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Reagh Greenleaf Jr.




Location: Vermont, USA
Joined: 10 Jun 2005

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue 22 Oct, 2019 8:01 am    Post subject: My quasi-historical Irish bastard sword commission         Reply with quote

Hi Folks,
I recently commissioned a sword from Sterling Armory, based in Florida, USA.
I haven't seen too much information about them on forums, etc.; but liked their designs and decided to give it a go.
Posting here for anyone who's curious about 'my journey'. I'll update as I receive progress reports from them.

Maker: Sterling Armory.
I've been in touch mostly with Chris via Facebook messenger and email. He's been very responsive and open to my input on the design - while making useful suggestions from his perspective as the fabricator.
They don't have much of a web presence, and most of their available info/pictures is on their Facebook page.
They seem to do most of their sales at Renaissance Faires and the like.
Their designs range from historical to fantasy/custom. I'd say their pieces mostly have a crisp/machined look, which is fine for my purposes. They have some really nice lines/proportions.

Design (see sketch): Quasi-historical Irish 'ring-pommel' bastard sword.
General parameters:
OAL: 41-42"
Blade length: 32" from shoulder to tip.
Going for an Oakeshott type XVIII(a) style blade.
Bronze pommel and guard.
Grip: Leather over wood core w/cord risers, pressed with cord wrap.
Blade steel: 5160, treatment, hardness, geometry, etc. similar to Atrim or Tinker swords.
Suitable stiffness for it's type (not 'whippy').
Peened construction.
Note: Chris estimated a weight of 2.75-3 lbs. for these parameters.

Inspired by pics of two previous 'Irish ring-pommel' swords they've made (see attached pics).

More of a Ren-Faire piece than any kind of actual HEMA configuration.
I'd call it 'historically-plausible'; shameless Irish/Celtic self-gratification.
Short-in-the-blade for a long sword, and long-in-the-grip for an arming sword. Not very wide cross guard.
I'm certainly biased towards 'katana-like' proportions from my Korean/Japanese martial arts background.

Price: Very reasonable.
I'll be in about $600 USD for this piece (no scabbard), with a 50% deposit via PayPal.
They may have quoted me lower than usual, as I provided extensive details and sketches about what I'm looking for.
Depending on how this goes, I'd say Sterling Armory will be a good option for someone when they can't quite find the dimensions/proportions/features they want in a production model (i.e. Hanwei/Tinker line), but can't quite do Arms & Armour, Albion, ATrim, etc.

Fire away with any questions about my experience with this maker, and I'll post updates as I'm able.



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Tyler Jordan





Joined: 15 Mar 2004

Posts: 103

PostPosted: Thu 24 Oct, 2019 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very cool, did not know there was such a custom shop local to me.

Seems like they could use a web-presence guy though, huh?

Very interested to see how this goes.
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Reagh Greenleaf Jr.




Location: Vermont, USA
Joined: 10 Jun 2005

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Fri 21 Feb, 2020 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some material progress on my sword commission. The maker has been busy throughout holiday season, and eventing down in Florida (start of Ren faire season down there) - which they've kept me apprised of throughout.

The profile is looking nice. From most recent email with progress pics:

"Attached are the rough grind blade shape. She's 1.9 wide at the base so far, and I'll doing the distal taper and finishing grinds on her this weekend and we'll see where the weight ends up. I may narrow her more but we'll see."

- which is all within my requested parameters. We're aiming for a target weight of 2.5 to 3 lbs., so we've gone back and forth about blade width, stiffness, etc.



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Reagh Greenleaf Jr.




Location: Vermont, USA
Joined: 10 Jun 2005

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Fri 21 Feb, 2020 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another quick update on the customer service aspect - just got this email regarding the production time:

"And, btw.. this is going a little longer than we estimated for you. So I want to throw in a basic wood core scabbard for you. We usually do ours a unique way with a leather upper that matches the grip and has risers for suspension belt locations. If you are ok with that, let me know what wood color you would prefer. Thanks! there are examples of these on our fb page if you need any. I can email some too."

Nice when artists not only recognize a delay over their estimate - but throw in something extra (I think their plain wood core scabbard is around $75).

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Reagh Greenleaf Jr.




Location: Vermont, USA
Joined: 10 Jun 2005

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Mon 24 Feb, 2020 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Progress pic - I'm liking the looks of it.
Discussions with maker about balance point, handle node, taking material off fairly thick pommel.



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