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Nick L.





Joined: 13 Jan 2008

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 8:27 pm    Post subject: Finding what I want in a sword...         Reply with quote

I've looked at a handfull of sword creators online...some more impressive than others. I realy think I like Albion's swords for that matter, mostly because they take great lengths to show and explain why thier pieces are proper and 'battle worthy'. But, i'm not limited to thier products and am open to other craftsmen. However, I have a few basic concerns.

One, is that there are a few styles I'm interested in (one in particular from Albion). But, I don't have that kind of money at the moment. Family and bills come first. And since certain, if not most swords from Albion are limited in production, I'm concerned that I will not be able to have what I want when I'm able in the near future. Also, I'm curious about customizing particular pieces or having a custom made piece of quality. I saw nothing about custom pieces on the Albion website other than with the in-house craftsmen link...and I don't know how well it was portrayed in my eyes.

If anyone has any helpful info for me or knows of anyone who makes quality, custom swords, I'm more than interested. I'd like to find what I want and gauge how much it would cost so I can set a goal and start a collection.

Thank you.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 9:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We have reviews of numerous custom/semi-custom/production makers on our Reviews page. Our Links page points to even more. There are far more than a "handful" of craftsmen doing good work. Happy

Albion is a production shop, not a custom shop, by design. About the most they customize are grip colors, hilt bluing, and maybe modern-method etching on a blade. Arms & Armor is a production shop but takes custom orders also. Because of that, you can customize and production piece (for a fee) or go totally custom. It's simply a different way of doing things. They are only a couple of the production makers out there. Other custom people do custom work and no production work. Prices will vary based on craftsman, project details, and the currency the craftsman accepts. For a custom sword, you could spend anywhere from $500 to $5000 or more.

If you like an Albion but want a little customization done, Christian Fletcher might be a good choice.

Happy

ChadA

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Gabriel Lebec
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 9:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[Edit: oops, looks like Chad beat me to the punch. "What he said." Wink]

Hello Nick,

I am sure you have already noticed our Hands-on Reviews and Collections sections, both of which feature detailed writeups and photos of swords from many makers. Whether the sword was custom or production (or antique!) should be mentioned as well.

You may not have noticed our Links page which includes some makers & manufacturers that might not mentioned in either section.

Some, like Arms & Armor, make both excellent production swords and custom swords. Others, like the superb Patrick Bárta of TEMPL Historic Arms, are strictly custom, even (in Mr. Bárta's case) to the point of smelting traditional steel.

Albion on the other hand does not produce custom swords (I am excluding Jody Samson from this statement as he is affiliated but distinct from the main Albion lines). Still, their production swords are among the best-researched available. I wouldn't worry so much about the limited production; it took years for the first of the "Next Generation" items to sell out. Which swords were you considering? Depending on how recent they are, and how many will be made, you may have a very long time yet before they're unavailable.

Back to custom swords. What kind of sword are you looking for? Culture, time period, blade style, fittings, level of decoration, historical accuracy, your intended use? These kinds of questions are important in considering a custom smith (or indeed any sword maker).

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 11:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Might depend on exactly what you are after and how much you are willing to pay.

Lutel does some rather nice swords for affordable prices, though, and I'm pretty sure they take custom orders.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Nick L.





Joined: 13 Jan 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, proper construction is imperative. The sword needs to be wieghted and balanced and stand up to it's intended usage as well as an original. That is the most important thing to me. However, I'd be a liar to say that appearance isn't important.

The particular style of sword I've been interested in is categorized by Ewart Oakeshott as XVIIIb.1 in Records of the Medieval Sword. I saw that Albion had made a very appealing version of it. However, as was pointed out, I doubt they do much customizing. These would be mostly in appearance...some etching and perhaps blackening of the blade, cross gaurd and pommel.

I understand that custom work can be pricey...but, that's something worth saving for if I think I can get what I want.
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Mike Capanelli




Location: Whitestone, NY
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan, 2008 10:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Nick,

Do you have a picture? I can't seem to find an XVIIIb category in my copy of records. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place? Either way I'd love to see a picture if you don't mind.
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Nick L.





