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Mike O'Hara

Location: New Zealand
Joined: 10 Jul 2010
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Posts: 120

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jun, 2014 1:58 pm    Post subject: Quick Review: Danelli Armoury Schiavona         Reply with quote

Type 2a Schiavona

For some time I had admired the schiavona as a style of sword. The combination of the complex hilt, the authority of the blade for cuts and the ability to use rapier style thrusts is very appealing.
I won’t go into the history of the sword because Nathan Robinson has already done an excellent job of covering it.

Since we had begun to study some later period sword the opportunity to consider a blunt trainer in the schiavona style was irresistible.
After asking around and looking at various examples, I decide to approach Marco Danelli. I was really quite lucky, as Marco had a slot only a few months ahead where he could make the sword.


After a bit of email back and forth, we settled on Marco’s type 2a. The style is almost exactly as shown by Nathan and can best be seen on Marco’s website.

Despite warning people that he may take a few days to respond to email, I found Marco superb throughout the process from the time of the initial discussion until the manufacture started and then through shipping. He was timely, informative and when he had a small delay due to illness, he let me know. Very different from some other experiences!


The sword arrived in my eager hands about ten days after postage, which is not bad from the UK to New Zealand. The sword was wrapped in bubble wrap and in a cardboard carton. I was a little surprised, I think some cardboard protectors around it might have been a better idea. I have had some packages arrive here pretty beaten up.


When I first took the sword out my immediate reaction was ‘wow’. It is absolutely beautiful and I am too poor a photographer to do it justice so look at the website or Marco’s recent Facebook posts – that is my schiavona! I have included a few photos to illustrate points.
The joining of the structure in the basket is clean, even and very tidy.

The leather and wire wrap of the grip is very even and perfectly smooth. It feels very comfortable in the hand. My instructor has huge hands and even he finds plenty of room and that the sword sits just where it should in his hands.

Looking through the basket and at the bars that form the basket, they are even in size and spacing and all have the same detail of smithing.

It is a work of art.


But it was bought as a training blunt, so how it performs is what really matters.
When if first picked the sword up I thought ‘heavy’. Then when I moved my hand to a proper position, I realised it was not heavy it was ‘presence’. The sword executes Silver’s ‘down right blows’ with some very real authority and if your partner forms a poor guard, the schiavona just pushes past.
My second surprise was the flex in the blade for thrust – it bends significantly.

Again I wondering whether that would affect the bind and the answer is a resounding ‘no’. The strong of the sword is nicely stiff and the weak takes the flex so that contact in the thrust absorbs some impact. The blade is not even slightly ‘whippy’. Marco has also made the tip broader to make it safer and this does not affect thrusts or plays with the tip at all.

After a couple of weeks of hard training, there is little or no obvious marking and this is working against an A&A side sword trainer (another excellent sword).
We even had a bit of play schiavona to longsword and the schiavona was excellent. A basket hilt against longsword is kind of cruel – you can really play on the basket with hanging guards and Angelo’s material from 18th century.


This is now one of my favourite swords. It is superbly made, the process of working with Marco was very easy and the sword performs like a dream. I’m not surprised Marco has the great reputation he has. I doubt this will be the last piece I commission from him.

Edit - should have included these statistics:
Length 111cm
Grip 15cm
Blade 94.5 cm
Weight 1.34 kg
Point of balance 11 cm from cross

 Attachment: 54.37 KB
Schiavona flex.JPG
Flex on thrust

 Attachment: 117.61 KB
Basket join [ Download ]

 Attachment: 149.71 KB
Grip [ Download ]

 Attachment: 129.51 KB
Inside basket [ Download ]

 Attachment: 173.08 KB
Tip [ Download ]

MIke O'Hara
Location: Plimmerton, New Zealand
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Bruno Giordan

Joined: 28 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 919

PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2014 1:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had the pleasure of examining some original schiavonas with different blades, the ones whose blades were larger exhibited also a good amount of flex. It was also sufficient to knock them gently at the debole to make them rattle .. such original blades were not stiff for sure.
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Jean Thibodeau

Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

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Posts: 8,310

PostPosted: Mon 30 Jun, 2014 7:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Always a pleasure when people take the time to write a detailed and informative review, and also good when they can give the maker a good review for their customer service and communication and in this way help keeping good makers in business and also help customer in finding makers that are a joy to work with.
You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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