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Karl Knisley




PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2016 11:29 am    Post subject: Albion QC and flaws         Reply with quote

Hello
I know, that to some, this topic is like bad mouthing your favorite uncle. And,to me, they are still top mark. But the last five Albions I have owned have had flaws,some guards out of plum with the blade,grips off center with the pommel,or structurally.
I work as welder and steel building construction, so these things my be more apparent and annoying to me than others.
Or I may just be anal. My deal is, that some of those flaws could have been caught just by holding the sword up and looking.
Are they that far behind that they cant do this? $1000+ for one of their swords would seem to warrant it. The ones I bought new from them ,they fixed ,when i bitched,which I appreciated. They fixed one for me.that I bought second hand,the rest were my tough luck. I`ve seen photos on the net of some of their swords that allso seemed out of whack. Granted it might have just been tricks of the light. Has anyone else had these problems? Please chime in.

regards
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2016 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have eleven Albions, and had no QC problems with any of them. Most of them were bought more than eight years ago. I've only bought Maestros from them in recent times - no problems with them.
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Nicolas Gauthier




Location: Quebec city
Joined: 18 Oct 2012

Posts: 30

PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2016 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ive owned 6 albions since 2012, some were perfect, others were not.

One had the diamond cross section a little bit off center on one side of the blade.
One had the profile taper toward the tip a little bit asymmetrical.
One arrived with a couple of tiny dents on the edge.

I think thats not acceptable for a 850-1000$ sword. Im very anal too. Or maybe im asking too much and i should not worry about these little flaws.

I ordered two more albions a couple of days ago, i hope they will be OK :/
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,652

PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2016 3:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The evaluation of these flaws is highly subjective. What might be an unacceptable deviation for one person might be an interesting quirk that makes the sword more charmingly individual to another.
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2016 5:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure how egregious these problems are. I don't think you should expect machine tool perfection in these swords. The originals certainly not that way and often didn't have absolute symmetry. How big are these imperfections?
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Karl Knisley




PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2016 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
I'm not sure how egregious these problems are. I don't think you should expect machine tool perfection in these swords. The originals certainly not that way and often didn't have absolute symmetry. How big are these imperfections?


Hello
I had a second hand Knight(the one they did fix) that the guard was a full 1/4 inch out of plum(right angles) from the blade.
And a Sovereign that the grip was allmost completely over to one side of the pommel. Both should have been seen by someone before it left their door. Both were second or more hand,when I got them. Others had slightly less obvious flaws.
I guess the flaws didnt bother the previous owners.That may be why they sold them. I realy dont expect perfection,just not glareing imperfection . If a smith had handed his lord a sword that wasnt up to snuff in the old days, that lord may have handed the smith his own head. With modern tools and methods, perfection should be closer ,not further away. As I said
Albion does repair first owner swords and sometimes second hand ones. They are the best available swords you can buy.
And I will buy more. But I do think,takeing the time to put things on straight,wouldnt cost them that much.

regards
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Michael Couture




Location: Canada
Joined: 08 Sep 2014

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2016 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd defintely echo OP's statement. I own two Albions, both ordered new, within the last year or so.

Back when I was deciding whether to get my first Albion or not, I read a LOT of reviews. The general consensus of all the reviews I read just wasn't the same as what I received. The reviews all mentioned perfect grip seams, excellent polish, crisp lines that all match up, no pitting, etc.

Both of the swords I received, while they were undoubtedly of much higher quality than my other cheaper swords, just did not live up to the expectations of what I'd expected after reading reviews. I encountered noticeable grip seams, grinding marks/poor polishing on the blade and fittings, lines that didn't match up (i.e. central ridge on the guard didn't match up to the central ridge on the blade), more pitting on the fittings than I would've expected, and a spot on the guard where it looked like someone had slipped on the grinding wheel.

Were they worth the price I paid for them? Probably. But they certainly didn't live up to their reputation.
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,392

PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2016 4:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sad to hear all of this because there really is nobody that hits some of the small details that they do, the way they do, in a production model. Custom commissions do it but not something that in theory is a stock offering. At their best they can completely change your opinion of what a sword can be, of what it should be. Unfortunately it appears they might be having a run of not their best.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Jimi Edmonds




Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Joined: 25 May 2009
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Posts: 141

PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2016 10:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I echo this also, I purchased a Sempach in October 2014, and while a very fine sword the pommel was at a slight twist looking down from the peen and wasn't in line with the cross, plus a couple of other minor shaping flaws.

I was a little disappointed though if you didn't look for them you wouldn't know.

I look upon it as it makes the sword 'hand made' as they are hand put together and finished also look at originals some were far from good!.

Still I really like and enjoy my Sempach, but that being said Albion could notch up the QC. especially for what we are paying.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2016 1:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A good Albion is as good of a sword as you could ever want, the only problem with them is they aren't all good. I've owned several Albions and have had the chance to handle and/or cut with quite a few more, out of all that number I have purchased two directly from Albion. The first was a Soldat I ordered in summer of 2012 or 2013. It didn't arrive till spring of 2014 but it was well executed and came with an apology and a coupon for the long wait. I wasn't thrilled by the delay but it was worth it and the customer service experience was good. The second was a Senlac I ordered in the fall of 2015, it arrived this spring and broke my heart. I liked the pattern even more in person than I did in pictures but it was missing fully one quarter pound of steel, needless to say it didn't come anywhere near the specs of the sword I ordered and it was ground so thin at the zwetsche that thrusts were essentially ineffective as any resistance would cause the point to simply fold over. I had serious doubts about its service life as a tatami cutter as well. I contacted Albion, they said send it back and I'm waiting on the replacement.

