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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Mar, 2005 8:53 am    Post subject: My first day review of Brescia Spadona!         Reply with quote

It's here!!!! MUHAHHAHAH....

http://www.rsw.com.hk/brescia-review.htm

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Nathan Bell





Joined: 21 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Mon 14 Mar, 2005 10:48 am    Post subject: polish         Reply with quote

Hi,

Glad that you are really liking your sword. I have played with this one, and I find that several of your comments matched my thoughts exactly.....

I also thought I might be able to address your concern regarding level of polish. I visited Albion this past October, and was able to listen to Peter Johnsson directly, extolling on several subjects. One was polish. Peter commented (if I am recalling correctly) that many of today's swords are too highly polished. What he means is that the level of polish on some swords betrays the fact that we are using materials and modern techniques that were not available to folks in the late middle ages. So a brighter finish, as I understand it, betrays that you have a modern polish on the sword, if one is "in the know" on these things.

Therefore, the Albion staff states that they go for a "grey Scotch Brite" finish, since it comes closest to what the finish would have been on originals, or as close as we can come without using the period materials. One method of "final polish"/ sharpening(?) in period that Peter mentioned was a polishing wheel made of many flaps of walrus leather.

Since it would be prohibitively expensive to have several walrus leather wheels at Albion, we get the "gray Scotch Brite" finish.

See Albion folks, I was paying attention! Wink
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Mar, 2005 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: polish         Reply with quote

Thanks for your explanation.

You know what? I'm always a "functional first" guy and when I saw the sharpness, the issue about polish were totally gone from mind! In fact, with that polish, I can assure myself that "Yes, I'm going to use this sword for practice and cutting", which is a great thing. Big Grin

My only concern now is if my sharpening skill is good enough to repair the edge if it got damaged in test cutting. :|

Really, I dun mind the polishing much after I moved passed that part of examination.

Nathan Bell wrote:
Hi,

Glad that you are really liking your sword. I have played with this one, and I find that several of your comments matched my thoughts exactly.....

I also thought I might be able to address your concern regarding level of polish. I visited Albion this past October, and was able to listen to Peter Johnsson directly, extolling on several subjects. One was polish. Peter commented (if I am recalling correctly) that many of today's swords are too highly polished. What he means is that the level of polish on some swords betrays the fact that we are using materials and modern techniques that were not available to folks in the late middle ages. So a brighter finish, as I understand it, betrays that you have a modern polish on the sword, if one is "in the know" on these things.

Therefore, the Albion staff states that they go for a "grey Scotch Brite" finish, since it comes closest to what the finish would have been on originals, or as close as we can come without using the period materials. One method of "final polish"/ sharpening(?) in period that Peter mentioned was a polishing wheel made of many flaps of walrus leather.

Since it would be prohibitively expensive to have several walrus leather wheels at Albion, we get the "gray Scotch Brite" finish.

See Albion folks, I was paying attention! Wink

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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Mar, 2005 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: polish         Reply with quote

Nathan Bell wrote:
Hi,

Glad that you are really liking your sword. I have played with this one, and I find that several of your comments matched my thoughts exactly.....

I also thought I might be able to address your concern regarding level of polish. I visited Albion this past October, and was able to listen to Peter Johnsson directly, extolling on several subjects. One was polish. Peter commented (if I am recalling correctly) that many of today's swords are too highly polished. What he means is that the level of polish on some swords betrays the fact that we are using materials and modern techniques that were not available to folks in the late middle ages. So a brighter finish, as I understand it, betrays that you have a modern polish on the sword, if one is "in the know" on these things.

Therefore, the Albion staff states that they go for a "grey Scotch Brite" finish, since it comes closest to what the finish would have been on originals, or as close as we can come without using the period materials. One method of "final polish"/ sharpening(?) in period that Peter mentioned was a polishing wheel made of many flaps of walrus leather.

Since it would be prohibitively expensive to have several walrus leather wheels at Albion, we get the "gray Scotch Brite" finish.

See Albion folks, I was paying attention! Wink

Aha - I've never liked a mirror polish, far preferring a nice dull satin gleam, and now I finally know why! Well... to be honest, I never liked it because I think it looks tacky, but now I at least have a more rational reason. Big Grin

Thank you!

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Ben Sweet




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Mar, 2005 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congrats Lancelot on your Brescia ! Good review and pics !
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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Mar, 2005 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to say my next gens do not have scratches like the pic of the brescias' pommel.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Mar, 2005 1:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kenneth Enroth wrote:
I have to say my next gens do not have scratches like the pic of the brescias' pommel.


Have you ever taken hi-res photos of your Next Gens? They'll look just like that due to the resolution of the photos. Due to Lance's photo resolution and the lighting that he's using the effect is being magnified.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Mar, 2005 1:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah so it was a photo effect.

The moment I get a digicam I'll take lots of swordpics.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Mar, 2005 6:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kenneth Enroth wrote:
Ah so it was a photo effect.

The moment I get a digicam I'll take lots of swordpics.


Here's a couple of shots of Albion pommels that were taken under more controlled lighting conditions.



