swordsmiths-msg - 11/9/01
Reviews and contact info. for various swordsmiths and merchants.
KEYWORDS: sword review swordsmith list merchant craftsman address
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: Mike Boelter <nerakkpb at earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: Armorers--Swordsmiths
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 14:44:55 -0400
> Does anyone have a list/reviews for good weapon makers, particularly those
> specializing in medieaeval swords? I'd like to find someone that can make
> one that will withstand the rigors of authentic combat (in other words, one
> as strong as an authentic sword of the period, or stronger).
Ramshead Armory in Meridies seems to have a fairly good selection in the
under $200.00 range. This includes for most weapons (swords anyways) scabbard.
The nice thing about their weaponry it is of realistic size and weight.
Good quality and well balanced.
Of course if price is no object you might take a trip to England and look
up the Wilkenson Sword folks for a real custom job.
Tirion at aol.com
From: kyle1axman at aol.com (Kyle1axman)
Subject: Re: Armorers--Swordsmiths
Date: 14 Jun 1998 17:26:09 GMT
I'd recommend Jim Hrisoulas. He lives in Las Vegas NV and is proprietor of
I have a business card with his info on it. If you are interested please
contact me directly as I don't know that he'd want his phone# & address posted
I do believe he has a web page . WWW.Atar.com (????)
Master Atar does fabulous work. Period arms seems to be a specialty, amongst
other things, as I recall looking over his wares at events in Caid many a times
some years back.
Squire William Kyle of the Wilderness
From: jhrisoulas at aol.com (JHrisoulas)
Subject: Re: Armorers--Swordsmiths
Date: 14 Jun 1998 15:42:52 GMT
>Does anyone have a list/reviews for good weapon makers, particularly those
>specializing in medieaeval swords? I'd like to find someone that can make
>one that will withstand the rigors of authentic combat (in other words, one
>as strong as an authentic sword of the period, or stronger).
ummmm, what are you looking for??
Dr JP Hrisoulas,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Bladesmith, Metallographer, Researcher, Lecturer
"The Complete Bladesmith"
"The Master Bladesmith"
"The Pattern Welded Blade"
Subject: BG - New Line
Date: Fri, 06 Nov 98 11:42:06 MST
From: "Clyde Hollis" <fantasy at usit.net>
To: bryn-gwlad at Ansteorra.ORG
Check out our new line of swords Vaciacraft from the Philippines.
Made from high carbon spring steel not 3/16" thick, but 5/16" thick, Battle
There are five pages to look at.
Subject: [Regia-US] Swords
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000 15:16:58 -0400
From: tom at netword.com
To: list-regia-us at netword.com
>Hi Tom, welcome back.
Thanks. The trip was mind blowing. I met some great people and had alot of fun. I do seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time in fire houses, considering that I was going to watch the Battle of Hastings but I had a grand time.
One of the factors of the trip that I hadn't considered was hearing all the different languages. There were times when the event really seemed to capture the polyglot nature that I've often imagined for Hedeby or Birka. It added a dimension to the experience that was really new for me. BTW, I found that Old Norse didn't work on the Russian Vikings any better than English did most of the time.
>Perhaps we could start with replica swords.
By coincedence, while on this trip I did pick up a sword, although I had ordered it in the spring. There are a number of people who make swords and other weaponry in the UK, and I guess we should develop a list of recommended vendors. By which I mean not only people who make 'good' stuff, but also people who are reliable with orders, etc.
On the general subject of swords, I'll digress...even though I was involved with Reenacting for many years way back in the distant past I never actually owned a sword. Well, not anything that was worth carrying. I could always borrow one if I needed one for a specific purpose. The reason that I didn't bother to own my own was that at most events they were just an unnecessary encumbrance. For many feasts it wasn't appropriate to carry them, and for those events where they were ok, they usually just got in the way. Also a sword (then as now) is a significant investment. When one owns a sword, one also needs a good scabbard (the original examples I know of are wood), and some kind of (probably decorated) sword belt. Just as someone today wouldn't wear an armani suit with an oil stained denim work shirt (with 'Frank' on the pocket) and sneakers from walmart; historically you would probably be wearing somewhat fancier clothes and have a certain amount of impedimenta that would go along with your social standing, and the fashion of the time.
For our period, a spear and axe were probably far more common weapons for most people (even Viking raiders). So, I never bothered to own a sword, I had my big fancy axe, a spear and a shield.
So, in short, I'd suggest for most people they work up to a sword. By the time you have a good ensemble (with some nice armor) you will probably have figured out what kind of sword is appropriate for your culture and period of interest. You will also have figured out who makes a sword that is right for both you and your wallet.
