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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Mar, 2013 8:06 am    Post subject: Arms and Armor 'Sexy Beast'         Reply with quote

When commissioning a custom order, I like to make sure the Artist is just as passionate about the project as I am. So typically I have provided 2-3 ideas for a project and then let myself be guided by the reaction I get. The idea pictured below was somewhat overdeveloped –indeed a complete design- because it’s something I’ve been working on for several years. After seeing this design Craig Johnson, production manager at Arms and Armor, remarked:

‘The one you sent specs of would be a very sexy beast and I like it a lot.’ So that was it, we were both good to go.

Here’s a bit of background research on the sword. As a professional author myself I feel shy about repeating too much published material and scanning a whole lot of photos without permission, so this is just a summary with references for anyone interested in the details:

The original idea came from figure 56 in Oakeshott's 'SAC'. This shows a small drawing (from a rather obscure source) of a wide blade double-fuller sword with a ridged type E pommel. It was said to be from Hungary. Unfortunately only the upper half the blade is shown, so it’s hard to see how long the fullers go and the shape of the tip, but its visible profile looks XIII. The pommel seems diminutive for the size of blade, but otherwise I have long been intrigued by this sword.

The next thing I could find in the same ball park is Figure 849 of Nicole's ‘Arms and Armor of the Crusading Era’, which shows a mid 13th century sword found in Slovakia. It’s quite similar but has a single fuller and larger pommel. Nicole thinks it originating in Germany and, like Oakeshott, compares it to one of the sword sculptures in Naumburg Cathedral, which is mid 13th century.

The jackpot came with Aleksic's ‘Medieval Swords from South Eastern Europe’. He says there is a family of swords of this type, with XIII blades (often double fuller). He describes the pommel type as E1 on page 23, which is a more angular form of the classic E and usually has a central vertical ridge on each side. Pages 41-44 then go into much more detail of the swords. Table 7 provides an overview of 6 swords (with details listed in the catalogue at the back). The grip length ranges from XIIIb to XIII dimensions. Plates 1-2, 3-2, and 4-3 provide good drawings of three. The blades of most are broken (except for one huge double-fullered sword that looks a bit ugly to me). Most of these were found in Transylvania* and he calls this a local type related to a 13th century Saxon colony with ties to the Teutonic Knights.

So the basic idea comes from Oakeshott, with a bit of peculation and personal taste about the end of the blade, with further hilt and blade measurements from Aleksic. (I particularly like the pommel shown in his plate F-3 which has a very subtle curvature on the top of the 'diamond'.) I took the bade width from Aleksik. Most of these swords appeared to have very long blades but were broken so when thinking of what would work on an XIIIb blade I was influenced by other known blades of this type.

It will probably be some time before we see the final product, but Craig has just sent me an early pic of the pre-heat treated blade (see below). I’ll update this as things move along. Enjoy!

______________________________________________
*leading one to speculate, of course, that these large blades were specialized for beheading vampires. Wink



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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar, 2013 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm looking forward to seeing this completed. Please be sure to post in-hand pictures when able.
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sat 16 Mar, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kai Lawson wrote:
I'm looking forward to seeing this completed. Please be sure to post in-hand pictures when able.


No worries mate, there will be a full review at the end. And hopefully Craig will send more development shots as things move along (as he usually does). To me that's half the fun of a custom project. It's almost as fun watching other people's projects grow!
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Mar, 2013 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've always loved this type of sword and this one looks like it will be great! Another great choice JD!
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Mar, 2013 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Lison wrote:
I've always loved this type of sword and this one looks like it will be great! Another great choice JD!


Thanks Sensei!

This one should fit in your Brazil Nut thread as a late development of the type. I really like type E pommels and multi-fuller XIIIs, and have been doodling speculative dawings of this combination for several years. It was great to find out that there was a whole family if such swords with this interesting E1 pommel variant - enough to justify the historical background for this project.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Apr, 2013 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Everyone,

I got these progress shots from Craig today. The blade is looking great - even fullers and quite flat as I requested. It reminds me of some of Michael Pikula's work with XIII blades. The pommel is developing some complex geometry. I don't recall seeing anything quite like this in modern reproductions. Very happy with how things are coming along.

-JD



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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Apr, 2013 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks pretty darn nice! Can't wait to see it done!
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 12:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really attractive design, and yes, it does remind me a bit of some type XIII or XIIIB swords made by Michael Pikula.

