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Michael Beeching

Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 270

PostPosted: Sat 04 May, 2019 10:33 pm    Post subject: Angel Sword Observations         Reply with quote

Today I attended the Crown Point (IN) gun show with my grandfather, and one of the booths was offering an Angel Sword made by Daniel Watson. Eventually, I had to take a look at it - the following are my observations:

...Forgive me that I do not have images...

In general, the sword initially looked like something that would have come out of Pakistan - simplistic lines, bad scabbard, and peculiar geometry. What really drew my attention was the outlandish price, which was edging up to $2000. I was not at all in the means or market to buy, but I just had to check the sword out to the extent I could at the show.

In terms of construction, fit, and finish, my initial impressions stand, but here is a description to fill in the lack of images:

* In terms of configuration, the closest historical parallel would have been the Type XVII, but without any of the weight associated with that type, and also no fuller:

...Rather than a hexagonal section, which in general it sported, it had more of a 10-sided section on account of the notable secondary edge bevel. Also present were decorative fantasy cuts at the ricasso. I did not note much distal taper, but the gradual taper of the blade's width towards the tip would have served a similar function, somewhat like the XV-family of swords. A hexagonal-profile guard (with the flat face towards the edge) and a wheel pommel was fitted as the hilt furniture.

* In terms of construction, the sword was set up as a two-handed weapon, though its light weight would have easily allowed for one. Overall, I estimate the blade to have been around 30". I did not ask for dimensions, but would again assert that the length of the blade was comparable to that of an arming sword. The grip section did not taper much, and I assume this would give evidence of a very wide tang, which would promise a fair degree of strength, though ergonomics might be questionable. No peen was present at the end of the pommel - this leads me to believe that the guard and pommel were likely welded to the tang under the grip.

* In terms of fit and finish, it's a matter of taste, I suppose. The scabbard was not of commendable quality at all, but would work for protecting the blade. Everything on the blade was nicely machined... but what appeared to be a parkerized finish did not appeal to me at all. The hilt furniture was solid and machined, not cast. Milling lines were present on the pommel center, where a dimple was cut out for either balancing or aesthetic reasons. The hilt furniture looked to be blued rather than parked. The sword was made via machining and stock reduction, so everything was nice and even. The grip was done in leather, and I did not notice a seam line in my brief time looking it over (as I wasn't that serious about it). Knotwork was done adjacent to the guard and pommel to add some detail and character to the weapon.

* In terms of handling, there's not too much I can say, as there's not too much testing you can do at a gun show! The weapon, as I've noted, was very light. I question the handle ergonomics, but I can't assess them accurately - there's just not a lot you can test in those conditions. POB was probably 4" or more from the guard, and the center of percussion was past the middle of the blade, but not too much further beyond it. 3/5 blade length sounds like a reasonable estimate. COP estimates were done by tapping the pommel. The blade seemed whippy, and hex-section swords sometimes do indeed have that characteristic. However, I can't really assert how good or bad this sword was in a practical sense without the ability to actually make some strikes in the air with it at the minimum - maybe it's actually good?

...It's also possible that European swords just aren't Mr. Watson's specialty. The following SBG review echoes some of my observations while noting some of the good characteristics of a given Angel Sword, or at least Japanese-style Angel Swords:

Needless to say, I think it's entirely possible that Daniel Watson uses wonderful steels with excellent heat treating. However, there is more to the sword than just the steel - although the steel is the heart of the weapon. Ergonomics and proportion are also key to proper usage, and the sword I handled did not strike me as having those things. I'm certain many other members here have similar sentiments. However, seeing as Angel Sword is a notable maker in the United States, I think bringing them up on technical grounds is within reason.

On a final note, what really got me about taking a look at the sword was the fellow running the booth. Apparently, he was trying to sell off items from an estate, and he was trying so hard to convince me that this was a sword worth its asking price. Perhaps many of these swords are similar to "novelty Ka-Bars": all of the materials are good and the manufacturing is good... but you can't just stick a flat blade shaped like a kukri on a cut-and-thrust knife handle and expect to have something that is really comes together as truly excellent. Needless to say, today is the first day that I've heard of Angel Swords, and today is probably the last day that I'd consider looking into one, or at least one that is supposed to resemble a European weapon.
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