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Hector A.





Joined: 22 Dec 2013

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 1:25 am    Post subject: [Review] Albion Cluny. (New Low in Albion Quality)         Reply with quote

Hello Forum,

I recently purchased a Cluny from Søren at Albion Europe, as a gift for my wife's Birthday. I decided to make a review about it, and also put to public light what many of us have known for a good year or more now: that Ablion's quality has taken a serious hit, and we as buyers owe it to ourselves to make them understand we expect more from such high priced products.

Stats for my Cluny:

Left side my Cluny------------------Right side website advertised

Total length: 121 cm's // 123,8 cm's
Blade length: 96 cm's // 98 cm's
COG: 10,5 cm's // 9 cm's
COP: 56 cm's // 56 cm's
Grip Length: 17, 8 cm's // Not Given
Pommel Length: 5,5 cm's // Not Given
Weight: 1190g // 1140g

I checked and double checked carefully the measurements, to within a 0,5 cm tolerance.
Blade length was measured from start of guard to tip.
The COG in the same way as above.
Grip Length does not include pommel or guard, only the leather. ( not the flap as it extends past the guard ).

Remarks on measurements: My blade seems to be a entire 2 cm's shorter then advertised ; small stats difference are to be expected; i did not expect it to occur in blade length, seeing as it is CNC milled. Did somebody make a mistake on the tip and reground it costing it 2 cm's? ( It is to be noted that this is the first Albion i received that the blade length is not exactly as advertised! )
The weight and COG are also higher, i suspect it has to do with the sharpening and grinding of the blade, that i will touch upon later in this review.

Leather Work: The grip has 3 risers and is ribbed giving it good traction. The grip has a continuation of leather that extends past and covers the guard, into a circular chap.
The color is a very dark brown, with very minor oxblood reflections.
The size of the grip itself is just enough to squeeze in two hands, and swing the sword, if you "thumb" the chap, the grip then gains space and becomes more comfortable. The wasted part of the grip might be 2 small to grip for most, i personally have no problems and have big hands. ( My palm's span 10 cm's wide ).

The negatives: The leather work is piggishly done overall.
The grips seam is lifting badly, you can feel and see it, and it is slowly lifting more and more, every time i so much as lay hands on it...
On the topic of the grip, the red oxblood dye transfers to my hands if they are so much as slightly damp.
Varnish or glue is all over the grip at different places, giving it a very sloppy appearance.
The leather "cut" is unbalanced, one side has far more leather than the other.
The risers are not horizontal.
And worst of all is the back strap of the chap, it literally looks rotten...

Pictures:

Leather seam lifting:




Glue or varnish ( i'm not sure ) gushing from under the leather. More on the top riser and mid riser ( not pictured here), notice also under the half moon that connects the grip to the chap, the one side has clearly more leather than the other, and of course dye stains on the metal that are close to impossible to remove. What is not easily visible from pictures is how the chap is not horizontal to the blade, its slightly tilted and so are the risers on the grip.



Chap stitches, bit dirty for a new sword (the leather overall looks old or/and of bad quality), but that can be tolerated... They are however very solidly stitched!



And "le plat de résistance"; " the main course " (Sensible viewers are advised to scroll away quickly), the leather back strap above the grip:




Fittings:: Both pommel and guard are well executed in terms of shape and detail, the pommel seems hollow to a certain degree, the peen is well hidden into the detail of the outer ring. I personally can't grip the pommel with my large hands and my wife can't either, you CAN however grip it with your little finger.

Negatives: Most of the bluing is already gone(or never was there to begin with), the back side of the guard has received none, not even the extremities. Scratches on the pommel, and some minor pitting. Also Staining on the guard from the dye. AND RUST.

(Disclaimer: I did not try to remove the rust or use a scotchbrite/sandpaper/any abrasive on the sword what so ever, before or after the pictures, as i intend on returning this sword)

Some of these can be seen in previous pictures, rest pictured below:

Pommel with bluing fainting, scratches, pits and rust:





Blade Geometry:

The Cluny has a extremely simple diamond geometry. Not flat or thick. it tapers aggressively to a long needle point that is about 10 cm's long. The change from diamond to very thin needle is extremely interesting.

The negatives: Boy this is a big one, i will have a hard time showing it with a picture. One of the 2 sides of the Cluny has a ridge line that is off center by 3mm's at its thickest and slowly at 3/4's of the blade up centers again... I'm sorry to say but who ever grounded this blade was seriously asleep that day, as i stated before this is a diamond shaped sword, one of the simplest to grind ,and on one of Albions most expensive pieces!

