Evaluating A Replica Sword to Purchase, or “So You Want To Buy A Sword”
Shopping for a sword is something like buying a new car. You want one that looks good, that serves your needs, that identifies with who you are, and you don’t want to end up paying too much for it or buying a lemon. But just as with a car you can buy from reputable manufacturers or those with inconstant or dubious reputations.
You can hear opinions of people who will swear for or against one sword maker or sword model. You will encounter honest presentations, promotional hype, marketing fiction, sincere exaggeration, simple deception, and outright lies. You will encounter facts and myths, accuracy and nonsense.
Never forget that some people just don’t know all the information they should and other people may not even want you to have all the information to make a sound discussion that best serves your spending dollars. Some manufacturers make and sell the only product they can, regardless of its quality.
They might even intentionally cut corners or choose lower grade materials and the cheapest processes. Others may take a route that produces the best product at a higher cost. As with any market, there are high end and low end products as well as several levels of quality in between.
For many enthusiasts today, buying a sword is a hit or miss experience. This is based on many subjective and objective sources of information, including: word of mouth (those we’ve talked to who’ve bought something), rumor and anecdote (what we read or that someone says they’ve heard), personal experience (what we already own or have handled), and the statements and claims of manufacturers and dealers (often questionable).
Evaluating all this information can be overwhelming without a firm understanding of the qualities and attributes that go into a good sword. After all, a piece of metal that is shaped like a sword and has a handle does not necessary make a real “sword”.
So, when deciding upon what sword there are a few essential elements for decision making…
Info source: Copyright 2014 © The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts | Photo source: Copyright 2014 © Peter Johnsson
Important information for the discerning bladesperson.
European Parrying Daggers
- Dated: mid 16th century
- Culture: German
- Medium: steel; elk horn grip
- Measurements: overall – l:37.80 cm (l:14 7/8 inches) Wt: .22 kg. Blade – l:27.70 cm (l:10 7/8 inches). Quillions – w:6.50 cm (w:2 1/2 inches)
- Dated: 16th century
- Culture: Italian
- Medium: steel; russetted and damascened guard and pommel; wood and wire grip
- Measurements: overall – l:50.70 cm (l:19 15/16 inches) Wt: .60 kg. Blade – l:36.50 cm (l:14 5/16 inches). Quillions – w:16.50 cm (w:6 7/16 inches). Grip – l:13.30 cm (l:5 3/16 inches)
- Dated: 17th century
- Culture: Dutch
- Medium: steel, wire grip, perforated blade
- Measurements: overall – l:46.00 cm (l:18 1/16 inches) Wt: .44. Blade – l:30.90 cm (l:12 1/8 inches). Quillions – w:9.80 cm (w:3 13/16 inches). Grip – l:12.00 cm (l:4 11/16 inches)
- Dated: early 17th century
- Culture: Italian
- Medium: steel, perforated blade; openwork grip
- Measurements: overall – l:46.00 cm (l:18 1/16 inches) Wt: .34 kg. Blade – l:32.10 cm (l:12 5/8 inches). Quillions – w:8.80 cm (w:3 7/16 inches). Grip – l:11.00 cm (l:4 5/16 inches)
This is an awesome website that’s totally worth following for you sword oriented, weapon minded people. It’ll give you some useful ideas for the artistic component of historical swords and describing it in your own writing.
Also, history is neat.