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Philip Richmann




Location: Ohio, USA
Joined: 03 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Mon 20 Feb, 2012 10:10 pm    Post subject: advice on sword purchase.         Reply with quote

I am sure that there have been a lot of threads on this topic already, so guys, be nice, ok?
I am considering a sword purchase and have it narowed down to a few different swords and wanted to hear from people that have one of said swords. Let me start by saying, I have 4 kids and I'm dirt poor, so I spend a little money a bit at a time over years. I would love an Albion or A&A, but that is like looking at filet mignon on a bigmac budget.
So I have it narrowed down to the Darksword Danish Two-Hander ($310+shipping+sharpening), Hanwei Rhinelander ($175), Hanwei greatsword ($220ish), or Cold Steel Italian longsword ($275-ish). I already have a Darksword Squire, and it is fine enough, but not very well ballanced. It came dull, and I haven't had a reason to put an edge on it, but I hear they suck, even for someone who knows what they are doing (that is, putting on an edge not being so easy). I want a new sword to go with my generic 15'th century Milanese/English hybrid kit. I hear the cold steel performs very well, but it's looks are very steryl. I hear the henwei(s) also perform well, considering the ARMA guys use them. They don't look so historical though, do they? I know alot of people hate Darksword because they are very non-historic and unacurate. I also hear they perform like poorly in cutting tests. The Dane does look good though, all except that fugly guard. Still, I am leaning towards the DSA, but can't seem to ignore all the negative comments.
So, guys, any advice from people who have had any of these swords; good or bad?

Philip


Last edited by Philip Richmann on Tue 21 Feb, 2012 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Feb, 2012 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In my personal opinion, the Darksword "Danish" Two-hander (which is unlike anything the Danes actually left us from history) is one of the least attractive modern-made swords that attempts to be historical that I can think of. I'd personally avoid that. The Cold Steel Italian longsword is also not very attractive to me, either. The fittings have very washed out shapes and the proportions are odd. That leaves the two Hanwei swords. I haven't seen the Rhinelander, but I'd like to. The shaping of the hilt components doesn't look too hot to me, but it's generic enough not to be unattractive to my eyes. The Hanwei greatsword looks pretty good for the price. That would be my pick of those four.
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Robert Hinds




Location: Whitewater, Wisconsin USA
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Feb, 2012 11:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I haven't handled most of the swords you've mentioned, but I did get the Hanwei rhinelander for my birthday recently. I haven't been able to cut with it yet, but its tight in all its fittings, no loose guard or anything. And it transitions through the German longsword guards pretty good.

I've heard people say the pommel looks like a lightbulb, however I've seen a few swords with pommels like it, but they were 16th century. Overall I'd say its a pretty good sword for the price. That is if it cuts well.

It's not much, but I hope this helps you. Happy

"Young knight, learn to love God and revere women; thus your honor will grow. Practice knighthood and learn the Art that dignifies you, and brings you honor in wars." -Johannes Liechtenauer

"...And he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one..." Luke 22:36
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Herbert Schmidt




Location: Austria / Europe
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Feb, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it really boils down to those you mentioned I don't want to recommend you a sword.
But there is a different approach - what you should NOT get.

Just don't get a Cold Steel sword - period. No matter which one, just don't. Their knives are a different thing (although that is open to a different discussion) but their swords - just don't.

I have had very good experiences with CAS Hanwei stuff. It is not top notch and the hilts come loose earlier than they should but that is not an uncommon thing and was a problem even in medieval times (although not to this extent - but you can consider it "historically accurate" to a certain point).

I can't comment on the other ones.
So to sum it up:
Cold Steel: don't!
CAS Hanwei: ok if you are aware that you get what you pay for - but decent stuff for the price.

hope I could help.

