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Robin Hood Dial II




Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 11:53 am    Post subject: What advise for a beginner ?         Reply with quote

Greetings all,

I have just re-discovered my love of swords and armour! And have decided to begin a modest collection.

After looking at many of the fine items for sale in the marketplace, and from online-vendors, I am pausing to absorb all this new information.

In so doing, I have a few questions for you experienced collectors and aficionados.

Is there a cleaning/care guide on this web site? I am uncertain how to care for fine metals.

And speaking of metals, I see references and abreviations... is there a guide or essay which introduces metallurgy in swords I can read up on?

What general or specific advise would *you* give a beginner like me? Budget, care, custom ordering, conventions, the used market, metal types?

My great thanks!
~Robin

PS: I happen to live in Columbia, SC and would very much like to meet locals with the same obsession. Happy Feel free to contact me.
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My first bit of advice for a fellow neophyte would be:

Set limits. Don't just jump in and start buying swords willy-nilly. Do your research and read reviews (such as the great wealth of reviews on this very site), and decide what you want in a sword (in a large part determined by what you want to do with it) and how much you are willing to spend. Take it slow and just buy the ones you actually WANT.

Just my $0.02
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Robin Hood Dial II




Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

(pant, pant) ...at the moment, I want it all! Happy

I have been trying to narrow my initial purchase down... and I think it is going to be a rapier. Why? well, mainly because am a student of sports fencing and therefore feel the connection rather strongly. As for model and manufacturer... well.. I want to begin with something nice, so no theatrical reproductions (at least the ones I have seen)... , as I am celebrating this new passion, I am reluctant to wait 6 months+ for a custom order...

Arms & Armor of Minnesota looks to make some beautiful swords. What is the opinion of this maker? $1k for a sword and scabard will remain my high end, yet seems fitting for a collection/foundation sword. How hard is it to replace their blades with the 'nail' practice style they also sell?

specifically: http://www.arms-n-armor.com/rapier190.html or http://www.arms-n-armor.com/rapier121.html

My thanks!

~Robin
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Mark Mattimore




Location: Cincinnati OH
Joined: 04 May 2004
Reading list: 41 books

Posts: 423

PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The best advice that I could give anyone is to DEVOUR this site. There is a lot of depth and content here to chew on. And it's the single best resource that I've encountered for the novice collector. Read the reviews, check out the features and don't be afraid to use the search function on the forums.

As for cleaning/care try this: http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_care.html

And Arms & Armor is one of the best out there. You really can't go wrong with any of their stuff.

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro.
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Shae Bishop




Location: Louisville KY
Joined: 08 Jan 2006
Likes: 9 pages
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I must agree that A&A makes some simply gorgeous swords. Since you're into rapiers, you could also check out Darkwood Armoury at http://www.darkwoodarmory.com/ . They have a huge variety of options and customization is available. I have heard good things about them from practitioners of rapier fencing and the prices are very reasonable.
As for information I have to fervantly second Mark and Eric's recommendation of reading as much of the info on this site as possible. There is a lot of misinformation out there and myArmoury is one of the few places where it doesn't run rampant.
Good luck.
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Sean Flynt
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First, spend $150 on books. It'll be the smartest arms & armour investment you'll ever make.

We have a Paper Armoury series here that focuses on books about specific topics--three are published and many more are on the way. Start with the first in the series, "Our Top Shelf" ( http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_books_team.html ). It'll help you decide which period interests you most and will point you to some of the best titles on a given subject.

If you're just generally interested in arms and armour, I'd suggest getting two books by Ewart Oakeshott--Records of the Medieval Sword and European Weapons & Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution. That'll be about half your book budget. Absorb those two and see what about them most interests you. Then spend the rest of your book budget on titles that address those narrowed interests. When you get to that point, just post a question in this forum--"Can anybody suggest a good book on 16th century German arms and armour," etc.

If you do this, you'll be a much happier consumer because you won't start your collection with "live and learn" pieces (like most of us do).

Before you buy any books, though, I'd suggest you read everything in the Features and Review sections of this site. The reviews, in particular, will not only tell you much about the individual arms under review and their manufacturers, but also about original arms, historical context, the criteria we use for evaluating replicas and the different approaches to collecting.

Good luck and welcome!

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would second Sean, not so much from the point of view of having done it the right way round, but rather from the fact that I didn't. I have spent pretty close to $2,000 on swords that I wouldn't replace if stolen (does that mean I regret owning them? No, but I would now be okay with not having owned them in the first place)

As has been mentioned, one of things that you need to consider with a sword purchase is what you intend to do with that sword. If you want to use you're sword for sparring (as was implied by your question about going with an Arms & Armor nail blade) your requirements will be different that if you wan to cut with the blade, etc. Since the page about the nail practice blades says, "These blades can be mounted on many of our rapiers" rather than "any," I would check with them before you get your heart set on that for a particular model. Handling will definately change with something like the Dresden, if it is possible, so keep that in mind too.

