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Thread: Darksword Armory...Any Experiences?

  1. #1

    Darksword Armory...Any Experiences?

    I'm looking into getting a Darksword Armory sword, it's between the carpathian and the knight sword. Although I must admit I'm more a fan of the hand and a half styles, I've seen some good reviews of the knight sword out there. I want durability and reliability. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I have the ranger and although I havent used it the construction seems solid.
    Daring beyond power, risking against prudent advice and optimists in danger...
    Thucydides

  3. #3
    Is your Ranger threaded or peened? I know at one point all DSA swords where threaded but now they are switching over to peened. I saw a picture of the tang somewhere and was not impressed at it's thickness, although they have a reputation for being very tough.

  4. #4
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    It's peened
    Daring beyond power, risking against prudent advice and optimists in danger...
    Thucydides

  5. #5
    I've owned two and seen a few more - some disassembled and some broken. They were all models with threaded pommels; hopefully the newer swords have had a few other changes made as well.

    I'd spend my money elsewhere.

  6. #6

    Question Distal taper...

    Hello Gents,

    I hate to interject without actually having handled or used one of Dark Sword Armory's swords. That being said, I have been concerned with the overall heft of these swords and the relatively minimal distal taper. How do you folks find the way the respond in-hand? From my vantage point, they seem like the antithesis of Valiant Armoury swords and their fairly whippy spring steel blades, who have a most definative distal taper. Do DSA swords have much capacity to flex?

    IMHO, my brand new Valiant Armoury Practical Atrim Longsword seems too flexible and despite the nice edge geometry, I will probably return it to KOA. Anyone interested in buying it or trading for it? These are tough to get a hold of, lately. Most vendors are waitng on back order for this model. I need to get it back to KOA before too much more time passes... it will ship out on Friday if nobody bites.

    I know DSA makes them as blunts, who can have an edge ground but I question how well they cut with merely a beveled edge to them (considering how thick the blades are forged).

    Anyone like to offer their persoanl experiences with a DSA sword for cutting practice? The prices are almost too good to be true, considering they are crafted in Canada, not China. I am not expecting the same level of excellence and craftsmanship as say, an Arms & Armor or an Albion. That would be stupid. I have come to realize that these wonderful makers charge what they do for a valid and very specific reason, quality and attention to historical detail. I really need to get an Albion Crecy...

    Later Guys, Jon
    Last edited by jonpalombi; 01-25-2011 at 09:21 AM.
    "A wise person aspires the study of swordsmanship. A lucky person finds a worthy teacher, an unlucky person finds yet another student... in the guise of a genuine Master. Sadly, a fool cannot tell the difference either way." Anecdotes of The Unknown Swordsman

  7. #7
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    considering they are crafted in Canada
    Are they truly though? I know I have read a lot of print regarding that as a fact but no in house pictures of the plant nor of a visit from another to their manufacturing line (with pictures and proof if any care to). The swords come out in large batches and despite touting customs as an option, those as well tend to look as garish as any out there in terms of trash metal fittings. Add inconsistency of historic descriptions of the swords and even labeling a complex steel as simply 1060 may be cause for any to consider further than say they are simply what they are.

    In my own view and perspective, the company has been doing a bit of catch up and surely have made some advances and are even catering to a broader spectrum of the sword market. Eyal is fairly tight lipped overall about his productions and maybe rightly so but the whole ball of wax adds up to ad copy and disclosures being a source I would regard only if something seemed very attractive. That attraction is a very subjective thing but my take on Darksword Armory is as objective as I can be without handling item one.

    Here is an interesting aside from one of the Darksword designers. A blog worth reading through if a Darksword Armory fan.
    http://terrymaranda.com/author/terrymaranda/

    I don't think any can say that Darksword doesn't qualify as a contender in the market and there have been advances. If nothing else, maybe raw stock to build on or modify but that can be said for any of the market sector these types of swords are targeted at.