One of the things that I found interesting about Regia is that when you start fighting, they start you off with a spear. Then you work your way along through the process, until, after you have passed several tests and have some experience, you are permitted to fight with a sword. Along the way you get to learn several weapon forms, all of which are cheaper to have lots of fun with than sword and shield. The thinking seems to be that when you start off, you have little money invested, so your clothing is simple and a spear is pretty cheap. A spear was a very common weapon on the battle field particularly for people of the lower classes (who had simple clothing and cheap spears). This also insures that today Regia battles have a healthy spear representation, and new members can get out there and start fighting with a relatively small investment.
So you don't need a sword, and to a certain extent, don't want a sword to start off. You want a spear. (A spear that you can use to poke the heck out of Sir Norman Swine (bart.), who is trundling around the field in 60 pounds of armor.)
Ok, but that's not what you asked, is it...
>We all know of many sources, but it is hard to determine which ones
Two sources I will recommend here are: One supplier for Paul Benns (who made mine) swords is Rab Richards. He also has an excellent selection of everything you could possibly want to reenact the period. (http://www.midgaard.co.uk/ - his site really only works with MS IE at the moment)
Tim Noyes of Heron Armouries has been recommended to me by a number of people. I have only seen photographs of his work, but it seems to be first rate. His address is:
46 Eddington Lane
I would suggest avoiding Museum Replicas, and also any 'Toledo' or Indian made swords. They are generally not up to the job. For the time being I would advise you to limit your choice for a sword and other weaponry to makers in the UK. I would expect that the reputable suppliers generally know what is required for Regia fighting and will make sure you get what you want.
>A) Authentic to our period,
The swords of the period were generally double edged, with a nearly straight blade with a gentle taper to a rather obtuse point. They are slashing swords, not thrusting swords. The pommel and guard are generally pretty heavy, and the grips were (to our modern eye) very short. Perhaps 4 inches long or sometimes even a bit less. Grips should be wood, wrapped with leather or cord. A solid metal hilt is not typical.
Pommels can be lobated, triangular, 'tea-cosy' shaped, and later 'brazil nut' shaped. Towards the end of our period, maybe disc shaped (depending on how broadly you want to define our 'period'). The guards were often short, and thick. It doesn't always show up in photographs, but hilts where often richly decorated. Recently I had a chance to see perhaps 10 or so 'Viking' swords from various parts of the Viking world of the 9th through 11th centuries. The hilts of every one that I could get a good look at bore the signs of silver inlay or plating. Sometimes there was copper inlayed as well, and a few had small gilt elements. Nearly every sword I have seen (regardless of the period) has an iron hilt. They are gilt, plated, etc. Off the cuff, I think I have seen only one example of a sword from the British Isles between the years 850ish to 1150ish that has a hilt cast from bronze or other metal, such as copper (and further only 1 or two examples from other parts of Europe). (Having said that, I'm sure someone will now post a URL to the 'Bronze Hilted Viking Age Sword Museum of Scotland'.)
For determining what is authentic to our period, I would recommend you read _The Archaeology of Weapons_ by Ewart Oakeshott. The current edition can be seen here: http://www.boydell.co.uk/271.HTM It can be found cheaper from a number of online bookstores.
You might also want to check the Medieval Sword Resource Site:
Specifically their electronic edition of _The Norwegian Viking Swords_ by Jan Petersen: http://www.aiusa.com/medsword/petersen/index.html
>B) Safe to use in re-enactments
Very good point. Today swords are generally made to hang on the wall. When you purchase a sword make sure you get a blunt sword that is made specifically for fighting. I just realized that I left my member's handbook at home, so I'll post the specifics for the width of the cutting edge, etc. tomorrow.
Again, if you purchase a sword from a reputable vendor familiar with Regia Anglorum, and you tell them that you want it for Regia fighting, you are likely to get just what you need.
>C) Reasonably affordable,
That will be a tough nut to crack. Then, as now, swords are a pretty significant investment. The saying that you get what you pay for is something to remember with these sorts of purchases. Considering the costs of other hobbies, though, $300 for a sword really isn't all that bad.
>D) Sold out of the US so no conversion to pounds.
This really isn't a problem. The real problem is shipping costs. George mentioned over the summer that he had spoken to people who make weaponry in the US about making swords for Regia fighting. Apparently the prices he was quoted really were not significantly different than the prices of swords in the UK. I believe Rab Richards (see above) told me that he will soon be taking credit card orders through his web site. In that case (as long as you remember the price is in pounds, not dollars) there won't be any problem with the conversion. There are several online currency converters, if you can't find one, I can dig up a link for you.
If Regia US members start making regular trips to the UK for events, then perhaps we can start a sword shuttle, to return swords to the US for members and so avoid expensive transatlantic shipping charges.
Also there is apparently a very favorable exchange rate between US and Australian dollars. When I get some references to Australian suppliers, I'll share them with the list, they may be very 'cheap' for us.
I hope I answered the questions you asked.