Several years ago I had the pleasure of handling Peter Johnssons original recreation of this sword. Even though its design is quite a bit later than my beloved 11th century, I was absolutely blown away by the swords design, handling, aesthetics, etc. Several times I commented, "If I could own only one sword this would be it." Due to the swords significant cost, I had pretty well resigned myself to worshiping from afar. Imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to own one of my own. I placed my order back in Febuary so the wait was a bit longer than usual. Apparently Peter had conducted further research on the original and decided some changes needed to be made to the guards design. The changes don't seem to be overly significant, as far as I can tell by comparing the sword to older photos. The arms of the guard might taper a bit more towards the center and the horizontal s-curve may be a bit different, but it's a pretty subtle thing. I think this stands as an example of Peters drive for excellence as most would have seen the original design as "good enough". I may have had to wait longer for my sword due to this, but that drive is part of Peters character. Without it we wouldn't be able to own such fine swords. I think this also serves as an example of Albions commitment to getting it right. Many companies wouldn't have considered stopping production on an expensive item like this, for such a seemingly minor thing. However, in Albions philosophy it wasn't as good as it could possibly be so back to the design table it went. Between the time the order was placed and when the sword actually arrived, Mike Sigman had to put up with several calls of "Where's my Svante b****!", but Mike being Mike he handled an impatient customer with skill. Once UPS tracking advised me the sword was enroute, my friend Greg had to endure my rainman behavior of, "72 hours to Svante, 36 hours to Svante......" Last night we all had to endure the annual pre-school session faculty cookout for the local highschool, and I was repeatedly abused in a verbal fashion for continually checking the time. At long last I was able get away and head home where a big wooden box was waiting for me with this inside. While I had handled Peters original, as well as several other production samples in various stages of assembly, I'd never been able to spend any significant time with this design. Now that I've been able to do so I'm even more impressed with the swords design. The blade itself is enormously complex in its shapes and geometries. The holow grinding itself is perfectly achieved and the central ridge on both sides of the blade are perfectly machined. The blades cross-section is nearly half an inch thick at its base and even with fairly aggressive distal taper its still fairly thick at the tip. One interesting thing I've noticed is the hollowgrinding stops about an inch from the point. In this area the cross-section transitions to a flatened diamond section. When combined with the thick central ridge this results in a point that is reinforced and very strong. Not only does the blades aggressive hollow-grinding yield an effective cutting surface, but the point also looks like a dangerous armor puncher. The swords grip is beautifully covered in cord and leather. The grip itself has a very natural look to it that provides and excellent contrast with the cleanly done lines of the steel components. The other completed Svantes I've seen had a grip and raingaurd of a lighter brown color. I'm very happy with this darker chocolate brown. It has a much richer and more subtle look to my eye. The hilt components are very clean with nearly no casting flaws in evidence and the gaurds octagonal cross-section is perfectly finished. The rossette on the rivet head is also a nice touch of detail. The swords handling is a marvel in itself. My example weighs just under four pounds. Albion lists the Svante at four pounds even, so perhaps the redesign of the gaurd also shaved off an ounce of weight. Regardless, the swords static weight is significant yet it literally floats in the hand. The relatively short, thick, blade and the long grip result in a sword that is very quick and effortless in its handling qualities, both single and two-handed, yet should also provide a heavy and decisive striking capability. This sword is a masterpiece in the melding of mass-distridution, points of balance, proportion, blade geometry and a host of other attributes. It also has a very solid and powerfull feeling about it. This isn't a piece of masculine jewelry but a real battle weapon. When I handed the sword to Greg I asked him, " Doesn't it feel like a sword you could slay a dragon with?" He agreed. I've always considered Albion swords to be the best overall package on the production market, and better than 75% of the so-called custom offerings available. Even so, the swords I've seen from Albion in the last year or so are even better than they were before. The finer details of assmbley, such as the fit of the blade into the gaurd, overall blade finishing, grip work, etc., have always been a distinguishing feature of Albion swords. Yet recently they seem to have taken those aspects even further. We talking about fine points of distinction here but they're there if you know to look for them. The folks at Albion really seem to be hitting their stride. This is a very complex sword and everyone in the Albion shop had their chance to bugger it up at their individual stage in the proccess. Happily the opposite is the result. The folks in New Glarus were really on their A game when they put this one together. This sword immediately won a very close second place in my heart behind my Big Johnsson. You can bet I'll be doing some cutting this weekend! Wow.