Joined: 13 Jan 2008

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I may not have the correct categorization as in my searchings at myArmoury I've seen:

"Of the surviving artifacts of this form one particular weapon that stands out is in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich. Categorized by Ewart Oakeshott as XVIIIa.5 in Records of the Medieval Sword, this magnificent weapon follows the form of the swords so common in Dürer's artwork." (http://www.myArmoury.com/review_alb_munich.html)


as well as:

XVIIIb.1 From the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich
This perfect and beautiful sword is dated to 1450-1480. The 36" (91.44cm) blade is unstained, but the hilt is the most remarkable feature of the weapon. The extremely long grip is covered with finely tooled leather. The gilt-steel furniture is just as finely finished, with flattened and gently recurved cross and an engraving of the Madonna and infant Christ set into the front of the pommel. The rim of the pommel bears the inscription O MARIA BIT WIR UNS. Many swords of this type are of German origin(http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_spotxviii.html)


Needless to say I was confused, but chose the one from the Sean A. Flynt 'Spotlight' article.
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Paul Watson




Location: Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Joined: 08 Feb 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan, 2008 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nick, from memory there was talk at one time that Albion would be doing a version of the sword in question as part of their Museum Line which would be a complete facsimile of the historical sword. Whether this is still happening or not I do not know.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan, 2008 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Capanelli wrote:
Hey Nick,

Do you have a picture? I can't seem to find an XVIIIb category in my copy of records. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place? Either way I'd love to see a picture if you don't mind.


As Sean's Spotlight article says, Oakeshott published at least 2 different versions of his Type XVIII subcategories. In Sword in the Age of Chivalry (the earlier publication), he goes all the way through XVIIIe. In Records, he only includes Type XVIII and XVIIIa, ignoring the others he laid out and moving some from one sub-type to another.

Happy

ChadA

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I and several others here own the Albion Munich sword. A review of it was just added to this site very recently. http://www.myArmoury.com/review_alb_munich.html
You could customize your own insert into the pommel recess. I would not be extremely surprised if you were able to work something out with Aaron Schnattery and Shawn to get a rain guard flap incorporated. I would hesitate to customize this particular one too much, because the original was a "get down to business" weapon with only subtle extra touches. It is not a cheap sword, but I feel mine was worth it. I have done some medium hardness test cutting and thrusting on wood with it and would not characterize it as fragile in any way. With something like 500 of them being produced, I figure you will be able to get one sold as "previously owned but in mint condition" at a considerable discount compared to new within a year or so.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Gabriel Lebec
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan, 2008 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nick L. wrote:
Well, proper construction is imperative. The sword needs to be wieghted and balanced and stand up to it's intended usage as well as an original. ...I saw that Albion had made a very appealing version of it. However, as was pointed out, I doubt they do much customizing. These would be mostly in appearance...some etching and perhaps blackening of the blade, cross gaurd and pommel.

I am primarily interested in nihonto (Japanese arms), but we have the same taste when it comes to western swords—I love type XVIIIb blades, especially Albion's "Munich." This is my no. 1 desired next A&A purchase at the moment.

First of all, on the points of proper construction, weight, balance, and strength, you're totally fine with Albion. Metallurgically and in construction they're likely superior (!) to many antiques, and as far as dimensions/measurements go, that particular blade is exceptionally close to the original (within millimeters). It's probably one of the very best-researched of the Next Gen line.

The reason for this, as has been mentioned, is that Albion is also planning an even closer replica for their "Museum Line." The Museum Line version will incorporate decorative features of the original such as the rain guard and (cross your fingers) gold fire gilding on the pommel. Of course, it will probably be among the most expensive "semi-production" swords ever produced... but certainly a landmark in the industry.

Regarding customization, Albion will actually do some basic bluing or blackening of the hilt components, as well as custom leather colors (very inconsistent though) for some low additional fees. For anything more complex, you'd either need to take advantage of a third party (such as Christian Fletcher), custom order a similar sword from scratch, or learn to do it yourself.

Again though, truly custom (i.e. made to order, from scratch) is a slightly different ballgame and you should definitely keep looking at different smiths' work. Try to make any blade shows near you that have exhibiting smiths. Some custom smiths are not as expensive as you might think (especially since Albion's prices have become a bit higher in recent years), so don't write it off! On the other hand the wait can be a bit long.

Good luck,
-GLL

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Jan, 2008 2:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Nick, Welcome! And I am glad to see your taking your time and putting a lot of thought into your sword, I did the same thing with my very first sword, I don't know if this is your first sword, but mine took two years to decide on and finally I bought the German Bastard Sword by Arms & Armor at www.arms-n-armor.com You cannot go wrong with either Albion or
Arms & Armor, they are both First Class! Take a look at the "Custom Pieces" page on the Arms & Armor website, like Albion's Museum Line, it's incredibly impressive!

Hope this helps!

Bob
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