    Regarding the Valiant 304, another sword I have never handled but again in my own perspective think the labeling of it as a longsword is a little off in description. Certainly not mine to make the call but it is a thin and light XIIa, not a sturdy stiff XV or XVIIIb or even a stout XVIa. However, I have my old Gus XIIIa that distal tapers like a madman and is only slightly heavier. Many might regard it as too flexible. My XIIa from Gus is more like three pounds and a good bit stiffer. Anyway, I think the strength of the Valiant 304 is in two handed bottle cutting and not a German Longsword swordsmanship context. Gus and Sonny have collaborated with other swords and maybe the best fit for German Longsword drill would be the I Beam trainers (if they still exist). The whole topic of Gus and Valiant might be better met in another thread instead of a sidebar. I don't see the comparison really except the both roughly in the same cost bracket. Some do like the heaviness of the Darksword swords and think it a plus. Go figure

    Cheers

    Hotspur; attahed some "custom" Darksword pictures
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  8. #8
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    I am perfectly satisfied with my ranger, although it is indeed heavy even as a 2 hander. Never bothered to check geometry of the blade as I never intented to cut. Seems like a beast of a blade to me...
    Daring beyond power, risking against prudent advice and optimists in danger...
    Thucydides

  9. #9
    Thanks for all the info. guys. I'll keep doing more research.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    If nothing else, maybe raw stock to build on or modify
    I currently have their Gothic two hander (the older threaded pommel model and it's still in the Classifieds) Here's a bit of a review from a bladesmith's perspective.

    The blade is 3" longer than was advertised and the sword weighs in at around 8oz heavier than advertised (at least - my scale stinks). The POB is also two inches farther out than I was told on the phone. I didn't return it b/c of the restocking fee DSA charges (I exchanged a different sword I found unacceptable for this one and didn't want to shell out $90 and not have a sword to show for it). I also knew that I based on how the blade is contructed I could easily modify it to my liking.

    To explain that a bit more... the thinnest part of the blade (excluding the tip) is right at the guard. It maintains that thickness until the fuller begins, then instantly gets thicker. There's little to no distal taper (I'll get the calipers out if you like) the length of the blade to the end of the fuller. The thickest part of the blade is right after the fuller ends. Again, very little distal taper the remaining blade length until it tapers to the point. All of that gives you a POB that's at over 6" from the guard.

    What it isn't: a well mannered sword with proper edge geometry.
    What the blade is: a well tempered, overbuilt blade 'blank'

    How I want to fix it: shorten the blade by extending the handle into it(converting it to a peened pommel in the process). That will also allow for a beefed up tang in a high stress area (a friend's handle shattered on a DSA Gothic, so we got to see the blade-tang transition). Regrind the blade incorporating a proper distal taper, bringing the POB back to into the 3-4" range from the guard and grind the points off the fishtail (not comfortable even while wearing heavy gloves)

    The lack of shop time hasn't let me do that though and considering what shop time spent on 'Me' projects would cost me in lost income, I'm better off just selling it and buying an Albion. Though I admit to really wanting to try the Hanwei Tinker Longsword

    My .02

  11. #11
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    I've handled a Gothic from DSA and to me it feels more like a club than a sword. I would recommend it if you want to beat things with it, but I think you could get a club or hammer at a cheaper price.

  12. #12
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    I have the Nomad from DA and it's a well-made piece. Distal taper is there, the blade flexes well and returns to true, and the edge is a powerful cutter/slasher. This is apparently one of their lighter swords, but it cuts much like a katana, in spite of the pseudo-Gothic/European styling. I initially did some test cutting on some maple tree limbs and it cut through them "like butta". Very fast and effective weapon, well-balanced, and a beauty to behold to boot. So far no complaints from me.

  13. #13
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    Darksword cutting test photos

    My mistake, those test cuts for the Darksword Armory Nomad weren't done on a soft maple, but on what may have been a hard ash. A few photos are attached. I've used fresh maple with other swords, but it tended to leave a lot of sticky gunk on the blade, so I switched.

    I also did some testing of the sword's edge on some tall weeds, and it mowed them cleanly and smoothly like a razor on whiskers. Again, a few photos are below. It was a regular "Kusanagi no shinken".

