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Johannes Zenker

Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jun, 2015 10:18 am    Post subject: Review: JINO Long Sword (full-contact sparring)         Reply with quote

My Wife and I are part of a HEMA group as well as a (at least in terms of historical fending) more laid-back re-enactment society. For the latter purpose she got herself a heavy-duty sparring longsword a few years ago. She saw it hanging there and fell in love with it instantly. Can't help it sometmes.

It was made in the old smithy of the Czech swordmaker Jirka Novak. The sword was acquired through a retailer we are friends with and came at a price of roughly 320€.

There was some falling out between Jirka and his former partner Helena Vorlová and they ended up basically selling pretty much the same swords independently, each with their own smithy and workforce. He now runs this website ( while she offers her product here ( and uses a different bladestamp. Both still offer decent quality at acceptable rates. Blades are mass-produced, though one-off orders are possible. Hilt assemblies follow some basic shape rules and while re-creating an existing example is possible, each sword generally looks different from the next.

Luckily for me I've had plenty of chances to not only use this example but also other JINO swords of the same type to form an opinion.

Weight: 1792g
Center of Gravity: 4.5cm from the Crossguard
Length: 118cm
Blade Length: 90cm
Blade Width at the crossguard: 4.5cm
Blade Width at the Vibrational Node: 3cm
Blade Width at the Point: 2.1cm
Blade Thickness at the base: 6mm
Blade Thickness at the Vibrational Node:4.5mm
Blade Thickness at the Point: 3mm
Edge Thickness: 5mm tapering to 3mm at the point
Handle Length: 20cm
Pommel Length: 7cm
Crossguard Width: 24cm

The sword handles surprisingly well for its weight, which is in no small part due to the heavy pommel which moves the center of gravity closer to the hilt. The simple spiral leather wrap feels smooth and comfortable and is soft enough to offer decent grip. It's significantly better than other grips I have seen from the same maker. The shape of the pommel and the rearward part of the grip can make training bare-handed a bit uncomfortable, so gloves are recommended even for solo drills unless your hands are tough enough anyway. The main caveat could be that it can feel wobbly if you take a blow to the flat of the blade.

The finish on the blade is not quite a mirror polish but it has a very bright shine to it, which is emphasized by the peculiar blade geometry. The maker refers to it as an "English type" blade, with two fullers on each side running the full length of the blade and one fuller on each side running about two thirds into the blade. This makes the edges thicker and more substantial, thereby increasing safety and also improving the edges' durability. Putting a real nick into them is a very rare occurrence, as the larger surface usually converts what would be notches into dents and scratches. The blade's flex is pretty even along the entire length and it flexes more than enough to allow for safe stabbing if protective gear is worn. Edges are rounded extremely well, only the tip needed to have some work done.
The hilt is solidly assembled and has not loosened up so far. The crossguard is apparently also not only wedged in place but brazed as well. The pommel is peened.
Overall it is a very solidly constructed sword, built to withstand the rigors of full-contact re-enactment and staged fights where blade alignment is sometimes deliberately neglected.

Since it's more than just a training tool the appearance does play a role. It's certainly not a historical reproduction, but it's definitely pleasant on the eyes and looks very neat when worn on the belt at a fair. The large grooves are machined, the small "nicks" and "teeth" decorations are incised by hand and give the hilt an almost pompous appearance.

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Obligatory cat for scale. [ Download ]

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Total 1 [ Download ]

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Hilt [ Download ]

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Pommel rivet/peen [ Download ]

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Crossguard assembly [ Download ]

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Next to two Regenyei trainers and another Novak sword [ Download ]
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Shahril Dzulkifli

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

Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2015 10:43 pm    Post subject: Review: JINO Long Sword (full-contact sparring)         Reply with quote

1792g? Whoa! This sword is pretty heavy. Even I cannot lift it. Eek!

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

- Marcus Aurelius
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Johannes Zenker

Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sun 12 Jul, 2015 3:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's not that bad, really. While it is heavier than an Albion (closest competitor there would be the Lichtenauer model at ~1530g), it's not heavier than comparably sized swords by Lutel or Del Tin. Arms&Armor's German Bastard Sword is substantially heavier yet at 2069g.

Also, like I mentioned above, the rather heavy pommel puts the center of gravity pretty close to the hilt, so the sword remains maneuverable.
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