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Johannes Zenker

Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sat 21 Mar, 2015 1:23 pm    Post subject: Review: Schiavona by Pavel Marek (blunt for HEMA)         Reply with quote

Fellow myArmoury users,

After unfortunately losing a custom sidesword from Darkwood Armory that I had ordered last October - the threaded end of the tang broke off - I found that I needed a replacement for it, preferrably one that did not come from across the Atlantic ocean.

It took a few weeks to find a suitable maker that had a wait time of less than six months, unfortunately, but after some talk with two of the veteran swordfighters of my HEMA club I was fortunate enough to be told that had Schiavonas that would probably suit my needs.

Those needs were (this is no hierarchical ranking):
- blade longer than 85cm
- weight of 1400g or less
- at least decent handling
- sturdy build quality
- safe for (heavy) sparring
- good value

Interaction with Pavel happened in German (his preference over English), communication was always timely and concise.

I needed to take a step back on having a longer blade than 85cm as armorymarek generally use proprietary blades that they produce in bulk.

Fortunately for me they had a finished Schiavona with exactly the hilt I wanted waiting for a buyer, so I only waited two weeks instead of the announced one month or more. Price was 300€ plus shipping.

On to the numbers:

Total length: ca. 102cm
Blade length: ca. 85cm
Blade width: ca. 3.3cm at the quillons, tapering to ca. 1.6cm near the point
Blade thickness: ca. 4mm at the quillins, tapering to ca. 3.6mm near the point
Center of gravity: ca. 10cm from the quillons
Center of percussion: ca. 1/3 from the point (forward) and about 2cm into the grip from the quillons (rear)
Pivot point: estimated ca. 7cm from the point
Weight: ca. 1260g

Overall the handling is good, more so than you would expect from a sword with that little distal taper. It is nimble enough, yet can be used with considerable force if required (e.g. to break through a weak defense).

Polish on the blade is somewhat rough and uneven but serviceable, you can pretty clearly see traces of the machine. All edges on the blade have been rounded properly, the tip is properly rounded to a curve similar to a 5-€-cent coin and left thick. Flex is better than expected, along the lines of an Albion Skirmish line blade, albeit more even, with the middle of the blade flexing the most. Edge damage so far is negligible, only very minor nicks occurred. It is, of course, still required to sometimes grind off flakes of steel that form during sparring and drilling. The steel used is allegedly 14260 spring steel (which is very common with Czech makers) heat treated to 52 to 54 HRC.

Hand protection from the basket is very good, and it has to be as it is not possible to fit a lacrosse glove or other bulky gloves and gauntlets into it. It is quite durable, although the longest thin bar took a slight deformation from a hard 90° hit. It is of course not made from hardened spring steel, but unspecified iron. The knuckle-bow part is connected to the pommel with a simple bent piece of 4mm thick iron rod. It is not welded shut, but I don't expect it to loosen either way. There was one rather pointy end to the bands of the hilt on the "inside" side that I felt more comfortable grinding down to avoid potential (self) injury. The bands of the basket have been properly welded together and any potential weld marks have been ground off. I don't think it is forge welded, though.

The grip is apparently wrapped with two layers of leather: one in an overlapping spiral which can be felt through the second thin layer of leather. It offers decent enough grip. The sword offers a rather large thumb ring as well as the possibility to put your forefinger around the ricasso, although this is uncomfortable without gloves. The only regrettable thing about the hilt assembly are the obvious traces of epoxy here and there.

Overall I am quite satisfied with what I got and look forward to many fun sparring sessions.

P.S.: Darkwood Armory refunded the entire price of the sword mentioned in the first paragraph (minus shipping) after I sent it (resp. the pieces) back.

P.P.S.: If this review is acceptable and informative I have six other re-enactment swords sitting next to me that I would like to review sooner or later.

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Shahril Dzulkifli

Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Sun 22 Mar, 2015 5:52 pm    Post subject: Review: Schiavona by Pavel Marek (blunt for HEMA)         Reply with quote

Your review on this schiavona is quite detailed and extraordinary, Johannes.

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Luka Borscak

Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,307

PostPosted: Mon 23 Mar, 2015 4:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice basket. And the blade is good enough since it's a blunt reenactment sword...
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