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Lance Morris

Location: NYC
Joined: 17 Aug 2013
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Posts: 186

PostPosted: Wed 02 Aug, 2017 1:07 pm    Post subject: Customer service in the sword world         Reply with quote

Hello Family,

I was thinking recently about customer service in our community. I'm curious what others out there thing
good or bad reviews on makers customer services.

Some of us have juxtapositing experiences- for example - Angus trim may have a sword in stock and send it out immediately and we couldn't be happier where others may have been waiting for years for a sword with no communication.

I think Hands down Craig from Arms and Armor (MN) has the best customer service.

Kult of Athena is wonderful with returns and quick replys (in my experience)

Very few others have come even close.

Tinker cant keep a deadline or his word to save his life
And BKS are not only horrible to deal with and rude but have no integrity. I'm glad to say that. Those guys are the worst - don't buy from them unless it's in stock.

Albion is So /. So

How is Lutel?
Patrick Barta?

Anyone want to throw a shout out of thanks or a bad experience?

I really want our community to band together- sword guys missing deadlines is not ok when it happens all the time.
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Karl Knisley

PostPosted: Wed 02 Aug, 2017 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I`ve bought from some Europian makers ,Vladimir Cervenka, Maciej K, and Daman Sulowski, this year. All where excellent at customer service ,even though English isnt their language, and delivered when they said they would. Lutel is pretty good,when they answer their mail. Arma Bohemia is spotty in answering their mail,but deliver instock stuff fairly fast. Kult of Athena cant be beat in their customer service and returns. I will never order from Angus Trim again,2 years late. Albion is nice enough to deal with,but I`ve had issues with their quality control. Valiant Armoury has been excellent. TherionArms has been excellent.
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Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin

myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Wed 02 Aug, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've purchased from a lot of makers and vendors. Most of them have been good to great. Others not so much.

In my experience, Tod from Tod's Stuff has been way up there at the top. He's super easy to deal with and is excited to take on new ideas that he's never tackled. In this regard, I think he's the best. His time estimates have been accurate and in the one situation where he was going to be late, he contacted me months before the due date, proactively resetting the expectation in a professional manner. Rock solid. Trying to find a critique, I'll say that Tod needs to invest in better packaging materials/boxes. haha!

Craig Johnson from Arms & Armor is overall my favorite person to work with. He's a stand-up guy with a lot of knowledge and skill. My only complaint about A&A is that their time estimates are way off and they are often quite late. Their workload is just too great for their small shop. Please keep in mind that most of this stuff was with custom or customized stuff, so things are bound to happen. Better communication would help. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the items have always far exceeded expectations every time.

Mike Sigman from Albion has been great. I haven't purchased a lot from them, but on the couple of occasions where I did, they were super easy to deal with and Mike is just a good guy to deal with. Way back before the Next Generation swords were created, I had my first order with them. It was damaged in shipping and Mike went way out of his way to fix the situation. That sort of recovery says a lot about a company.

As a strictly custom maker, E.B. Erickson is amazing. All communication is very easy because ElJay takes on projects that he understands fully. He knows his stuff exceedingly well and just executes. As a customer, my job has been to give him an idea and let go. He makes the item, he makes it right, and delivers it. I've never had it easier.

My experience with Vince Evans is similar to E.B. Erickson. Purchasing an item that was already available was super simple, fast, and easy. Commissioning stuff was just as smooth with timelines being hit and quality of execution being exceptional. No complaints at all.

I've had really good experiences with Arma Bohemia. Jakub has been responsive to emails and ideas and delivered as per the estimates. He even went out of his way to find a book for me that I could not get otherwise.

I've had two experiences with Patrick Barta of TEMPL and they were both pretty good. The communication was easy and coming up with an idea and all that was smooth. Waiting for my spot on his waiting list wasn't so bad either because the expectations were set that there'd be a wait. Things took longer than expected but he was pretty good about communicating. In both instances, the items delivered were quite different than what I expected as they both strayed away from their historical inspiration. This could be a real problem for most people but in my case the quality of the items made up for it. I was still happy with the results. Overall, it could be improved all around, however.

One of my poorest experiences was with Armour Class many years ago. They took an order. I requested a custom detail and things kept being pushed back for more than two years until I cancelled the order. At no time did they proactively contact me and I had a hard time getting them to respond to me while checking in with them every 4-5 months. Disappointing.

My worst experiences have been with folks not in business any more so there's no point discussing them. It's no surprise that all those guys closed shop.

.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
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Joseph Montemarano

Joined: 30 Mar 2012

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed 02 Aug, 2017 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brendan Olszowy from Fableblades is wonderful. Awesome customer service and hit deadlines easily. Agree with Craig from A&A. All custom work has been great and just what we talked about. Also had decent service from Lutel a few years ago, though I understand they have had a rough time lately. Obviously Kult of Athena. Sonny from Valiant Armoury was superb, making me a completely new scabbard when the color was too far off the original color. Mike Sigman from Albion was great, even giving me a pre-price increase price when I missed the update by a few days.
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Raymond Deancona

Joined: 04 Mar 2004

Posts: 429

PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2017 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For custom makers I have whittled the list down to only a few, and generally it is for ancient or medieval style knives and seaxes not swords.