    I heartily recommend Darksword Armory's pieces. Mine compares as at least an equal to a Windlass or Hanwei piece (I've tested many a sword in my collection). I didn't care to test it on cement blocks or 50-gallon drums, but you can see videos of those tests at the company website.
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  14. #14
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    Here's a close-up of the grass/weeds after the strike.
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  16. #16
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    Keep in mind guys that the spam filter is going to block a lot of links as spam. Also consider that these businesses are not hard to find and that reference doesn't necessarily need a hard link to get a point across. DarkSword is offering nothing here but free advertising.

    Glen

  17. #17
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    Glen,

    Understood. I'm not advertising for DA; I really admire the speed and handling of this particular piece. It definitely isn't "like a club". Of course, it is the only one of theirs that I've handled so far.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Wm. Michael Mott View Post
    Thanks Glen C. but Mr. Mott is not a staff member, but one of our many customers and fans, hence this is not a "self generated" free advertising. Is a forum not supposed to equally accept positive as well as negative opinions ?

    Steve Stevens,
    Darksword Armory inc.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by S. Stevens View Post
    Thanks Glen C. but Mr. Mott is not a staff member, but one of our many customers and fans, hence this is not a "self generated" free advertising. Is a forum not supposed to equally accept positive as well as negative opinions ?

    Steve Stevens,
    Darksword Armory inc.
    Hi Steve

    Your response here now is quite obviously self generated (or at the beck and call of a patron). If you want to look at chapter and verse of the rules, have a good look at that. Nor should you be assuming my response to another was posted other than to alert him as to why his post needed to be moderated in order to be seen.

    Maybe you missed that part in my response to him.

    Both you and Eyal have appeared here somewhat defensively in the past and often for no real reason than rebuking other's opinion. Back track that and find where I personally have ever denied either of you the right to do so. You are here now apparently to defend a customer's posting here?

    Cheers

    GC

  20. #20
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    Apparently there is "history" here on these forums that I was not aware of (I've looked through the archives today), and I'm not wanting to step on toes in either direction.

    Suffice to say that I'm quite satisfied with the quality of the Darksword Nomad that I have. Similarly, I love my "fantasy katana" (designed by Eddie Floyd) from MRL back in the 90s, the Scott Rodell "cutting jian," the Windlass "outworld katana," Windlass scottish backsword, Irish broadsword forged from Krupp CK55 steel, and on and on. Swords of low quality I won't even bother to mention here, much less defend.

    So let there be peace all around! I certainly don't want to open old wounds which I had no part in inflicting in the first place.

    Best,

    -Mike

  21. #21
    This is a post I made yesterday at myarmoury.com in a thread about Darksword. My post, quoted below, concerns a Darksword Norman I just received. In no way do I want to appear antagonistic, but it appears all is not well at DSA. I would appreciate any and all opinions on this matter.

    I can reply with first hand experience based upon a Darksword Norman that I received just two days ago. I also have a Darksword Parrying Dagger enroute, expected delivery date is tomorrow. So I can only speak on The Norman.

    The Norman was scraped and scratched almost from head to toe.

    After a lengthy and cautious steel wool & wiping down session using various grades, I did manage to remove much of what I regard as going far beyond the little imperfections that are often found, if not expected in almost any handmade sword. However, there are deeper scratches on the guard and the blade which would simply involve too much metal removal to alleviate. While my efforts resulted in a much better appearance by far, I'm still left with a flawed Darksword Norman sword.

    What I also find discomforting is the fact that Darksword, prior to building and preparing my Norman for shipment, had announced a new, revised Norman. How nice I thought, good timing. However, I was sent the older version, and this version even lacked Darksword's maker's mark.

    I have sent an email to Darksword about all of this. Cutting to the chase, I asked if I could return The Norman I had received, and asked if they would send me the new version. I also asked for a better examination before shipment. I have not yet received a reply, it is the weekend, but I am hopeful of a favorable response.

    I realize that at their prices one cannot not expect Albion-like quality, it just won't happen. But I do expect Darksword, or any maker for that matter, to deliver a product which is inspected for such obvious flaws before they are shipped. The maker should deliver the piece as advertised and as displayed.