"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Eric McHugh
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 7:23 am    Post subject: Thanks for the words...         Reply with quote

Hi Lance

I'm glad you like the Brescia. It is a great sword!

I personally sharpened your swords and finished the fittings. Nathan is spot on in his explanation. We are not trying to do a modern finish, but in all honesty, it takes quite a effort to get the fittings to look the way we want them to look. They are ground and buffed to a hi level of finish, almost mirror. We grind them to a hi grit then polish them with compound. But then, the fittings are drawn back with a scotch-brite pad and hand work. We work in small circles which give more of a hand finished look rather than a machined look. In truth, that finish is probably better than the original. In addition, photography (like Patrick mentioned) tends to make the milky smooth satin finish look worse than it really is. We also (and this is a point that some miss) leave some pits in the fittings...why...because that is how the originals were. The very best examples had forge pits and imperfections that we believe add to the character of the piece and not diminish it. This should never be understood as a lack in attention to the details; it is, rather, a character flaw that enhances the piece and makes it more authentic. The original Brescia has quite a few flaws in it including a forging flaw in the distal taper, and this on a sword that many consider a master piece.

In any event, I'm not trying to make excuses, just want you to understand how we approach the finish on these swords.

Again, glad you like the sword, please be careful...don't lose any limbs.

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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 7:27 am    Post subject: Re: Thanks for the words...         Reply with quote

I understand fully and enjoy that atmosphere. At first, I was expecting something modern but I knew that's not "machine perfect". So there's very slight non-symmetric on the blade line but totally fine. All historical swords have some kind of these characteristic, after all. I just didn't adjust fully to that mode when it comes to fittings, so that's why I put it as "first impression" and told Mike that I will take some time before I post the review because I want to make sure I do it with justice. Later on when I look at the edges and return to the fittings, I already get an idea of what's going on there...

It's because it looks this way, does this look medieval and does it makes me think "yes, it's ok to use this sword. It's meant to be used but not hung on the wall".

Again, I'll take some time to practice solo drill before doing a test cutting review. However, I can already tell this sword is going to cut like hell!

Eric McHugh wrote:
Hi Lance

I'm glad you like the Brescia. It is a great sword!

I personally sharpened your swords and finished the fittings. Nathan is spot on in his explanation. We are not trying to do a modern finish, but in all honesty, it takes quite a effort to get the fittings to look the way we want them to look. They are ground and buffed to a hi level of finish, almost mirror. We grind them to a hi grit then polish them with compound. But then, the fittings are drawn back with a scotch-brite pad and hand work. We work in small circles which give more of a hand finished look rather than a machined look. In truth, that finish is probably better than the original. In addition, photography (like Patrick mentioned) tends to make the milky smooth satin finish look worse than it really is. We also (and this is a point that some miss) leave some pits in the fittings...why...because that is how the originals were. The very best examples had forge pits and imperfections that we believe add to the character of the piece and not diminish it. This should never be understood as a lack in attention to the details; it is, rather, a character flaw that enhances the piece and makes it more authentic. The original Brescia has quite a few flaws in it including a forging flaw in the distal taper, and this on a sword that many consider a master piece.

In any event, I'm not trying to make excuses, just want you to understand how we approach the finish on these swords.

Again, glad you like the sword, please be careful...don't lose any limbs.

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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 7:33 am    Post subject: Re: Thanks for the words...         Reply with quote

Eric McHugh wrote:
...They are ground and buffed to a hi level of finish, almost mirror. We grind them to a hi grit then polish them with compound. But then, the fittings are drawn back with a scotch-brite pad and hand work. We work in small circles which give more of a hand finished look rather than a machined look.

I find Eric's explanation of Albion's finish process very helpful. I find the finish on my swords getting progressively shinier as I maintain them. and some spots are shinier than others. Sounds like I need to go get some grey scotchbrite. I imagine that it is easier to get a more uniform level of finish with the scotchbrite.
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Kenneth Enroth




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 7:53 am    Post subject: Re: Thanks for the words...         Reply with quote

Eric McHugh wrote:
Hi Lance

I'm glad you like the Brescia. It is a great sword!

I personally sharpened your swords and finished the fittings. Nathan is spot on in his explanation. We are not trying to do a modern finish, but in all honesty, it takes quite a effort to get the fittings to look the way we want them to look. They are ground and buffed to a hi level of finish, almost mirror. We grind them to a hi grit then polish them with compound. But then, the fittings are drawn back with a scotch-brite pad and hand work. We work in small circles which give more of a hand finished look rather than a machined look. In truth, that finish is probably better than the original. In addition, photography (like Patrick mentioned) tends to make the milky smooth satin finish look worse than it really is. We also (and this is a point that some miss) leave some pits in the fittings...why...because that is how the originals were. The very best examples had forge pits and imperfections that we believe add to the character of the piece and not diminish it. This should never be understood as a lack in attention to the details; it is, rather, a character flaw that enhances the piece and makes it more authentic. The original Brescia has quite a few flaws in it including a forging flaw in the distal taper, and this on a sword that many consider a master piece.

In any event, I'm not trying to make excuses, just want you to understand how we approach the finish on these swords.

