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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2016 11:18 am    Post subject: New Greek Xiphos Reproduction         Reply with quote

Hello all,

So today I go to browse Kult of Athena and I see there a new couple of pieces. Two Xiphos made by "Devil's Edge", one long and one short, both in steel. Investigating further, I see that "Devil's Edge" is described by KoA as a Pakistani forge with a higher level of quality than the norm.

The xiphos do seem to have a nicer level of finish, and be better put together. Now, actual historic reproduction quality, that I don't know about. The scabbard is right out, of course. However the handle and guard seem OK to me, but obviously I can't speak authoritatively.

Links here:
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AK00...eek+Xiphos

http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AK002

http://www.kultofathena.com/devilsedge.asp

Thoughts? Comments? The prices aren't bad for what appear to be nicely made basic pieces. They appear to be at least Windlass quality.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2016 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, they look good to me! For historical accuracy, they blow anything ancient by Windlass completely out of the water.

My one question is about that smooth pommel cap. I've just never seen an artifact like that and I wonder what it's based on. Mind you, most of the time the hilts are broken off and we don't know HOW the pommel was done! And those that do survive show at least 3 different construction methods. But one of those was a short tang or spike that was peened to hold the pommel. And on many vase paintings you can clearly see a little finial or nut on top of the pommel, obviously something the tang is peened over. So I can't say this smooth cap is *wrong*, but I can't say it's *right*. And I don't know how it's held on! Glue? Hmmmm...

The wooden parts look stained, but it could just be dark wood with an oiled finish. Not a big deal.

Otherwise, great swords! Nice shape, proper construction, and the weights sound like they're in the ballpark.

Yeah, the scabbards are more like the wooden blanks that you can build a scabbard around! But at least you don't have to throw them out and start over, eh?

And for those prices? Order yours today!

Matthew

PS: I won't buy one--I already have SIX Greek swords and plans to build at least 2 more. Even in my spider form, I can't use that many at once...
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2016 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Otherwise, great swords! Nice shape, proper construction, and the weights sound like they're in the ballpark.


Balance looks poor, though. The bases of the blades are very thin, and while the tip regions aren't super-thick, they're probably a bit on the thick side. So to get those in-close points of balance/POB/COG, the pommels must be pretty heavy (considering the overall weights). I don't think I'd want a POB at 0", or even under 3" at this size/weight, on a cut-and-thrust sword.

But still, these beat everything else out there in this price range! And despite the balance, the weights look good. Finally, somebody does a cheap xiphos at a realistic weight!

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was going to post on these.... could it be that someone is finally producing reasonably accurate reproductions of Greek Hoplite swords for the mass market? It certainly looks that way! These do look better than anything coming from either Windlass or Deepeeka.... now, the fact they are made in Pakistan does cause one to hesitate, as Pakistani knives and swords have long been synonymous with junk. This may color one's perceptions, which may be too bad, as I am sure that there are Pakistani firms that are capable of quality work. Plus, I do tend to trust KoA's selection process (they seem to be fairly knowledgeable about what a sword should be capable of).
David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2016 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aha!

I just spotted a closeup photo of the pommel, and there is a peened tang:

http://kultofathena.com/images%5CAK001_1_l.jpg

The whole tang area looks about twice as thick as the originals, which will affect the balance. Also, the ends of the guards aren't tapered in thickness like they should be, but that's easy enough to fix.

Matthew
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2016 5:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think that's a peen unfortunately. Just the end of a nut I would say. As on most Indian weapons. This one doesn't even look like they peened it over the end to look like a proper peen like Windlass and DSA often do.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2016 5:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, I see what you mean, the end of a threaded tang, so the hole in the disc must be threaded to serve as the nut. All the better! Unscrew the disc, and screw on a round or square nut or finial of some sort that's just a tad thinner, and peen the tang over it.

Hey, at least it isn't a countersunk hex nut like Deepeeka has been using for all their Roman swords...

Matthew
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2016 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: New Greek Xiphos Reproduction         Reply with quote

Devil's Edge? I believe Windlass and Deepeeka xiphoi are way better... Laughing Out Loud
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Joe A




Location: Philadelphia, USA
Joined: 17 Oct 2013

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2016 8:00 am    Post subject: Re: New Greek Xiphos Reproduction         Reply with quote

Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:
Devil's Edge? I believe Windlass and Deepeeka xiphoi are way better... Laughing Out Loud


I have the Windlass and the guard is completely wrong. The newer Deepeeka's are better, but based upon Italian versions of Greek swords. The older Deepeeka's are fantasy pieces.

I have two custom xiphoi from Matt Lukes and both are based on solid research as well as a Manning Imperial and Giannis Kadoglou's first xiphos.

David Wilson also has an excellent custom xiphos (which he should sell to me).

Although not for sale, I've seen Matthew Amt's swords and they too are based upon solid research, artifacts and depictions.