    In my communications with Eyal, emails, phone calls, he always comes across as a gentleman. In no way do I want to appear mean spirited here. But the facts are the facts.

    Thanks, Jon
    My thoughts after making the post:
    - I should have simply left the sword alone, contacted DSA and returned it.
    - But no, I made a good faith effort at saving everyone the inconvenience of returning the sword by doing some work, well done IMO, but limited by the degree and depth of the scratches, on the sword.
    - Perhaps the hilt is from the old Norman (the guard is definitely from the old Norman) and the blade from the newly revised Norman and a maker's mark is not placed upon the new Norman.

    Thanks, Jon
    Last edited by J. Hargis; 03-05-2012 at 12:43 PM.

  22. #22

    Darksword's 1812 Parrying Dagger

    Hello.

    As I stated in my previous post concerning The Norman sword from Darksword, I was expecting delivery of their Parrying Dagger 1812, their version of a main-guache, see: http://www.darksword-armory.com/medieval-daggers/. It has arrived and this is what I can tell you. I'll try to upload some pictures later.

    - There are multiple rusted areas; at the end where the wire wrapping meets the guard, on both sides of the upper blade / ricasso, and in multiple areas where major scratches have occurred. One could almost get the impression by the rust contrast that the knife is chrome plated, I'm not claiming it is, but these blemishes do jump out.

    - The wood grip underneath the wire wrap is blatantly visible where the wire wrap meets the guard / quillons. The wire wrap appears incomplete, in fact it is incomplete. Perhaps a turkshead or some sort of collar would have been helpful.

    - And the worst part. The ring (which is perhaps too thin) is soldered to the guard, well, very poorly. Solder is smeared broadly all over the areas of attachment and there are large lumps of solder on both sides of the attachment points, there was no post soldering clean-up. And again, rust is clearly visible at both of the ring's connecting points

    - The included scabbard, while not unattractive, isn't close to fitting the dagger. It's about 1/4 inch too wide, and a good 1 1/2 inch too long. The dagger simply flops around inside the scabbard.

    - Most of the blade isn't bad, some scratches which I could remove as I did with partial success on their Norman sword. The dagger design is attractive, I generally like the main-guache variety of dagger, especially this dagger as shown in the photo displayed at DSA's website. This dagger does feel sturdy, nothing rattles or wobbles. It's the poor execution of assembly and the general lack of quality control that is obvious.

    All in all, to this collector, Darksword Armory has proven to be very disappointing and I cannot recommended them until some very obvious quality control problems are addressed.

    So, I see there will be additional discussion points in another email to Darksword.

    Thanks, Jon

  23. #23

    Darksword incompetence before your very eyes

    Here are some pictures of '1812 Parrying Dagger' from Darksword Armoury that I received and previously described. Folks, the pretty pictures at their website are very deceptive.

    Take note of their soldering. Notice that the wire wrap leaves exposed wood. Observe the rust that has formed in the many large scratches, scrapes, and elsewhere. I didn't show the pommel area, much more of the same. And this is what Darksword Armoury produces, this is what passed through their quality control, or lack of quality control. This is utter incompetence. How would you feel after seeing this come through the mail? Go ahead and click on the thumbnails.

    I paid Darksword $160.00 for this poor quality junk. For $20.00 more you can buy a beautiful dagger from Arms & Armor. Yes, $180.00 is A & A's beginning price for some of their quality daggers.

    I recommend that everyone take their hard earned dollars anywhere but to DSA regardless of the item you think looks good in their deceptive pictures.

    Thanks, Jon
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  24. #24
    Just wish I'd read some reviews such as this before losing $300. on a "Darksword" dud.
    If an issue arises (and mine had lots), expect "0" compensation, or any attempt for a satisfactory outcome.
    Apparently, once they have your money... they just don't care.
    Last edited by grant hariton; 03-06-2013 at 01:43 PM.

  25. #25
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    interested in nodachi.....several companies aew advertising nodachis----that seem to be much more Nagamaki
    Keith L.

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