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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 18 Dec, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject: Michael Pikula Castillion sword.         Reply with quote

Here is my " informal review " of Michael Pikula's Castillion that I recently purchased when Michael has a special sale: I consider that at $1000 I got an extremely desirable sword at a much lower price that even at it's regular price of $1350 was underpriced for the quality of the work.

Michael, is obviously doing this work for the love and passion of it and is pricing his swords so that they sell and he can keep on making more swords rather than pricing at what I consider their true value.

The basic statistics are as follows below:

Length overall: 35.7"
Blade length: 28.8"
Blade width at guard: 2.8"
Weight: 2lb. 8oz. (1.136Kg)
Point of balance: 2.7" Forward of guard


First thing to say these statistics do indicate that this is going to be an agile sword, but one really has to hold the sword in hand as this is probably the most agile sword I have even had the pleasure to hold: Feels like I have nothing in my hand or just a light dagger but at the same time there is a feeling of presence to the blade. For an impressive looking sword in profile it feels as agile as a small rapier or an 18th century small sword and in a lunge it points at the intended target like a direct projection of ones hand/index finger i.e. reach out and touch with a very lethal point.

Most people do a cutting test with the objectives of seeing if it will cut well but just for fun I tried rather to test for the ease of hitting a small target consistently, in other words can one aim the point or edge and have good control so that the edge or point ends up where one intends: Did a small test of this using the cardboard core of a toilet paper core and had very little difficulty in hitting the cardboard core when suspended in the air at shoulder level by a string for aimed thrusts.

When standing up on the corner of my kitchen table I could easily aim and cut into the toilet paper core right down the middle after a bit of practice: Any missing of the target was just my lack of practice doing this but the sword's handling made it as easy a it possibly could be.

Did, the quick cutting of a sheet of paper held in one hand while the other does a draw cut at 45 degrees and both sides cut very well.

" KILLED " the shipping box with two quick wrist cuts: Cuts extremely well and easily although it's a little less aggressive than the type XIIIb but only because the type XIIIb is such a specialized cutter: In " theory " the unfortunate recipient of a cut from either sword would be picking up body parts from the floor in either case.

Moves so easily in hand that it feel as fast as a dagger while still having the presence of a sword ! Sort of spectacular in a way and I guess I mean that the weight of the sword is not tiring or slowing down the swing of the arm to an appreciable degree.

Love the multiple risers on the grip as they are both comfortable and give a very secure feel in the hand.

The pommel I can use with different grips: With more of a hammer/sabre grip the edge of the pommel acts as a wrist stop giving support to the wrist for quickly stopping the sword in motion. If I slip my grip a bit sideways I can use a hand shake grip where the concave sides of the pommel around the central " hub " gives support at the heel/bottom part of the palm, and is also a very comfortable grip that enhances control of the blade I think.

In the pics one can see a side shot of my using a hammer grip and and angled shot showing the position of the heel of my hand being supported by the outside edge of the pommel.

I also show the " handshake " grip where the base of my palm ends up supported by the curve where the pommel becomes much thicker: The important part here is that in a lunge the pommel not only does not get in the way it supports the hand/wrist and helps in having the forearm and the point of the sword being perfectly in line ...... feels great and responsive.

The blade is very thin near the point, and although certainly flexible, the blade is more than rigid enough and pointed enough that a thrust should have no difficulty getting through soft targets.

I would say that this sword would be ideal as a light but lightning quick side sword but not a heavy armour basher: It would also be an ideal sword for 1:33 usage with a buckler.

The other sword that is closet in handling in my collection is the excellent Albion Sovereign but I have to say that this one has all of the Sovereign's good handling qualities but more so: This sword feels alive in the hand and anyone with good swordsmanship should be able to fight circles around any slower sword.

I don't thinks I have to say much about the wonderful aesthetics of the sword, as it's pretty much obvious from the pics: The guard has very nice geometry with sharp bevel lines.

So maybe I will later think of other things to add, as I may be forgetting to mention some important things but bottom line I would say that Michael doesn't only make great looking swords but he almost has " The Magic Touch " of making lively and almost living blades in the hand.



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


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Sun 18 Dec, 2011 9:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 18 Dec, 2011 8:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Additional pics and I also should mention that the finish is one easy to restore should it get scratched.

Michael also made me a storage wood core leather covered scabbard at no charge ( Well, he did this mostly because I'm a repeat purchaser and one shouldn't assume that he would do this every time, but it was most appreciated and made the low price even more incredible. Big Grin Cool )



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Shows stitching on back of scabbard.

