|Posted: Wed 28 Mar, 2018 1:12 pm Post subject: Sword(s) review - Custom type XIV by Maciej Kopciuch
As I was thinking of getting somewhere a custom sword, made specially for my hand, to practice medieval sword and buckler, I decided to take a look at who would be able to do that according to my tastes. Actually, some of the current swordmakers make beautiful swords, but they are somewhat "too perfect" for me. I like all these flaws and imperfections that all of us can see on historical swords in museums, and I couldn't imagine my sword without them.
As I already ordered a sword of the same kind to Maciej Kopciuch in early 2017, I decided to ask him to make this one for me. And last week, there was a huge package waiting for me, so guess what? Here is a little review.
First, a small listing of all its specs. You can also go to Maciej's website, as he took lots of gorgeous pictures.
Total length: 91.6cm
Blade length: 75.5cm
Blade thickness: 4.1mm tapering to 2.6 before the tip
Blade width at guard: 6.8cm
Grip length: 9.7cm
Crossguard length: 18.2cm
PoB: 10.5cm from guard (about 1/7th of the blade length)
This typical type XIV sword has a wide but thin blade, of lenticular cross-section, with a PoB away enough from crossguard to give it some presence (both for binding and cutting); but also close enough to remain handy and agile.
Here is the graph showing this sword dynamics:
I decided to entirely design it using Peter Johnsson geometric theories. Here is what my very first draft looked like:
Of course, after discussing with Maciej, I modified it and we did some small adjustments. The blade is a little shorter (by like 2cm), the grip is 3 to 4mm longer, but the sword is still extremely close to what I had in mind, which is pretty nice. Back in the days they probably had also these kinds of small differences between the original drawings and the final product anyway, as they couldn't be precise at the micrometer, I guess.
And now, let's talk of this sword... and of the other sword too, as I thinks it's pretty interesting to compare both of them.
Its is actually not the first time I handle a type XIV, but the other ones were all blunt and made for practice. This one feels similar - but better. Its weight allows you to perform quick moves easily, without getting tired (far less than with an end 16th rapier for example)... but, as it is heavier than my first Maciej sword, I would tend naturally to be a little more defensive with this in hand. The handles of both swords are extremely similar in length, but the pommel of this type XIV is bigger. It has a tendency to rest on my hand very nicely. It all give an extremely good feeling. Maciej told me that he was pretty happy of the result, and I must totally agree with him. Here is a close-up of both of their handles.
The first one was a sword made inspired by some historical examples in various museum. It is a sword in the 13th century spirit, and at the time I was conquered by its global shape, with its global type XII style but with a triangular blade more close to a type XIV. I'm also a great fan of the copper alloy pommels, so I guess that was the perfect sword!
It is also a very nice sword for civilian duel, used in conjunction with a buckler. Its very light weight, pointy blade and short grip give a pretty agile weapon perfect for some I.33-style fencing.
Total length: 94.3cm
Blade length: 79.4cm
Blade thickness: 3.9mm tapering to 2.7 before the tip
Blade width at guard: 5.1cm
Grip length: 9.5cm
Crossguard length: 18.2cm
PoB: 9.8cm from guard (about 1/8th of the blade length)
And, to compare with the type XIV, here is its dynamics graph. You can see that both of them are pretty close, but the feeling in hand is not exactly the same, which is quite interesting. The PoB being slightly closer to guard, the pivot points are just a little more spaced.
It is indeed fascinating to see how so long and thin blades can keep a very nice stiffness and not turn into noodles. Maciej's swords are juste exactly what I was waiting for in this aspect.
I was of course conquered by their finitions, with all these small asymetries and tool marks barely visible, but adding so much character... and, in addition, the scabbards for both swords are of course exquisitely done. I have a neat preference for strong contrasts between belts and scabbards, and both of them have this feature - dark belt and light scabbard for the type XII, dark scabbard and light belt for the type XIV.
I was able to see a difference between those two. The type XII scabbard is not perfectly adjusted for its sword - you can hear a slight rattling, and if put upside down the sword goes out. That's not the case on the type XIV, which is exactly the good size - you must force a little bit to insert totally the blade into it. I heard that back in the days, both configurations existed, so it's not that annoying.
Concerning the patterns, they are absolutely beautiful. What else to say? I'm very happy of how the type XIV scabbard looks - the heraldics shapes, carbuncle and lilies, come from my native town coat of arms, so it has a precise signification for me.
I decided to add to my order a carrying case, as Maciej now offers them when you ask him for a sword. I can now store them in, protected from dust and shocks, and carry them much more easily.
As a conclusion, I would like to congratulate Maciej for his work past and present - it is outstanding, and in my opinion he is one of the very finest swordmakers around these days. It's also wonderful to see how is he able to come with more and more beautiful swords each month. And, of course, for all the discussions we had, as he is a very kind and responsive guy. Thanks for all my friend, this is one sword that I will probably keep all my life!