Guide to Functional European Sword Manufacturers and Forums – Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum! http://www.sword-site.com

Guide to Sword Manufacturers & Forums
A no nonsense and honest run down of the manufacturers of production line swords. We here at Sword Site receive no commissions or ‘gifts’ and so are free of the bias of many other forums.BRANDSWindlassStarted in India in 1943 Windlass was originally a manufacturer of Kukri Knives, but in subsequent years have branched out to produce a variety of weapons and armour including being a contractor for the United States Marines according to their Wikipedia Article.ProsGenerally speaking Windlass swords are forged, in other words they are hammered into shape rather than cut. This is a nicely authentic touch, but it doesn’t necessarily make them any stronger or weaker than cut swords.By and large Windlass produce high quality weapons at low cost. For the money their sword punch well above their weight.ConsDue to Indian Law their knives and swords are shipped blunt, with an edge comparable to a butter knife. It does not take alot of effort to sharpen or further blunten them to suit. Sword ‘enthusiasts’ frequently cite that this means they Windlass do not have “proper edge geometry” but what do they know? Swords historically had a parabolic edge which is easy to attain on a butter knife sharp sword.Although Windlass Swords tend to have some distal taper, it tends not to be extreme, but rather subtle. This is not a problem if you are strong and like an authoritative sword, but some less physically capable reviews have noted that Windlass Swords can be a little difficult to move around. I’ve never encountered this problem personally though.

Produced using third world labour in India it is likely that Windlass work conditions, pay and safety for workers would not hold up to Western scrutiny. Conversely though we live in a world where third world labour is virtually impossible to avoid, as unfortunate as this situation is.

Deepeeka

Another company hailing from the Indian subcontinent, Deepeeka also manufacture weapons and armour. They are a favourite of the Roman Reenactment Crowd and work with the Roman reenactment community to produce pieces in collaboration.

Pros

Deepeeka Swords are cheap to buy. A Gladius for example will likely set you back $100USD or less at time of printing.

Deepeeka Swords will stand up to alot of punishment, and frequently are suitable for reenactors who like to bash their swords together. Tangs can vary in sturdiness depending on the sword as some Deepeeka swords are intended for display only.

Cons

Deepeeka Swords tend to have thick blades because in the main they are intended for reenactment. For reenactment this is perfect, but if you are into sharpening your swords then you will have alot of work to get the sword to a stage you are happy with.

Distal taper tends to be non existant on Deepeeka Swords. On Roman Gladii however this really does not matter, Roman Gladii actually tended to get thicker at their tips.

Arms & Armor

Arms & Armor are unique amongst modern manufacturers in that they have received the blessing of the esteemed scholar of the sword, the late great Ewart Oakeshott. Arms & Armor are based in the U.S. and are one of the longest established producers of European Arms and Armour in the modern era.

Pros

Arms & Armor are a high end producer without the high end attitude. Their prices have always been fair and do not undergo regular increases.

They offer accurate recreations of extant Medieval pieces including some famous examples like the Henry II Sword and the German Branch Sword.

Arms & Armor are not known to engage in guerrilla advertising and they make no claims to having a monopoly on ‘historical accuracy’ despite their long history, thumbs up from Ewart Oakeshott and extensive research of original pieces.

Cons

I am unaware of any cons for Arms & Armor, they have an excellent record and reputation.

Cas Hanwei / Tinker Pearce Line

Tinker Pearce is one of the industry’s true gentlemen. A humble man Tink rescues injured animals with his wife, and is easily one of the world’s greatest sword makers. Tink’s hand made swords are both beautiful and incredibly reasonably priced, especially considering his reputation as a maker par excellence.

In recent years Hanwei, a Chinese Company run by Paul Chen, have begun to produce a line of swords designed by Tinker Pearce.

Pros

Designed by Tinker Pearce these swords look  superb and handle beautifully. The design and form of these swords is deceptively simple, and every line in relation to others is well calculated and thought through.

The finish on these swords is remarkable especially given their price, swords come shipped with appropriate (sharp parabolic edges) and the finish is matte. By far the best looking swords European Swords coming out of Asia.

