some time to realize it if Robert hadn't pointed it out. These are the type of variances I noticed, not only in swords, but in most handmade objects. As such they are acceptable to me and do not detract from my enjoyment of owning this particular sword. Fortunately for me they were not acceptable to Robert and I was able to pick the sword up at what I consider to be a bargain price.

There are really only two points of criticism I have: the fuller and the size of the hilt. The fuller stops eleven inches from the point and I really wish it extended further out. While the sword is lively, the extra mass out on the point gives the sword a bit of a tip heavy feel. It's not a boat anchor by any means, but running the fuller farther out and lessening the blades weight near the point would have improved its handling. As it stands, the sword has a nice shield splitting feel to it so this is a minor point. My second point of umbrage lies with the hilt, not in its appearance or in Robs execution, but in its size. I have large hands and the swords hilt is rather smallish, almost petite. It's right on the verge of being too small for my hand and a bit larger scale would have been welcome. This would also have helped the sword dynamically as well. I can't grouse too strongly on these two points as I knew of the fullers length before purchase, as well as suspecting the size issue with the hilt. These are really points of personal preference, not a criticism of the craftsman.

While the two aforementioned points keep me from being in love with this sword I do like it very much and it's a welcome addition to my collection. I'm the swords third owner since March of this year and I doubt there will be a fourth anytime soon. It's well made, solidly constructed, and visually striking. If nothing else it shows me Rob and I will be doing business in the future.

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


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Thu 12 Sep, 2013 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Sep, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a beautiful weapon Patrick. Personally I think a few minor imperfections add to the charm of hand-made items, as long as they do not interfere with function in any way. I wonder how long the fuller of the original is compared to this version? Its hard to tell from the pictures online - the blade is rather corroded. -JD
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Sep, 2013 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D.,

The imperfections don't bother me on this one as they really aren't obvious unless you're looking for them. Besides, I've seen far worse on original antiques that were considered fine weapons in their day. Things get so blown out of proportion on the internet that I actually hated to mention them.

Hard to say about the fuller. The originals blade looks like it might be a bit shorter too. Hard to determine though, without knowing its specs.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Sep, 2013 11:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for buying that one Patrick, I was very tempted by it but I am out of sword money for 2013. I always thought the original didn't have a fuller. How does the grip feel? It seemed a bit chunky to me, like it flared out towards the hilt and guard a bit too much... The sword does look great though.
Scabbard?
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Sep, 2013 11:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Lison wrote:
Thanks for buying that one Patrick, I was very tempted by it but I am out of sword money for 2013. I always thought the original didn't have a fuller. How does the grip feel? It seemed a bit chunky to me, like it flared out towards the hilt and guard a bit too much... The sword does look great though.
Scabbard?


I'm happy to take this bullet for you Tim, I'm a giver that way. Big Grin

The original doesn't appear to have a fuller, but then again the photos I've seen of it aren't the best, and the originals blade is quite corroded.

The grip is actually quite comfortable and secure. If the hilt was of larger proportions it might indeed feel chunky, but that might be one area where its smallish size is of benefit. There's really nothing chunky about the sword when you have it in hand. If it weren't for that extra bit of weight out on the tip it would actually have a very sleek overall feel to it.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Robert Mc
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Location: Zvolen Slovakia
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Sep, 2013 12:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello,I have seen this sword in muse Cluny.There is wide ,shallow fuller.http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/usages_mythes_symboles/?dir=&page=all
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William Swiger




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Sep, 2013 1:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful sword Patrick. Had my eye on that one but had other sword obligations. Congratulations!!
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Sep, 2013 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

beautiful sword, both this one and Albion Valkirya are good replicas, but still nobody made it true to the original, with hollow pommel...
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Sep, 2013 10:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert Mc wrote:
Hello,I have seen this sword in muse Cluny.There is wide ,shallow fuller.http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/usages_mythes_symboles/?dir=&page=all


Robert, thank you. Could you tell how far down the fuller extends?

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Sep, 2013 11:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So it does have a fuller. I should have know it would be on Vikverir! That site is the best!
Any intention to have a scabbard made for it?
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Sep, 2013 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Lison wrote:
So it does have a fuller. I should have know it would be on Vikverir! That site is the best!
Any intention to have a scabbard made for it?


I've discussed a scabbard with Rob. Unfortunately he'd need the sword and I'm loath to ship it back across the pond. I may contact Christian Fletcher at some time in the future. I have been talking to Rob about a matching dagger or saex.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Sep, 2013 11:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A matching dagger or seax would be fantastic! Both on a nice belt, maybe with a pouch? Could be quite a set!
Congrats on getting this one Patrick, it's really a showpiece!
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Jonathan Fletcher





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PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Reminds me of the Smalls Reef hilt/guard found on the seabed off the coast of Wales.

Similar style, the Smalls Reef guard decorated with a niello ground and silver inlay...



 Attachment: 38.84 KB
SmallsReefHilt.jpg

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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2013 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Fletcher wrote:
Reminds me of the Smalls Reef hilt/guard found on the seabed off the coast of Wales.

Similar style, the Smalls Reef guard decorated with a niello ground and silver inlay...

That is exquisite!

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Jonathan Fletcher





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The original bronze Smalls Reef guard, showing traces of niello and silver inlay.

I have a set of fittings comprising guard and a hypothetical tea cosy pommel decorated in the same style

Just needing to find someone to do the niello and silver inlay... and a blade of course.



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SmallsReef2.jpg

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