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Shows multiple risers: Gives a very good grip feel.

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In line with forearm.

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Close fitting guard slot.

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You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Josh S





Joined: 15 Oct 2011

Posts: 85

PostPosted: Sun 18 Dec, 2011 11:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Michael Pikula Castillion sword.         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Most people do a cutting test with the objectives of seeing if it will cut well but just for fun I tried rather to test for the ease of hitting a small target consistently, in other words can one aim the point or edge and have good control so that the edge or point ends up where one intends...


Excellent idea! I think I'll subject any future sword purchases to this sort of testing rather than just cutting junk. Particularly with high-end work, of which Mr. Pikula's is a good example; one hardly needs to "find out" if it will slice through things. Of course, one may still do this, but if we're honest we can admit it's just for fun, not inquiry Big Grin

The liveliness you describe doesn't surprise me, and (I suspect) wouldn't surprise anyone else who has one of his swords. Even the enormous XIIIa I was lucky enough to purchase from him, although weighing close to five pounds, does not feel remotely sluggish or unbalanced. I haven't handled it much yet, but each time I do I appreciate it more. Contrast this with the well-known phenomenon of "buyer's remorse" and you can tell you've got something special.

Furthermore, I'm now at the point where I don't primarily see my XIIIa as a work of art. Not to say that it isn't; quite the contrary. But when I open the box and pick it up, fragility is the furthest thing from my mind. I see it as a weapon, first and foremost, made not only to deal out damage but also to withstand wear & tear, to perform a specific function as well as possible and to continue to do so over time. The feeling I get from it is not one of delicacy, but of utter severity, delivered with such harmonious methods as to create a sort of lithe brutality, or perhaps brutal litheness. It seems this XVIII/XV of yours gives you the same sensation, so we can certainly say that neither case was a fluke. Pikula does some truly top-tier work, and as pointed out, the fact he provides it at such relatively low cost is ridiculous - not that you'll see me complaining Razz
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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Oct 2010

Posts: 136

PostPosted: Mon 19 Dec, 2011 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a great-looking sword, Jean. Congratulations! Big Grin

I especially like the way the pommel lends support to your wrist, that is such a small detail which enhances its beauty as a prized tool even further. Great stuff. Happy
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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Dec, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations, Jean!
Perfect gift for Christmas, I think, and this makes me a little bit jealous.

Michael is brilliant as usual.
I wish I reached his level of skills some day.

"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

Find my works on Facebook:
Boris Bedrosov's Armoury


Last edited by Boris Bedrosov on Wed 21 Dec, 2011 7:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Dec, 2011 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Boris Petrov Bedrosov wrote:
Congratulations, Jean!
Perfect gift for Christmas, I think, and this makes me a little bit jealous.

Michael is brilliant as usual.
I wish to reach his level of skills some day.


Thanks Boris, but you are being too modest because your Yushman Project shows comparable skills. Big Grin Cool ( Won't try to compare or quantify skills here, but you are already doing impressive work ).

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Dec, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean, I'm happy to see your well-written review here but I must say that I'm thrilled to see that it contains photos this time! Congrats and thank you for adding a whole new level of content to our community here. I hope you take the time to photograph and discuss more of your pieces with us as time permits.

I love that sword. I would have liked to own it, myself. I opened the topic where it was shown several dozens of times to look at it and fought myself from pulling the trigger.

Cheers

.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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Posts: 8,208

PostPosted: Mon 19 Dec, 2011 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
I hope you take the time to photograph and discuss more of your pieces with us as time permits.

Cheers


Yes I do have a few things I'm planning on showing + some things that might come up from a backlog of old DIY projects, reviews of recent purchases and some of my older collected pieces ....


First up should be a review of the A&A English Bill, semi customized and a little different than the standard model including an interesting surprise in the design of the sickle tip that Craig found on some historical English Bills .... a very different geometry from what one expect as a tip reinforcement.

Anyway, just consider this a little teaser. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud The review should be posted some time later this week.

Oh, and thanks for the compliments about the review. Big Grin Cool

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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Mon 19 Dec, 2011 8:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, please show off Michael Pikula's work... errrrr... your collection. Wink

Seriously though, I don't know if it's this is accurate or not, but it has been my impression that you might have one of the largest collections of Michael's work around. Perhaps you could make a whole thread dedicated to showing off the pieces you own made by none other than him.

Might drum up some more business for the guy, but if nothing else we'll all appreciate the sword/spear/other porn.



Edit: That recent thread about numbering one's collection showed that you have one of the largest collections around at any rate. Although with that much stuff can you really remember what everything is? Wink

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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