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Bart M





Joined: 05 Aug 2005

Posts: 30

PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2021 12:40 pm    Post subject: Albion Vigil review         Reply with quote

First impressions:

I finally got the sword and had a chance to play with it for two weeks. Just some light handling and water bottle cutting. I will try to give some first impressions and measurements here.

When it comes to aesthetics, it is even more pleasant in person. The sword looks unimposing on Albion's website but it is very proportional in hand. I especially like the tapered shoulders of the blade and how all parts blend together to create a whole. The blade has a high satin polish, not perfectly even, it's actually quite swirly but it still looks good. Grip is well made, the leather wrap is glued well, the string underwrap is even and grippy. Leather on the grip has different colour tones which imo gives it a more natural look. My sword hasn't developed any clicking noises so far.

Guard and pommel are properly and skillfully shaped with no major tooling marks. Everything is well finished, you can notice some minor imperfections here and there but they mostly add to the semi hand-made aesthetic. I like that the pommel is slightly squashed and not perfectly oval. It also narrows down towards the peen from the side which is not visible on profile pictures. Both guard and pommel are perfectly symmetrical in relation to the blade. The only serious cosmetic flaw can be seen on the blade. There are dark grey marks on the surface on one side. I do not know where they come from, they seem to be some residue from heat treatment as they are surface level only.

Blade grind is generally very good. Main bevels are even and very slightly convex. There is a small secondary bevel that was not fully blended with the main bevel. The edge is moderately thick above the secondary bevel, slightly thicker than I expected for this sword. It seems to be quite even on the whole length of the blade according to my crude method of measurement. The edge tapers nicely to a moderately sharp point. When you look at the point from the side it's completely blunt. It's the only part of the edge that is not sharpened.

The blade is straight and has almost no ripples along the surface. They can only be noticed near the point. The only flaw can be seen in the upper third (closer to the point) of the area beyond fullers. It has a slight ripple in there that makes the point look more curved to one side. It is very minor flaw though and seems easily fixable.

Handling wise, it is very easy to feel and maintain edge alignment. I believe it is mostly because of how the handle is shaped (although the wide blade definitely plays a part there as well). It has a flattened elliptical shape near the guard where the index finger is placed and becomes slightly rounder as it tapers towards the pommel. It retains its elliptical shape throughout. In my limited experience this sort of grip wrap is rougher on your hand compared to more typical leather on wood with cord imprint on the outside. Vigil's type of handle wrap has one advantage - it is less slippery in a sweaty hand which I imagine can be a good thing in real life usage.

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to grip and swing the sword. I have big hands which, in connection with short grip mean that there aren't many gripping options. I can wrap it close the hilt which makes the sword easier to control and stop mid strike (you can also place your thumb on top of the middle part of the guard this way which slightly helps with alignment). It can also be gripped with your pinky on the pommel which allows for more relaxed sweeping strikes. Edge alignment is easy in both grips. Third kind of grip is keeping both your pinky and ring fingers on the pommel but it is not comfortable and seems to provide no benefits except a very slight range advantage. The thin area under the index finger, although useful for maintaining edge alignment, resulted in a blister after a day of swinging. Good news is that my hand is getting used to the sword now.

Vigil's blade is thin and springy. Very springy. It rings like a bell and when you hold it between your index finger and thumb and hit the pommel with your other hand it vibrates and keeps vibrating for twenty seconds Happy Even when dry handling whenever you stop your cut you can see the blade vibrating noticeably for about a second or two. It goes through water bottles and tetra packs easily. I haven't tested it on any other targets yet. Trying to get some pool noodles to practice my cutting technique.

Time for some measurements of my sword:

blade length - 80.6cm
CoG - 12cm
CoP - 56-57cm
Weight - 1170g

Distal taper:

0cm - 5.2mm
10 - 4.1
20 - 3.7
30 - 3.2
40 - 2.9
50 - 2.8
60 - 2.6
70 - 2.3
75 - 2
80 - 2

I will write (and maybe film) a proper review once I get some more experience and start practicing my skills. For now, I hope this is useful. It would be amazing to hold and compare the River Witham sword one day. A man can dream Wink

Pictures and part two soon to follow.
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,884

PostPosted: Mon 13 Sep, 2021 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the review, I look forward to seeing your pictures.

I used to have a Vigil and agree that the blade is surprisingly 'springy'. I also had two other versions of the Witham sword by (now defunct) Ollin and Maciej K. They all differed from each other and the original in subtle but important ways.

It certainly would be nice to handle the original. I've looked at it once in the British Museum, but sadly don't have the kind of connections needed to get up close and personal.

Regards, JD
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
Joined: 20 Oct 2003
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Posts: 1,691

PostPosted: Mon 13 Sep, 2021 4:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Thanks for the review, I look forward to seeing your pictures.

I used to have a Vigil and agree that the blade is surprisingly 'springy'. I also had two other versions of the Witham sword by (now defunct) Ollin and Maciej K. They all differed from each other and the original in subtle but important ways.

It certainly would be nice to handle the original. I've looked at it once in the British Museum, but sadly don't have the kind of connections needed to get up close and personal.

Regards, JD


Peter J. Stated at one point that the Vigil was nearly at the level of being a Museum Line level of recreation. I wonder what aspects of it (besides the lack of inlay) are different than the river Witham sword.

I owned a Vigil and it was a very nice sword. I ended up moving more towards slender blades in my collection but the Vigil has a really graceful presentation
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,884

PostPosted: Tue 14 Sep, 2021 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It says on Albion's web site, or used to, that the Vigil was purposely made a bit different. Maybe at the museum's request. I think the pommel is a bit different and to me the profile looks a bit different. I think the taper on the original is more linear.
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