As soon as I get the two new ones from KOA I'll post pics of them with all my current swords and we can have a good discussion.

Keep in mind the new KOA products are $140 and $120 which is only 20% of what a high quality custom will cost you.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2016 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I'll admit that I smiled a bit when the question of balance came up, with these new pieces. The last Deepeeka xiphos I handled weighed FOUR POUNDS. It literally hurt to draw it. A "poorly balanced" xiphos in the range of 1-1/2 pounds can only be fabulous, by comparison!

Nothing (Greek) by Windlass or Deepeeka even approaches this level of accuracy.

Matthew
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 774

PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2016 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Windlass' xiphos may be fine as a sword, fine in terms of performance, but it is woefully inaccurate, historically. Deepeeka's new xiphoi are better than the Windlass, but as pointed out, they are actually based on Italian finds (nothing wrong with that, if you want to depict a Latin Hoplite as opposed to a Greek one), and they are HEAVY. I was actually kind of interested when I saw the new Alfadena xiphos, then only to read it weighed over three lbs (still better than an older Deepeeka xiphos I had, which weighed about four lbs, just like Matt said) and balanced over 7 inches up the blade. No, these Devil's Edge swords look right (from the pics, at least) and weigh right. So far, they look like the best option for folks who want an affordable but reasonably accurate classical Greek sword. Now, to see what one really looks/feels like up close....
David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Joe A




Location: Philadelphia, USA
Joined: 17 Oct 2013

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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2016 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
Windlass' xiphos may be fine as a sword, fine in terms of performance, but it is woefully inaccurate, historically. Deepeeka's new xiphoi are better than the Windlass, but as pointed out, they are actually based on Italian finds (nothing wrong with that, if you want to depict a Latin Hoplite as opposed to a Greek one), and they are HEAVY. I was actually kind of interested when I saw the new Alfadena xiphos, then only to read it weighed over three lbs (still better than an older Deepeeka xiphos I had, which weighed about four lbs, just like Matt said) and balanced over 7 inches up the blade. No, these Devil's Edge swords look right (from the pics, at least) and weigh right. So far, they look like the best option for folks who want an affordable but reasonably accurate classical Greek sword. Now, to see what one really looks/feels like up close....


David, have you purchased one yet? My experience is that when KOA gets good stuff they sell out fast. I've already alerted a number of HS history teachers in my area and given them the "buy now" advice.
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2016 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the helpful comments on this and other Xiphos. I was really hoping for some good comments about these new swords. I've wanted a xiphos for a while, but didn't like the other options noted above.

Matthew, if you had one of these, what kind of work would you do on the scabbard as a good historical project? I think you are right, it makes a nice base, but maybe needs a baldric and decoration. How do you like the bone hilt v. the wood hilt of the two versions?

So hopefully they will come out with a good kopis as well!
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Joe A




Location: Philadelphia, USA
Joined: 17 Oct 2013

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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2016 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just received both versions and I'd say buy one before they are sold out.

I'll have a better review with pics and comparisons soon, but if you are interested in creating a decent Greek impression and bemoaned the lack of a good sword here is your answer.

The provided scabbard can certainly be the base of an accurate scabbard with a little work as well.

More later.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2016 10:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd start by wacking that piece off the top of the scabbard, and tapering the lower end if possible. That would depend on whether the cavity tapers to more-or-less match the blade profile, or just continues straight... Then cover the wood with leather or linen, dye or paint, maybe add something for a nice spiral effect. New chape and throat, from wood, bone, or metal.

Suspension is always a huge question, because we can see various things in artwork but nothing survives. I usually put leather bands or cords around to hold 2 or 4 rings. Sometimes I try to get that "X" effect by having the cords cross between the horizontal bands, but often that ends up with bulky knots... Or you can wrap the ends of the baldric around the scabbard (optionally skipping the rings) and tie or sew it in place. Everything has to be glued or sewn into place, or it will slide when worn, because there is no hint of any sort of ribs or other fixtures to keep the suspension in place on the scabbard. And it's always a couple inches below the bottom of the throat. I've tried most of the combinations I can think of, so far! You've probably seen my site:

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/greekweapons.html

The bone looks good! The wood is either stained, or might be some tropical dark wood with a varnish coating. I'd sand it and use linseed oil. Not sure I'd get crazy enough to try replacing the wood with a paler type--I *suspect* that pale woods were the rule, when wood was used. (Even for things like walnut, the European varieties are typically lighter than the American.) They do seem to have loved bone and ivory, so I always think of the "default" as being white or pale.

The ironic bit about all this is that TOMORROW I'll be meeting with the local Deepeeka rep to show him all kinds of new Greek stuff his company can make! Maybe this will give them some incentive to compete. A xiphos is top of the list, and it will have a scabbard that is at *least* a little better than these ones! I suspect we'll talk about suspension a lot--it may end up DIY...