Again, glad you like the sword, please be careful...don't lose any limbs.


Ah, so that's how you achieve the finish. The polish becomes very attractive by taking it down from a mirror finish. Quite labour intensive process. Do you plan on offering alternative finishes perhaps? Some may feel that these are too nicely finished, others may want a sword that shines like a diamond. Just some variety in the finish between swords in a collection would be nice option. Like if you had a Norman finished one way and a Baron with a different finish it could add something to a collection. Historically there would have been some variety in finsh too I would think. Hard to tell when most medieval and earlier swords are so rusted.
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know if I should mention this and I don't know if I express it right in English (not my mother tongue, after all). I also don't know about you and maybe I was the only one who get this freakish idea but I'll try my best to tell it.

Since I've been selling Chinese and Japanese swords, I understand what my customers look for. They always like better finishing, better shaped fittings, perfectly aligned lines, no matter it's a chinese jian, a dao or katana. For example, I am recently selling some consigned low-end katana and some of the more wealthy customers came by, examined them and told me to get some better products next time to get them interested. By better product, they mean better lines on the blade, crisper finishing, symmetrical geometry, tighter wrapping.. so on and on as one would expect from a high end katana. They want more than purely functional swords. In Chinese and Japanese, the demand of finishing is different. Maybe it's a cultural difference.

In the same way, I consider Albion as one of the very top company in the field for European swords, the cream of crop (is it the term?). A sword from Albion was kinda taken as a high end katana in my mind (yes, I respect my euro sword just like those samurai do .. muhahaha). It took me half a day for me to switch my mode of appreciation to understand Albion's intention in creating the medieval atmosphere. The key of my change was the edge.

"If they could make such a keen edge, so keen that it's sharper than a katana.... then why would the fittings be done this way?... unless it's how they intended to do it!" I thought to myself and I started to understand.

Yet, I suspect that any of my customers in Chinese and Japanese swords would be able to accept this easily. It may be a cultural gap. When they pay that 1500 USD, I think they expect to see a very pristine sword.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the way Albion did was wrong or what. I can take it either way (the medieval atmosphere or pristine) It's just an interesting observation I have upon myself and a speculation on what may happen to a customer who switch to the top-end European sword market from the Chinese and Japanese one that I want to share.

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Kenneth Enroth




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a diffeence in the market between katanas and euro swords. The euro market is driven by historical accuracy and cutting performance. Asthetics yes, in details and elegance of the whole sword. The katana market as far as I can discern does not replicate antiques but instead caters to what the modern collector wants in their swords. People who appreciate the swords from a different point of wiew than a western sword enthusiast. I recently got interested in buing a katana and I could find very little in the way of discussions of the functional properties of various blade geometries for ex. Instead there is talk of the fittings and hamon, hada etc. So it's a different world.
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Poor for you... my customers here who buy real swords from me (Japanese and Chinese) want them to cut VERY good because we are a bunch of martial arts practitioners. We sometimes even hold some "in-house" contest. :P

Kenneth Enroth wrote:
There is a diffeence in the market between katanas and euro swords. The euro market is driven by historical accuracy and cutting performance. Asthetics yes, in details and elegance of the whole sword. The katana market as far as I can discern does not replicate antiques but instead caters to what the modern collector wants in their swords. People who appreciate the swords from a different point of wiew than a western sword enthusiast. I recently got interested in buing a katana and I could find very little in the way of discussions of the functional properties of various blade geometries for ex. Instead there is talk of the fittings and hamon, hada etc. So it's a different world.

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Kenneth Enroth




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why do they want prisine finish if they are going to scrath them up?
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 8:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Because they want something good to look at first, till the point they grow confident in using them for cutting, then cut it. Most of the time it doesn't scratch them up much because our choice of target is flesh and bone, not any abrasive stuff. Moreover, once it's inevitably scratched up, it's "historical" looking.

So they got both new and historical look on 1 sword, during different time phases.


Kenneth Enroth wrote:
Why do they want prisine finish if they are going to scrath them up?

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Kenneth Enroth




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Which brand katanas do you sell? Hanwei?
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2005 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I sort of like the the satiny finish for a true using sword even if one gives it the white glove treatment when handling as it represents what a "European" sword meant for serious work would look like.

Now, I also wonder if mirror like polish was ever achieved in original swords for very highend one's meant for the use of a King or a Prince? With the perfect finish just light use or a little dirt in a scabbard will create micro scratches with even minimal handling. When the level of finish has the same amount of roughness as the typical roughness cause by normal use, the appearance of the sword should stay very good looking and only a very deep and corse scratch would mar the finish.

Culturally, I think that the standards of perfection of finish was not pushed to the same levels in Europe as in Japan: What was perceived as a flaw in symmetrie in Japan would not even have been noticed in Europe.

There may be a general "organic" sloppiness in European design and even art that also applies to swords and armour.
If we look at ancient Celtic art there is a certain crudeness or imprecision of execution coexisting with designs of great beauty and "genius" !
Today, the use of machines has upped the expectations of geometric perfection that now is similar to what Eastern cultures achieved using manual labour and extremely high and critical standards of design.

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