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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 6:29 pm    Post subject: My new sword         Reply with quote

It has been a while since I got a new sword but now I have broken this fast with the Solingen,

The Solingen represents an era that I am not especially fixated with at this point in my collection. I am really concentrating on 1050-1200 or that time of the High Middle age period of the height of organized feudalism, zenith of the Church's power, and that period before the increased establishment of the boujois class which began to happen around the end of the 13th c.

Well, I couldn't shake the desire for a sword that very closely matched the handling and design of an original sword and sadly there are no current productions of a replica of such a piece. I could have gone custom but the smith would have really been working off of a photograph of a particular sword without first hand personal experience with the piece. Thus I chose the Solingen.

As has been said before the wooden crate is a nice touch and I will certainly keep it for future transport. The sword gave me an impression of elegance yet lethality. Picking it up it gives a solid feeling and some pleasant blade presence. The grip seems a bit long and ample, especially when compared to my Reeve. I could notice the improved feel of the under-cording versus my NGs- I wish that I could get all of my NGs with this feature. The pommel feels great in the hand. The handling is similar to the Knight though not as immediately appealing. Don't get me wrong, the Solingen has excellent handling with just a bit more blade presence than the Knight. Those who have handled the Knight know the immediate great feeling in the hand- coming from the shape of the grip which locks your hand in- to a superb combination of cut and thrust. The Solingen feels better the more you handle it- I think of its handling as more complex than the Knight. Sort of like comparing a complex and deep classical piece to the 1812 overture.

Fit and finish are quite good but there are some problems and I have yet to decide if I will send back the sword to have these addressed. First the pyramid revet block is not quite alligned straight up and down. there is a fair sized casting pit on one side of the pommel and two others on the cross. The planes which curve around each side of the pommel are not quite identical. The leather along one on the risers dimples in. None of these issues is significant of itself but together I am just surprised as the finish on my Solingen is not necessarily superior to my NGs.

Overall, a great sword that I will enjoy for years and learn a lot from, especially once I have a backyard and can bring this thing up to speed. Now I need a buckler and a historical scabbard.

Thanks for reading about my new toy as like many of you I really don't have anyone to share my joy with in person.

Jeremy
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations on the new sword Jeremy. I've always admired that particular one. Give us some photos if you can.
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 6:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations on your new Solingen, Jeremy. I have always liked the Solingen, and would like to get one some day. I hope that the fit and finish issues that you mentioned are quickly resolved to your satisfaction.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The small flaws you mention wouldn't have bothered people of the 1050 - 1200 period I believe as many originals are far from perfect when it comes to symmetry or minor flaws: That said, our modern sensibilities are different and we are so used to geometric perfection that stuff like this can bug us in the same way a crooked picture frame can drive one crazy.

The Museum line is special because they are each made to precise measurements corresponding to a specific historical sword and things like taper / distal taper of the blade have to be very close to what the original is thought to have been when new. The finish of an Ng or a Museum line are pretty much the same though.

Obviously, a flaw is a flaw: The thing is if the flaw is acceptable to you and within the standard Albion intends and not a less well quality controlled specimen of this specific model.

Still if it something that can be fixed or replaced that is something you should discuss with Albion and I can't judge for you what you can live with or not live with: Just giving you an alternate perspective that may or may not be convincing to you.

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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 8:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Steve, Patrick, Jean, for your replies,

Patrick, this brings me back to my earliest days on myArmoury and my first posts to which you provided an excellent reply. I want to thank you for the feedback you have given me over these months and indeed years.

I knew from then that I wanted to invest in quality A&A and I am so pleased with what I have learned regarding this passion. Albion does make a nice product- I'd kind of like to spread my collection out a bit among different makers. (I do buy non-sword items from A&A). It's hard to pass up Albion due to their high degree of consistency and the fact that you know you are going to be pleased with what you receive. I get nervous with custom stuff- that element of the unknown- coupled with the increased cost.