Herbert

www.arsgladii.at
Historical European Martial Arts
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Lewis Ballard




Location: Houston, TX
Joined: 27 Dec 2009

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PostPosted: Tue 21 Feb, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At the risk of answering a question you did not ask, have you considered the Hanwei/Tinker fullered bastard sword? The prices have gone up recently, but at Kult of Athena, the H/T fullered bastard is a touch shorter than the Rheinlander, and more expensive (by, again, a touch), but it is a wand in the hand(s), it moves very freely. In my (very humble) opinion, the Hanwei collaboration with Michael Tinker Pearce has caused a revolution in the low end reproduction sword line. I don't know if the appearance of the H/T would work for you, but for a fairly plain (and low-end) sword, I am entranced by it.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Feb, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's what you do (and quickly) if you're slightly flexible on historical periods:

Buy this A&A riding sword and scabbard for $450.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=25301

The seller is throwing in a nice Windlass Italian piece you could turn around and sell to bring your total outlay in line with your budget . You'd get an outstanding sword from a top manufacturer for maybe $350. That cannot be beat, brother. I'm actually pondering this one myself, so do me a favor and take it away. Big Grin Alternately, if you like the Windlass part of that deal better, keep it and sell the A&A. You'd get the Windlass free.

If the riding sword is too late for your tastes I'd still recommend watching the Marketplace for similar bargains on pieces closer to your period of interest. If that still pushes your budget too high, watch the MRL Deal of the Day page. The swords that appear there tend to be under $150 and some are not bad to start with and can be significantly upgraded as your interest and skill grows.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Feb, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some good advice has already been given. The Marketplace can be a really good source of value-for-money swords and the sword Sean mentions sounds like a really good deal.

Hanwei stuff is... well, not bad. But there are serious quality issues and (for me more importantly) you are getting a factory made item from China. To me that does not appeal at all.

Also, there are other options. One good American maker would be Angus Trim, whose longswords start at $470, which may be slightly too much for you. There are also a lot of good (Eastern) European makers whose swords start around the EUR 200 mark. In Europe this is the same price as Hanwei...

But beside low-cost, what kind of sword are you looking for? E.g. do you want to use it for historical fencing, reenactment, living history, cutting, decoration, historical research, heirloom, "just to have a sword", or something else? Personally, if I view a sword purely as a training tool, I might be tempted by a Hanwei Practical, if it were cheap enough. But as an heirloom or "just to have a sword" it falls way short on emotion. If I wanted to do heavy test cutting, I would worry about the quality. And so on. There are so many variables about swords...

Herbert Schmidt wrote:
Just don't get a Cold Steel sword - period. No matter which one, just don't.
I kind of like the 1917 Cutlass though... It's not completely historical, but neither is the modern WKC version...
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Philip Richmann




Location: Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: decided on the DSA danish         Reply with quote

Thank You to everybody who replied with advice.
I decided on the DSA Dane, and I am VERY glad that I did. During the process, I contacted Eyal of DSA myself and discussed my concerns with him. In the end, I decided on DSA for several reasons:
1) The tang is peened to the pommel, vs threaded like the Hanwei.
2)The blade is hand forged vs. CNC cut.
3)DSA blades have a reputation with for being nearly indestructible.

Overall, I am extraordinarily happy with my purchase. Yes, I know that DSA gets a lot of hate from myArmoury forums, but I have concluded that it is not really founded in anything except prejudice. Most of the complaints about DSA products are with regards to their historical accuracy. Of those that complain, the largest percentage seem to by Albion fans. Albion swords are $1,500 plus, right? So , most Albion lovers wouldn't actually buy a $300-$400 sword for anything but S&G's. Eyal is in business to , well...., be in business. He makes the products his customers want to buy instead of the products his critics still wouldn't buy. I don't have $2K to spend on a sword, but for $400 I can get an actual hand forged sword. Each one is unique and hand made. If you ask me, that is true to the historical spirit. How many swords in antiquity were made with CNC machines and threaded tangs? Not many I should think.
So Eyal's swords aren't and exacting reproduction of some original sword made by someone else. Correct me if I am wrong, but many swords made in antiquity were copies of other swords and I am sure that thee were many makers of swords that were more along the line of a budget piece, right? NO, Eyal's swords are not perfect. The lines are not straight, and the edges rough. But, they are extremely sturdy and are something that those poor folks can afford.
So, I am enormously happy with my Dane. The grip is rock solid and the fittings are tight. The blade is obviously hand made with very slight irregularities. The balance is unbelievable. Despite a relatively dull edge, even an amateur such as myself has no problem dissecting milk jugs.

