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Marc Ridgeway

Location: Atlanta , Gawga
Joined: 24 May 2006
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Nov, 2013 11:41 am    Post subject: Longship Armoury Silvia Ringare Prototype         Reply with quote

Longship Armoury Silvia Ringare Prototype
Marc Kaden Ridgeway
Atlanta , GA

Greetings all. Let's get it out of the way ... I am a John Lundemo fan-boy. Yes , that has lots of negative connotations... let's just say I am a John Lundemo fan.

John offers quality swords , and style all his own, for a fraction of the cost of some other famous sword makers. Speaking of that style , that's what leads to me writing this review.

John has , over the years, developed a few sword types that have become a signature for him, including but not limited to: The Ronin , The Warder and this one , the Ringare.

A few years ago James Fang came along with an idea. That was , how to bring the well known quality of John's custom swords to the public at production prices.

So sailed the Longship.

Then there was the Legend line... a Longship Armoury limited line to bring John's better known designs to the public .

When the Silvia Ringare was selected

Full Disclosure

I do not have any business relationship with either John Lundemo
or Longship Armoury . I paid for this sword, which I bought second-hand from a forumite. I did not get any considerations in exchange for a review. Neither John , nor James nor Sean asked me to review this sword... I just did because I wanna.

This review is not meant to compliment the excellent review by my friend Sean ,found here , it is not meant to replace it.

Historical Overview

In the first second and third age, the world was very different than how it today. At that time , the firstborn were plentiful , and those that walked among men, still visible. Of course the firstborn all sailed to Valinor around 6100 years ago, at the end of the third age, still, had any remained they would be all but invisible to us, as elves bodies fade into their spirit.

In the second and third age , the Valar had withdrawn from Middle-Earth all but one, the fallen Valar that joined the Melkor, the dark Sauron.

In this time , the elves helped men battle the Melkor, and had an especial affinity for killing Orcs, the twisted creation of magic and necromancy, whose origin may lie in a perversion of the Eastern Elves.

Killing Orcs requires stout weaponry , and the elves were artists . They crafted weapons that were things of beauty and deadly besides. One such weapon was the Glaive Sword.

Elves, being of incorruptible flesh , could weild these glaive swords with finesse and with fury, and a blow from these mighty swords would sever an Orc in twain.

photos from lotrwikia

Fast-forward 6100 years. Archaeology of these weapons is nonexistent. We have only ancient texts , a few images and our imaginations to tell us what these legendary weapons were like. Luckily there emerged a man , as if sent from Asgard who would have the skills to bring them back to life.

With a background in jewelry craft , John Lundemo was working in a metal shop in the early 2000s when he first began turning steel into swords. Applying his skill , and the tools he had at hand, this artist learned by doing , and by his intimate knowledge of weight and balance earned through sword play.

In 2004 John made the first of these ancient Elven Glaive recreations... the Ringare

As best I can ascertain , Ringare translates as the coldest month in the Elven Calendar... the twelve month.

Again in 2007 we see a Ringare type blade from Lundemo, the Matilda

As far as I can ascertain Matilda translates as big, mean b!tch ! Wink

Then in 2010 , John achieved perfection in his Elven sword recreations , and the Silvia Ringare was born. Elegant as the elves that wielded these deadly blades, the Silvia became a legend , and an archetypal Lundemo creation.

In 2013 John Lundemo and James Fang, the principals of Longship Armoury ,sought to bring this classic to the public. Using bronze furniture cast by John Greybeard using steel masters hand carved by John , a limited run of 20 pieces was announced. When I saw the announcement I knew I needed to be a part... alas it was not to be. I was flat busted.

Luckily my friend Sean got the prototype . I knew I had a chance . You see Sean cannot hold onto swords, he has to sell them . Sean has to have rugs and hot tubs and snazzy little mid-life crisis convertibles. And so it came to be... the One sword became my precious !