Regarding my minor gripes- I bring them up to add to the sites' base of knowledge and also to give you guys a more full sense of my impressions regarding my sword. Anyone can say "This sword is GREAT just great- the handling is superb and the fit and finish are really nice." I bring up these issues because I think that Albion may depict an especially flaw-free sword on their site. Especially the pyramid revet block looks so clean and symetrical. I have read other Albion reviews that say that a given sword has no casting pits- and my Reeve only has one. I was a little surprised that additional attention is not given to the ML swords. I do like the character that comes from little flaws- I just want these flaws to give an increased feeling of the authenticity of the piece- not as markers of the modern methods of fabrication.

BUT, like I said already, it's a great sword and the more I handle it the more I like it.

Jeremy
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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent choice in the Solingen. Congrats! Every Round Table party I've been to, there's always been one and I can barely put it down. I've always thought the Solingen's cross was unique; not my favorite type of cross, but I can't imagine that sword with any other cross design. I hope you get those minor problems sorted out, but then again, a handmade object isn't going to be machine perfect. Do post pics! Happy
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Kenton Spaulding




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 11:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congrats on the Solingen Jeremy. I got a chance to see one at the New York knife show in November, and it was quite a piece of steel. Like you, I didn't notice any real difference in fit and finish between the museum line and the next gens. All of the museum line pieces were present, and the vast majority of next gens were as well. The only improved feature of the Museum line that I could see where the wire wrapped grips. Personally, I prefer the next gen philosophy of creating a sword which very well could have existed in it's intended time period, rather than the museum line, which attempts to copy one particular historical piece. With the next gens I feel a bit more like the weapon is truly mine, even though there could be as many as a thousand others in circulation as well. Maybe I'm alone in this feeling?

Anyway, if I were ordering a museum line sword, I don't think I would anticipate any better fit and finish than I would on a next gen...maybe this is because the next gens already exhibit a very high level of craftsmanship?

Jeremy, out of curiosity, did you give any thought to the Saint Maurice? That is a sword that definitely would stand out in any collection, although I can imagine that it does not appeal to everybody with its extreme handling and size. Albion lists both the Solingen and the Saint Maurice as 13th century swords, but might the Saint Maurice be a sword of a bit earlier date than the Solingen?

Regardless, congratulations on an exceptional reproduction.

Kenton
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
The small flaws you mention wouldn't have bothered people of the 1050 - 1200 period I believe as many originals are far from perfect when it comes to symmetry or minor flaws: That said, our modern sensibilities are different and we are so used to geometric perfection that stuff like this can bug us in the same way a crooked picture frame can drive one crazy.

The Museum line is special because they are each made to precise measurements corresponding to a specific historical sword and things like taper / distal taper of the blade have to be very close to what the original is thought to have been when new. The finish of an Ng or a Museum line are pretty much the same though.

Obviously, a flaw is a flaw: The thing is if the flaw is acceptable to you and within the standard Albion intends and not a less well quality controlled specimen of this specific model.

Still if it something that can be fixed or replaced that is something you should discuss with Albion and I can't judge for you what you can live with or not live with: Just giving you an alternate perspective that may or may not be convincing to you.


Originals seem to have had a lot of flaws ...
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 7:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe that I have seen posts before indicating that the Museum Line recreates specific historic pieces, right down to some of the character those originals exhibit. Some of what you see might be true to the original.
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Last edited by Joe Fults on Sun 07 Jan, 2007 3:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kenton Spaulding wrote:

Jeremy, out of curiosity, did you give any thought to the Saint Maurice? That is a sword that definitely would stand out in any collection, although I can imagine that it does not appeal to everybody with its extreme handling and size. Albion lists both the Solingen and the Saint Maurice as 13th century swords, but might the Saint Maurice be a sword of a bit earlier date than the Solingen?Kenton


Kenton, I thought about the SSMT in the past and yes, it does represent the era 1200-1250 so is a bit earlier than the Solingen. I have decided to forego this sword for the time being because, for me, I feel that I have two swords (Norman and the Templar) that really show representatives of the cavalry-oriented species. Now the SSMT is even more so dedicated, I think. to sweeping powerful blows from atop a fine knightly charger.