Philip
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Brandt Giese




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Yes, I know that DSA gets a lot of hate from myArmoury forums, but I have concluded that it is not really founded in anything except prejudice.


I am glad to hear that you are happy with your purchase. My oppinion is most certainly not based on this but from the quality of products I received from DSA. Of course I guess the poor quality could have prejudiced me. Big Grin
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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 7:07 pm    Post subject: Another option.         Reply with quote

Another option, before comparing things that are difficult to compare, would have been to save some spare change in a bowl or jar every week, to have enough cash on hand to buy something decent, and then rain down your contempt on forumites who buy Albion products. You seem to have gone about it the other way, which is to buy whatever fits your budget, and then look down on those of us who aspire to a higher degree of quality. This said, we are all very happy that you are happy, as we all thrive to be happy and the pursuit of happiness is enshrined in the Constitution, but we remain free to seek happiness wherever we see quality products respecting historic standards, even if we have to save a few more dollars to buy our heart's desire.
Bon coeur et bon bras
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 7:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations, it sounds like you made the right choice for you!

Have lots of fun with your new purchase and remember to be safe with it.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you're happy with the purchase, who are we to detract from that? Isn't that the point; that you're happy with it? Congratulations sir
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, congratulations Philip! I don't think that you needed to speak negatively of other's opinions of this model as you did ask for such in the OP. Kind of odd. In any case, I can only be happy when reading about anyone being pleased with a new sword purchase.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip,
Congrats on the purchase. Happy It's always fun getting a new toy. Every purchase is a learning experience, teaching more about what you like/don't like/want to learn more about/want to reenact/etc. That's my favorite part: figuring out what I want to learn from the purchase. You don't need to justify the purchase to us, though; it's your money and your decision. Happy

To people who have or are thinking about criticizing Philip's purchase,
Shame on you for wanting to rain on his parade. Be happy because he's happy. Nothing else should matter.

Happy

ChadA

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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brandt Giese said:
Quote:
I am glad to hear that you are happy with your purchase. My opinion is most certainly not based on this but from the quality of products I received from DSA. Of course I guess the poor quality could have prejudiced me. Big Grin

Ditto that, glad you're happy.

Philip, you said:
Quote:
Yes, I know that DSA gets a lot of hate from myArmoury forums, but I have concluded that it is not really founded in anything except prejudice.

Those are pretty strong words to post at a forum that has offered you some sincere opinions and suggestions. I find it curious that you came to myArmoury for purchase advice given those feelings.

Like Mr. Giese, my experience with Darksword has to do with unsatisfactory quality of work. Nothing more, nothing less.

I do not own an Albion sword. Enjoy your Dane.

Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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R. Kolick





Joined: 04 Feb 2012

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

congrats on the sword may it last long and its edge stay sharp. and in terms of price you cant find many better handforged swords for less. a great semi-custom handforged blade will cost more than an albion in my expiriance (still cant afford either one but not the point) so for the price its a great buy from what ive seen of DSA they do good work you just need to inspect before you buy and you will get a great blade if anyone looks down on you for not saving more to buy an A&A or Albion let them vent in the end you'll have the last laugh its your life your money your sword who are we to tell you differnt
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Philip Richmann




Location: Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2012 10:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My apologies if I came off kind of strong. I appreciate all the advice that I received on this forum. It helped me to make up my mind. It's not that I ignored any one opinion, but rather it seemed that people were saying something to the effect "I don't have experience with DSA, but I do have experience with this other product and I am comfortable relating my experience about that." So I though about it and I decided that being comfortable with my purchase was very important. In the end, I spent $385 including shipping and that was something I was comfortable with. Eyal was kind enough to throw in the sword belt at no cost, normally a $100 option.
It's not that I am hating on Albion owners. Good on ya if you can afford one. My comments stem from what seems to be a lot of criticism from people who don't and wouldn't own a DSA, and I kinda think, well, if you wouldn't actually own a DSA then why should Eyal care about the criticism. Eyal seems like the kind of guy that genuinely likes making swords. He probably has Lord of the Rings and Highlander stuff all over his house! :-)

