Functional sword manufacturers - What you need to know

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Justice, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    If anyone is interested in the world of functional (means a weapon properly heat treated and ready to take battle stress) weaponry, this guide is a must read. With my several years experience in blades I have beeen through a lot, probably over 100 swords from dozens of different companies. Though I am down to about 8 swords and bladed weapons now, I still remember almost every weapon I have owned and will elaborate as much as I can on each company.

    This list will go from lower end and lower priced companies to much higher priced weaponry. These will be just off memory, I can add more later.

    1. Deepeeka. This company is almost bottom of the barrel functional. Many of the blades are roughly forged and are riddled with hammer marks. Although they claim many of their weapons claim to be the peak of perfection, they refer mostly to the roman lines of sword, this company is probably not much better than to arm the background fighters of some medieval movie. Many fittings are poorly casted, some even hollow! The blades are the best thing about them, and that is not saying much. They do some higher grade damascus work, but I would be too afraid to shill out the $400 dollars to see it.

    Plus side, if you need weapons cheap and fast, you can get them. If they don't do anything but just sit there that is.

    2. CAS Iberia. As far as I know CAS Iberia does not actually make any weapons, but instead imports them from many different areas. The Paul Chen Hanwei forge is one of them. But many of their swords come from the Phillipines. Many of these swords are still very low grade, but in a way better than Deepeeka. The blades are probably not hand forged, but machined instead. Many of the swords have grind marks all over the blade. Their blades are fairly tough, flexible, meaning they have a good heat treatment, but for the most part the fittings and handle work is sub par. Not a bad sword, just not very good either.

    3. Ritter Steel. Blades will be very similar to CAS Iberia, but often times either thicker or better tempered and heat treated. The fittings are also much better, and many of their swords come with wooden scabbards instead of all leather. Again the blades have grind marks on them, but there are a few pieces I would not mind having. Of course I would beat them around like crazy, but they look decent at least.

    4. Windlass SteelCrafts. This company in India makes the widest range of swords available. Katanas are the only thing they lack, however they do provide bare katana blades. Their swords are very competitively priced, ranging from around $125 to $300 per weapon. Some are very utulitarian and basic blades, to others being very complex and expensive. However most swords usually cost less than $200. They can be considered the highest quality of the low ender swords. Swords that will actually make the grade as far as cutting and strength goes, but lack the many subtle qualities higher end or custom makers add to their creation. A decent buy, these swords have made the bulk of my collection.

    5. Paul Chen (Hanwei). I would place them a step above Windlass in some areas, but below them in others. Their European line is not as strong as their Japanese line, but still very decent. Their basket Hilts are cheaper and much better than the Windlass ones, and many of their Europen swords are public favorites, like the Damascus Godfred Viking sword.

    They have three levels of Japanese blades, the Practical, the Forged, and the Folded line. The practical swords are simple, but have a quality to them much nicer than any lower grade katana manufacturer. A Practical katana can be picked up for around $150 or less. The Practical Plus usually for a little over $200. The Forged line is a much higher grade traditional line of swords, usually ranging at $450 or more. The folded line is a very well made line of swords, selling for around $700 or more. I have owned three of the folded line (all but the Tiger) and they are all very well made and unique swords.

    I will add more to this list later, including the higher up companies.
     
  2. The Wild Turkey

    The Wild Turkey Accept no susbstitute

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    I just wanted to say I bought a Windlass sword some time ago and the thing is so damn heavy you couldn't possibly fight with it. The fittings are nice and the leather scabbard it came with is good, but the blade is at least three times as thick as it should be. A few of the instructors at my sword school looked at it and agree the only way to make it even useable in a bout would be to grind of a lot of the excess material in the blade.

    It's been my only encounter with any of Windlass products, but it's completely soured me on their idea of what is a battle ready sword.
     
  3. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know


    May I ask what sword it was? Windlass blades are usually too thin, definitely not three times thicker than average.
     
  4. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    maybe you should do as a viking once said in a movie "grow stronger" :love:

    You should add Cold steel and Gus Trim to that list and albion I think
    I only have expericen with Cold steel first hand but it seems to me that cold steel likes to build slightly to greatly overbuilt swords, I won a sword that should weigh about 3 pounds and it weighs 4 which is lot when you are holding it with one arm. Which is why i bought it.
     
  5. Thorin

    Thorin Avatar of Darkness

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    Indeed. Albion and Atrim are definately at the top.

    This will be a great source of information for younger and beginner sword enthusiats. Thumbs up to you Justice.
     
  6. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    I wasnt sure because I didnt know if Albion was considered a manufacturer or a company run by a sword smith but since they do have production pieces blah i think to much. And Curses on Albion for deciding taht they are only going to make a limited run of kriegsmesseren
    ..... I know Gus Trim is a manufacturer because his title in SFI is Sword fabricator
     
  7. The Wild Turkey

    The Wild Turkey Accept no susbstitute

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    This one. Though it weighs more than the advertised 2 lbs, I'd guess more like 7. But I love the guard and hilt, so now it serves as a good display piece.
     
  8. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    Have you weighed it or jsut held it in your hands? If you jsut held it how often do you use a sword? I have a hard time beleiving that a sowrd that tiny would be much over 3 pounds.
     
  9. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    Yeah, it may be true, but if that skinny little thing is 7lb, i'll be very surprised unless the blade is made from steel-covered gold or something lol
     
  10. LIL LOCO

    LIL LOCO New Member

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    Justice Im Going To Buy A Balisong Jaguar Knife And The Handle Is Slotted Srainless Steel, What Is The Difference Of Stainless Steel And Slotted Ss. If You Can Help Me I Will Appreciate It.
     