I see some bluing at the tang and at the blade shoulders probably to hot peen one or both and also tempering for lower hardness at these two stress point on the tang and making the blade tougher and less hard and ," a good thing " as far structural integrity of the sword. ( Not too surprised here that A&A and Craig know what they are doing here when it comes to selective hardening of blades: My English semi-custom Bill has a lot of selective hardening for edge versus body of the Bill. There is or was, even a video on the A&A site that showed the glowing heated Bill head being quenched ).

Anyway, this looks like a great sword in both senses of the word and it's always interesting to see in progress pics as well as the design and development history by the " patron " commissioning a custom sword and the interaction with the maker.

Craig/A&A is also one of the very good people/makers to work with for a custom project or to customized one of their regular in stock product to semi-customize them: Iv'e always had a good experience working with Craig. Big Grin Cool

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 5:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Merci pour votre idées, Jean.

I'm not very knowledgeable on methods of construction, but I like that A&A makes a product that not only looks and feels right,but would hold up in battle - in case someone invents a time machine or we have one of the post-apocolyptic situations that are so popular on TV these days Wink.

I also like their workshop ethos. Other than the power tools, one can imagine that what goes on in their shop is much the same as what happened in the major medieval and renaissance workshops.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Definition of elegant -

1. tasteful in dress, style, or design
2. dignified and graceful in appearance, behaviour, etc.
3. cleverly simple; ingenious an elegant solution to a problem

This sword has an elegant design..
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 4:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is shaping up to be a wide but flat and thin sword--a 'slicer' in the truest sense. And of course, double fullers are wonderful too--simple and complex all at once. Kudos sir
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys! Roger you're no stranger to elegant designs - you've scored a few yourself with your later period A&A custom pieces.

I wasn't expecting such glowing praise at this early stage. A&A can take all the credit for the product. I'm happy to take a little credit for doing some research and making some choices. But the main credit for this design should got to those unknown 13th century swordsmiths and cutlers who created a simple elegant design to get a brutal job done.


Last edited by J.D. Crawford on Sun 21 Apr, 2013 5:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 5:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Arms and Armor 'Sexy Beast'         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
When commissioning a custom order, I like to make sure the Artist is just as passionate about the project as I am. So typically I have provided 2-3 ideas for a project and then let myself be guided by the reaction I get.


This is exactly the same approach I take and it's served me well so far. I'm glad to read that I'm not alone.

Cheers

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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2013 6:38 am    Post subject: Re: Arms and Armor 'Sexy Beast'         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
J.D. Crawford wrote:
When commissioning a custom order, I like to make sure the Artist is just as passionate about the project as I am. So typically I have provided 2-3 ideas for a project and then let myself be guided by the reaction I get.


This is exactly the same approach I take and it's served me well so far. I'm glad to read that I'm not alone.

Cheers


Hello Nathan, It certainly has worked for you.

These might seem like obvious points to some, but for anyone thinking of their first custom commission, here's my experience: its worth first doing some research not only on who you like and can afford, but also on whether they would like your project. And then -unless you are very fixed on a particular design- give them some leeway either on what they do or how they do it. People don't do this work because its an easy way to make money - they do it from love of the craft. And we all do better a better job when we like what we're doing, don't we? It probably won't come out exactly they way you pictured anyway.

JD
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jul, 2013 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's taken a while to sort out the grip on this one, but we settled on an over-wrap / pinned pattern from some period swords and art, with some ideas thrown in from from A&A's recent custom French sword (I liked the pins). I like to keep things simple so the underlying grip is basic black. What do you think of the result?


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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jul, 2013 9:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh yeah, that's the stuff JD! Great one! I love this sword...
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jul, 2013 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The grip looks good. It dresses up a spare design a little bit without getting too fancy.

It finally looks ready to ship.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jul, 2013 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the positive comments guys. I expect Craig will also be taking posed shots as he normally does - hopefully those come soon along with the specs.

Apparently the estimate weight is 3.7 lbs. Eek!

Roger Hooper wrote:
It finally looks ready to ship.


Yep, and just in time for my 50th birthday. I can already hear my old joints creaking from swinging that thing. Wink

- JD
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jul, 2013 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
I expect Craig will also be taking posed shots as he normally does

- JD


Ah yes, Still Life With Sexy Beast
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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jul, 2013 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow--3.7 lbs? Need to be a manly man to swing that for a full day's work, well balanced or not

Looks really good too!

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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