The Solingen fulfills, for me, that spot for the very versatile, cut-and-thrust knightly sword of the transitional plate period. I think of it as the specific historical equivalent of the NG Knight. Some may disagree with me here, but I think that the Knight is a little on the tapering side for a classic type XII at least when comparing it to Oakeshott's examples. Plus, I think it's cool that the Solingen is absolutely ideal for practicing 1:33. I also like that the Solingen seems very handy even on foot and may have been the type of weapon used by the emerging boujois class.

So now that I have this sword it's back to 1050-1150 for me and I don't know in what direction I will go. Maybe a custom axe (Patrick got me thinking about this). I actually really like the Gaddjhalt- now THAT is a well represented sword type but I own the Norman which uses a shorter version of the same blade. I think that when I do go for another NG I will go through Christian Fetcher and get some nice grip featuring a crosshatch pattern or maybe some pins. Then again some bronze or gilded pommel would be nice. Don't even get me started on blade inlay. . . GaAHH . . . blade inlay. . . .(Homer impression).

I'll try to get some photo's- there's really no excuse for me not being able to do that at this stage. I need to sell off my A#A Irish sword- which I bought quite some time ago and is now WAY too late a weapon for me (1480)

Thanks again everybody and now I'm off to handle my new toy a bit more- then off to bed

Jeremy.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 10:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Patrick, this brings me back to my earliest days on myArmoury and my first posts to which you provided an excellent reply. I want to thank you for the feedback you have given me over these months and indeed years.


You're most welcome Jeremy. I have no recollection as to what I said, but I'm glad it proved helpful. Big Grin

You need to do a bit of cutting with your new sword and tell us how it goes. Greg and I have been itching to do some cutting but the weather hasn't been cooperating.
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Kenton Spaulding




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jan, 2007 5:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy, I sure wouldn't steer you away from the Gaddhjalt. I grow more attached to mine every time I handle it. Cutting against heavier targets, like pumpkins, on a soft cutting stand made of stacked hay bails (this allows powerful over head cleaves without blade damage) was quite a turning point in our relationship. That really allowed the sword to shine in the role that it was made for, instead of dipsy-dooin around with those silly old pool noodles. I've only handled the Norman once, but it is quite a different beast if I recall.

Hey Patrick, sorry to hear about your weather woes. Just thought I would mention that hear in arctic circle, Maine it is 40 degrees with bright sunshine, and not yet 9 am! Yesterday we hit 60 degrees! January in Maine, who would have thought I get to be cutting outside without loosing fingers (not from sloppy swordsmanship mind you, but from frost bite). Hope your situation in Kansas improves Big Grin

Kenton
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jan, 2007 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Some may disagree with me here, but I think that the Knight is a little on the tapering side for a classic type XII at least when comparing it to Oakeshott's examples.


I agree. I see it as falling between Types XII and XIV. The length of the grip and the guard and pommel are so characteristic of Type XIV swords that I always see it as more of a Type XIV. I believe Oakeshott classified its sister sword at Leeds as a Type XIV.

Happy

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Greg Griggs




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2007 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congrats on your new Solingen, Jeremy. I have a feeling that the more you handle it, the more you will enjoy that particular sword. Pics, we need pics!!!
Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2007 7:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Greg,

I will try to get some pics. Even though I like living in Boston my apartment is knid of dark and not ideal for photographing. I do sometimes go up on the roof with my swords but I get a little nervous that police will spot me and get and then BLAMMO!!- its all over! Eek!

I just read Russ' review of the Solingen and must admitt to being a little surprised. Though I have not handled many of the NG's I have handled quite a few and I do feel that the Solingen does exhibit a very special authoritative blade pressence while at the same time givng up little in the way of thrusting capability. I will agree with his descriptor of "workmanlike" as it does feel solid and anchored in the hand. I also agree that it seems that Albion doesn't seem to put any extra effort in the way of finishing on the ML swords- besides the grips.

