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Robert Morgan




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2014 8:43 pm    Post subject: Looking for advice on a budget one-hander.         Reply with quote

So, I've been happily bashing the living daylights out of things with my DSA Black Prince. It feel soooo good to knock the snot out of something after a hard day at work. I have absolutely minimal skill and style, but hey, I'm learning!

Anyway, I'd like to also have a one handed medieval or knightly sword, as well. Due to budget constraints, I'm looking at Windlass offerings from our friends at KOA, who seem to have the best prices around. I'd be curious what you all think the best swords are in the sub $200 category. I've always loved and lusted after the Classic Medieval ( http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...eval+Sword ); there's just something about that curved cross guard! Its reviews seem decent to very good. The Oakeshott Type 14 ( http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...ming+Sword ) also seems quite nice, and I've read good reviews of it online; it is odd that its a shorter sword and yet costs as much as many Windlass longswords. There is also this fella, the European sword ( http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...pean+Sword ), but I haven't seen any reviews on it.

I'd look at the Valiant Armouries/ Atrim Practical Arming Sword, but they seem rarer than an honest politician, especially at a decent price point.

I'm curious what the consensus is on these guys? If it matters, I'm a big guy, two hundred pounds, weight lifter type, and just over 6 feet. I've found it useful when reading the reviews when the reviewer mentions his or her body type, as it aids in evaluating their experiences with a weapon.

Anyway, I have a $40 off certificate from KOA burning a hole in my wallet, so what do you all think for a beginner like me? I might be willing to go a bit above $200 for the right sword; the certificate would help to lessen the sticker shock.

Many thanks for any pointers or ideas.

Bob
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2014 8:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For just a shave over $200 you can get a Hanwei Tinker Norman which is a really good sword as is and can be even better with just a little extra attention.
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2014 9:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Windlass type XIV is way better than the other two you mentioned. Windlass type XIV is one of their top model, it has very good balance and it's probably one of the best model from windlass that I've handled before.
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2014 9:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since you were using the blunt DSA Black prince, I'm not sure if you"re looking for a sharp or a blunt. Either way, I second the idea if a Hanwei/Tinker. They are the best swords you can get for this price level, and, better still, they are designed as real swords, with appropriate weight and blade geometry. They aren't bashers. If bashing is what you want to do, then you should look for something designed to take a lot of punishment.
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Robert Morgan




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

Posts: 84

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2014 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was planning on having the blade sharpened by KOA. Since these earlier swords were designed as cutters more than anything else, I thought having the blade sharpened would be a nice prototypical touch. The Black Prince is so big and powerful that a sharpened edge, while nice, isn't strictly necessary for someone of my skill level. I will have it sharpened in the future, however.
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Jeroen T




Location: Holland
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2014 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out Museum Replicas "Deal of the Day"

Usually in the weekends the have a sword as a Deal, and that can save you a lot of money.

http://www.museumreplicas.com/
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2014 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also say go for a H/T Norman. That.s a badass sword for your bucks. Big Grin .............McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2014 6:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a similar body type to you, although I gave up any serious weight lifting a long time ago.

And I have owned all the swords mentioned above. They are all good for the price.

It sounds to me like you are looking for something built to cut and that packs a punch. That would be Windlass Medieval. The length and sustained width of the thin blade make it a dedicated cutter. But it is not a beast - it should be easy enough for you to handle. And it is well known to take a beating.

The T/H Norman is a lighter, smaller sword with more refined handling properties. A quicker slashing sword, but with less punch.

The other two swords are cut & thrust types - edge goes to XIV for having a wider stiffer blade, but note that its much smaller than what you are used to so far. It will give good close-quarter performance rather than big sweeping blows.

One important thing if you get Windlass: the quality, particularly in the fit of the components, varies greatly from one sword to the next (unless things have changed lately, which I doubt). If you can't pick one yourself off the shelf, ask Ryan at KoH to inspect it for you. He's a straight shooter.

Good luck - JD
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Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
Joined: 06 Sep 2011

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2014 6:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I have 2 of those swords; the Type XIV and the European.

The XIV is one of my favorite swords. It's fast and cuts like nothing else. The only problems I've had was the machined cross's edges are very sharp and need to be filled down. The steel of the blade is great too. My wife and I spent a day cutting down weeds and they barely dulled at all. Mine got a weird discoloration which polished off quickly and the few tiny nicks they did get were easily to fix. It should be noted that my wife got a newer batch and this one had some minor improvements like a more rounded and wider grip which is much better. The scabbard is unimpressive and we are finding that the leather is in some places wiping off the oil we put on and causing rust. Improvements are planned for both but for the price, its hard to beat.