Once you get an idea of what you want, make sure you talk to the manufacturer. I know for a fact that Mike Sigman at Albion is very easy to work with (he may in fact be more patient with me than he really should), and the folks at MRL and By the Sword Inc. (an MRL distributer) are pleasant. I have never done business with Arms & Armor, but I visited their booth at the Colorado Renaisance Fair. and they were very helpful (and tolerant of a 16 year old kid (at the time anyway) with an Oakeshott Type XIII strapped to his back while wearing a breastplate with mail tassets (inside diameter on the rings was 5/8")).

I guess what I'm trying to encourage here is that you do the one thing that I had the most trouble with. Namely, talk to the people you expect to buy from. Even if you know which sword you want, think of a few questions to ask (lets face it, you never know everything about a piece, even if you are holding it in your hand), and e-mail them to the maker you have in mind. You will probably learn more that way, and it will probably save you some heartache. Did i feel good about telling Fulvio Del Tin (after inquiring about the price of a given piece) that I was no longer interested? No, but it was a turning point in my collection, and I think that I have done much better for my self since then as a result.

I have the gift of long-windedness, so I going to try to stop now (here's hoping I don't edit this post in the next couple of days), the gist of what I am trying to say is this: 'Hope and wait' (er... no, that's The Count of Monte Cristo), 'Do your research and enjoy' ...yeah, that's the right one.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Steve Grisetti




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

Posts: 1,809

PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: What advise for a beginner ?         Reply with quote

I agree with the recommendations, above. I have personal experience with Arms & Armor (Gustav Vasa Rapier and German Bastard Sword) and am very pleased with those products and my dealings with the company. Albion Armorers, while another fine firm in my experience, does not have any rapiers in their product line.

Robin Hood Dial II wrote:
...And speaking of metals, I see references and abreviations... is there a guide or essay which introduces metallurgy in swords I can read up on?....

For a quick introduction, I suggest you review this site, which, I think, was developed by Adrian Ko of SFI (my apologies if I'm wrong there). Focus is more on eastern, rather than western swords, and the analysis is not intended to be exhaustive, but I think it is a good, big picture starting point.

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Apr, 2006 8:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Robin,
First and foremost, welcome to the forum, and welcome to the hobby! I can't really add to anything that hasn't been said already in this thread.

Just for your own knowledge, rapiers are quite different from sport fencing weapons. I bring this up so that you aren't surprised later. Foil and epee are distant cousins, but are actually based on late 19th/early 20th century duelling weapons, which are slightly closer to 18th century smallswords, which is more or less a descendant of the 16th/17th century rapier. True rapiers are much longer, and they've got more mass in them. I only point this out because I've had people at my fencing academy pick up one of my rapiers and say it doesn't feel right, when the truth is that they just didn't realize it's not supposed to feel the same.

That said, Arms and Armor are my first choice for period rapiers, though I'm a big fan of Darkwood Armory for rapiers intended for rapier fencing that aren't going to break the checkbook. Good luck!

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Robin Hood Dial II




Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 12 Apr, 2006 6:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great everyone,

I wanted to thank you all for a warm welcome and good advise. I will take inventory of my present book collection and fill in the missing pieces. This works quite well as I love books as much as weapons. ha!

Off, to read on metals!

Thanks again,
~Robin

PS: Anyone know the dates for the Atlanta Blade show? Any good shows in the DC / Virginia area?
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Russ Ellis
Industry Professional




Joined: 20 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Posts: 2,607

PostPosted: Wed 12 Apr, 2006 6:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Hood Dial II wrote:
Great everyone,

I wanted to thank you all for a warm welcome and good advise. I will take inventory of my present book collection and fill in the missing pieces. This works quite well as I love books as much as weapons. ha!

Off, to read on metals!

Thanks again,
~Robin

PS: Anyone know the dates for the Atlanta Blade show? Any good shows in the DC / Virginia area?


If I recall correctly the Bladeshow is the June 16-18th this year. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

Edited: Yes I was right. Link here:

http://www.collect.com/krause/shows.asp?catal...e%5Ftest=1
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Chad Arnow
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Location: Cincinnati, OH
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Apr, 2006 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin,
Hello and welcome. I agree with my cohorts: read, read, read. Happy We have over a hundred reviews of weapons and armour, covering many manufacturers. We also have dozens and dozens of articles. The collection galleries show many weapons also, including the Dresden rapier you asked about.