I guess with the Solingen- like the other ML's- you are paying for the research that went into them. I imagine if you think about it- the Solingen is the most "basic" of the ML swords- it represents a bsic all around personal combat sword. I think that's why I got it- as a basic sword, if you will, for my collection- but a sword that matches the handling and aestetics of an original. I also think it's cool that on the original there is no inlay- like there is on many historical pieces. I wouldn't want a sword that exhibited everything of the original BUT the inlay.

As far as quickness goes- my Solingen is significantly less so than my Irish sword from A&A- which is the fastest sword I have handled. The Irish, though doesn't have as much blade pressence and wouldn't make an outstanding cutter. For me the Solingen's handling sneaks up on you- you want to handle it- I am at work and would like to handle it now. I don't really get this same feeling from my Norman, Reeve, or Templar- though I really like these swords. It could just be mental- that I know I am handling a sword that feels very like one which existed so long ago.

This is no critique of Russ' review- I am actually interested in how others' feel regarding putting out that extra money for a sword that may not necessarily be more complex than a NG. For what it's worth the Solingen's blade is the most complex of my swords and is more complex than the Kinght's- which I think of as a kind of sister-sword.

Jeremy
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2007 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Honestly Jeremy, it would appear you're having a bit of buyers remorse with the purchase, as if the sword does not meet your expectations. If this is the case perhaps you should take it up with Albion rather than looking for justification on a discussion forum? I'm not criticizing so if this isn't the case forget I mentioned it, but it does seem that you have some concerns and it is your money.

I like the Solingens handling a lot. It has a nice authoritative feel without being overly hefty or dead. I like its solid feeling of dependability. There are several swords in the Next Gen. Line that are in the same $1100.00-$1300.00 price range as the Solingen so I honestly think an automatic expectation of a superior finish is somewhat of a mistaken assumption and no one here can really comment on that issue without photos. ( I don't think there's anything wrong with Albions finish either way, it's still superior to most of the competition in their nitch.) I think Jean pointed out the different design philosophies of making a sword that represents a given type and one the recreates an existing sword as closely as possible. It seems to me there's a lot less room for error when dealing with the latter rather than the former. If the specs of a Next Gen. sword deviate in the slightest degree from those listed many of us will act as if the sky is falling, that expectation is even tighter with the Museum Line. I once saw a Svante returned because the POB was slightly different than that listed. I held it side by side with another Svante with the listed POB, while I could feel a slight difference it wouldn't have been enough for me to return the sword. However, those kinds of expectations are there when recreating an original. This would effect the price tag.

Personally I don't consider the Solingen to be a "basic" sword. It's no more basic in its design than the Tritonia or the St. Maurice. It might be seen as a more general-purpose design, but I'd hardly term it "basic". It has quite a few complexities to its shape that aren't immediately apparent because there aren't sharp ridge lines and things like hollow-grinding to accentuate these subtleties. There's a lot going on there though and that undoubtedly effects the price. In the end though, if you aren't completely happy with the sword you should probably take it up with the manufacturer, rather than live with a regrettable experience..
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2007 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Honestly Jeremy, it would appear you're having a bit of buyers remorse with the purchase, as if the sword does not meet your expectations. If this is the case perhaps you should take it up with Albion rather than looking for justification on a discussion forum? I'm not criticizing so if this isn't the case forget I mentioned it, but it does seem that you have some concerns and it is your money.



Patrick, I am sorry that my writing has given you the impression that I regret my purchase. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am very happy with the Solingen and I encourage anyone desiring a versatile cut-and-thrust sword to consider this weapon. When I am displeased with something and indeed, when I like something I do not mix words. I express myself plainly as I felt that I had done here. I appoligize that I have given the wrong impression.