Notice how the bottom part of this side of the sword is clearly "bigger" its actually the ridge line on this side that is very poorly grounded 3mm's off center:



Sword Sharpness::

No positives, a monkey sharpened this sword... 1 plain is not sharpened at all, the other 3 are at 3 different angles ( I'm not kidding). One of the 2 sides is 0,2 mm's thicker than the other, and nothing cuts at all. Its been very poorly sharpened to 240 grit, and if that is not enough, most probably scotebrited, with no care given to avoid the edge. ( These are speculation concerning the grit and Scotchbrite)

0/10 sharpening. To Quote Mr. Edelson: GET IT TOGETHER!

I can't show the edge on picture, it just doesn't show up, with the lighting. Sorry

Sword Handling:

Its light and has excellent tip control. That is all mine has. Due most probably to the un-even sharpening and off-center ridge line, i can clearly feel one of the 2 cutting sides is heavier than the other, and this affects the swords handling greatly. I can literally feel this sword is suppose to be fast and effortless, but mine just isn't, when i use a German thumb grip and try to cut on different angles, its not effortless, 1 side ( the thin side with the smaller metal plain due to the ridge line ) is blazing fast, but to recover or use the other is like controlling a mammoth in comparison...
What a disappointment really.
I will also add that when i measured the COG the sword would always want to rotate counter close wise on my finger until it would not balance anymore... A clear sign of blade in-balance.

Bottom line: Albion's dropped the ball, and this is not recent news, it has been going on for a while now, as many of you know or can attest from recent purchases ( last 2 years ). In addition to the problems i have with this Cluny, a couple other "common" problems arise regularly, like twisted pommels, cross-grinding marks on sections of blades, blunted tips...etc
But none of my swords have had so many problems combined into ONE, and on a museum line sword at that.
I hope Albion is reading this and will more closely monitor QUALITY CONTROL. Because at these prices, and on your flagship swords... this is un-acceptable.
I will be returning this sword and hoping my next Cluny will be better. Because as of right now i can't recommend anybody buy this sword, or any other for that matter, from you.
This community has invested money and trust into your products, we deserve better!

ps: In my personal experience this is not a isolated case, i own two I:33's, a Decurio, Knightly, Alexandria and a Svante, and they all have an assortment of the problems listed here, all where purchased in the last year. Some little problems are acceptable on squire, maestro, even next gen swords, but not on Museum lines...

Thank you for taking the time to read, if you have any questions feel free to ask and if you have had similar quality control issues with your Albions ( i know many of you have, i have read your recent reviews and felt your disappointment) please don't be shy to come out and tell us about them. This is a rare opportunity we are giving Albion to fix there problems and improve things for everybody.
It is for the best that it is done this way, rather than they lose all business and never realize why...

Drive safe and have a good day.
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Theo Squires





Joined: 23 Jul 2012

Posts: 64

PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 4:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is very disheartening to read, particularly for a Museum Line sword that sells for over $2500. The pommel is very disappointing compared to the attractive bluing in photos and the leather work looks shoddy, as does the glue. Issues with the blade are fairly subtle in the photos, but sound grim. Variations from sword to sword are to be expected at any price point, but serious failures of quality control are unacceptable when you're spending that much money.

Hopefully you can get this sword replaced and such QC problems are resolved.
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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 7:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Theo Squires wrote:
This is very disheartening to read, particularly for a Museum Line sword that sells for over $2500. The pommel is very disappointing compared to the attractive bluing in photos and the leather work looks shoddy, as does the glue. Issues with the blade are fairly subtle in the photos, but sound grim. Variations from sword to sword are to be expected at any price point, but serious failures of quality control are unacceptable when you're spending that much money.

Hopefully you can get this sword replaced and such QC problems are resolved.


I'd not say hopefully as Albion has never had a major customer service issue to my knowledge. About the only thing I can say about the review itself is bout the rain chap stitching. Its not dirty. What most likely happened is they applied the dye after stitching. They obviously dyed the leather after it was stitched on. The blueing is maybe the worst part to me. Well that and the bad grind, but I can understand a bad grind. The leather may have shrunk after dyeing so that may explain the lifting seam and the apparent lack of leather on the guard. That blueing though man, how do you get that wrong? It's either blued or it isn't. Overall the sword seems very poorly executed and should certainly be sent back. Thanks for taking the time to review this sword.

On a related note, I've had zero quality control issues with Albion in my years of buying from them. I have a fairly new Fiore and an SL knightly and both are as flawless as a hand made product can be. My Meyer, also new, is very well executed. My other purchases are prior to 2010 so I can't comment further. I was planning on getting another Brescia for a graduation present to myself in the fall so maybe I can comment further then. For reference, I've owned about 30 or so swords from them at one time or another, including the entire 2010 museum line at one point.

