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Postby BorderReiver » 31 Jul 2015 09:55

Hey Guys,

My fencing society is starting an Italian sidesword course in the new term and I'm looking for a good quality sparring weapon to study with (going in waving my military sabre isn't going to to be much good).

I've already e-mailed Danelli and Regenyei, however the former has a very long waiting list for his excellent swords, and the latter is yet to get back to me.

I would be more than happy to make a good offer on any sidesword in a condition good enough for heavy sparring, I've been warned off the Hanweii/Chen sidesword however. I'm based in the UK.

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Joined: 03 May 2015 10:28


Postby Glyn » 31 Jul 2015 13:55

The first thing to find out is what they mean by sidesword - this can vary from an arming sword with a side ring to a rapier without a knuckle-bow and the blades cover a similar range including short-heavy, long-heavy, long-light, short-light and everything in between.

I believe Péter Regenyei may use other people to translate English emails for him, so responses may be a bit lagged (unless I have him confused with someone else, of course). I'd allow the normal level of patience for someone who works away from a computer and then add a lot more on top.

A few suggestions for other manufacturers:

Andrew Feest makes custom hilts, often fitted to Danelli blades. I'm not sure what his turn around is, but you may find he has blades in stock (or not) which may speed things up (or may not).

Darkwood Armory do semi-custom work - you select a hilt, blade weight/length, pommel etc. and they make it to order. The standard options cover most of the range covered by the term sidesword. They're normally quite quick on delivery, but apparently they're in the middle of Pennsic (SCA) at the moment so might be a bit quiet for a week or so as they're in the middle of a field. The strong dollar, shipping and import fees might be a bit off-putting (allow at least ten quid for customs processing fees and then add 20% VAT on top of the grand total including shipping, plus or minus a completely random amount as customs never like to charge anything the same way twice). One nice feature with Darkwood is that most of their swords can be mix-and-matched, so their blades, pommels, etc. can be swapped around at home. Final finish of the hilt can be a bit variable (sometimes exceptionally good, sometimes less so) but underlying build quality is almost invariably excellent and the blades are generally very well regarded. You probably would want something with either the sidesword blade or the slightly lighter spada blade.

Arms & Armour do a Meyer Rapier trainer which would fit many peoples idea of a sidesword. Again, shipping and import may be an issue. It's probably also made to order so check delivery time.

Albion Swords' Marozzo looks interesting, but I've not seen it in the flesh. I understand long delivery times have been common with Albion in the past.

As for the Hanweii/Chen sidesword - very stiff, odd shaped, blade, a pretty hilt that's too small for big hands and which crumples on a good hit. It used to be (and probably still is) widely available and reasonably cheap. It's not a complete disaster, but it's only suitable for light use by people with smallish hands, and even then I suspect most would be better off spending a bit more and getting something else.

Having said all that, the value of the Euro and the lack of import fees means you might be able to get a good deal if you search around the Eurozone countries right now.

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