How is Del Tin now?
I've wanted a type XV or XVa since I became interested in swords, so I ordered the DT2150 Sword of Estore Visconti. Del Tin appealed to me initially because they're the only company that offers such swords within my price range.

However, I'm becoming increasingly concerned about old reviews which frequently report loose fittings and an overall lack of good fit and finish in Del Tin products. The Del Tin that I ordered is quite nice looking, and I don't mind tightening up loose fittings. I would, however, be somewhat annoyed if the wire wrap came loose after a few days which seems to be fairly common judging from reviews. Also, I've heard that Del Tin's looseness problem is caused by their "compression" method of assembly. How does that differ from an ordinary peened assembly? If it does, then is there a problem with it?

Have any of these issues been resolved? It doesn't seem as if their lineup has changed since the time of the aforementioned reviews. I hope that it doesn't seem as if I'm bashing Del Tin, but I need to know if I'm right in having second thoughts about my order. To sum things up, I'm hoping to get a sword that will be a sword out of the box rather than one that I'll have to regrip the first week. That's what turned me off cheaper production swords in general and I would expect better for over $400 USD.
I have bought a few new ones over the last few years:

Del Tin 13th Century Medieval Sword - DT5130: No issues.
Del Tin Sword of St Maurice - DT2130: No issues.
Del Tin Late Period Viking Sword - DT5120: No issues.
Del Tin 14th Century Hand and a Half Sword - DT2146: Loose Hilt - had to peen it more.
Del Tin 14th Century Hand and a Half Sword - DT5143: Loose Guard - fixed it.
Del Tin Late 13th Century Medieval Sword - DT2135: 1/8 gap between grip and guard. Loose guard - fixed it.
Del Tin Type X Medieval Sword - DT2133: Wire grip loose and sliding - replace wire with leather grip.

I like some Del Tin models but from past experience, sometimes they require a little hands on to bring up to standard.
Re: How is Del Tin now?
Brandon Gray wrote:
Also, I've heard that Del Tin's looseness problem is caused by their "compression" method of assembly. How does that differ from an ordinary peened assembly? If it does, then is there a problem with it?

It doesn't differ from a typical peened assembly. Many makers (A&A, Atrim, Del Tin among others) slide the guard, grip, and pommel onto the tang and affix it via peen or thread. The compression downward to the point holds stuff together. Using heat on the peen wouldn't affect this either. What would affect it is an Albion-style assembly where the guard and grip are wedged onto the tang and tightly fit there. The peen is then done hot and the guard and pommel are fixed into place without the grip being there. The grip is then added.

Based on the number of historical swords that survive without their grips and have loose guards and/or pommels, we can say that the compression fit Del Tin and others use was not out of the norm and may have been the norm.

Del Tins loosen for a couple of reasons. Number one, the pressure of the compression and some use can cause the blade to seat a little further into the guard over time. This loosens things up. Other brands (like Atrim) have seen this problem in varying amounts at various times. Oddly enough, people bashed Del Tins for it, while on Atrims it was seen as a sign of breaking the sword in.

More problematic is that Del Tin has used a wood for their grips that seems fairly susceptible to temperature and humidity. This causes the grip to swell and contract based on conditions and loosens things up. Not having owned a Del Tin in forever, I can't say if they still use that.

I will say that of the 1/2 dozen or more DTs I owned in years past, maybe one or two became slightly loose over time. Not a huge deal and easily repeened to tighten them.
I have 4 DelTins, myself and not one has had any looseness problems. I did notice the leather they use on their grips kinda sucks. I've re-wrapped one already and I'm assuming the other three will need it eventually, but, so far, all my hilts have been tight and right.

Good luck,
I own the Del Tin Schiavona and it is a master piece. Very nice sword. :) Definitely a cavalry sword given the length and weight, but nicely made.

I ordered one of their other 15th century swords (I don't remember the number now) and it was horrific. The fullers on one side of the blade looked like a drunken sidewinder. And if you looked down the length of the blade, thin edge on, you could see that the last third of the blade had a 15-20 degree kink in the blade. Thankfully Kult of Athena refunded my money with no question, KOA has the best customer service in the industry.
I currently own 5 Del tins, at least I think it's 5 :), 2 of which I bought in the last couple of years from KoA. No problems with any of those and I've used them pretty hard. I did own one Del tin about 20 years ago that had some serious problems with coming loose over and over again, but I jut keep peening the pommel down and it was fine.
I do agree with T.F. McCraken's comment about the less than ideal leather they use, but that's minor in my opinion and easy to remedy.
Del Tin
I recently sold a Del Tin that I got in the 1980.s. a bit heavy, but very tight with no issues. It did take a great edge, I know from a cut I got from not knowing where I had laid it down. I have since purchased a new one and it has no issues.

At their current price, generally between $400.00 and $800.00, Del Tins occupy an awkward position. They're too expensive for those who can only afford lower prices, and those who want a good sword usually go to the next level. They are made for stage and reenactment, so come unsharpened and are usually a little heavier than were their antique counterparts. They look good from a distance, but up close some of the casting can look a little rough.

I've got 8 Del Tins, swords and daggers, mostly bought more than eight years ago. I did get one recently, DT6161, a robust left hand dagger that I like a lot.

It depends what you are looking for in a sword. If you want to use it for stage or reenactment, great. If you want a performance cutter, not so great, try to find one of the more inexpensive ATrims. If you want something that functions like an original, you'll have to go up another level in price.
I'm expecting receipt of a Del Tin DT5155 next week. I ordered it from Kult of Athena and explicitly asked them to check for loose parts, knowing there had been complaints. I also asked K of A to sharpen it.
It's also my understanding that DTs make for good project swords, in that one can work them a bit to suit a preferred taste.

I did my usual pre-purchase research and in doing so found favorable opinions of the DT5155 and others, some DTs have indeed received very unfavorable reviews.

So, it appears it's a mixed bag for DT. A lack of consistency seems the best way to describe it. I'll know for myself next week about the DT5155.

Here is the DT5155, certainly a looker.

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I like the looks of my Del Tins: They sort of look like real swords to me with minor and period accurate imperfections.

Depending on model they may be more or less overweigh, but generally not grossly so.

Kult of Athena does a very good sharpening job, but it is a secondary bevel, one can round out the transition from primary bevel to secondary bevel for a more appleseed type edge with a diamond file followed by a fine grit abrasive sponge if one is careful. ( One may have to re-touch the edge a bit after ).

Loose grips haven't been a problem but the occasional loose guard was fixed by a little light peening on the pommel + a little epoxy and/or small wooden wedges pushed into the guards slot: After this, rock solid. ;) :D

I think the quality control is " adequate " but not perfect as a few Del Tins may need these fixes, but it's not a case of 50% being good and 50% being bad: I would be completely guessing but the lesser ones might be closer to the 1% to 5% probability.

In any case a really substandard one can be returned easily if purchased from Kult of Athena, and if you had Ryan check yours out before shipping the odds of getting a " bad " one get to be a lot lower.

Personally I like my Del Tins since it permits me to get a wider selection of sword types without going broke and I can save the " Big bucks " for custom swords or higher end swords by Albion or A&A

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