So I got my custom sword today, 13 months after commission. I'd like to show you and share my thoughts on it.
Rob Miller has had a heck of a year artistically. He joined with a group of legendary musicians to form Tau Cross. Their new album was ranked #3 metal album of the year by Rolling Stone, and another major metal publication ranked them #1. If you like metal-infused punk with strong emotional undertones, check it out.
His forgework has been impressive as well. In 2015, piece after solid piece emerged, crowned by the Fetter Lane sword, his 25th year masterpiece, in collaboration with Mick Maxen.
Everything about Rob is Epic, really, except the man himself, he's this perfectly normal guy and very approachable.
This is a replica of a fantasy sword from Dungeon and Dragons, so I was free to design it without having to nail an Oakeshott type.
In 1984, Dragon, a magazine catering to the growing wargamer/role-player community, published an adventure for AD&D called 'Fedifensor'. It was well-written by Allen Moore and illustrated by prolific fantasy illustrator Jim Holloway. In it, the players were asked to enter the Astral Plane, a very space-like environment, to retrieve a Holy Avenger sword from Githyanki villians. The sword gained a kind of cult fame over the years. I decided to commish a replica because it is my all-time favorite sword name.
The piece has several features that nod to the illustration, including the decorated panels in the guard, the wide base and fuller, and the text etchings.
Shipping was uneventful. I wont waste pics on the box.
Blade length: just under 33" from tip to top of guard
Width and profile: 2.5" at guard, straight tapering to 1" @ 3.5" before tip
Handle length: just under 10" from top of guard
Weight: 3lb 8.6 oz
POB: 3.75" down from top of guard
Cross section: fullered rectangle transitioning to flattened diamond
Materials: EN45 spring steel, mild steel, sterling silver, figured maplewood, fine calfskin over ash boards
Construction: Full tang. Recessed nut in pommel.
I threw a lot of details and measurements at Rob. He joked that he isn't a CNC machine, but I dunno, he could have 6 or 7 of them tucked away in the corner back there. Pretty sure.
The primary bevels maintain 5/8" width and naturally come together down the blade, terminating the fuller. The edges are slightly parabolic in the fullered area and the edge has a fine secondary bevel. I asked for functionally sharp with decent edge strength.
Here's a shot of the rough blade before heat treat. There's the wax half mold of the guard I drew. You can see the tang area pretty well. It has radiused shoulders and is as wide and beefy as possible per spec. I also asked that the fuller not enter the blade to tang transition area. Because of this, you can see the curvature of the fuller's base before it disappears under the guard. Im fine with what some would consider an aesthetic flaw, in exchange for the added strength there. At the end of the day, the sword is a hand tool and the handle interface should be really strong.
I told Rob about the panels on the guard and said that he could put in whatever design he liked. He came up with this attractive knotwork. That theme is echoed in the center grip ring, with some charming carvings in there.
The pommel is one he's done before and is my favorite scent stopper design. Its soft, curved lines suggest a medieval crown, with the velvet inside a frame, or like maybe what a king in a deck of cards would wear.
I asked for the spine to maintain itself all the way to the tip of the tip for good thrusting.
This also results in non-linear distal taper overall.
What I wanted is this design was something that could hit like a warsword, thrust like a longsword and function like a one-handed Viking sword in a pinch.
I understood that there were trade-offs to balance in order to achieve this.
I didn't know if my design would "work", feel "good in the hand", etc. But Rob told me he felt it would make a fine Sword, not out of place in a medieval armoury.
My biggest real-world design influence was John Lundemo's excellent Sword of Hope.
SOH's base width is only 1/8" wider, at 2 5/8", and her length and profile is very similar. I PM'd SOH's owner and he was kind enough to share measurements and thoughts on the POB for a blade of this type. He also told me that it's the favorite of his collection by far and that it "compels the wielder to deliver powerful shearing cuts." And, it feels like she might just do that!
The weather's too foul to cut today but stay tuned. I like cutting videos as much as anyone.
The handle is compressed by female threads in the twist-on pommel. I am A-OK with that for a scent stopper. The peen shape on the top... you would be hard pressed to tell if its threaded or peened. Totally looks peened. Everything feels solid and comfortable. Originally the handle specified burlwood, but it was scarce so Rob suggested this. Looks really good, right?
The text is deeply acid etched. Rob raises bees and uses their wax to do that. It says FEDIFENSOR on one side and DEAMOUNSBANE on the other. One of Jim Holloway's things was to put runic looking texts on the blades he drew that said things in English. I changed the font slightly from the original to be a little more like Elder Furthak B, such as the E rune (M) turned on its side, etc... which is okay in a 'real world' version.
The polish level is well above satin but not quite mirror. It works well for a piece like this. The tricky-to-achieve fuller was well executed. The overall fit and finish is beyond reproach but not perfect, denoting her hand-made origins.
She wears her weight well. Mass distribution, as I said earlier, is excellent. Some of the factors that established the POB (wide, sexy hips... beefy tang... decent guard thickness) were good choices that added tip maneuverability, at the expense of neutral-balance weight.
She can indeed go one handed, but can't quite match dedicated one-handers for speed, maneuverability, and extended fatigue. She's an accurate and intuitive thruster, but cant quite match the later-period giant needles I've handled (Oakeshott type XVII, I'm talking to you!). As far as cutting, it feels like she can come close to a warsword; heck, it fells like she can really spank! Tip cutter, not so much, obviously. So! As far as a sword that can do a lot of things well goes, I'm quite pleased with the design balance. Its an overall success in the handling department as far as I'm concerned.
More Pictures, Please
This is my second sword, so now I have a legitimate collection. Err... a pair? Honey, I, uh, need to buy a katana... It joins my very well-designed DSA Scottish Claymore.
I think she achieves and good combination of 'elegant' and 'brutal'.
I've really wanted a sword like this all my life, ever since those great gaming days in the 80's. Nothing else quite like her in the world! My new sword, I mean. And I haven't seen any productions blades that hit all the right notes for me like Fed does.
Having Rob make this for me was absolutlely the right decision. His skills are tippy-top notch and he hit every design key. He's a reliable businessman to work with. It was a long wait but really worth it. It just goes to show what a man who is emotionally invested in his work, fortified with a great wealth of artistic skill and experience, and spiritually supercharged by the beautiful Isle of Skye, can do. CNC machine indeed! CNC = Can Nail Creations... Certainly No Compromises!
It's hard to put into words the emotions that come from owning such an heirloom. So, I'll just say I'll treasure her always.
Post by michaeljager on Sept 30, 2015 17:11:14 GMT
Czech based Armory Marek (http://www.armorymarek.com/) Has an excellent selection of percussion weapons, some highly decorated, at fair prices. I asked them if their metal shafts are hollow or solid; they are solid.