Capt. Calico

Sword Reviews?

6 posts in this topic

I know there've been quite a number of topics about various swords on the market, but nothing with really good reviews for those of us searching for a period (or almost period) weapon. So I figured I'd try and get the ball rolling on it with a few of my own.

First, the Anix Cutlass by Depeeka

http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=AH4225

First impressions of the sword are good. It looks nice and vaguely period. I've not seen a sword of its type from the period, but I haven't looked too hard either, and it certainly has a simplistic, piratical look. The build quality seems pretty good. Carbon steel blade, full tang, peened pommel. I haven't used it in impact or cutting tests so I can't speak to the durability of the build, but it seems pretty robust. The scabbard mine came with is not the one pictured, but I actually like it better, I'll try to get pictures up at some point. The finish on the hilt is fairly robust, but will rub off with time and wear. My chief complaint with this sword is that it feels "dead" in the hand. It's got very little in the way of distal taper, so the handling is less than lively. That being said, for the price (about $85) it's a good hip-hanger and handles reasonably well.

Next, the 1751 Infantry Hanger (Indian Import) from GGedneyGodwin

http://gggodwin-com.3dcartstores.com/British-Hanger-Model-of-1751--India-Import-56-I_p_756.html

First off, yes I know it's not strictly period, but it's at least in the ballpark. Their 1742 model would be even closer, but isn't quite as purdy. Windlass' English Cutlass is similar to this, but lacks the wrap-around quality of the guard. For looks, it's pretty good. The scabbard is a bit rough, and it's obvious that corners were cut to save cost, but it looks ok on a baldric. The first thing I did was leather wrap the grip to add some contrast and make gripping it easier. There being my first complaint: the hilt is uncomfortable. The brass grip offers little in the way of leverage and almost requires wearing gloves. What's more, the hilt is really quite cramped. The grip is about a half inch to an inch too short for even my fairly small hands, making a proper sabre grip (thumb up the spine) rather uncomfortable. This, combined with the broad blade and lack of distal taper, make it less than pleasing to handle. It really requires muscling to get moving. It is carbon steel, though what type is unknown, and appears to be full tang. The pommel is peened. I've heard that the tiny hilt is endemic to the India made swords, so I suspect that their standard 1751 (for an extra $50) is a bit nicer, though I can't say for certain.

Collector's Armoury Pirate Cutlass

http://www.replicaweaponry.com/pirate-cutlass-replica-without-scabbard.html

So this thing is cheap. REAL cheap, so I took a gamble on it to use as a loaner hip-hanger for my crew. For the price, I was reasonably surprised at the quality. It's not great by any means, but there are swords twice it's price with worse quality. They claim the blade is carbon steel, but I have my suspicions. It appears to be full tang, but hard to tell really, and the pommel is peened in place. The sword feels very robust. The hilt feels solid and the guard is much thicker than I expected for such a cheap sword. It looks rather similar to a cutlass seen in Nassau's Pirate Museum (https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMNzpg9tq7oHB0_6mfDokCOK8vkXeyQEPxM_L5OY53izctEDnVz6rBuS4zqG0otWQ?key=Q25UbHdndnE2enFRQlFVTG45SmxxYUxiTlRDM2d3) though I cannot speak to the antique's authenticity. The biggest gripe with this sword? It's a wrist-breaker! If I thought the previous two swords were dead in the hand, this one is an elephant's corpse. The wood grip offers little purchase and is less than ergonomic (mostly square, really) and the balance is so far up the blade as to be truly uncomfortable to swing. Sluggish is an understatement. At the price, it'll make a decent prop, but leave it in your belt as much as you can.

Lastly, Mystery Cutlass from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007EB76UA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

I took a gamble on this one as well as it was on sale and, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! The fit and finish on this thing is actually the best of any sword I own. The ad claims carbon steel, and I was skeptical when buying, but it does appear to be carbon steel rather than stainless. It also appears to be full tang, but it's hard to tell, and the pommel is peened. The hilt feels well put together and is quite pretty. Like the 1751, it has a rather small hilt, but this one is surprisingly much more comfortable. Part of this might be due to the handling. This is by far the most lively blade I own. It has a noticeable distal taper and is really a joy to handle. The scabbard is a similar pattern to the 1751, but is far nicer in quality. It does seem to be at least mostly correct for the period (the double-shell guard, like that of a smallsword, especially sticks out) and looks great on the hip. I have no idea who makes this sword or much of anything else about it, but I'd recommend them to my whole crew if I hadn't grabbed the last one. If anyone has any leads on this sword's origin, let me know.

Please feel free to post your own reviews below and I'll gladly answer any questions I can on the swords I've already reviewed.

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Pointy scabbard tips, em' buggers always seem to poke ye when least expected.

Has anyone come up with a plan to de-poke the tip? I was considering a brass ball slotted to fit and soldered on.

Any other thoughts?

Jas. Hook

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Pointy scabbard tips, em' buggers always seem to poke ye when least expected.

Has anyone come up with a plan to de-poke the tip? I was considering a brass ball slotted to fit and soldered on.

Any other thoughts?

Jas. Hook

My cutlass has a rounded tip on the end, much like you propose. I know it's not a period proper sword (closer to an 1860's cutlass than anything in the pirate period), but it was before I had the means to afford anything of real quality and before I was as enthusiastic with historically proper gear. I don't have a picture of it handy, but this pirated from the internet (I believe it is civil war era) shows a scabbard tip similar to mine, though mine is more of a ball shape instead of this more bell shaped one.

1861%2Bcutlass2.JPG

Additionally, if you have the time, something like this could probably be homemade (again, this is a CW era cutlass, but I'd imagine the riveted leather scabbard could be applied to a period cutlass and look better than what usually comes with them).

1stJulyWebcat-19.jpg

A little closer to period might be this 1822 pattern British infantry sword with a 'flourish' on the end instead of just a ball. The website notes that it depicts both an all metal scabbard and a metal/leather one and variations of leather/metal were often used.

1822P-swords.jpg

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Pointy scabbard tips, em' buggers always seem to poke ye when least expected.

Has anyone come up with a plan to de-poke the tip? I was considering a brass ball slotted to fit and soldered on.

Any other thoughts?

Jas. Hook

My cutlass has a rounded tip on the end, much like you propose. I know it's not a period proper sword (closer to an 1860's cutlass than anything in the pirate period), but it was before I had the means to afford anything of real quality and before I was as enthusiastic with historically proper gear. I don't have a picture of it handy, but this pirated from the internet (I believe it is civil war era) shows a scabbard tip similar to mine, though mine is more of a ball shape instead of this more bell shaped one.

1861%2Bcutlass2.JPG

The scabbard what came with my Anix Cutlass has a scabbard tip similar to this bell shape. If you had the means and know-how (or knew someone with both) it seems that adding a little metal ball or other blunt fitting to the tip would be pretty straight forward. Of course, one could also replace the metal tip entirely (I know I've seen scabbard fittings for sale, but can't find the website for the life of me) with something more suitable for large crowds.

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*Edit: accidental double post


Edited by Capt. Calico

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I generally don't bother putting tips on the scabbards that I make. Never saw the need, other than for decoration.

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