These swords have excellent distal taper, superb design and austere and attractive fittings.

Cons

Made utilising third world labour.

Darksword Armoury

Darksword produce forged swords, like Windlass. They are renowned for making very sturdy blades.

This Canadian company come under pretty intense attack on some forums, generally on irrelevant issues. These attacks tend to focus on minor issues of fit and finish, but overlook the fact Darksword sell their swords around the $300USD range at time of printing.

Pros

Forged production swords. Incredibly tough.

Peened construction. Darksword have almost entirely moved away from threaded pommels.

Excellent swords for reenactment.

Cons

Distal taper is not a common feature of Darksword’s offerings.

The swords start off blunt and can be sharpened by Darksword.

Albion

Albion have established themselves amongst less knowledgeable ‘sword enthusiasts’ as having a monopoly on historical accuracy, they maintain through the research of a self styled ‘sword expert’: a graphic designer with a certificate in creative blacksmithing – Peter Johnsson.

Pros

These guys cater to the obssessive crowd by offering CNC milled swords with investment cast hilt furniture.

Cons

Albion swords feel like machine parts.

Albion hilts are balanced and designed using blue wax.

Albion are the most expensive European production sword manufacturer, and their prices go up annually.

3 month wait period for sword delivery. One reviewer noted that he had to “remind” Albion they were meant to be making his sword and the end wait period was close to a year, that and his sword cost him more than three thousand US dollars. A custom smith could do the same for you in less time for one third of the price.

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Forums

There’s alot of bullshit out there regarding manufacturers of European production line swords. Forums can pretty quickly become burdened with vested interest, especially if they are not being run in an altruistic way. This has happened to some but not all. This happens in order to protect brands for financial reasons, though sometimes the motivation is just plain old ego. In other examples forums pop up ‘next to’ commercial ventures; needless to say said forum then has a vested interest in only publishing complimentary posts. The net result is that only a sanctioned version of the truth is published by offending forums. Any reviews which contradict or are inconsistent with the official line are expurgated.

I’ve seen this first hand. I posted a review of Albion’s Tiberius Sword on Sword Buyer’s Guide and it was removed for unspecified reasons within 24 hours (mind you it was edited without notification before that happened by William Swiger a moderator at SBG). I protested and it was reinstated, only to have Marc Kaden Ridgeway yank it back down inexplicably. William Swiger partook of this process also, but he maintained Marc made the call. I later found out Marc sells C.N.C. swords, Computer Numeric Control being the technique by which Albion Swords are made. Worse than that the mods at SBG encouraged trolls to attack my subsequent posts. Unperturbed I continued, ultimately founding this site as a result. What surprised me is that my point of view was considered worth censoring, after all I am just one person, and people are free to make their own minds up. A forum is made richer by the variety of opinions on it, and if everyone just agrees with each other it’s really not a forum but rather a mutual appreciation society. This is not how SBG saw though.

Nathan Robinson’s MyArmoury is well known for deleting and banning forum members who express opinions he does not agree with. I have received email after email about this disreputable behaviour of Nathan’s, and many of Nathan’s emails to offending forumites is very personal in nature.

Sword Buyer’s Guide / Sword Manufacturer’s Guide

Originally started by Paul Southren this forum and attached web pages discussed various offerings from makers and their entries in the numerous categories. SBG run a store which endorses a number of brands including their own. It is effectively a mercantile venture. They recently aquired a domain name suspiciously similar to Sword Forum International’s presumably in order to acquire extra traffic.

In my view Paul Southren and co. have decided to become a service which purports to offer independent advice on swords and their manufacturers but instead heavily markets swords they produce and swords they receive a commission from selling.

MyArmoury

Started by a very unpleasant web designer called Nathan Robinson MyArmoury markets itself as the premier site for high end European weapons and armour. It is widely known as one of the most heavily censored sites. I have received email after email from forumites detailing at length the harrassment they have suffered from Nathan Robinson and Chad Arnow for expressing dissenting views, and invariably these attacks are quite personal in nature.

MyArmoury has been described to me in one email as “The Albion Club for worship of Peter Johnsson.”

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