Philip
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr, 2012 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Richmann wrote:
It's not that I am hating on Albion owners. Good on ya if you can afford one. My comments stem from what seems to be a lot of criticism from people who don't and wouldn't own a DSA, and I kinda think, well, if you wouldn't actually own a DSA then why should Eyal care about the criticism. Eyal seems like the kind of guy that genuinely likes making swords. He probably has Lord of the Rings and Highlander stuff all over his house! :-)

Philip


Since you keep bringing it up... Cool

I don't need to own cows to know that they are large, require a decent amount of space to live and graze, eat a lot, poop even more, smell a bit, make milk, have four legs, and go "moo." Happy Is ownership of something the only criteria for knowledge/opinion on the subject?

Most people don't buy expensive products simply because they're wealthy enough to do so. Most people don't steer away from less expensive products just because the product is less expensive. People who buy expensive things are typically well aware that they could buy 2 or 3 of something else and still choose not to buy the less expensive thing(s). If cost were the only factor, why would someone choose 1 more expensive item over 3 less expensive ones (or 1 less expensive item, since it saves money)? Seems there is more than cost factoring into people's decisions. Happy

Please consider the fact that at least some people who have opinions on something they don't own may still have an informed, valid, valuable opinion. If you then choose to ignore those opinions, that's your call. But don't criticize people for having opinions, however valid, that you don't like. Happy

Happy

ChadA

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Last edited by Chad Arnow on Fri 13 Apr, 2012 7:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr, 2012 7:42 am    Post subject: Re: decided on the DSA danish         Reply with quote

I decided on DSA for several reasons:
1) The tang is peened to the pommel, vs threaded like the Hanwei.
2)The blade is hand forged vs. cnc cut.
3)DSA blades have a reputation with for being nearly indestructible
.

Real Medieval swords weren't made to be indestructible. A basher can survive being hit against trees, other sword edges, and plate armor, but that quality will take away from a sword's speed and maneuverablility. In a fight, quickness will beat heavy durablility every time.

Albion swords are $1,500 plus, right?

Except for the Museum Line, most Albions are less than $1,500.00, many less than $1,000.00. That's still expensive, and because of that, I haven't bought one in awhile.

So eyal's swords aren't and exacting reproduction of some original sword made by someone else.

There are good modern swords that are geared more towards performance than antique verisimilitude. ATrims are great cutters, light and fast, but no one would think they look exactly like an old sword.

If you like your new DSA, that's fine. But I suggest that some day you will handle an Albion or an A&A and will immediately feel the qualitativie difference.
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Philip Richmann




Location: Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger,
I would love to have the chance to handle the A&A or Albion, but I don't know a single soul who owns one. Actually, I live in Beaufort SC and I don't know a single soul who owns a sword, let alone an incredibly expensive one. Since I can not handle one, there is no way I could choke up the $ for one. I'm sure you can see my dilemma.
Maybe my next duty station will be someplace like Portsmouth/Virginia Beach. ARMA has a gym there if I am not mistaken. I am sure there are plenty of ARMA guys who have A&A or Albion that I could at least hold if not play with for a bit.
I am sure you can appreciate my issue. It is sort of like taking the risk on a blind date. YOU might find the cost of an A&A or Albion to be worth it, but I might not be able to tell the difference. I am not a serious collector and I don't cut or anything like that. Other than a few stainless movie swords, my first 4 "Real" swords were samurai swords I bought off ebay for about $100 each. Then I bought a DSA squire at auction for about $250. So, $385 shipped wasn't that much of a risk, and frankly I love the DSA Dane. I am extremely happy with it. I have no complaints at all. It cuts milk jugs just fine.
Maybe some day I might be able to afford an Albion, at which point then I can consider whether or not it is actually worth the expense to me. As it is I have 4 kids that all want to do karate and other expensive stuff. By the time I could actually afford a custom or semi custom Albion or A&A, my kids will be in college!
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