I have to agree with Nathan - Craig at Arms&Armor is always easy to deal with, and communication is excellent. They do an excellent job on custom pieces, and modifying from their existing catalog.

Petr Florianek from Gullinbursti: Petr's work is amazing, beautiful artistic workmanship. He is easy to communicate with, fast replies and very reasonable wait times. He is an honest man to deal with, as are all the makers I list above and below - that's why I keep going back to them.

Wes Beem at Lonely Wolf Forge: excellent communication, easy to work with on ideas. Fast turn around times. Goes above and beyond.

Matt Lesniewski at ML Knives: excellent communication and very easy to deal with, but his wait times are getting longer, so figure up to a year for completion. The wait is worth it.

Javier Sole at Ancient Forge: excellent communication, loves new ideas completion dates on time. I've bought two pieces from him, and both were fantastic in quality, price and wait time. Shipping cost could be an issue for US customers, so check with him first, as he is located in Spain.

Boris Bedresov: Boris's work can be found in the archives of myArmoury. His work is impeccable, communication is easy and fast. He is willing to try new projects. He is not a full time maker, so keep that in mind. I don't have an issue with wait time from Boris - always worth the wait!

Tinker isn't taking custom orders, and hasn't for several years now. He makes pieces and puts them up for sale on his Facebook page. They get snapped up pretty quick. His work is fantastic. Fast shipping and easy communication if you buy one of his "in stock" pieces. 10+ years ago I was lucky enough to catch him with a blade blank needing a home. The finished sword was in my hands in 2 weeks. Never had a bad experience from the man!

Being bitten one too many times means if it isn't in stock, I don't buy from them. That said, there are a lot of makers I have never dealt with at all.
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Lance Morris

Location: NYC
Joined: 17 Aug 2013
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 186

PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2017 12:46 pm    Post subject: Hello         Reply with quote

Right on!!!

I agree with Toddstuff. Excellent fellow to work with.

So Craig at A & A
Leo from Toddstuff.

Looking for two or more thumbs up! Or thumbs down for each maker!!
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Gregory T Kallok

Location: Northern Virginia
Joined: 10 Jul 2017

Posts: 35

PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2017 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have only ordered from Albion. My sword Took 10 months to get to me. I was told to expect a wait around that time frame. My Ghaddhjalt was delivered to me near flawless with no "character marks". It was Very sharp. All in all I would give them a 9.6 out of a ten. My only thing was I wish I had been sent a email telling me it was finished and shipped. Was it a deal breaker? Oh heck no. Seeing how nice it was when it was completed and not being able to find anything amiss, I had to find "something". Rfol. I even had 2 other people LOOK for something. One of them builds custom muzzleloaders. A "very good" from him is a RAVE.. I have since ordered a Albion Munich in Gothic. I have little doubt I will be not be
disappointed. Now i need to have a Gothic scabbard commishened from someone !!!!

Keep your nose in the Wind and your eye on the skyline.
Del Q
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Daniel Staberg

Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
Joined: 30 Apr 2005
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Posts: 569

PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2017 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wether it has been an off the shelf order or a custom order Tod of Tod's Stuff has always provided me with top notch service. Very rapid deliveries and in the case of my custom Swiss degen the delivery was notably faster than expected. I've much apreaciated the way he has been up front with the costs involved in a unusual custom project we discussed as this helped set a budget for the project and decide on an achiveable goal.

The two occasions I've purchased items from Craig of Arms & Armor has been good experiences, both times I purchased in-stock items so I have no experience with their time estimates.

My first purchase from Albion many years ago (an Agincourt) was a very good experience and Mike S provided excellent and rapid response to my every e-mail. So I was quite happy to put down the payment for a Poitiers even though that sword was not yet released. The Poitiers experience was geneneraly good but the delivery time was a fair bit longer than expected even though the actual sword was finished. So a small minus but still a pretty good experience.

I've always gotten good service from Arma Bohemia, the only problem has been longer than promised delivery times when an ordered item had sold out before I ordered it.

Lutel was my first experience at ordering from an overseas maker or vendor and despite a bit of language barrier the first purchase went very well with items delivered on time. Last years rapier order was a less happy experience with a signficantly delayed delivery and no information about the delay unless I sent e-mails requesting updates. E-mails were answered and unlike some other experiences I never felt like they were ignored but I would have liked to have been warned about the delays in a proactive manner rather than having to request the information.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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J.D. Crawford

Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,835

PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2017 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As above, I put Craig J first. After many custom orders we've only had one hiccup that was resolved to the best of his ability. For any job request, whatever it is, the answer has always been yes. That includes any corrections required, or work on other makers' pieces. He does tend to underestimate time and get overwhelmed sometimes, but after years of interaction and many good conversations about ancient weapons, I'm proud to call him friend.