But stay tuned! Much more to come!

Matthew
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2016 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe A wrote:


David, have you purchased one yet? My experience is that when KOA gets good stuff they sell out fast. I've already alerted a number of HS history teachers in my area and given them the "buy now" advice.


I just purchased one of the shorties (already have a pretty good xiphos with a longer blade, so I'm not in a hurry to get the longer one).... I needed to fill that gap in my collection, and now I'm pretty hopeful....

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2016 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to say that their product line-up looks pretty good so far. Here is the short version of the sword, for those so interested, but not enough to search on KoA themselves:

http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AK002

...They also offer a line of qamas, which after buying one from Windlass, I am quite partial to. By specs alone, the Devil's Edge versions are a bit heavier and shorter, but come sharp and have more practical scabbards. The basic version also happens to be cheaper as well... I'll have to keep eyes open on these chaps.
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Joe A




Location: Philadelphia, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 25 Mar, 2016 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
Joe A wrote:


David, have you purchased one yet? My experience is that when KOA gets good stuff they sell out fast. I've already alerted a number of HS history teachers in my area and given them the "buy now" advice.


I just purchased one of the shorties (already have a pretty good xiphos with a longer blade, so I'm not in a hurry to get the longer one).... I needed to fill that gap in my collection, and now I'm pretty hopeful....


It won't be as good as the one you showed me, but not bad either and much less expensive. It's also not that short.
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
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PostPosted: Wed 30 Mar, 2016 4:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay, after a go around with United Parcel Losers, I got my "Spartan". My thoughts:
This is one nasty little sword. Very light, very fast. And SHARP. I sliced myself cleaning off the oil on the blade ('twas only a flesh wound). I'm talking Cold Steel sword sharp, maybe sharper.
The sword begs to be used, and I used it to defend myself against the cardboard box it came in. You know how cardboard gets. Anyway, it's very easy to use, and practically cuts on it's own (example: My finger, when I was cleaning it).
It's attractive, a very nice looking little sword. The scabbard, not so much, but at this price point, what are you going to do.
The grip is comfortable and "user-friendly", but (possibly ahistorically?) large and the pommel is HUGE. You could practically use both hands to wield it (and have the shortest hand-and-a-half sword ever).
Otherwise, the sword itself ranks pretty high on the historical accuracy count -- no solid brass hilt, no curved guard, no rod tang. The look, construction, and the feel (weight and balance) are right. Again, grip is a bit large and the pommel is HUGE, but unless you are an absolute stickler this shouldn't be much of a problem (the sword is cheap enough to stand some home-workshop 'tweaking'). The scabbard needs a bit more work to get it up to reenactment par, but again, considering the price point, it is what it is. You may even consider it more of a Hellenistic shirasaya than an actual carrying scabbard.

I was able to take a couple measurements. Blade on mine is 14 inches exactly, and the balance is actually about a centimeter or two from the guard (so KoA's measurement of "0" isn't quite right, but close).

This is the most historically accurate version of a "Spartan Short Xiphos" on the market, much better than the nearest competitor's "Lakonian" sword (and cheaper, I think). It's a quality piece with some sweet handling characteristics. Pommel could be smaller, but that's not a deal breaker for me. I'm pretty content with it as is.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2016 4:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And now I have the longer model (UPS actually delivered to the right place this time!). Just a brief overview here, but basically there is not much I can add to what has been written before. My review would be the same as for the shorty -- it's a sweet handling piece that is quite historically accurate, considering its price range. The grip and pommel are probably too large to be historically accurate, but that's the only major problem, I think. The pommel is about the size of the one on the "Spartan" model, but it's more proportional-looking on the longer sword.

Comparing it to the Iron Age Armoury Xiphos (not fair, the Iron Age is a one-off custom piece!), the balance is closer to the cross guard on the Devil's Edge. Blade profiles are similar, but the Devil's Edge is a little wider (and, of course, a little longer). Biggest difference is in the hilt, the Iron Age Xiphos is based directly on actual finds, and is supposedly a dimensional match for those originals, including in the hilt. That means it is necessarily quite small, in comparison. Historically accurate hilts do tend to be small and restrictive, at least to us moderns. It's not that the ancients had little baby hands, they just thought of things differently and used them differently than we do. A lot of modern sword makers upsize their hilts; This is especially true of Viking-type swords and basket-hilt swords. So it seems to be with the Devil's Edge xiphoi. I must admit, the Devil's Edge swords do feel good in the hand.

Other than the size of the grip, I find little to fault here (except the scabbard, which, again, is "Spartan" (ooh, a pun) but at this price it is what it is). If I were a reenactor, I'd get one of these and be quite content that I had the most accurate Greek Xiphos currently available on the market. If I were a reenactor with mad skillz, I'd get one and grind the grip down a bit. At this price point, you could probably afford to tinker a little.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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