Review: A-Trim I-Beam training sword

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Review: A-Trim I-Beam training sword

Postby ShaunnM.W. » 20 Sep 2011 00:59

Sword: Angus Trim I-Beam Training Sword
Reviewer: Shaunn Michael W.
Manufacturer: Angus Trim
Retailer: Tried and True Armory
Specifications Overall Length: 44”
Blade Length: 35”
Grip Length: 9”
Weight: 2lb 12oz
Point of Balance:
Center of Percussion:
Width at Guard:
Width at Tip:
Thickness at Guard: 6mm
Thickness at Tip: 3mm

I want to start with a bit of information about this sword and its maker that bears mentioning. This is a true A-Trim sword made by Angus Trim himself. Gus' swords are not a mass production sword from china with questionable quality control. These are handmade (yes, Gus uses a CNC mill but there's more hand work hours than machine hours in every sword) by one man who ensures that every step of the process is done perfectly. Then the sword is sent to be heat treated by an aerospace heat treater that is one of the best heat treating firms in the country.

First Impressions: Upon receiving the sword I tore into the packaging and the first part I unwrapped was the hilt. The leather wrapped handle, while simple, is very pleasing to the eye. The leather seems suitably thick, and is well secured.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... amHilt.jpg
This sword features a disc pommel. Due to an experience with hand-and-a half sword with an uncomfortable, and over sized disc pommel, I am not usually a fan of such pommels, but this one is excellent. It is correctly weighted for the sword and in my opinion perfectly sized.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... Pommel.jpg

Likewise, the handle length and width of the hilt is expertly proportioned. I like the flat shape of the handle, which was a surprise for me. I realize that the swords that I have handled thus far have had quite round shaped handles. I really like how this hilt feels in my hand (especially once I took it outside and ran it though some flourishes). The grip length itself does not feel overly long, nor is it too short. I can hold a fairly wide grip, gripping with my thumb and ring finger just above the pommel with my trailing hand or I can close up my grip an inch below the cross with my lead hand, and all of my trailing hand above the pommel (in bulky Lacrosse Gloves), and either way the sword handles superbly. The cross is a simple design but well thought out. It is a square cross, but all the corners and edges have been rounded off quite nicely for safety.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... Cross2.jpg

The hilt is held on by a hex nut and the whole hilt assembly and cross can be broken down if necessary. It just so happens that the hex nut uses the same size allen wrench as the Hanwei Feder.
Next I uncovered the blade. The blade is well designed, with nice thick edges. They are rounded off, so there are no “corners” on the blade. The blade itself had two minor issues, both of which I am reluctant to mention because these should not affect anyone ordering this sword, but for posterity I feel that I must brush on them. First, the black of the fuller was marred in one small spot in the strong of the blade. As a prototype meant for testing; I don’t see this as an issue that should affect someone ordering this sword. The other issue was a very faint spotting of rust on the blade. My own swords will do this over the course of a week just sitting in my closet if I don’t oil them before putting them away. This is an easy fix, oiling the sword and perhaps bagging it before boxing it up to ship. I see now why other swords I have received have been smothered in “goop”. I have sent this concern to the shipper. It took me about 10-15 minutes to clean this up.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... ropped.jpg

First impressions: The sword looks great, and handles even better. I am interested to see how the blade holds up to continuous use. The sword is exceptionally well balanced and you can feel it in the cuts, and guard transitions. The sword handles like a dream.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... mSword.jpg

After some drills: This training sword is quite stout, as I expected. It’s quite thick at the edge, with the deep fuller to reduce the overall weight of the sword. This gives a larger surface area along the edge, which means the edges don’t nick or gouge easily, nor as deeply as other training blades. I believe this will lead to a significantly increased blade life. Also as a result of the blade design the sword handles superbly in drills. It’s solid, with a great surface area for binding and winding. This is one of the I-beams primary strengths for a training tool.

After sparring: The I-Beam handles VERY well. I felt the slight difference in length VS the longer Feder of my opponent. I also felt a bit at a disadvantage holding back from thrusting and knowing that to spar safely I would not be as quick as my opponent. I fought with control and scored only glancing blows. I then traded swords and sparred against The I-beam. I took several solid blows with it; it felt similar to strikes I have taken from an Albion Lichtenaur. I also took a thrust to the chest that was quite solid. The sword does have a bit of flex, but not enough to thrust safely in sparring without some protection. We fight with minimal protection, Gloves, Elbow pads, Fencing mask. Sparring with this sword is not for the faint of heart. Even light sparring should only be done with someone who knows what they are doing and has solid control. I lament that I could not spar like on like, as I think that would have been a fantastic experience. Perhaps someday…

Overall: A fantastic sword. Extremely well suited to solo work, and excelling in partnered drills. It could be used for light sparring with appropriate safety equipment and an experienced training partner who can spar with control. I would not spar with this at full speed and intensity as the risk of injury is not only great, but almost a certainty. For the sake of your partner’s sword I would recommend its use paired with a similar training blade. This sword is built to last, and it will. With a little proper maintenance and care this blade will be nigh indestructible, and this is backed by the sword maker himself. Gus warrantees his swords against breakage under reasonable use FOREVER. After months of steady use in drills, the blade has minimal nicks. The cross has more wear and tear on it than the entire sword. (The cross is also guaranteed.)