  11. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    slotted stainless steel is stainless steel with slots cut in it.
     
  12. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    Yeah, it's not some fancy method of manufacturing stainless steel. It's just stainless, with slots cut out of it :)
     
  13. CB Swords

    CB Swords Forum Administrator

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    I've always found Windlass blades to be a little shoddy. The scabbards especially, I'm suprised you liked your scabbard.

    I also agree with Justice that most of them are too thin.
     
  14. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know


    Some are definitely hit and misses. I owned their current damascus viking sword, steel hilt and black scabbard, it was terrible. The old Leif Ericson sword I owned and it was spectacular.

    Their current European sword is a diamond in the rough. Very plain but a very thick and well made blade. I think they went to 1/4 inch thick on this blade instead of the 3/16ths.
     
  15. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    Re: Functional sword manufactueres - What you need to know

    The lesser known places.

    These places are not listed in high or low quality as I did above, but instead mentioned so people know who they are and what my opinions are of each. I only comment on companies I have owned swords from.

    Albion Armorers: This company has exploded recently with an enormous line of historically correct blades. I have onwed a few of their older line swords (Hastings, Crecy, Migration type D) but I have only handled swords in their next generation line. I owed the Squire line viking too. These blades are not hand forged, but machined, however much of the work is done by hand so do not expect a low quality weapon, these are spectacularly finished. Their viking line was definitely the forefront of their release, having 9 styles in that category alone. Albion works hard to present their weaponry in a very traditional manner through painstaking research.

    Angus Trim swords: This sword manufacturer can almost be called a direct competitor to Albion, though he is a single man, not a whole team of workers. His blades are not always 100% historical, but they are definitely made to be very good cutters. His older swords always had a lack of finish I never likked much, but recently he has improved this greatly. If you want a sword purely for cutting this is a place to get a dedicated cutter.

    Del Tin Armi Antiche: This sword maker is from Italy, and due to laws there he cannot make sharpened swords. As such his are geared to reenactors and have blunt edges. In years past he made the swords for Museum Replicas, but Windlass Steelcrafts in India eventually took his place. His swords tend to be on the heavy side, one of his viking swords weighs nearly 4 pounds, but they are known to be tough little SOB's when it comes ro reenactment fighting. I like his blades for their authentic look, although they are made through stock removal and not forging, they have a realistic appearence and shape which many other makers don't replicate as well. If you can forgive the heavy weight of some of his swords (others are spot on, some may actually be too light) this is a very good buy. Unfortunately he has raised prices on his weapons by about 25% or more in the last year.
     
  16. Gil-Galad_360

    Gil-Galad_360 Aran Noldorin

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    Hi Justice, I've recently found a website called "www.odinblades.com", you know they look pretty good, the owner sais he makes blades with "water quenched blade with hamon", full tang construction, and uses 5160 steel, perhaps and maybe perhaps you know the bladesmith, his name is John Lundemo, I want to buy one and they're rather expensive, (like 2000, 1450 USD and so :S)

    In my opinion the guy ROCKS, but I wanted to ask you what do you think because you know far much more than me on this issue.

    BTW I liked 2 swords on page 5, "predator" and "ringare" you'll know why.(maybe you'll 2)

    Thanks dude.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2006
  17. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    You came to the right guy :D

    http://forums.swordforum.com/showth...520&perpage=25&highlight=Boromir&pagenumber=3

    I've had one of his custom swords for a while, based off of Boromir's sword. It's an absolutley fantasic blade. Sometime this month I am getting a second sword from him, a classic style Knight's swords.

    John Lundemo is a fantastic bladesmith. I've only held my own work from him, but have seen so many pictures of other swords.

    I've heard from John he is going to release some fully mounted blades in non traditional styles, like full rayskin wrapped Japanese katanas with no tsukamaki. Previously he was making bare blades, and they would have to be sent somewhere for the polish and mounting.

    His European style swords are much easier to make and much more affordable.
     
  18. Gil-Galad_360

    Gil-Galad_360 Aran Noldorin

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    beautiful, just beautiful, thank you
     
  19. Kellarly

    Kellarly Snow Merchant

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    Well on my side of the pond there are a few good blade smiths who will make decent swords for decent prices, although virtually non, bar companies like www.armourclass.co.uk , produce any with such volume as Albion, Hanwei etc.

    I've recently got myself a very nice hand and a half (training blunt, i don't consider myself well trained enough yet for sharps) from www.stgeorgearmoury.co.uk

    Here are the stats:

    Steel: EN45 spring steel
    Blade: 35" hollow ground
    Width at base: 1.7"
    Cross guard: 8.7"
    Grip: 6.5"
    Overall hilt: 8.9"
    P.O.B.: 2.9"
    C.O.P.: 12.6" from the tip
    Weight: 3lb 7oz (1.55Kg)

    Needless to say, i've handled swords he has made before I bought this and tried out other manufacturers pieces before I bought this one.

    Still, it rocks so much, and having used it to practice with at my group, the slight nicks and scratches you would expect are non existent.
     
  20. am.dk

    am.dk Member

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    whit volume as albion,no that will be defecult to belive for small price swords like that, and they sems to be made in uk, whit already is a lot more expensive whit ther swords.
    sorry to say this kellary but some more compaers is needed, to get me to belive that. :rolleyes:
     
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