Albion has a quality control problem. The kind of troubles they are having don't make a whole lot of sense, they're the kinds of things anyone experienced with swords would notice at the first glance or immediately upon picking up a piece. They've shipped Museum Line swords with blades significantly shorter than spec'ed. The video below shows how they blank the blades, again it makes no sense at all how these things happen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru-0GwYGUzY

The best Albions are better than the best ancient equivalents in any way I care about but they are modern made swords that bear the markings of modern manufacture. They're different from the ancient swords in the same way an mp3 is different from a real vinyl record or the way an LED is different from an incandescent bulb. Introducing workmanship defects into Albions whether deliberate or not doesn't make them look more like ancient swords it just makes them look like messed up Albions. I guess my biggest fear is the quality control problems are the result of some kind of cost savings measure as that would tend to indicate Albion is on shaky ground and it makes me sad to think these magnificent swords might go out of production.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2016 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have noticed that a few of my Albions have suffered from blade curvature. One is my Castellan, but since I bought it as one of the “antiqued swords” for $500, I'd say I was taking my chances. However, I am not sure if the sword has always had the curvature or not; it's only been recently that I've noticed it. Another was my Templar. This sword was purchased used from myArmoury, so there's really no good reason to assert it was Albion QC.

This evening, I was looking at another of my swords, one that I bought new in 2014 from Albion. Sure enough, it looks like the blade has subtle curvature in it. So there definitely seems to be a pattern here.

What I would like to know is: what are all the different ways that a sword blade can become curved? How many could be attributed to use, whether test cutting or practicing with people, or (improper) storage? Is the natural tendency for a sword's blade to curve a bit over time if it has been used, or not? In what situations during the manufacturing process will there be a curvature of the blade?
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Jason Elrod




Location: Winchester, VA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2016 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Albion seems to be having an employee turnover problem which could account for the QC issues.

I cancelled a Soldat in March do to delays and my uncertainty over the final quality of the product.

Just my personal preference, I was willing to lose my down payment then be frustrated with a $1200+ sword.

I'm sure Albion would have taken care of any issues I would have had if the final product didn't arrive to my expectations but it was not something I was willing to deal with at the time.

To each their own.
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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Posts: 5,676

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2016 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Elrod wrote:
Albion seems to be having an employee turnover problem which could account for the QC issues


If I had to guess, I'd say this is the likely culprit. I haven't spoken to anyone at Albion in quite a while so I am indeed making a guess. Albion's always had a problem retaining shop employees. When you're going through a regular turn over of employees who have to be trained to specific tasks, it's hard to maintain QC. Given my recent experiences with makers in eastern europe, including quality of product in relation to price, communication and delivery time, doing business with Albion and their issues seems less and less attractive. The ones I still own are great swords but I don't know if I'll be buying any more. This is coming from someone who's been a big Albion supporter since day one.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 153

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2016 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just want to chime in and state that I find all of the recent quality control threads very interesting. I'm the assistant engineer at my place of employment, and getting a consistently high standard of product is always a challenge. Machines can reduce inconsistencies/variances in a product, but even then shortcomings can be identified. Ultimately it is the eye of discernment which determines whether or not a product goes out the door, and there is always pressure to get product out the door.

What really impresses me is how far so many of these companies are willing to go to make sure that a product that is not satisfactory is either repaired or replaced; we try to do the same. The real challenge for the company is to try to determine where the problems come from and try to and prevent them from happening in the future. A good company makes every attempt to learn from failure and strives to constantly improve standards. With the companies in these threads being American companies, those standards are the only things that keep us competitive.

That said, I do feel for the end users who feel shorted on their purchases. Every maker critical of their work cringes every time something goes out that isn't perfect. They also hope those imperfections do not draw the ire of the end-users. When a failure happens, everyone involved gets burned. The real challenge is what happens afterwards, and so far I've yet to be disappointed by the showings of the notable companies of late. My great hope is that the resolve to overcome these problems, again, prevents them from happening in the future.
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Howard Waddell
Industry Professional



Location: Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003

Posts: 716

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2016 8:24 am    Post subject: Apologies         Reply with quote

To everyone who has had an issue:

All Albion swords are guaranteed for life against defects in materials and workmanship. That has always been our policy, and always will be. Send it back and we will fix it.

We are not perfect, no do we claim to be. But we work very hard to create the best product we can. Sometimes, things get by us. We have ramped up our quality control and are doing our best to check everything at least 3 times before it goes out the door. We have managed, over the last 15 years, to maintain a less than 1% return/defect rate. But, with the number of swords we make - and just one unhappy customer is enough to give us grey hairs - even that is not good enough.

Last Fall, we lost some key staff people with almost 30 years of combined Albion experience. That was a huge blow, and one from which we have been working hard daily to recover. Peter has been over once this year already to help us train new people. Eric McHugh has "come back out of retirement" to help us and train the new folks - he has been up numerous times.

I believe that we are now (after a year of struggle) to our previous level and will shortly be able to exceed that and be better than we have ever been.

We will always do our best to make our customers happy and are always willing, when we make a mistake, to acknowledge it and correct it.

Best,

Howy

Albion Swords Ltd
http://albion-swords.com
http://filmswords.com
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2016 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's good to hear and I'm looking forward to seeing my new Senlac. Come to think of it when Eric was working on my Dane axe he mentioned making a trip to the shop and that Peter was visiting, too. I wish you all the success in the world because goodness knows there's more of your swords on my want list!
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