The European I have has a loose hilt and cross from when it arrived. Redoing the hilt to a tight fit should fix the problem but still. The blade itself seems pretty good, but more prone to chip than any of my other swords. Really light stuff, but it means I've spent a lot more time with sharpening than any others except my katana. Its also a very different beast than the XIV. It's blade is a bit longer than the blade of my H/T bastard sword but with a one handed grip almost the size of the XIV. It makes a much more ponderous sword. Cuts well, but thrusting is unimpressive, but then again I'm spoiled with my Type XV Agincourt. Can definitely see needing a shield to defend yourself with because its not overly responsive. Its overall not a bad sword. I'm hoping that a better grip and a decent scabbard (read above for nearly the same issues with Hanwei's scabbards) bumps it up to good.

So of the two, I would recommend the Type XIV, particularly if my wife's is indicative of improvements to an already good product.
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Robert Morgan




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

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PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2014 9:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi everyone! I wanted to thank you all of your input and insights.

In the end, I went with the Classic Medieval from Windlass. And, the Tinker Norman. Hey, my cup runneth over! Seriously, with the $40 off certificate, and with the Norman being a scratch and dent sale a few more dollars off, the whole thing came to about $300 before shipping and tax. That's pretty good! Well, there goes my overtime pay from the summer, but I think we'll all agree it was money well spent. I got the fast handling sword, the Norman, and the sword that I've aesthetically wanted for many years, the Classic Medieval. Thanks also for suggesting the Norman. It wasn't on my list at all, and barely in my memory, but after reading the opinions on it here, plus on line reviews, it made the cut.

The Type XIV is on my long term list, maybe for Christmas. Of course, I need to work on technique, rather than more weapons and I will as soon as the yard is redone and I have more room and privacy to bash and slash away.

Thank you again,

Bob
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2014 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert Morgan wrote:
Hi everyone! I wanted to thank you all of your input and insights.

In the end, I went with the Classic Medieval from Windlass. And, the Tinker Norman. Hey, my cup runneth over! Seriously, with the $40 off certificate, and with the Norman being a scratch and dent sale a few more dollars off, the whole thing came to about $300 before shipping and tax. That's pretty good! Well, there goes my overtime pay from the summer, but I think we'll all agree it was money well spent. I got the fast handling sword, the Norman, and the sword that I've aesthetically wanted for many years, the Classic Medieval. Thanks also for suggesting the Norman. It wasn't on my list at all, and barely in my memory, but after reading the opinions on it here, plus on line reviews, it made the cut.

The Type XIV is on my long term list, maybe for Christmas. Of course, I need to work on technique, rather than more weapons and I will as soon as the yard is redone and I have more room and privacy to bash and slash away.

Thank you again,

Bob


Just a thought: With the sharps use them for what a real sword is meant to do which is cut reasonable things and not chop wood or try to disintegrate cement blocks etc ..... You can always use the DSA sword for abusive things, but the sharps will at the very least get serious edge damage if abused.

Quote:
So, I've been happily bashing the living daylights out of things with my DSA Black Prince. It feel soooo good to knock the snot out of something after a hard day at work.


A blunt 2mm edge wont show significant damage doing something that would roll or chip or nick a sharp, even the best high end quality sharp.

( " But but but in the first " Highlander Movie " I saw them cut with a katana into a cement pillar leaving a metal chip in the pillar, later found by the forensics expert, and the katana didn't even have a nick or a dull spot on the blade ..... that is Movie B.S. don't expect a real sword to survive this " EVER ")

Oh and if you want a sharp DSA sword get it sharpened by Kult of Athena and not sharpened directly by DSA because I've read that their sharpening tends to be very rough and aesthetically unappealing i.e. butchered edges ...... Cry

On the other hand I bough a DelTin 2140 from Kult of Athena and had them sharpen it and they did a very neat and clean job of it.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...eval+Sword

Hope that this is helpful and not meant in any condescending way. Big Grin Cool

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




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

Posts: 84

PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2014 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm using old milk jugs filled with water, and the like. Don't worry, no attacking engine blocks, bricks, or other stuff like that. The DSA Black Prince really bashes things - no nice, clean cuts but I have chopped a milk jug in half, though by no means cleanly. The Norman will come sharpened, so some clean slices should be very possible.
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Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
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PostPosted: Wed 17 Sep, 2014 4:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For something a little different from water filled milk jugs try a 40 - 50 lb. pumpkin (or larger). That sort of target is great for a sharp blade, giving a good indication of edge control and blade sharpness. You can also cut it multiple times. leaving a stack of slices and/or pieces almost undisturbed from the original shape.........
A fun target for cutting, and in season right about now.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Sep, 2014 3:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glad you went with the H/T Norman. You'll love it. That's a kickass sword for no more than it costs. Happy choppin', bud! Laughing Out Loud ............McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Robert Morgan




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

Posts: 84

PostPosted: Mon 22 Sep, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, UPS FINALLY delivered them!