I was trying, in my above comments, to engender dialogue regarding folks thoughts of the inherent worth or lack of worth of owning a sword based of a specific specimen versus a more generalized type and how this relates to individuals ideas conserning price points. I wrote a longer reply to this post but I lost it and now I have to go do some work so I will return to this topic later.
Thanks,
Jeremy
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2007 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No worries on my end Jeremy and no apology neccessary on your end. Thanks for clarifying you position. Your communication and my perception of it are probably just an example of how limited this medium is as a means of communication.

For myself, I don't see any real advantage to owning either sword: one that is a recreation of an existing sword or one that represents a type. I can see merit to both approaches and if well researched I think both have equal merit from an educational standpoint. In one case you have a sword that is as close as humanly possible to recreating the form of an existing piece. In that sense you're getting something as close as possible to "the real thing". I think there is worth in that, perhaps more emotional than tangible but who knows? With the other interpretation you're getting a sword that is true to the form and design of the original specimens, so perhaps it may be a better example of the general type than one isolated example? I can't decide myself as I see validity in both approaches.
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2007 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Thanks Greg,
I just read Russ' review of the Solingen and must admitt to being a little surprised. Though I have not handled many of the NG's I have handled quite a few and I do feel that the Solingen does exhibit a very special authoritative blade pressence while at the same time givng up little in the way of thrusting capability. I will agree with his descriptor of "workmanlike" as it does feel solid and anchored in the hand. I also agree that it seems that Albion doesn't seem to put any extra effort in the way of finishing on the ML swords- besides the grips.

This is no critique of Russ' review- I am actually interested in how others' feel regarding putting out that extra money for a sword that may not necessarily be more complex than a NG. For what it's worth the Solingen's blade is the most complex of my swords and is more complex than the Kinght's- which I think of as a kind of sister-sword.

Jeremy


Handling is of course all subjective. I had not noticed that the Solingen was any significantly better in the handling department then many of the other Next Gens I have handled. Is it good? Of course I've yet to hold one of Albion's new lines that is a clunker. Is it better? To the tune of nearly twice the money of most of Albion's single handers better? Only you can decide, to some degree I think Albion is a victim of their own success. The Next Gens are so good that it's hard to make another significant leap in handling or finish. Happy

Mostly what I found interesting about the Solingen was not that the finish itself was the same as the Next Gens, but rather that from a Museum Line sword I was expecting a bit more pop, something a little different as is exhibited by the other swords of that line. To me at least the Solingen just did not have it.

It's absolutely a good sword no arguement and the points about paying for the research to make an exact copy are excellent ones. I'm simply not significantly more excited about this particular sword then many of the Next Gen swords, the handling is not significantly different, the finish is not significantly different and the uniqueness is not there for me.

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Florian H.




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject: Re: My new sword         Reply with quote

Good evening everyone!
Jeremy, congratulations on your acquisition! I own a Solingen too, and I'm really perfectly satisfied with it. I have to mention that mine lacks of any production or assembly flaws, or at least of what I would declare as such. As for the asymmetry in the pommel, I understand this as being volitional. It creates a good impression of handwork I think, and honestly it appeals to me in an aesthetic way. I have the impression as if this sword really grew on me, since I really appreciate it more and more every time I handle it or simply look at it. It indeed holds a lot of authority and in the hand of a skilled swordsman I think it would be a very dangerous weapon and even one not so skilled person can feel how brilliant it feels when put to speed. I think of that as the most fascinating aspects of this sword I experienced so far. The change of feeling when you first just take it in your hand and then let it swish through the air. As for the "price to finish-" or "price to performance ratio", if you want, I did not approach the acquisition of my sword in that way. I personally don't need mine to survive in battle or to represent my status with. I bought it because as an work of art it appealed to me. In fact the finish couldn't really be improved I think and I knew what it would cost me, so as I said I'm really satisfied. And I don't worry about if I could have got a better cutting sword for half the price since I'm no swordfighter who would draw an advantage out of it. But this is just my opinion. I added some pictures of mine. Maybe they can help a bit to give an impression of my swords finish.
So, that's enough from my side, good evening everyone!



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