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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 1:32 pm    Post subject: My huge package from Arms and Armor         Reply with quote

A couple weeks ago Christmas came early for me. I received a huge package from Arms and Armor containing several pieces that I'd been waiting on, and they all came at once. It can't be said that I didn't do my duty to financially support the historical arms market this year. Happy

In the package:

-Writhen Rapier (not pictured) with a practice blade: This is a hilt that I'd picked up second hand a little while back, and I had A&A put a practice blade on for practicing Bolognese swordsmanship. The quality is top notch: A nice, hard blade, safe enough for practice but handles like a very stout spada da filo. It isn't pictured because I forgot to bring it home from the fencing academy.

-German Rapier with nail head practice blade: Perhaps one of the most attractive of the entire A&A rapier line up (though its hard to pick just one favorite). I'd asked Craig to make a longer blade than the stock model, and A&A came through with flying colors. Despite having a different blade than the standard hilt, it was tapered nicely to compensate for this. It is very lively in both cut and thrust, and has just the right balance between flex on the debole of the blade and rigidity on the forte.

-12th Century Spear with rebated edge and take down shaft: This spear is the answer to my traveling prayers. I do a lot of demos for schools, libraries, special events, as well as teaching at various locations away from the academy, and it has always been difficult for me to carry spears around. I'd asked A&A to make me a blunt spear that could be broken down at the haft into two halves. I've seen some martial arts pole arms that do this, and all of them have been fairly flimsy. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting very much from this one based on those experiences, but A&A proved me wrong. They managed to have the piece fit together in such a way that it is rock solid... maybe not quite as perfect a solid haft, but really, really close. Further, they even used a steel sleeve over the connection that is surprisingly attractive.

-Polehammer: This one is essentially the stock model of warhammer that A&A sells, but with a longer haft. I love it. It really dispels the myth that poleaxe-type weapons are clunky and slow: It is very maneuverable in the hands while still packing one heck of a punch on the strike.

-Saxon Military Sword: I bought this sword because it is a very classic example of a military sword that clearly shows how hazy the definition of "rapier" is. Little did I know that it would become my favorite handling sword out of the entire A&A line up (and I've handled most of their swords). Its quite incredible, and most people who've handled it agree. It can easily make full cuts from the arm, but has fantastic tip control. It is very light and lively, and could easily be used with either the more spada da filo styled systems of fencing as well as the more point-oriented rapier styles.

-Elector of Saxony Parrying dagger with blued hilt: I bought this because it makes a nice match for the Saxon Military rapier. The standard model has a polished hilt, but I had it blued to further match the sword. This is a very attractive piece: The detailing on the hilt is very crisp, and the shaping is quite nice.

-Scabbards: I ordered scabbards for the rapier and dagger with the bronze fittings, as well as a simple one for my rondel dagger (which I already owned). Unfortunately, there was a problem with the bronze castings, so A&A wanted to redo them, and will ship them later.

-Poleaxe hafts: I'd ordered two poleaxe hafts, as I have two heads that I needed to fit, and the ones that A&A have are already shaped properly, saving me a lot of work.

But enough talk. Onto some photos. Happy



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


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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've got a Saxon military sword in the shop at the moment, and I have to agree with you, it is VERY nice. I was quite surprised that I like it so much. Perhaps I shouldn't be.

Any chance that we can get some pictures of this take down half both together and apart? I'm intrigued...

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
I've got a Saxon military sword in the shop at the moment, and I have to agree with you, it is VERY nice. I was quite surprised that I like it so much. Perhaps I shouldn't be.


I've had the Saxon Military Sword for about 12-14 years now, maybe more, along with the same dagger Bill has (not blued). I have to agree about the sword: it's amongst my favorites. I love the way it handles and have a particular fondness for the type. Very nice indeed. When Bill came over for a visit and saw mine, he was also surprised. I don't think the sword made an impression on him before he was able to get it into his hands, but once he did, he kept going back to it.

Hey Bill, I'd also love to see photos of the part of the spear where the join is. I'm also curious about the profile/tip of the German Rapier nail blade.

Cheers!

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Marc Pengryffyn




Location: Canberra, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good God, man, you must be an octopus! I can't imagine receiving so many glorious weapons at once without wanting to swing them all simultaneously! I'm especially admiring of the Saxon, a beautiful piece and matched gloriously by the dagger. You have my envy, sir...

Marc

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Jonathan Atkin





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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

how does the warhammer perform?
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Was this order delivered by a truck or a train!?!?! Wow, that's a lot of good stuff to get all at once. I love the polehammer, it looks like it would be a nasty lil' sucker! Enjoy the motherlode!
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That almost sounds like a binge! Eek! Big Grin
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks like what I do when I get my re-enlistment bonuses. LOL.

Good catch there! I always approve of A&A being a former Minnesotan myself. Wink

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
Any chance that we can get some pictures of this take down half both together and apart? I'm intrigued...


