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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > A&A 12th. century swordProduct Review Reply to topic
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
Joined: 20 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Sep, 2020 8:34 am    Post subject: A&A 12th. century sword         Reply with quote

Background:

I primarily collect weapons spanning the period 1000-1300 C.E., with a few exceptions. I have a special fondness for swords of the 12th. c. so I like to have some nice examples from this period represented in my collection. I already have a fairly long cavalry weapon which is fairly characteristic of the period and is closely inspired by the so called Søborg sword, or XI. 13 in Oakeshott's Records of the Medieval Sword. You can see discussion of this piece here. It was made by Jeff Helmes.

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=379...2th++sword

So I wanted another type XI sword attributable to the 12th. c. but with a different character. I was looking for a shorter and more “stout” feeling example to contrast with my long and elegant Jeff Helmes sword. I decided to have the wonderful guys at Arms & Armor (A&A) to custom make an example for me. I decided on A&A as I am happy with the production and custom pieces I have by them and also because to their willingness to oblige special requests.

The design of this sword does draw from a picture of a historical example but I can’t seem to find it at the time of this review.

Dimensions:

Overall length 38 in.
Blade length: 32 in.
Grip length: 3.5 in.
COG: 5.5 in.
Weight: 2.4 lbs.

Fit and Finish:

This sword is very attractive overall. I requested that Craig and the guys use plain iron for the hilt components and they were able to oblige me. I like the subtle character and “softness” in sheen you see in plain iron and it creates a very nice presentation and contrast to the brighter steel blade. The pommel and guard are well formed and clean but with the gentle shaping irregularities you see in hand finished products. I requested that the peen be made invisible or nearly so and they did this quite well. There is a trace of the peen but not obtrusively so and entirely in keeping with period examples. The guard is well formed, simple yet elegant.

The grip is finished quite neatly in oxblood leather with an “X” under-wrap. It is tight and I don’t see any problems coming up with it in the future. The detail gives a nice feeling of security when the sword is held and a great detail in presentation.

The blade is crisp, clean, and well shaped. The fuller is straight with no undulations. I requested that the edge have no secondary bevel however one is evident along the blade’s edge. My only real complaint, and it is minor, is with the fuller terminus section and blade surface shape near the tip. I requested that the fuller terminus fade gently into the body of the point section and though you can see they put some effort into achieving this; I still feel it could have been executed a bit more elegantly. The point section is generally lenticular as I requested, but especially on one side, has a muted “peek”. This doesn’t create a diamond sectioned point section but also is not perfectly flattened or very gently bowed as we see on lenticular blade termini on period examples. I reported these concerns to Craig and he assured me that he will address both the edge and fuller terminus/point section. I will give an update of how this turns out when I get the sword back.

The scabbard is simple (as I requested) and nicely finished in a 12th. c. style appropriate for the sword. I requested that the scabbard have a vertical hanging orientation as opposed of an off-set orientation and the guys did a great job of drawing from period illustrations and arriving at a presentation which is both elegant in functionality and in appearance. I asked that a latigo leather be used for the belt fittings in hopes that this would result in a “looser“ leather texture than we see in typical veg tanned leather. Unfortunately, the belt and suspension is still a bit stiff. This isn’t the fault of A&A as I requested the special leather and they obliged. I continue to feel that modern smiths have not arrived at a leather more closely matched to how period examples would have been- but that’s a subject for another day! So overall the scabbard is very nice and finished with a simple and attractive iron chape. The scabbard hangs well and is comfortable.

Handling Characteristics:

As said earlier; I wanted a 12th. c. sword with a specific character in order to contrast with my Jeff Helmes sword. That sword is quite long and has an “out there” feeling when held statically. The COG is 6.5 inches so there is quite a bit of blade presence but it is well balanced on a sword which is relatively narrow and is on the light side. It is very clearly a weapon designed for cavalry usage. It seems suited for long sweeping cuts both from the center of procession and tip section.

This A&A sword while still characterized as a type XI in Oakshott’s typology could be listed as a type 8 in Alfred Geibig’s classification system. This type is characterized by a bit more heft and relatively shorter blades.

A&A did an outstanding job of reproducing a sword of this type and creating the type of handling I was looking for. This sword has a relatively light weight at 2.4 lbs. but carries a feeling of stoutness and solidity. The blade, though remaining a bit flexible, does have enough stiffness to show that thrusts could be effective against lighter targets. There is a fair degree of blade presence but effective management of proportions results in a blade feeling somewhat “neutral”. It would be devastating against light targets. Overall, it has a quick but authoritative feel.

The grip is appropriately sized- hugging the hand between pommel and guard. This feeling of snugness adds to the stout feeling in the sword.

I would say that this sword is oriented to cavalry usage but I could see it being used effectively on foot as well.

Conclusion:

The craftsman at Arms & Armor have been making swords for nearly 30 years and are a mainstay in the historical arms and armor community. I have a number of pieces made by them- both custom and production. With clear communication a collector can get just what they are looking for with A&A As seen in this review; Craig was able to use materials such as iron and latigo leather per my request showing their flexibility and commitment to getting the customer what they are looking for. They are accommodating and patient with even a customer as picky as myself which, Im sure isn’t always easy! There were some delays in the making of this sword but communication was clear and I always knew about the status of my project.

I am quite happy with my new sword.

I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures. . .









And here is a picture of my new sword (on left) with my Jeff Helmes piece, and an Albion Reeve to give some sense of size.

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Arne G.





Joined: 31 Jul 2014

Posts: 103

PostPosted: Mon 28 Sep, 2020 10:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice! That's a beautiful piece!
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Craig Johnson
Industry Professional



Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 16 pages
Reading list: 20 books

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PostPosted: Tue 29 Sep, 2020 5:03 am    Post subject: Here are some additional pics to compliment Jeremy's         Reply with quote







We really liked the sword and quite happy with the scabbard. Jeremy is always excellent to work with and we appreciate his patience with the us and the 2020 bumpy road. WTF?!

Be well
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,835

PostPosted: Wed 30 Sep, 2020 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well done Craig and Jeremy! Can we get some more measurements?

Very typical 12th century sword, although the cross seems a little more bulky that average. Is that from the original?

Reminds me of an A&A piece I had years ago, but this one looks bigger.
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
Joined: 20 Oct 2003
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,637

PostPosted: Thu 01 Oct, 2020 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Well done Craig and Jeremy! Can we get some more measurements?

Very typical 12th century sword, although the cross seems a little more bulky that average. Is that from the original?

Reminds me of an A&A piece I had years ago, but this one looks bigger.


I only have a partial picture of the original as it seems to have been cropped for some reason when I saved it. The guard on the original does look a bit stubby. It's not taken at an angle though, so you can't see how much taper it has.
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Martin Kallander




Location: Sweden
Joined: 25 Sep 2018

Posts: 88

PostPosted: Thu 01 Oct, 2020 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At least that sword Oakeshott used to own has a very bulky crossguard. While thinner ones are generally more common, this is by no means an ahistoric shape in neither width nor height

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poJ5rUkuRKY&ab_channel=JohnClements



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For more angles, watch the linked video [ Download ]
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