In September 2016, I had the pleasure of documenting a number of iconic swords at the MET. I joined Peter Johnsson, Kevin Cashen, and Lee Jones on a 3 day study trip. One of the more interesting swords we documented was this rather short Type X. I tried to stay true to the dimensions of the original, but purposely altered many of the imperfections of the original. My goal was to create a “corrected” version of the original.
This was a commission, but if you are interested in this sword, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Overall Length: 36 1/8 in. (91.8 cm) Blade Length: 29 3/4 in. (75.6 cm) Blade Width. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm) Weight: 2 lb. 2 oz. (964 grams) Grip: wood core, linen underwrap, and leather cover, medium brown color Steel: 80CRV2 high carbon steel Fittings: mild steel
This 15th century Type XVa longsword is inspired by swords from the Castillon find as well as other contemporary 15th century examples. It features an iconic guard with down turned ends, and a faceted pommel. The peen has been forged and then shaped to create a small rivet block at the top of the pommel. The blade has a pleasing distal taper that ends with a reinforced thrusting tip (a detail often seen on period originals). This type of blade is often incorrectly viewed as a “thrusting only” blade. In spite of its rapid profile taper, the edge on this blade is paper cutting sharp.
Overall Length = 44.7″ (113,0 cm)
Blade Length = 35.6″ (90,3 cm)
Blade Width = 1.93″ (4,9 cm)
Weight = 3 pounds 2 oz (1424 grams)
Point of Balance = 3.75″ (9,5 cm)
Center of Percussion = 22.75″ (57,8 cm )
Steel = 1075 blade, mild steel fittings
Grip Color: Black
Price: $2,400 $1500.00 (domestic US shipping included) SOLD
Inspired by a late 13th century – early 14th century sword that I documented with Swordsmith Peter Johnsson in Sweden. The sword features a spherical pommel that we observed on a number of swords in Sweden (including the original sword that the Albion Mark Tritonia is based on). The blade has a secondary bevel and a reinforced tip. These features combined with a “chef knife” thin area behind the tip, make this sword a real cutter.
Overall Length = 39.5″ (100,3 cm)
Blade Length = 32.5″ (82,6 cm)
Blade Width = 2.9″ (7,5 cm)
Weight = 3 pounds 3 oz (1448 grams)
Point of Balance = 4.0″ (10,0 cm)
Center of Percussion = 23.1″ (59,0 cm )
Steel = 1075 blade, mild steel fittings
Grip Color: Dark Mahogany
Price: $2,300 $2070 (domestic US shipping included) SOLD
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Photos: Michael Gard Photography
Review from Owner:
Recently, I had an opportunity to get two swords from Eric at the same time. This is not my first order from Eric, so I do not need to specify that I had full confidence in Eric’s work. The shipment of the two swords to Belgium was impeccable. In addition, Eric’ communication during the process was great.
Back to the order: the first sword was a Norman-type sword with a curved guard that was like an original in Alfred Geibig’s work. I asked Eric to mix elements of the Albion Soberg with the Next Gen Gaddjhalt. The result was a long blade with a typical brazil nut pommel. Eric perfectly understood the dynamics of this type sword. This was evident when he suggested different hilt proportions for me to choose from that would help to maximize the sword’s performance. The result is perfect! It is definitely a horseman’s sword with a lively feel, good cutting power and a long reach. It is not easy to combine all these characteristics in one sword.
The second sword was a XIIIb. This sword is my surprise sword of the year. I was not initially drawn to this sword. Eric had made this sword for the Atlanta Blade Show, but it did not sell at the show. This was probably because of its unique aesthetics. These spherical pommel swords are not common in many parts of Europe, but there are several excellent examples in Scandinavia that Eric was able to document with fellow maker, Peter Johnsson. While Eric was working on the Norman sword, I decided to purchase the XIIIb. When it was time to ship the Norman sword, Eric shipped the XIIIb with it. The swords were well packaged and arrived in perfect condition.
Recently, I was able to do some test cutting with both swords. I immediately liked the feel and cutting power of the Norman sword. This was not my first sword of this style, so I was familiar with how it should cut and feel. It was 10 out of 10 for cutting. The big surprise, however, was the XIIIb! After cutting with this sword, I fell in love with it. It is the perfect sword for fighting on foot. The wide, thin blade, combined with excellent balance, makes this sword a very effective cutter. I would compare the cutting power to bigger hand-and-a-half swords like the Albion Baron. Even though the spherical pommel is large, its shape was quite comfortable during the cutting tests. In short, I love this sword!
In closing, I don’t think it is necessary to mention, but I will anyway: Eric’s fit and finish is excellent. So, in the end, I now have two successful orders from Eric to add to my collection.