Nathan Robinson wrote:
Hey Bill, I'd also love to see photos of the part of the spear where the join is.


Sure thing. Basically, the haft is cut at an angle so that when it is joined, the pieces can't rotate. Further, they don't screw together like a lot of the take-down hafts I've seen do: One part is rivitted to a metal sleeve, and the other one fits in and has a separate screw to connect them. They fit with much better precision then I would have imagined.

I don't have a pic of the nail head, as its covered with a rubber blunt and tape, and its a pain to get that tape off. Happy But it looks just like the photos on A&A's site.



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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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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
When Bill came over for a visit and saw mine, he was also surprised. I don't think the sword made an impression on him before he was able to get it into his hands, but once he did, he kept going back to it.


Yeah, I used to not care very much for this style of hilt. What first got me into it was seeing a LOT of this type up close in museums. That peaked my interest. But I still didn't have any particular affinity for the A&A piece until I got to handle Nathan's, and I found myself wanting it more and more. I finally broke down and purchased it before A&A had their price increase. I was slightly worried that they'd changed the design from Nathan's older model, and that I wouldn't like it as much, but that fear quickly evaporated as soon as I pulled it out of the box. Happy

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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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 7:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, Bill! That certainly adds to the prestige of your collection! I've got a few A&A pieces myself, including a German rapier which is a very exquisite piece. Thanks for sharing the pictures and your opinions!
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Atkin wrote:
how does the warhammer perform?


Amazing. Happy First of all, it handles beautifully. I went through a number of pollaxe solo drills as soon as I got it, and loved it. (I had the advantage of getting to handle one that Christian Tobler owns before making this purchase, and it only took about five seconds for me to decide I needed one. Wink ) The only target I've used it on was an old, beat up fencing mask that was going to be thrown out. I hung it on a post and went to town on it.

It actually gave me a new respect for fencing masks: I could dent the thing up easily, but it took some severe power and multiple attacks with all of the faces of the hammer to finally pierce the mesh. I'm glad to know that's what's protecting my noggin' everyday. Happy

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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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I was slightly worried that they'd changed the design from Nathan's older model, and that I wouldn't like it as much, but that fear quickly evaporated as soon as I pulled it out of the box. Happy


I was curious about this. My model is very old. Its blade is a bit longer than the current model and I think it is made from a less stout stock (1/4") than the new offerings (5/16" I believe). All things considered, I bet they're not night and day different.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
I was curious about this. My model is very old. Its blade is a bit longer than the current model and I think it is made from a less stout stock (1/4") than the new offerings (5/16" I believe). All things considered, I bet they're not night and day different.


Its been a couple years since I'd handled yours, so I can't say for sure, but I don't think there's a huge difference in handling. The current version is a little more refined in the finish and details, but I don't remember yours feeling very different otherwise.

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


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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2008 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:

Sure thing. Basically, the haft is cut at an angle so that when it is joined, the pieces can't rotate. Further, they don't screw together like a lot of the take-down hafts I've seen do: One part is rivitted to a metal sleeve, and the other one fits in and has a separate screw to connect them. They fit with much better precision then I would have imagined.

I don't have a pic of the nail head, as its covered with a rubber blunt and tape, and its a pain to get that tape off. Happy But it looks just like the photos on A&A's site.


Thank Bill, that's a very clever technical solution to the problem, much better then the screw together versions I've seen. Will you actually use this one for jabbing stuff and if so will you let us know how it holds up?

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David E. Farrell




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2008 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sweet, Bill!

I got a chance to handle one of those polehammers this past summer (I think they only made a couple - you lucky guy), they are really quite lively, especially compared to the A&A Wallace 'knightly' poleax (unless I could get one about 1-2 feet longer Big Grin ).

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2008 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
Will you actually use this one for jabbing stuff and if so will you let us know how it holds up?


Yes, it will be used for some contact drills, particularly when demonstrating how the techniques work, though it won't be my main drilling weapon. So it should definitely hold up to the use it will see and then some.

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


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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Dec, 2008 2:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Bill,

How long is the haft you have on the hammer?

I'd really like to get a bec de corbin type poll hammer but the A&A head is the only style that really appeals to me and I'm not sure how it would look perched on the end of 5 1/2 ft of ash rather than the single hand haft they sell it on. Do you have a full-length photo of yours?

Thanks.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Dec, 2008 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Al,
The whole length is about 53 inches.



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Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
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"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Dec, 2008 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Hi Al,
The whole length is about 53 inches.


Thanks Bill. How does that compare to the axes in Talhoffer and Palus Kal?

I'm increasingly interested in learning but right now I know next to nothing about appropriate poll axes for that kind of work but the beak on the head of the A&A ones seems a little short for hooking techniques and at 6'2" I'm guessing I'd need a longer haft than the one on yours?

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