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Lee Pupo




Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 30 Mar 2014

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sat 08 Nov, 2014 3:58 pm    Post subject: A&A Town Guard-A newbie's first thoughts         Reply with quote

Rejoice! The long-awaited Stantler sword has arrived! You can only imagine my excitement as I opened the door, fresh from a Silver training session, to find a box that could only have contained my sword. The box was fairly plain, but it did the job. It was full of foam peanuts with the sword in the middle, zip-tied to the piece of cardboard that you see in the pictures. Wooden spacers, such as the one seen in the lengthwise shot, made sure that the sword was suspended properly. The tip was well protected.

Onto the sword itself. In one word: wonderful! It is truly a remarkable design. Its robust blade tapers beautifully from the ricasso to the tip, which is acute but strong. A diamond-shaped blade profile sounds simple, but seeing it in person gives new appreciation for the execution of such a design. The blade is not razor sharp, but one should take heed in running a finger across the edge. The sharp section of the blade measures 31.5 inches, the overall length of the piece being just over 40 inches. A&A definitely delivered on the promised dimensions.

The swept hilt is eye-catching from every angle, its curves inviting the eye to lose itself amidst the flow of steel. I can see why the originals were blued; the finish not only increases durability but makes the white blade come alive in a striking visual contrast. The hilt is capped off by a large pommel in a shape that I would describe as a "flattened barrel." It does not lock my hand (3.5'' across at the first knuckle) in, but it interfaces quite well with the heel of my hand as the sword rotates during a swing. A perfect grip is provided by the (surprisingly regular and well-made) wire wrap, giving good bite to leather gloves while not shredding a bare hand in dry handling. Speaking of handling...

This is a substantial sword. The weight is definitely balanced toward the hand, which I like. Having never handled a sword before, this balance makes a lot of sense. When I pick up the sword, I immediately get a feeling of having the weight firmly in my hand and under my control. It feels a bit heavy, yes, but the weight is confidence-inspiring and easy to manage. "Relaxing" into a cut, as my instructor puts it, should be straightforward due to its heft. The sword never feels like it wants to fall out of my hand. Fingering the ricasso seals the grip and feels like the perfect way to hold this piece. It speeds up quickly and will readily swish through the air (no, not as dramatically as a fullered Katana).

Conclusion
The Stantler sword is my favorite historical sword. It represents (to my mind) a perfect blend of battlefield durability and civilian refinement to create a weapon practical in any context in which a sword would be appropriate. Its balance of thrusting and cutting capability are sure to make it a favorite of anyone who enjoys complex-hilted weapons and has the necessary wrist strength. As for a name, I have an idea. I see violence as an unfortunate, but sometimes unavoidable fact of life. The Latin term "Commisero," meaning a companion in misfortune, seems appropriate. What do you all think?



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Recreating the shot that first drew my eye to A&A's offering.


Last edited by Lee Pupo on Sat 08 Nov, 2014 4:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lee Pupo




Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 30 Mar 2014

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sat 08 Nov, 2014 4:00 pm    Post subject: A few more pics         Reply with quote

I'm trying to figure out how I should weigh it. For those wanting to see the sword in hand, here are some taken with my cell phone. PS: thanks to everyone in my first thread for giving me advice about this sword and the world of HEMA!

Edit: By some twist of fate I was wearing the same shirt that I wore in my profile picture. Perhaps this is a trend worth continuing...



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Leelund K





Joined: 29 Nov 2006

Posts: 70

PostPosted: Sat 08 Nov, 2014 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congrats on your new acquisition! And thank you for your review and pics!

Does the sword have any distal taper?
Do you plan on doing any test cutting with it?
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Lee Pupo




Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 30 Mar 2014

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sat 08 Nov, 2014 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leelund K wrote:
Congrats on your new acquisition! And thank you for your review and pics!

Does the sword have any distal taper?
Do you plan on doing any test cutting with it?


Leelund,

The sword does indeed have proper distal taper, which helps give it the 3'' point of balance. As for test cutting, I think that will be reserved for the day that I have the fundamentals of cutting down. I've only just started learning a couple of weeks ago.
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Hector A.





