Advice: Am I just whining?

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Advice: Am I just whining?

Postby Hugh » 22 Nov 2012 15:41

Looking for some advice...

Recently got my new, custom made sword (designed for stage fighting) from St Georges Armoury / Mark Vickers.
Lovely piece, as expected but not quite the measurements I specified...

I'm tempted to get it back to him and ask him to do it properly.

Problem is, I'm second guessing myself about the instructions I gave. Were they specific enough?

I originally asked for the following (copied from my original email):

- Longsword with a blade of 39", long grip of 11", crossguard of 9"
with a scent stopper pommel. Overall weight would probably be around
3.5 - 4 lbs.

- Blade would be hollow ground, double fullered with nice thick
rounded edges ("land" of about 3 - 3.5mm). Width at the guard would be
about 2.75", smoothly tapering to a rounded point about 1" wide.
Centre of balance 5" - 6" from the cross.

- The Crossguard would be slightly downturned at the tips. Pommel
would be a simple scent-stopper style.

- Grip: Waisted if possible. Spiral bound in leather - colour is not a
big deal but blue or dark green would be nice if possible.



The sword arrived a couple of weeks ago but I've been too busy to really think about it. I now realise I feel a little let down every time I look at it.
The length of the blade is fine. The crossguard is fine. The grip is waisted as asked...
HOWEVER, the grip is only 9" long BUT it is 11" if you include the pommel... (which is huge - I'm sure it wouldn't need to be so big if the grip was as long as I'd asked)

The Blade is also only 1.5" wide at the crossguard, not 2.75" as I had specified...

so, my question to y'all:
Would you include the measurement of the pommel when describing the length of the grip of a sword?
(I wouldn't and nor does any "sword anatomy" diagram I've seen)
Was I too vague? is this my own fault?

The blade width is annoying but I'm not sure I have the emotional fortitude to raise hell (AND wait another 6 months) if the rest of it is my own stupid fault for being unclear.

What think ye?
Any advice appreciated...
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby admin » 22 Nov 2012 15:50

Sounds like a misunderstanding on the hilt vs. grip length to me. Best thing is always to send a scanned sketch.

The blade width difference is more inexplicable.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Hugh » 22 Nov 2012 15:55

I agree re the sketch which is why I also sent him this...
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Reinier » 22 Nov 2012 19:38

Perhaps a sword with 3mm thick edges and 2.75" wide blade could not be made to the spec of 4 LBs max?
…en A alſoo liggende kan aen B, ſonder eenigh beletſel, met de zijde van ſijn hooft, op het aengeſicht van B, ſoo veel ſtoten als hy begeert. – Nicolaes Petter, 1674.

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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby admin » 22 Nov 2012 23:42

Yeah, it's a tricky situation to put a sword maker in, because if you say, "make 6lbs worth of steel weigh 4lbs", something has to give.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Hugh » 23 Nov 2012 02:48

Yeah. and if he'd said "can't be done, it'll be either heavier or narrower" that would have been fine but he just said "yes I can make it, it'll cost £300" (though he then said £310 when he'd finished).
Weight wasn't a huge issue as it's for choreographed stuff - a little communication wouldn't have hurt though...
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Arto Fama » 23 Nov 2012 16:28

Mark Vickers is a good bladesmith but bad with communication.

He made pretty much what I specified from a rougher sketch and less specific details. I am afraid that he did not meet expectations, since he said: I'll make it, so you expected exactly what you stated.

Possibility: sell this blade, buy a new one?

Had something similar with a Czech Armourer. He made my cuirass to my measerements, but the waist was 30 cm too wide.... Sold it to a friend, was a perfect fit.

Good luck with it.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Phil C » 23 Nov 2012 16:42

Complain in writing and get what you ordered at the price you agreed- one of my biggest annoyances is custom kit makers taking liberties with designs and prices, or simply disappearing when things are due.

If you just suck it up, like I did and many others do, then they get away with it and continue with shoddy practices when they should be brought to task (when I have threatened suppliers with court action I have meant it, they may get stroppy but suddenly they get the order done and correct).

'S why I always do things by written contract, including penalty clauses, and paid for by a means I can claim against on the rare occasion I custom order anything nowadays.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Hugh » 23 Nov 2012 19:38

Thanks for the advice.

I emailed him last night with the issues and he got back to me today (quickest reply EVER from him)
He claims he got the specs mixed up with an older email I sent him enquiring about a different sword... back in late 2010 (it wasn't followed up on though as after he quoted me a price of 250 - 300 and I said "that's fine how do we go ahead with this? do you need a deposit?" he never emailed me back - so I ended up going to Peter Regenyei instead).
That one wold have been quite different and as much for HEMA drills as for show fighting.
I'm not sure I believe him though as it's not really to those specs either :roll:

<I had put the email here but Matt suggested (quite rightly) that it might not be appropriate. I'll come back when I'm less stroppy>

I'll follow up with him and explore options re refunds, replacements, etc.
Getting angry with the situation at the moment which is not the best time to send such an email...
Last edited by Hugh on 23 Nov 2012 22:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby admin » 23 Nov 2012 22:29

Hugh, it's your call, but I wouldn't really be comfortable posting someone else's private messages on a public forum in this way.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Hugh » 23 Nov 2012 22:37

fair enough - was just looking for input.
Will remove the body of the text for propriety's sake.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Dave B » 29 Nov 2012 14:54

I found him poor to deal with by Email, but great on the phone, very helpful. I'd try talking to him. It's a nice sword, and he'll resell it easily, so hopefully he'll be able to sort it out for you.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Hugh » 29 Nov 2012 17:45

yeah, he's going to sort me a refund but suggested I see if anyone wants to buy it and save the hassle of couriers etc. (it's on the market page now)
If no one bites within a few days I'll have to get him to take it back as I still need to source something else before next season and will need the money to make that happen.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Monster Zero » 15 Dec 2012 07:00

He actually took my money and ran with it. Admitted in an e-mail that after I asked him to place it on hold while I sorted out issues with my late grandmother's estate that he finished and sold everything he was working on for me.

I asked him to either refund me or send me apiece of equal value to what I had paid him and we'd be good.

Never heard from him after that.

I will never prepay for another sword again.
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Re: Am I just whining?

Postby Hugh » 16 Dec 2012 10:55

Wow, that's pretty shocking.

My saga has now ended: he's refunded my money and had a courier pick up the sword.
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