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Ciaran Flanagan

Location: Dublin, Ireland
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Wed 24 Sep, 2003 6:14 am    Post subject: Historical Lemon         Reply with quote

In another thread the term "historical lemon" was used in reference to a reproduction of a historic sword being "modernized". Over the years i've seen a vast array of incredibly beautiful re-productions of originals, especially by the likes of A&A, Albion, peter J to name but a few but I was wondering that since obviously modern smiths have access to better steel and tools the swords cannot be made exactly like in days of yore what are people personal thresholds between something being acceptably historic and unacceptably historic..If you get my drift.



A wise man is someone who has travelled to heaven and hell and knows the difference.
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Shane Allee
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Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 24 Sep, 2003 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe that the amount and focus of study that one puts into swords, and for specific types of swords directly relates to where they would draw any kind of line like that. I would say that most people have at least one niche they focus on, with maybe a couple others to less degrees. What they consider acceptable for their primary focus probably won't even be the same as one for their secondary ones, and even less for a sword outside of their area of focus. Someone like Mac would be able to pick up something inaccurate on a basket hilt in no time, while someone like myself might not even notice it. I hear people all the time saying that they love viking swords and they run out and buy something like the practical viking, to them viking sword equals short cross guard and three lobes. Now if over time they buy a few books and read about viking age swords, that practical viking might not look as good anymore and they might move onto something like a del tin. If they study them more and see more examples of originals, then maybe Albion's new line or A&A's shifford might be desired. Eventually with enough time spent, custom will be the only way to go. Now if the person is obsessive compulsive and gets into them way too much, they might become like myself. *G* Not a good thing, drive you crazy it will.

It can be a double edge sword, the more you study a type of sword the more the money you will need to spend. Books are much cheaper than swords, so you might find yourself stuck with sword you find inaccurate but not enough money to buy all the custom swords you want.

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Thomas McDonald
myArmoury Alumni

myArmoury Alumni

Location: New Hampshire
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Sep, 2003 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shane makes an excellent point !

One tends to spot non-historical variences quite quickly within our repected fields of sword preference !

Case in point ..... this Cold Steel regimental baskethilt ..... Can you spot the element that is out of place on this model ?

........................... Yup, the forward guards !

It does not have the usual round bars that is common on the historical version !

Not a big deal as the piece is quite serviceable but still , at least for me, it stands out !

For the most part I dont mind makers wandering from the exacts of historical pieces.....well somewhat *g* , but , first and formost , it must be done well and it must 'fit the piece' !

Sometimes improvements are made on the weak areas of a historical design and that can be fantastic, too !
Also there can be the combining of elements of different pieces , adding the smiths personal touches, his educated guesses of what a grip may have been like etc., etc., that create a modern masterpiece !

" In the spirit of " is quite fine in my book ..... but the core , the heart , must be quenched in the historical to keep my interest !
Afterall we may have better tools & materials these days but there's no real sense to reinventing the wheel , on proven designs that worked, in my humble opinion !


'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
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Harlan Hastings
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Location: Finger Lakes, NY
Joined: 19 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 24 Sep, 2003 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

" In the spirit of " is quite fine in my book. Mine too, Mac.

For me the choice of material is not what makes a sword as "historical" as the adherance to type or construction. The fact that any sword I want to have replicated will be made of a steel far superior in quality and consistancy with a heat treat that is designed to maximize the potential of that steel is a bonus for me. If the smiths of old had had access to today's technology they would have been the first to use it.

The perfect (but by no means only) case in point would be a katana made by Howard Clark or a BH by Vince Evans. The only difference between one of theirs and a historical smith's in terms of historical value is the time factor. Howard's and Vince's just haven't been around for 400 years yet ......
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Russ Ellis
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Joined: 20 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Sep, 2003 8:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that Shane has summed things up very nicely, in fact I think he's pretty much nutshelled the evolution of a serious collector. I think you will find that over time people seem to evolve through that exact cycle or buying what is cheap but serviceable to moving towards what's expensive but a work of art.
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Gary Venable

Location: Kansas City
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Sep, 2003 9:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would also say that the craftsmanship in making the sword plays a big part in my criteria. Part of what sets swords apart from other weapons is the mystic that many cultures have given the sword and the sword smith. The attention to detail and refinement that make the end result truly something special. The quality of sword, does it have sharp details that are carved out or is it just a rough cast piece. Has attention be payed to the balance and feel of the sword or is it just about looks. In my office I have several swords displayed, among them is an old wall hanger that looks really nice but it is heavy and horribly balanced. People are always amazed when I let them hold it and then hold a "real" sword, "it's so light." is always the first thing they say. So in my view the end result is as much about the making as the finished product. The real medieval sword was a one of a kind custom every time so when I see swordmakers constantly making adjustments to their swords as a matter of accuracy and excellence it counts for a lot.
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