Blade : 30.25 in
Grip : 10 in. of leather , 12 with fittings
Width at Base : 2.25 in.
Width at Swell: 2.125 in
POB : 4.5 in
Weight : 3 lbs 14 oz


Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Marc Ridgeway

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

Posts: 133

PostPosted: Sat 09 Nov, 2013 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aesthetics ; Fit & Finish

The figure of this sword cuts a sinuous line . The 30.25 inch blade gently curves while the grip elegantly recurves . This is repeated in the profile of the blade, which begins strongly shouldered with a short ricasso, then narrows within 1.5 inches to its narrowest point (1 5/8 inches ) after which the blade swells gently to 2.125 in before tapering to the point. This serpentine flair also repeats itself in the fuller which swoops up from the guard to run along the spine of the blade , as well as the guard , which resembles a clamshell , with "s" quillons. The geometry of the blade as well repeats this theme , with a slight hollowgrind leading into the deep fuller .

The blade blank is water jet milled from 5160h steel and handground and finished. The blade is quenched in 400 degree peanut oil, room cooled then hung for an hour in 400 degree peanut oil and then repeated in 350 peanut oil. The blade is then finished to an easily maintained satin.

The fittings on this prototype are hand carved steel. The are darkened . In a lovely touch, John darkens the low places in the clamshells grooves more than the high ridges , making the "point of light " effect used in painting to create depth. The fittings on the production model were cast in bronze from these originals by John Greybeard.

The guard as stated resembles a clamshell guard with short sinuous quillons . The pommel is a deeply grooved and flared fish-tail.

The recurved handle sports 10 inches of wrapped leather strip in a nice, dark plum color . There is a hollow ground , center ridged steel central "spacer" . As this is a wound leather grip the ring is above the leather , and one can see the sheen of what is presumably epoxy helping to secure it in place.

Marc Kaden Ridgeway

Last edited by Marc Ridgeway on Sun 10 Nov, 2013 8:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Marc Ridgeway

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

PostPosted: Sat 09 Nov, 2013 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The blade is assembled with a clean hot-peen.

The fit & finish is clean and artistic . Other than some abrasive marks in the fuller it is arguably flawlessly executed... impressive value for the relatively moderate price. A word I have always used to describe John's work is "organic" , and it applies in spades here. The sword looks grown , rather than wrought , fitting as it is a reproduction of the ancient weapons of the children of the forest. Everywhere you look on this blade there is detail there to take in, and I notice something new each time I look.

Handling Characteristics

A 3lbs 14 ounces this is a heavy sword. With a point of balance of 3.5 inches , it is not an unwieldy one . A true swordmaker , John doesn't rely on a heavy pommel to pull the balance back, he uses mass distribution , mostly achieved through the distal taper . This mass being mostly distributed at the point of rotation helps keep this whopper from handling like an axe. Even with the pronounce profile swell in the cutting belly of the blade , there isn't a hint of tip heaviness .

We don't know how these swords were used . what techniques the elves employed, but by making educated guesses the Silvia seemed to flow through forms fine. Heavy , yes... but remember the swords were wielded by beings of incorruptible flesh and purposed to cleave orcs.

The recurve grip seemed strange at first , but the adjustment period was surprisingly short. The slim oval cross-section of handle is easy to grip.


I have cut bottles , and they were cut cleanly and without energy transference to the target. I didn't bother to film it.

For the video I prepared two targets. One a full mat with an aged bamboo core , the other a double mat with a larger aged bamboo core. The bamboo was harvested about a month ago. The tatami was mugen dashi tatami omote.

On the single mat roll I performed 4 clean cuts , however , my idiot cameraman (me) did not manage to capture them on film (or sd as it were).

On the two mat target I pooched the intial cut , leaving the target hanging by "a flap of skin." This was followed with a cleanly executed cut.

I cant remember the last time I cut mats... and I'm not really set up to do so... my makeshift stand made it more difficult. I'd love to see this in the hands of a proper cutter with a proper setup.


Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Marc Ridgeway

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

PostPosted: Sat 09 Nov, 2013 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote


I've been skipping the critical section lately , because the swords I've been reviewing have been too nice to pick apart. This one is no different . In fact , this one is a work of art by a custom smith... If it had grievous shortcomings they would have been apparent in this review already. However this work of art is also a fully functional sword , with the attributes necessary to a good sword. At this point it comes down to aesthetic choices and personal preferences .

The only two things I noted in the review were the epoxy under the ring , and some abrasive marks in the fuller. Even noting these was nitpicky and in my opinion the difference between a 1.5K sword from a custom smith and a 3k sword from a custom smith. These small finishing details are nothing compared to the overall value poured into this piece... value that surpasses the price IMHO.

Besides , each of the twenty slots for these Silvia models is fully customizable... fuller, no fuller , grip ring or no. The only thing I believe it would be fair to criticize would be imperical functions. A wavy edge , poor mass distribution etc. This piece has none of that ... it is a good sword.

Are there things I might change if it was my own commission? Well... kinda. I mean if this was my original design I probably would have had a bit less swell in the blade , and a leaner , shobu type tip. I think a really crazy hamon would be awesome on here as well...
See , though , this isn't my original design... its John's . John has reinterpreted one of his own legendary designs and this one is just as the artist has made it... and I wouldn't have it any other way.

We had a little fun with the historical overview in this review . My apologies for any inaccuracies, I am not much of a Tolkienian Scholar. The truth is this is a sword of complete fantasy with no counterpart in history. This will turn off the historicity types . Otherwise , if one likes the design and it fits within the budget , this is a terrific addition to a collection.

I am lucky enough to have 2 of the Longship Armoury prototypes now... and my full custom Laird by Lundemo. I personally can't think of an instance where I wouldn't add a Lundemo or Longship piece to my collection, if I were able.

John and James and the whole Longship crew have endeavored to make one of John's alltime classic designs available to collectors at a fraction of the originals full custom price. The Legend line by Longship Armoury will consist of several of John's classic designs, in limited runs of twenty pieces. Any of them past or future would be excellent choices if they speak to you ... The original Silvia spoke to me , as did this prototype... I'm just lucky it was Sean's so I had a chance to make it mine.

Thanks for reading.

Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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William Swiger

Location: Reston, VA
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Nov, 2013 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great review. Really nice Lundemo sword to add to your collection.
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Nov, 2013 9:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great review! Thanks Marc. Slight correction though. The blade is made of 1095 and tempered 3 times. Since I have my DS 2.0 on order with Longship armoury, which are to be made with the same metallurgy as Silvia, I paid extra attention to this details and eager to wait for the second Silvia prototype to be tested!
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Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz

Location: Michigan, USA
Joined: 08 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Nov, 2013 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really, a very attractive sword from JL, and beautifully reviewed and photographed
by ... well, have to assume the pooch was monitoring the photography, MR ... B-)

I particularly like that you give us a bit of JL's Silvia Ringare's " evolutionary history, "
identifying past projects that -- hopefully I'm not assuming too much -- lead JL to
this rendition. Personally, I like the blade-shape and think it contributes to the
uniqueness of this sword ...

The figure of this sword cuts a sinuous line.
Nice nice description !
I'm such a fan of curved blades ...

I'm reminded of the Burmese Dha, and imagine this sword may perform with similar
characteristics ( though I admit I've no idea what they are ). The ONLY detail I've the
slightest question about is the way the grip is wrapped ... any suggestion it might
someone come loose ?
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Mark Moore

Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Nov, 2013 5:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's the meanest looking sword I've ever seen in my life. It makes a katana look like a butter knife. Bravo. Big Grin .......McM
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Karl Knisley

PostPosted: Sun 10 Nov, 2013 10:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is one sweet sword! Congrats,and put me on the list if you ever need a kidney,maybe we can do a trade:-)
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Luka Borscak

Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Nov, 2013 2:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm generally not a big fan of fantasy blades but the beauty of this one can not be denied! And it looks very functional too...
P.S. Sauron is Maia, not Vala. Wink
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