Winter is coming
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am very sad and upset to see this.
It is disheartening that you have been sent this sword that is below par on so many points.
It should never have left the workshop.
The Cluny sword is subtle and delicate and crisp. I have seen Albion produce its Museum Line version of the original to within *very* tight tolerances, both in dynamics, measurements and aesthetics.
What you show in these photos is completely off the mark.

I am totally mystified how this could have happened.
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William Swiger




Location: Reston, VA
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have twenty-something Albion swords and noticed the last 2 I bought during the last several months have some issues. Finish on the blades are not the usual Albion quality (uneven finish) and some grip dye issues on one. Did not return them but was slightly disappointed.

Really like the products and the company but QC needs to be stepped up.

Non Timebo Mala
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Lloyd Winter




Location: Los Angeles
Joined: 27 Aug 2011

Posts: 171

PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, that handle wrap is pretty poor.
The handle wrap on my Cluny is perfect and I have no issues with bleeding dye. It took me about 15 minutes to actually find the seam. I did notice when I received mine that the leather on the hilt and the rain guard was pretty dry. A little oil and then some renaissance wax and the leather looks great. I've never been a big fan of this style of rain guard and I almost asked to have it left off on mine. I don't like glueing leather to steel, it's hard to do without getting glue all over your steel, and it's almost impossible to fix after the fact without dismounting the sword.
On the other hand I agree 100% about the blueing. The bluing on my pommel is already mostly gone and the bluing on the cross is starting to go with daily handling. It seems to be that these fittings were cold blued. I expect hot blueing or fire blueing from Albion.
At least it makes it less traumatic to remove the glue on the pommel and cross.
The blade finish on mine is much cleaner than yours. I guess I should break out the scale and calipers and measure mine to compare to published stats.
I think you just got a defective sword and Albion should certainly replace it.
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Mike Capanelli




Location: Whitestone, NY
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I might ask of you Lloyd, what year did you purchase your Cluny?
Winter is coming
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Lloyd Winter




Location: Los Angeles
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Posts: 171

PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

April 2014, I've had it for a couple of weeks now
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting and surprising given their track record. Hope it all works out well for all parties involved.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Mike Capanelli




Location: Whitestone, NY
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 7:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lloyd Winter wrote:
April 2014, I've had it for a couple of weeks now


It seems that the QC issues started popping up way more often this year. Given other opinions of newer Albion's I've read recently, and my own experiences, I think we're seeing fluctuations in quality and not a downward trend, at least not yet.

Winter is coming
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, this is not acceptable.

Really a mess. Thanks for taking the time to document the issues with this sword.
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Victor R.




Location: Spring, Texas
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2014 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's disappointing. Once I'm back on my feet financially, I'm planning to order the Cluny, with scabbard, as it's one of the most beautiful and impressive late medieval production swords I've seen. I pray the recent glitches will be resolved by that time.

As for my past experience, I've been happy with the quality of all 8 of mine and the customer service has been outstanding for the three "direct" purchases I've made, the last of which was the Knecht MkII I acquired about 4 years ago.

As far as I know, all of mine were manufactured in New Glarus; are the European market swords also manufactured in the US, or is there a European operation? If so, is the QC an issue in one location vs. the other? It seems most of the negative reviews I've seen have been associated with Albion-Europe customers.
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Lukas MG
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Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Sat 19 Jul, 2014 12:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I get the feeling that Albion Europe gets the seconds / the ones that didn't pass QC in Wisconsin.
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Hector A.





Joined: 22 Dec 2013

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Sat 19 Jul, 2014 1:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lukas MG wrote:
I get the feeling that Albion Europe gets the seconds / the ones that didn't pass QC in Wisconsin.


I get that exact same feeling Lukas... But i don't think its isolated to Albion Europe. Some recent reviews are from people who get there swords from Kult of Athena. So it seems its third parties who get the short stick of quality control.

I have gotten into sword collecting very recently ( last 9 months i believe, pretty easy to check with my first post on my armory basically ).

During this time i have acquired 7 swords.

These are the problems i have gotten on them:

Two i:33's: Both have poorly ground geometry. Biggest problem is one has a big round peen, the other has a very small square peen. The small square peen one, has come lose after a bit of use(i really don't use it much). I suspect in the hands of a Club practitioner, the sword would literally be in pieces already...

Decurio: 1/3 of of the blade has huge cross grind marks. I got rid of them with sandpaper. "Albion Finish".

Knigtly: Broken tip, pommel was really badly ground, balance was off, leather shrunk and black dye transfers to hands. I grinded the pommel to make it round and balance it, re-ground the tip. Sword has now really nice handling! As for the dye i still haven't found a solution, but i think i will just re-wrap the sword myself once i figure out how to do it.

