Hanwei Sharp Taza Cuphilt Rapier

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Hanwei Sharp Taza Cuphilt Rapier

Postby Nikos » 28 Feb 2009 18:55

I was wandering around a re-enactment market today and noticed one of these. Now, I am not a cup hilt kind of person, not at all, but, its a type of rapier I don't have and it is interesting, and if you can get a nice one especially with a peirced or decorated cup they can look quite cool. With that in mind, I was never going to spend much money on one, not like I would on rapier designs I love. So if you look on medieval weaponry they are £214 - http://www.medieval-weaponry.co.uk/acat ... apier.html

However, wandered past a stall, I had always liked the look in photos but only ever seen the practical version which isn't my thing. For a start the price was signifcantly cheaper than that, it was a one off, but new. Whilst looking at it the vendor just said, I'll knock 20 quid off, and there we go, it was a deal, so on from the story, about the weapon.

Well, the handling is not to my tastes at all, very blade heavy for a rapier, even though it only weighs 960 grams total (thats an accurate measure I took). This is hardly surprising as its got a lovely delicate hilt with fine metalwork and small pommel which looks lovely with the design. The couple that with a beast of a 40" blade (to the quillon), no edge at all on the forte which has a fuller running nearly 13" down it and nearly 2mm thick strong edges before it tapers and becomes reasonably sharp. Due to all this the Pob is 7" from the quillon, hence why from a rapier perspective, I don't like the handling.

Basically the blade on this is extremely similiar, infact probably almost identical in weight and balance to my Cervenka, which of course is a sword weighing a good bit more. No doubt this cup hilt will cut quite nicely and thats great, but not what I wanted out of it. So why did I buy it then?

Two reasons, one, I wanted the sharp blade it had to do some test cutting as its an ideal test cutter to represent the early 17c Italian rapiers that I want it to, secondly, I had a plan. I have had the blade of a Hanwei Gustav lying about for a while doing nothing, it was always way too light for typical rapiers of the period/master I study, then I looked upon this ever so delicate hilt and thought, mmm, got a plan. With a minor amount of grinding of the ricasso I have mounted that Hanwei Gustav blade on.

As for what that has done to the sword, its reduced the length by 1" to a 39" tip to quillon, reduced the total weight from 960grams to 800 grams and the PoB from 7" to 5" from the Q. Basically it seemed a great opportunity to get something at an extreme end of the rapier spectrum, as I love to have such a great variety. Now I just need to tip it and it will be ready for some sparring, and convieniently I still have the sharp blade which I intend to make good use of for test cutting. As for how it handles, well sort of like you would expect, incredably fast, its right in between a typical rapier and a typical smallsword.

So there you have it, a review and a quick conversion idea. Lots of people have blades from the other sharp Hanwei Rapiers lying about as they replace them with blunts, but providing you grind a little off and tip those blades they are great to be used on a later type like this.


Nick Thomas - Instructor
Academy of Historical Fencing

"When a man is challenged to the field, he is to answer by weapons and not words" Saviolo, 1595.
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