Final Thoughts: This is a truly fantastic sword that is deceptive in its simplicity. The fact that its guaranteed means that you’ll never have to replace it with a new sword.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... mSword.jpg

Lastly I want to mention that there are some additional options available for this sword. These are not included in my review, as I did not review them. For someone looking to purchase this sword these could be very important and I would feel remiss if I did not mention them. Contact Tried & True Armory for pricing and other details.

According to Tom of Tried & True Armory they are currently researching an upgrade to the handles. The plan is to move away from the leather grip as these tend to not last as long as they would like and move to a cord wrapped grip with resin, which should be a lot more durable. These will likely look similar to the Albion hilts.

If Hex Nuts are not to your liking, Peened assembly is available for an additional charge.

Do you prefer a scent stopper pommel? Tried & True has two options for scent stopper pommels:
1: Tom from Tried & True makes hand forged scent stoppers and they are made to the proper weight for the sword. He is currently working on ways to stream-line the process to reduce the price, and would be willing to work a discount for people who want the scent stopper to replace the standard disc pommel.
here are some pictures he took just before final polish:
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... Pommel.jpg
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... 0_0304.jpg
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... 0_0305.jpg

2: Gus makes a non-historical scent stopper on a lathe that’s circular in cross section kind of like a mini-door knob or a mushroom-like shape. They are pretty nice looking but not historically accurate thus Gus stopped making them as a standard item, but he still has them available.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... ommel2.jpg
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... ommel1.jpg
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... elboth.jpg
Last edited by ShaunnM.W. on 21 Sep 2011 02:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A-Trim I-Beam training sword

Postby admin » 20 Sep 2011 07:53

Thanks for the review and welcome to the forum.
I had not heard about these swords before - is there a chance of a commercial link or 'full frontal' photos of it please? Also, maybe those photos above need downsizing so we can see all of them (or you can make them as links instead).
Cheers!
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Re: A-Trim I-Beam training sword

Postby Ronin » 20 Sep 2011 08:17

There's a Youtube video of the sword being tested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfIPpgc_nHY

A link with a full lengh picture..

http://www.valiantarmourystore.com/vali ... AT305I.php

Another review from SBG Sword forum..

http://forum.sword-buyers-guide.com/vie ... &t=42&p=88

:D
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Re: A-Trim I-Beam training sword

Postby ShaunnM.W. » 21 Sep 2011 04:15

admin wrote:Thanks for the review and welcome to the forum.
I had not heard about these swords before - is there a chance of a commercial link or 'full frontal' photos of it please? Also, maybe those photos above need downsizing so we can see all of them (or you can make them as links instead).
Cheers!

Not sure what the deal is with the pictures - at work I can see the full image, but at home the pictures won't expand when I expand the page. I assume it has to do with difference in browsers. I replaced them all with links for now. When I have time to go back and re-crop all the pictures I'll re-do them.

Ronin wrote:There's a Youtube video of the sword being tested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfIPpgc_nHY

Those are some guys a few hundred miles away doing some stress testing. They have had those swords for about a year now, and have done zero maintenance on them as far as filing or sanding nicks or burrs.

Ronin wrote:A link with a full lengh picture..

http://www.valiantarmourystore.com/vali ... AT305I.php

Actually that is a picture of a sword modeled after this one. That one is milled in china. This one is hand made by Angus Trim himself. Here are some pictures to show the two side by side, and you can see a few minor differences. Here you can see a slightly different pommel, and handle.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... NHilts.jpg.
Here you can see the difference in the Cross, the new one is more rounded off for safer use, and the blade has been upgraded ever so slightly.
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... loseup.jpg


Ronin wrote:Another review from SBG Sword forum..

http://forum.sword-buyers-guide.com/vie ... &t=42&p=88

:D

That is also the Valiant version. I have never handled that version, so I can't draw you a direct comparison. I have never heard anything negative about that version, but I want to stress that while they are based on the same model, the difference in construction is significant. Here is one more side by side
http://i1119.photobucket.com/albums/k62 ... OldNew.jpg
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Re: A-Trim I-Beam training sword

Postby Aaron G.P. » 05 Oct 2012 19:08

ShaunnM.W. wrote:According to Tom of Tried & True Armory they are currently researching an upgrade to the handles. The plan is to move away from the leather grip as these tend to not last as long as they would like and move to a cord wrapped grip with resin, which should be a lot more durable. These will likely look similar to the Albion hilts.


Tom is currently visiting and fencing with my group and I had a chance to check out the new handle. Not only is it cord-wrapped and coated in resin, it is also a waisted shape different from the usual straight handle. The new shape is very comfortable to hold, even considering that the old shape is pretty nice.
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Re: A-Trim I-Beam training sword

Postby Ben Floyd » 05 Oct 2012 23:39

Here's a vid we did of us using the I-beam and an A&A messer. First time using both. Good fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElrKKmx0 ... e=youtu.be

My impression on the I-beam was that it was very stiff. We only got to fight with it for about an hour though.
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