Joined: 22 Dec 2013

Posts: 140

PostPosted: Sat 08 Nov, 2014 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations on your beautiful sword, you should feel proud to own it, but not afraid to use it Wink, if its fear of breaking or bending the sword because of an incorrect or misaligned cut, don't be, they are much much stronger then you think, especially wide strong models like the town guard, start with bottles and enjoy yourself, no point in owning a piece of history if your not going to use it, and never regret damaging it, add character trust me.
Incidentally you will quickly know if you have been cutting air correctly up till now.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 08 Nov, 2014 9:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lee,

Thanks for the photos; it helps to give me a better sense of the sword.

I agree; now that you've started the trend with your shirt, you should keep going. It can be your signature look for myArmoury.

As for the name, from a feng shui/superstitious perspective, calling the sword "Commisero" seems to be inviting misfortune and ruin into your life. Even if you don't buy this, I think a "happier" name would be more appropriate.
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Lee Pupo




Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 30 Mar 2014

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sun 09 Nov, 2014 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Lee,

Thanks for the photos; it helps to give me a better sense of the sword.

I agree; now that you've started the trend with your shirt, you should keep going. It can be your signature look for myArmoury.

As for the name, from a feng shui/superstitious perspective, calling the sword "Commisero" seems to be inviting misfortune and ruin into your life. Even if you don't buy this, I think a "happier" name would be more appropriate.


Craig,

Your thoughts about the name are very insightful! I'll have to put more thought into a name. I'm not into the idea of names inviting misfortune, but from a historical perspective, a positive name would seem to be a lot more appropriate. I like to give surplus rifles names from their countries of origin. Maybe I'll do the same for this sword. Time for some research!
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Leelund K





Joined: 29 Nov 2006

Posts: 70

PostPosted: Sun 09 Nov, 2014 9:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Lee,
What are you doing storage wise? Will it fit in a rifle case or is the complex hilt too wide?
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,618

PostPosted: Mon 10 Nov, 2014 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations on your first sword! Its much nicer than my first sword was. I have always been attracted to the Town Guard and likely would have got it except my area of interest is with earlier swords. One question I've wondered about is whether this sword (with its handle shifted up the tang from the start of the true blade), handles like a sword with a 31.5" blade or like one with a 34" blade. I guess its hard to judge if its your only European sword so far, but perhaps other people know.

Lee Pupo wrote:
The sword does indeed have proper distal taper, which helps give it the 3'' point of balance.


Its not so easy to judge what the proper distal taper should be without having precise specs on the original sword. Sometimes blades like this (XV/XVIII in Oakeshott's Medieval typology) should have no distal taper along the mid-rib, in order to maintain stiffness for thrusting. The strong profile taper would still yield excellent mass distribution for handling purposes.
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 480

PostPosted: Mon 10 Nov, 2014 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations on your first sword. Hopefully, you'll be able to grow your collection.
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Leelund K





Joined: 29 Nov 2006

Posts: 70

PostPosted: Mon 10 Nov, 2014 12:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like J. D. Crawford, I also wondered about the blade length. From the way the sword is meant to be used, it seems like you'd have the reach of a 34 inch sword.
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Lee Pupo




Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 30 Mar 2014

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Mon 10 Nov, 2014 7:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D.,

Your evaluation of my observation is very much correct. I came off as some kind of expert on the Stantler swords, which I am not. I simply assumed that, since the sword was well-balanced and because of A&A's reputation, the distal taper was accurate at least for the type of sword.

Leelund, right now I am storing it horizontally, resting on the intersection of three bars at the knucklebow. The support at the tip end is lower than at the hilt, allowing the blade to just lightly touch the support. I plan on hanging or acquiring a proper horizontal display it eventually. A couple of wall studs or hooks of sufficient length to relieve the hilt should work quite well to hold the sword up by its quillons. When I get home this weekend, I will use one of my hard rifle cases to see what size it would need. I am quite sure that a case exists that would do quite well in storing this sword after some of the foam is cut.

On the subject of reach, with a more traditional cross-hilted sword, the user's grip would end and the blade's effective length would begin right at the cross. The Stantler sword and examples with the same ricasso design have some sort of "cross" after which the blade begins, whether a swept knuckebow and quillon or a Saxon-style cross with rings and bars. This discussion makes me curious. What is the purpose of the robust ricasso? It seems like a good use of steel that would have gone into a less useful portion of the sharp blade, yielding as it does bar that is easy to wrap one's fingers around (and perhaps strengthening the end of the tang, although I have not seen this example's actual tang). Despite this, I know that there were swords (example attached) without this fancy ricasso that were used in the same grip.



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