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Jeremiah Swanger




Location: Hershey, PA
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
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Posts: 531

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2005 1:35 am    Post subject: My first sword -for me- in a very long time!         Reply with quote

Hi guys,

I finally have the financial security to buy an inexpensive sword, so I just e-mailed Matt Van Norman to see if he still has that last Northern Italian Bastard Sword in stock.

I realize it's an old model, and that Gus' designs and geometries have since improved, but I like its blade shape and I figured that a smaller, lighter sword would be ideal for developing good form in the cut. That it's one of the few swords that fit the civilian, "true" bastard sword criteria didn't hurt, either! Cool

Do any of you guys own this model? If so, what are your impressions of it?

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Jonathon Janusz





Joined: 20 Nov 2003

Posts: 467

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2005 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My friend has a Northern Itallian. It felt just a little slow in one hand but it is almost scarry quick in two. I like the aesthetics. It is fairly compact for a bastard sword - really says "civilian carry weapon" to me. Haven't got a chance to play around halfswording with it but it looks like it would fit the bill blade geometry wise with the caviat that I didn't think it quite as stiff as I would like for dedicated thrusting. I would really call it more a light cutter/slasher rather than a cut-and-thrust.

Especially if you catch a good deal, you won't be disappointed. For what its worth, I know the "new-style edges" are technically better in the cut, but I remind myself of the benefit (especially for a first/training/learning sword) the old edges had in durability - they were a bit on the beefy side and in a sword I would potentially be hitting bits of the cutting stand with on a semi-regular basis as I learn technique, I think this to be a good thing.

Enjoy and good luck finding one!
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Jeremiah Swanger




Location: Hershey, PA
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 531

PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul, 2005 11:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathon Janusz wrote:
My friend has a Northern Itallian. It felt just a little slow in one hand but it is almost scarry quick in two. I like the aesthetics. It is fairly compact for a bastard sword - really says "civilian carry weapon" to me. Haven't got a chance to play around halfswording with it but it looks like it would fit the bill blade geometry wise with the caviat that I didn't think it quite as stiff as I would like for dedicated thrusting. I would really call it more a light cutter/slasher rather than a cut-and-thrust.

Especially if you catch a good deal, you won't be disappointed. For what its worth, I know the "new-style edges" are technically better in the cut, but I remind myself of the benefit (especially for a first/training/learning sword) the old edges had in durability - they were a bit on the beefy side and in a sword I would potentially be hitting bits of the cutting stand with on a semi-regular basis as I learn technique, I think this to be a good thing.

Enjoy and good luck finding one!


Hi Jonathan,

It's great to hear from someone who has some first-hand experience with this sword.

Yeah, basically, I've been looking for what is, essentially, a hand-and-a-half version of a riding sword. I intend to use it with a buckler, as is illustrated in Christian Henry Tobler's Liechtenauer-inspired works. Since my forearms are pretty beefy, I decided to use a hand-and-a-half civilian sword to take full advantage of them.

Matt Van Norman is selling one for $315, which my current budget allows for. I've e-mailed Christian Fletcher as to whether or not he'd be interested in making a new guard and fishtail pommel for the sword. I'll buy the sword once I get a response from him. The pattern I'm working off of for the new hilt is Plate 36B in "The Sword in the Age of Chivalry". I've always been attracted to the "heart-shaped" fishtail pommel found in some swords of Flemish origin, and I think the hilt style would work well for this blade.

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Jeremiah Swanger




Location: Hershey, PA
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 531

PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2005 10:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremiah Swanger wrote:

ne who has some first-hand experience with this sword.

Yeah, basically, I've been looking for what is, essentially, a hand-and-a-half version of a riding sword. I intend to use it with a buckler, as is illustrated in Christian Henry Tobler's Liechtenauer-inspired works. Since my forearms are pretty beefy, I decided to use a hand-and-a-half civilian sword to take full advantage of them.

Matt Van Norman is selling one for $315, which my current budget allows for. I've e-mailed Christian Fletcher as to whether or not he'd be interested in making a new guard and fishtail pommel for the sword. I'll buy the sword once I get a response from him. The pattern I'm working off of for the new hilt is Plate 36B in "The Sword in the Age of Chivalry". I've always been attracted to the "heart-shaped" fishtail pommel found in some swords of Flemish origin, and I think the hilt style would work well for this blade.


While I don't have a digital camera with which to post pics (sorry guys), I thought I'd at least share my initial impressions:

1) It's smaller than I originally envisioned

2) It has a lot more blade presence than I believed it would

3) The grip is fairly small, but the pommel is surprisingly-easy to grip-- the wheel is actually quite comfortable

4) The cross-section is different. On the website, it was described as a flattened-diamond cross-section. That's only true for the last 6 inches or so before the tip. The rest of the blade is hexagonal in cross-section.

5) Surprisingly-stiff for a civilian blade. I find the rigidity quite pleasant, especially when exercising tip slashes and thrusts. No doubt the hexagonal cross-section was an aid here.

6) Last but not least, the photo on the website did not do this sword justice-- it really is a handsome blade.

I haven't cut with it yet, but I look forward to doing so!

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
Joined: 01 Mar 2004
Likes: 7 pages
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 1,809

PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2005 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations, Jeremiah. What have you decided to do about the guard and pommel? From your post, it sounds like the piece has the original components.
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Jeremiah Swanger




Location: Hershey, PA
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 531

PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2005 10:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Grisetti wrote:
Congratulations, Jeremiah. What have you decided to do about the guard and pommel? From your post, it sounds like the piece has the original components.


I'm looking into a few options right now. I have considered a fishtail setup similar to Plate 36B in The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, but I might also look into some more "Germanic" hilt components, seeing as how I bought this sword primarily for sword-and-buckler work in the Liechtenauer tradition (there is a method to my madness, trust me!).

The biggest thing holding me back is trying to find a cutler who can make the components fit the blade both harmonically/dynamically, and aesthetically.

I've been told that Art Elwell and John Lundemo might be up to it...

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
Joined: 01 Mar 2004
Likes: 7 pages
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 1,809

PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2005 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremiah Swanger wrote:
...The biggest thing holding me back is trying to find a cutler who can make the components fit the blade both harmonically/dynamically, and aesthetically.

I've been told that Art Elwell and John Lundemo might be up to it...

I wish that I could help you with advice on that score. I have dealt with Art Elwell before, but only on the purchase of a Del Tin sword, and not any sort of artisanship. I can say that Art was a pleasure to deal with on that scope. He was communicative and timely. Unfortunately, I have no personal experience in dealings with John Lundemo, though I look forward to the opportunity some time.
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