Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Review: Arms & Armor German Branch Sword

Arms & Armor

Location: US


German Branch Sword

Catalog No.: 078

Arms & Armor’s German Branch Sword, (Gothic Bough or Writhen) is a “riding” or “arming” sword meant for every day use. The sword’s original measurements were based on desperate sources which proved to be incorrect and Arms and Armor has updated the blade to its accurate dimensions.

The original, owned by the Royal Armouries in Leeds, now on loan to the Frazier museum in Kentucky, is a branch style sword. The pommel has a twist with three pruned branches. The grip ends in a washer and is peened. The grip is a carved wood with a roped fillet ring mid-grip. The guard is also a twisted branch that terminates in three pruned ends. The blade itself is long, with an overall length of 43 and 3/16" and tapers to an acute point. All the furniture is gilt. (on my sword all the furniture is steel with no gilding.)

My branch sword is a slight modification on that in the Arms & Armor catalog. I chose not to go gilt on the furniture; instead, the pommel, guard, and fillet ring are naked steel. The wooden grip is nicely carved in a twisted branch form and is oval in cross section; fitting the hand well. The color is a warm caramel brown with a glossy finish. The blade is long and elegant and definitely made for thrusting and cutting. Its balance point is approximately 1.5 - 2 inches from the guard. It is light, weighing in a little fewer than three pounds, and is quick, making an impressive sound as it cuts the air. Its lightness will make it an ideal weapon for practicing cuts from horseback.

Bob just happened to do a test thrust, and with barely any effort at all, it slid into and through a box, and if you’ll pardon the cliché, it was like a hot knife through butter. Part of this is due to the fact that it came “sharp”, and I don’t mean in the “un-sharp sharp” of re-enactment blades since. This sword is designed to cut. The edges have been honed to razor sharpness, something to be aware of if you order.

Hopefully in the next few weeks, we will put it through its paces on horseback.

The sword lacks the dark grip I had asked for, looking for a more “black and white” coloration rather than the coloration of the extant piece. Not a huge disappointment, but it would have been nice. However, on the plus side, it doesn’t have any kind of smith mark. So, in order to make the sword truly unique among other re-enactment blades ordered from the same source, I am having a smith’s mark placed on it and it will have a custom, historic scabbard to finish it off.

I will post pictures when I have the chance.


Jeffrey Hedgecock said...

When I was at the Frazier in January 06 the sword was no longer on display. I believe it's part of the rotating collection and may have been returned to Leeds.

Jenn said...

Good to know. I've not been to the Frazier yet. It may have been on loan post your visit.

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