This long dagger draws its inspiration from a number of long rondel daggers from the Royal Armouries in Leeds. These daggers would fit into the time period surrounding the epic Battle of Towton during the War of the Roses (House Lancaster vs. House York).
Two examples from the Royal Armouries, Leeds UK:
These long rondel daggers were common on the 15th century battlefield. They were often the weapons of archers and foot soldiers.
This recreation features a hand forged, hollow-ground blade made of 1080 high carbon steel. The octogonal rondels are sandwiched together and made from mild steel. They are hollow to reduce the weight of the dagger. Rivets were used to join the plates together. The hilt is peened together to secure the rondels and grip to the blade. The grip is walnut burl.
The leather sheath has a leather core which was covered in calfskin. The sheath was dyed medium brown with leather stain, and features incised decorative lines on the front. The chevron pattern mimics the kind of simple leather work that was done by soldiers to pass the time between battles. The bottom of the sheath is covered with a bronze chape with decorative filework. The style and shape draws its inspiration from a number of period examples.
Overall length: 26.75″ (67,95 cm) Blade length: 21.25″ (54,0 cm) Blade width: 1.0″ (2,54 cm) Length of grip: 4.25″ (10,8 cm) Weight: Dagger/Sheath 22.5 oz. (638 grams); Dagger 17.4 oz. (493 grams) Blade Material: 1080 high carbon steel Hilt Material: 1018 mild steel Grip Material: Walnut Burl Sheath: Leather core with calfskin cover and suspension strap. Bronze chape with decorative filework.
This was a commission for a friend and local bagpiper. The 14.5″ (36,8 cm) blade is 15N20/1080 random pattern. Brass fittings with a wood grip made of 5000 year old bog oak from the UK. The sheath is a wood core with calf skin cover and brass fittings.
This sword (an Oakeshott Type XII) is inspired by a splendid piece in the St. Annen Museum in Lübeck, Germany. This sword is featured in the book, The Sword — Form and Thought published by the Deutsches Klingen Museum in Solingen, Germany. It contains the research of Swedish swordmaker, Peter Johnsson, for the 2015-2016 exhibit of the same name.
The goal of this project was to further familiarize myself with Peter’s research into the geometry of sword design. This sword was an ideal candidate for learning: it is highly corroded, but clearly, it once was a stunning piece. Because of the corrosion, the final dimensions are unclear, so this leaves room for multiple interpretations. I didn’t want to simply recreate Peter’s research on this sword. I wanted to utilize his geometric strategies to make another interpretation of what this sword may have looked like.
This is a sword for a mounted knight. It has a long blade for an extended reach. In addition, the bronze pommel is weighted to give the blade a lively feel in spite of the blade length. This sword would have made an impression on the battlefield.
Overall Length: 107,0 cm (42.13″)
Blade Length: 90,0 cm (35.43″)
Blade Width (at guard): 5,5 cm (2.17″)
Center of Balance (from guard): 13,0 cm (5.12″)
Center of Percussion (from guard): 61,0 cm (23.62″)
Weight: 1488 grams (3.28 lbs.)
Blade Steel: 80CRV2
Hilt Material: Bronze pommel and iron guard. Grip is a wood core with a linen thread wrap and a leather cover. The grip color is “abbey black.” Abbey black is a color that I prototyped with Emma Martinson at Albion Swords. Because black dye was not always available, monk robes were often over dyed blue (woad) to make a midnight blue, then red (madder) was dyed over the top of it to kill the blue tint. The result is a black that has a slight red tint in bright sunlight, but looks black when in the shade. Due to the two step dye process, you get a black appearance and not dark purple. It is an interesting twist to the regular black dye.
Scabbard: Hand carved basswood core. Leather cover dyed “abbey black.” Red leather belt with forged iron buckle. Forged iron chape with Fleur-de-lis file work.
I want to thank Peter for his help with the numerous questions that came up during the design process.
I should have published this a year ago, but life has a way of burying you. This is a project that I completed last year for my friend and antique sword collector, Lee Jones. Lee is a retired pathologist who has been collecting antique swords and weapons for a good portion of his adult life. Lee was friends with Ewart Oakeshott and many of the other major collectors of swords and weapons. Lee’s private collection is arguably one of the finest ancient sword collections in the United States.
During the fall of 2016, I had the privilege of joining swordsmiths Peter Johnsson and Kevin Cashen at Lee’s house to document swords from his collection. Lee was a gracious host. We enjoyed several evenings listening to Lee tell the stories of how he collected many of the outstanding items in his collection. Of course, he allowed us to handle and document a group of amazing swords in his collection. A wonderful Alexandria arsenal sword and an amazing Ulfbert were just two of the highlights. Lee also showed us a number of axes and other weapons in his collection.