Buy (and read) books, too. They will serve you in many cases at least as well as a weapon (knowledge is power, as they say) and they hold their value better than many swords. In my case, books see far more use than my weapons. Our Paper Armoury series is a good start. The Bookstore is another. As of this posting, 100 of our members have created reading lists and have posted 328 reviews of books which can be extraordinarily helpful when trying to decide what to purchase. You can also use the Bookstore to go to Amazon and make purchases; our affiliate relationship with them helps sustain the site.

Basically, we have on this site the answer to most of the questions you've asked, if not them all. Discussions of various steels, heat treatments, custom makers, etc. have happened in this forum over the past 3 years; the search button is your friend. Happy We have an article on care and cleaning and one on blade properties, plus dozens on other topics. We have reviews that place modern reproductions into their contexts and evaluate their characteristics. We have an extensive links page that will allow you to cross-reference reviews with current manufacturers prices.

If you can't find what you're looking for, then you can post your questions in the appropriate forums here and get lots of answers.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Harold R.





Joined: 02 Feb 2006

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Wed 12 Apr, 2006 10:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for asking this question.
I wasn't aware of the affiliation between the site and amazon.com but I will use it from now on for my book purchaces.
As others have stated, I have already found books to be very valuable. The have been a great resource in trying to figure out exactly what area I want my collection to cover. Two areas that interest me now are hundred years war and 1500ish Swiss weapons (pretty vague but it is a start).
Although I am just starting to collect swords I have collected firearms for awhile now. I will agree with putting the research and only buying the ones you really want. I ended up losing a lot of money on guns that I bought on sort of a whim and then decided didn't fit my collection. Either that or you wind up with a bunch of stuff sitting around that don't really fit your uses but that you are reluctant to sell. I did learn a lot by owning and handling so many varieties and i don't regret it, but still...
Glad someone gave that advice above because it reminded me to not make the same mistake again with this new interest.
Thank you.
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Valeriy Rog




Location: Ukraine, Kyiv
Joined: 30 Sep 2005

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu 13 Apr, 2006 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Hood, I wonder are you just going to collect weapons or also use them? As for me I just don't see the reason just to look at weapon or armour. How about fighting or at least visit living history festivals?
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Robin Hood Dial II




Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu 13 Apr, 2006 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings Valerity & company,

I forsee many facets to a sword collection. First as a lens through which I can study history, and spesific chapters of warfare. Second as an art collection... I am a junior blacksmith - (not bladesmith). And Third, I do forsee using many of the swords in my future collection.

I would simply *LOVE* to become involved with re-enactment groups, Classical Fencing organizations, and to meet folks with similar interests, unfortunatly, I have moved from one of America's centers of that culture (California) to.... well, South Carolina.

The state I now live in is a good one, but it's population is small, and specialty groups just dont have the support base to thrive, or in some cases even exist.

The SCA is very strong here, and I have been a member for 24 years, but their fencing scene is still under development, and they discourage live-steel play. I completely respect that, and enjoy the culture the Society has created, yet my other interests cannot find footing. Drat. Happy

I do plan on traveling for festivals and Grand Meles, but what I really want is 3-4 nights a week of local sword practice with an established group (such as St. Michaels or a Landsknecht organization), and I fear there is none near.

So I am doing the best I can: sports fencing lessons, lots of reading, some gym training, and I shall begin SCA fencing in earnest in June.

If anyone on these boards is from the Carolinas, say hello, I would love to chat... and who knows, I may discover a local group hidden from me now! Eek!

Best,
~Robin
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Valeriy Rog




Location: Ukraine, Kyiv
Joined: 30 Sep 2005

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu 13 Apr, 2006 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I were you I would find like-minded felows in your new place of living. I'm sure, these guys are everywhere! Laughing Out Loud And it is not prohibited to start training with them even if you have no registered society nearby. Or create your own society and thrive! Idea
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Ken Rankin




Location: North Carolina
Joined: 12 Mar 2006

Posts: 69

PostPosted: Fri 14 Apr, 2006 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote=If anyone on these boards is from the Carolinas, say hello, I would love to chat... and who knows, I may discover a local group hidden from me now! Eek! [/quote]

Greetings Robin!

My wife and I live in the wilds of northern Iredell County in NC, do you attend the Carolina Renaissance Festival? Also, this is the time of year for Highland Games, the Loch Norman games are next weekend, if you can make it we'd love to meet you! Welcome!

Ken
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Mike Luke




Location: Nevada
Joined: 21 Mar 2004

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Fri 14 Apr, 2006 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heilsa,
Your Knarr has landed on a great shore. Breath deep absorbe the wisdom of how to empty your pocket book Big GrinBig Grin

This is a great place with lots of great people not to mention probably thousands of years of combined experience. Put on a really big pot of coffee there is a lot of reading here. I live in central missouri (also a california transplant and long time SCA er). So I understand the small community thing.

There is no man worth a leke,
Be he sturdy, be he meke,
But he bear a basilard.
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