I've just been swinging them around, testing them and checking for balance. I did try chopping at a fern that is going to be removed with the sharpened Norman, but to no avail - the leaves just curled underneath the blade. There probably wasn't enough stiffness there in the fern's leaves and stems to make for a sturdy enough surface for the blade to cut into. Both arrived well-packed, KOA's usual professional job, with light coatings of oil covering the blades.

First impressions...

The Classic Medieval is a great sword, the first one I'd want were I riding down Saracens on Crusade from horseback. That wide, long blade is perfect for long, deep, cleaving cuts. However, its also fairly heavy and a bit less than maneuverable. Actually, I think my DSA two handed Black Prince might be slightly faster, and that's a beast of a sword. It probably has more to do with balance than anything else, the DSA's longer blade being offset by its two handed grip and pommel, while the Classic Medieval has just its single grip to counterbalance that big blade. I'm right handed, and even in my strong non-stroke affected right hand, testing against the Norman in the stroke weakened left, the Classic Medieval was still slower. I do love the crossguard, keeping the top of my grip hand far enough away from any potential enemy blade.

The Norman is, as advertised, fast and quick. Seriously, this is one maneuverable sword! Its shorter than the Classic Medieval, but much, much faster, and probably better suited for thrusting than its competitor, although the blade type clearly isn't optimized for that. Were I an armored knight fighting on foot, encumbered by armor and shield, this light, quick sword would be my first choice, although the straight, simple crossguard might not deliver a such hand protection as desired. The only criticism I have regards the pommel, which bits into my hand when using the handshake grip. Wearing gloves or gauntlets, this might not be terribly noticeable, but barehanded, it is. That isn't a serious criticism of the weapon, however, as it was the style of time, and Tinker/Hanwei simply duplicated it. Now, replaced with a soft edged Brazil nut or tea cosy pommel, or if the existing pommel's edges were significantly filleted and rounded, it would be perfect for my largish hand.

In terms of scabbards, there isn't much to choose between. Despite hearing about poorly fitting Windlass scabbards, the Classic Medieval fits within its scabbard with nary a wobble. Okay, maybe a tiny wobble, but not much, and far less than advertised. The Norman's scabbard fits around the blade more snugly, and comes with belt attachments, so its likely the more functional in terms of everyday use and wear.

So, that's it for now. I'll experiment some more over the next few days with each. On balance, I'm happy with them both although I'll certainly prefer one to the other, over time.

Thank you again to everyone who offered suggestions and guidance to this newbie!

Bob
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Mon 22 Sep, 2014 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With the Norman try to find a grip that lets the pommel ride on the heel of your palm. I had to play around with it a little bit before I figured it out but now it never gets in the way, what works for me is like a handshake grip but with my thumb resting on the edge of the handle like a saber grip and this actually pops up in period artwork.
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Robert Morgan




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

Posts: 84

PostPosted: Mon 22 Sep, 2014 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Right, I've been experimenting with that as I sit here watching my Angels stink up the place. I've found that the Norman's pommel corner will also sometimes find a nice sweet spot in the heel of the palm. When it notches in there, there's obviously some pressure on the palm, but the pommel's corner is almost anchored in place quite securely. Using the handshake grip, the sword them becomes much more maneuverable, especially when making lateral slashing cuts. Small little adjustments in blade angle become quite easy to make, and curving cuts and slashes likewise become more more manageable.

This is all very, very preliminary, but it'll be intriguing to see where this goes.
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Robert Morgan




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2014 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I didn't think I'd say this, but I like the Normal more than the Classic Medieval. It just goes to show, don't judge a book by its cover. Once I got the grip squared away, it became clear that the Normal is a wickedly fast, maneuverable sword. I mean, seriously, this thing is quite quick and handy. With the grip figured out, the sword suddenly becomes more "changeable," the soft handshake grip allowing for fast changes of direction and orientation that the classic grip (which is really all the Classic Medieval can handle due to its size and weight) cannot; the handshake grip allows for a great deal of manipulation from the wrist. The Classic Medieval would still be my choice for carving and hacking through enemies on horseback, for example, but the pure handiness, the Norman takes it. Thank you to all who recommended it. This weapon is outstanding!
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