At one point, Lee brought out this tiny axe, and explained that it was in the tomb of a Viking boy. It was found with a small sword, shield boss, and spearhead. The axe was very corroded, but there was something charming about. It had an alluring presence about it. Perhaps it was because it spoke volumes about the love of a father for a son who had departed too early. Whatever the reason, I was drawn to it. I spent the good part of an hour documenting the small axe. During the last day of our stay, Lee asked me if I would be interested in making a reproduction of the axe for his private collection. I was honored, and of course, I said “yes.”
This axe is mentioned in Ian Pierce’s book, Swords of the Viking Age, on page 86 in the caption of the picture of the boy’s sword. The axe, as well as the sword, spearhead, and shield boss, were found in Ringebu, Oppland, Norway.
I asked Lee if he would provide some information on how he acquired the axe. Here is the story:
This diminutive Viking style axehead came most recently from the extensive antique European arms and armor collection of Howard M. Curtis, athlete and noted Hollywood stuntman. First coming to wide notice in the television series Ripcord, Mr. Curtis’ film career ran from 1957 until his untimely death in 1979 when during a benefit skydiving demonstration he attempted to save an amateur skydiver whose lines became entangled and who then panicked, leading to a free fall death for both men.
Mr. Curtis’ extensive collection and supporting specialized library came to a single-owner sale at Christie’s in London in the fall of 1984. This axehead was one in a lot of eight items (#144), incidental to a Merovingian francisca head. Shortly thereafter the specialist dealer who had managed my purchases at that auction was contacted by another of his clients about the small axehead. This collector had acquired the same axehead, along with a similarly small sword in the late 1960s and the sword, this axehead, a small spearhead, arrowheads, a shield boss and cloak pin – all of similarly reduced proportions – were reported to have been found in the late 19th century in a boy’s weapon burial at Ringebu, Norway.
Following Mr. Curtis’ death this collector, from whom the axe head and sword had previously passed to Mr. Curtis, had contacted the family about reacquiring the items. He was successful in reclaiming the sword, but the axe head could not be found within Mr. Curtis’ extensive collection at that time and it eventually ended up at Christie’s. The collector later rediscovered the spearhead and facilitated its reunification with the sword and axe head, but the fate and location of the other items in the group remains unknown.
Since the axe was heavily corroded, I had to make an educated guess as to the original shape. I sketched the axe out then made a drawing in Illustrator that would serve as my guide for the reproduction. I forged the axe slightly large, so that I could grind and file it to the final dimensions on the drawing. In the picture below (R), you can see a black line around the perimeter of the head that represents the axes final dimension after grinding and filing.
The original axe that I documented at Lee’s home.
I forged the axe slightly large so that it could be adjusted to the dimension on my drawing.
I utilized refined, 19th century wrought iron that was from links in an anchor chain. I wanted the body to have clear slag lines to give it the appearance of ancient iron. The iron had very nice slags lines that formed a pleasing random pattern on the axe body once it was etched. The bit was forge welded into the body and is 1080 high carbon steel.
Around the same time I was making this axe, I was experimenting with ebonizing oak to give it a bog oak appearance. The haft on this axe is a piece of oak that I ebonized while I was experimenting with the process. Here is a link to my blog explaining the process.
Overall, I am very pleased with the result. It is always a guessing game when you are reproducing an artifact that is corroded, but I feel that I was able to stay true to the original shape of the piece. The 19th century iron and ebonized haft combine to make a convincing reproduction. When I shipped the axe to Lee, I received this lovely email explaining his react to the axe.
The axe arrived in perfect order this afternoon, obviously very well packaged to prevent damage to either the delivery man or to the axe. I was immediately and unexpectedly struck by just how well it felt in the hand – what a terror a ten year old might become with this in one hand. In old India there were some axes with heads almost this small that were clearly formed for function as adult’s weapons. Anyway, I can surely see why you have gained such a reputation for making fine classical axes. The etched, patterned body is most impressive and is made even more so by the contrast to the brightly polished inserted edge. I especially like that. The shaping and finish of the haft are superb and I am really enjoying seeing and feeling how different the whole of the weapon is when compared with the rusted remains of the head alone.
The next time I have the right light and am set up for photography I will take some photographs of your recreation along with the original group of artifacts and send them along to you. It is nice to make the comparison with what the rusted axe might have looked like a thousand years ago, though I am confident that it was never quite as nice as the axe you have made. I thank you for your thoughtful kindness…