Albions Svante arrives.

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Patrick Kelly, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    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. :D 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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    The hilt components are very clean with nearly no casting flaws in evidence and the gaurds octagonal cross-section is perfectly finished.
    [​IMG]
    The rossette on the rivet head is also a nice touch of detail.
    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  2. Thorin

    Thorin Avatar of Darkness

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +4 / 0 / -0
    Patrick. I am indeed jealous of your beautiful sword! It might interest you that the moment I got home from my holiday and from the visit to Albion, I fell in-love with the Svante. It truely is a magniciant sword and you're pictures are terrific as well! The detailed work on the hilt is great and I would have to agree with you 100% that there is nothing better than handling and Albion sword.

    I can see myself taking another trip to Albion, just to see one of these for myself. However, it will be a very long time before I am able to afford a sword like this for my collection.

    A quick question for you Patrick... how do you display your swords? I am curious, mainly because I am fairly new to the oiling of the sword and my stands seem to take the oil off when I pick it up. Any sugggestions?

    Anyways, Congrats on your new sword and enjoy that cutting!!
     
  3. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    Thank you Thorin. I've been studying these things for over 25 years and was finally able to afford swords of this quality within the last ten years, so it just takes time. We're also very fortunate to have swords of this quality available. Back in the day we all might have known one or two knife makers who claimed to make swords. They really knew nothing about the sword and tried to apply knife-making principles to it. The result was usually a large ten pound knife. There was absolutely nothing like this on the market when I was young, custom or production.

    I display my swords in a back room of my house. I have them hanging around, mixed with period artwork and a few brass rubbings, knightly figurines, etc. I take them down and put them in my gunsafe when I'm out of town for more than an afternoon.

    Do you mean there oil is being removed in the area where the stand contacts the sword? If this is the case I wouldn't worry about it as long as the stand isn't made from a wood that contains acidic elements. Most stands are made of some kind of hardwood so this isn't a problem. Most people over-oil their swords and knives, sometimes to a ridiculous extent. Unless you live in a highly humid environment a light coat of oil should work fine. I use Ballistol myself. After casual handling I simply wipe the sword down with an old rag that's been impregnated with the suff over the years and that does the trick. (my wife washed my rag once, bad mojo) The only time I actually apply oil directly is after cleaning from a cutting session.
     
  4. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    144
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    West Australia
    Ratings:
    +186 / 1 / -0
    Can't wait to see some cutting pics Patrick, and I wouldn't mind seeing a pic of your display room if that's possible too.
     
  5. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    Here's a pic from todays cutting session. It was raining but I had to try the new sword out just the same. I need to watch those facial expressions. I look constipated. :eek:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Thorin

    Thorin Avatar of Darkness

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +4 / 0 / -0
    I don't know. I would call that one the "Hells yeah!" Those mats didn't have a chance.

    How did the Svante feel for your cutting?
     
  7. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    Thanks Thorin.

    I've had far more experience with earlier sword designs from the age of mail. Broad flat blades dedicated to cutting, so the Svante is something of a different beast for me. The relation of the grip and blade lengths is different too, in that the grip is rather long in relation to the blade. Different than what we commonly see on the replica market. The sword felt a bit akward at first but this is due to my own inexperience with it. I just had my second cutting session. I used a different grip style, more of a golf club type grip than a hammer grip as seen in the photo. I also made a conscious effort to stay relaxed. It felt far more natural this time. The sword has exceptional handling qualities and I'm sure it will be a great cutter once I get the technique down.
     
  8. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    144
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    West Australia
    Ratings:
    +186 / 1 / -0
    More facial expressions.....I mean, more cutting pics!

    :p
     
  9. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    Here's another 'face' shot. We were a bit too quick on the shutter here.
    [​IMG]
    My friend Greg having a go.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    Here's a few bad photos of my collection displayed. Someday I'd like to have a house large enough where I could have a room specifically devoted to my 'stuff', one that didn't serve double duty as a family room, etc.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2006
  11. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    144
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    West Australia
    Ratings:
    +186 / 1 / -0
    Nice lateral mounting above the fireplace there, I like that.

    Patrick, if I had that many swords and they were displayed ANYWHERE in my house, I'd be kinda happy with that :)
     
  12. Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0
    Thanks, it seemed to fit well there. The shape of the Svantes guard limited where I could display it.

    I'm not complaining but nothing's perfect! :yakonyou
     
  13. Thorin

    Thorin Avatar of Darkness

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +4 / 0 / -0
    Looks great to me! Mine are scattered around my room.

    I think its the collectors dream to have a house large enough to fit them all in. It's certainly one of mine... perhaps a castle, if you want to go to the extreme :)