My interactions with Maciej K. have been good so far (two swords). He is generally very quick to respond (other than than brief blank spots) and is serious about his craft and scholarship. I like him.

Jeff Helmes: terrific guy in my early interactions with him. I mean...the first custom order started progress within a few days. Lots of intense conversations about swords and smithing that I enjoyed. Only problem was that after I 'discovered him' (I flatter myself saying that) he rapidly priced himself out of my range, and I'm sure his wait is much longer now.

Although I've owned a number of Albions, these were either bought on the marketplace here or from KoH, so cannot comment on their service.

Speaking of KoH, my interactions were always good, although some claim the service went down hill recently.

I recall ordering something from both Valiant and Christian Fletcher with prompt professional responses.

I used to buy a lot of swords, mainly Windlass, from Reliks nearby in London Ontario. Those guys were always good to me, even taking back returns if something was not quite right.

Also good experiences with a couple of armor makers in USA or Canada that are now defunct or gone Hollywood so won't mention. On the other hand, some fair to poor experiences with small time US sword retailers from long ago that I can't remember. One guy lied about the condition of a used sword, but I think he's long gone now.

Last and least: Darksword Armory here in Canada. I've attempted to buy 4 swords from them, got 2, one of which I sent back after some arguing for a partial refund. There was a middle period when he was trying to please customers, but that seems over.
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Roger Hooper

Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2017 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll join with everyone else to say that Arms and Armor has great customer service.

As for BKS, I bought a semi-custom sword from them, and had no problems at all.

I had a bad experience with Wulflund. they were hard to communicate with, kept losing the order, and finally, after a very long wait, sent me an inferior sword. Also, I repeatedly asked for a blunt, and they sent me a sharp.
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Martin Buckley

Location: Wales, U.K.
Joined: 23 Jul 2006

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Thu 03 Aug, 2017 10:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a custom sword made by A&A a few years ago, Craig has an awesome help in guiding me through the agony of waiting for the sword to be complete. He's a really top guy!!! I've also had great experiences with Castle Keep Armoury, Macdonald Armouries, Jesse Belsky and the guys at Albion Europe (when that was a thing). I think this community is such a small one that it'd be a massive foot shoot for anyone to treat customers shabbily.
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Mark Moore

Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 2,294

PostPosted: Fri 04 Aug, 2017 5:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many of you might 'poo-poo' at the mere mention of the name *Medieval Collectibles*, but I have never had a bad experience with them. I have ordered a TON of stuff from them and been totally satisfied. Their CS reps are relentless in making sure the customer is getting a quality product. AND...their shipping speed is incredible. If you order an item from them that is 'in-stock', it will be shipped to you within a couple of hours. Returns? No prob. I've bought a few things from them that I had to return, not due to them or the product---just because the product didn't meet my criteria.

Their prices on swords are a bit much, compared to Kult of Athena, but on other products(clothing, shoes, belts, bags, etc.) they are almost unbeatable. Once again, if you order something from them and you don't like it...send it back for a FULL REFUND, no questions asked. The CS reps will send you an Email asking what the problem was and how they can improve service for you. Some of you might find this annoying, but to me---it screams good CS.

I will continue doing business with M-C's until they give me a reason not to. That's my take on them, and I'm stickin' to it. Wink ..........McM

''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Kuo Xie

Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 29 Feb 2012

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Fri 04 Aug, 2017 6:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Out of the sellers / makers I've dealt with, I can't say I've had a bad experience yet.

Lutel - 4/5 prompt and responsive, open to customization requests. Their first language is not English but with a little patience communication is not a problem. Sword and scabbard arrived exactly on time.

Reliks - 5/5 no problems, item arrived on time and as advertised.

Allan Senefelder - 5/5 very responsive, willing to discuss project details in-depth and provide historical suggestions of his own. No issues.

allbeststuff - 3/5 ebay seller of Indian-made riveted mail. Responsiveness and delivery time was good but many of the spare rings and rivets I received were rusty. Still functional, but irritating.

Valiant Armory - 5/5 very pleasant customer service, some customization is possible, easy to work with, great product and value. Item arrived 2 weeks ahead of schedule. My first choice if I ever want another sword.
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Larry New

Location: Central Va
Joined: 31 Aug 2010

Posts: 67

PostPosted: Fri 04 Aug, 2017 6:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great experiences with A&A on a custom dagger and several orders. Rob Miller of Castle Keep was amazing to deal with. Long wait list but well worth the wait. His communication skills were second to none. Claymore Armoury was outstanding also. Thomas was a true gentleman and saved me tons in shipping on two giant swords. Museum replicas has also done right by me....Larry
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