Alexandria: I got lucky with this one, i got the actual Alexandria from the Albion Europe Pictures. Its only little mistake is the ridge line on one side goes off center just before it enters the hilt.
As pictured here(i feel cool right now showing you a professional picture of my sword lol):



Svante: Dye transfer from the leather. Some grinding mistakes here and there but i wont fault it, convex blade geometry is hard, unlike diamond Wink. The blade is well done. I know Albion doesn't clean up the pommel of casting pits much, so i did it myself, its literally perfect now. And a fantastic sword may i add.

Cluny: The worst of them all, combining various problems of many... If you are here, you read my review.

I use my swords a lot, so a little problem here and there, depending on what type of problem it is, is no big deal. The knightly i had always intended on customizing it and using it as a learning experience, which in this case was a great success. I learned to use a belt grinder, sharpen and repair finishes, just overall take care of my swords correctly.
But problems like the sword coming lose from a weak peen, geometry badly done, dye spewing all over the place whenever you pick it up, or simply to many of these problems in one sword is shameful...

I will be contacting Søren once his vacation is over ( i don't want to bother him during his rest ) but i know from talks with him that he has had problems with Albion sending him lemons all year long...
I hope my problem can be fixed, and above all that Albion quality control will improve.
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Howard Waddell
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Location: Wisconsin, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 19 Jul, 2014 2:40 am    Post subject: Apologies         Reply with quote

This issues raised here concern us greatly.

Please contact Mike at Albion Customer Service (mike@albion-swords.com) to get these issues resolved to your satisfaction. All Albion swords are guaranteed against defects in materials and workmanship. Always have been, always will be.

I apologize for the inconvenience. We will be looking into this.

Warmest regards,

Howard Waddell

Albion Swords Ltd
http://albion-swords.com
http://filmswords.com
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Alessandro Petrocco




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Jul, 2014 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also have to receive my Albion Crecy, I had to wait 9 monts to have it. Not a big deal due to the quality of the Albion manifacture. Now i'm scare to death.
I think i will ask Soren a quality control before the shipment for sure.

Albion is my dream company. I really love all their works. But now i'm afraid of what would happen. WTF?!

Hope they will fix all this problems. Albion we trust in you don't disappoint us!

"There's a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand"
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Jul, 2014 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Too bad for everyone that this slipped through the cracks, but it just goes to prove what Peter Johnsson has been saying all along: that there's a lot more to making an Albion than CNC. It makes me appreciate the superior craftsmanship of the Albions that I own all the more.
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Dean F. Marino




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Jul, 2014 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Above all else? This saddened me. I have no Albion's yet - but was planning on several. "tôl acharn" seems appropriate...

If the primary issue appears to be with fittings and leather work? I am seriously tempted to go through well respected third parties, and have what I desire built up with Albion Bare Blades. Based on the data offered here? I will say something I never expected to say, or wanted to: MY grips, MY leatherwork, based on this one data point - is better. I do not know what the problem is - but I suspect folks like Christian Fletcher are going to see a VAST increase in demand.

In edhil, hai edhil. In edain, hai edain.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Jul, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Too bad for everyone that this slipped through the cracks, but it just goes to prove what Peter Johnsson has been saying all along: that there's a lot more to making an Albion than CNC. It makes me appreciate the superior craftsmanship of the Albions that I own all the more.


This cannot be emphasized enough. Many people seem to think the CNC machine does it all when in fact, there's quite a bit of handwork involved post-milling. There are quite a few opportunities to screw it up at the grinder. I suspect Albion's had a lot of new people in the shop and we may be seeing a learning curve in action. Still, these things shouldn't be sent out the door. My latest Albion, the Principe had some issues. The blade didn't exhibit Albion's usual cleanly executed finish and the grip was the wrong type. To the company's credit, they sent me a replacement and I returned the original and all was well. The Cluny is a beautiful sword and given the price point I can empathize with your excitement turning into disappointment.

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




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jul, 2014 3:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hector, with replies from both Peter and Howard I'm confident you'll sort this out quickly.

I'd be equally desapointed if I was in your shoes. We expect nothing but the best from Albion, that's why we buy their sword in the first place, and I've never personally seen any issues with their pricing, provided that these expectations are consistently met.

I would expect this from any of their next gen line up (my Crecy was perfect, which I bought almost 10 years ago, but I've seen since pictures of sloppy blade insert on Albion guards on this very forum for instance that surprised me a great deal).

Expectations should legitimately be even greater regarding the museum line sword - these should be top notch down to the last details at that price point. That's no tribute to the care and amount of research that went into building this sword really, and I hope Albion fixes these issues permanently.

J
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