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Thread: Purchasing a Jian/Gim

  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
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    Purchasing a Jian/Gim

    Good day, everyone - first post here, and I have a question.

    I'm looking for a jian/gim, something of good quality, sharp, good steel, etc - ie, something that isn't a wallhanger, but would potentially be useable. However, I'm running into problems with finding one, as most of the balances I'm coming across aren't proper for what my teacher requires (the sword is for me).

    The issue is that most swordmakers have their balances in the region of 5" up the blade. I've found some with balances of 3" (I own a Kris Cutlery gim - an older model - where the balance is about that, but the grip is atrocious), which is still a little too far. My teacher would prefer it to be as close to the guard as possible.

    Sadly, this prevents me from looking into such wonderful designers as Jin-Shi.

    CAS Hanwei has one with a 1/2" balance point (their Qing Sword), but I have no idea how it stacks up otherwise (balance is nice, but there's more to a sword than that!).

    Zhi Swords informs me they could manage something from 5-10 cm. 2" (5 cm) is better than 3", but I have no idea (again) about their quality.

    I'm hoping someone here might have information on the Zhi and Hanwei swords, or suggestions of where else to look. I'm certainly not adverse to going custom, though the budget maxes out around $1000 (another reason to make sure the Hanwei one is good...).

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    england
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    Hi Ted,
    Firstly welcome,
    This thread may be of interest,
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...ip-Line-Update
    John does some nice stuff and this line is aimed toward a little more wallett friendly,definately worth an email,
    castlekeep in Scotland did a very nice set of bat themed swords a while back,pics on the site,
    that'd cover the custom option,i'd also add,dependant on price,it'd be worth getting a secondary set of hilt components in blank form and checing out Charles Wu's work, well thats my long term plan for a type of this sword i have for the future,
    Charles's work can be found in the bladesmith cafe here,worth a look if only for the pics,only seen good feedback on him too,
    cant offer an honest opinion o nthe hanwei stuff,looks nice but havent seen it in person,but at the budget you mention i'd check custom avenues first,personally,
    have you looked over seven stars site as yet,?good reports on their stuff,
    i'm not practising in this style of sword,but its a type i'd like to add in the future,just so you know,guys with working experience will hopefully add far more,
    good luck,

  3. #3
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    Have you talked to Craig at Arms & Armor? They have a jian on the market that is made-to-order and he has stated that things like blade-length and PoB can be altered. I don't know if he would do what you are wanting as it's completely historically inaccurate for a jian and it's "usablity" with such a close balance point might be questionable. It's worth shooting him an e-mail and an inquiry. Based on their reputation, you won't have to worry about the quality of the sword and the price is definately well within your stated budget.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted MacKinnon View Post
    The issue is that most swordmakers have their balances in the region of 5" up the blade. I've found some with balances of 3" (I own a Kris Cutlery gim - an older model - where the balance is about that, but the grip is atrocious), which is still a little too far. My teacher would prefer it to be as close to the guard as possible.
    There are spendidly-handling jian with POB out at about 4" or so. There's a lot more to handling than just where the POB is. I don't believe that your teacher's preference reflects historical jian, either. Basically, if you go out and get a <2" POB jian, you might be getting something substandard, where the balance has been made faulty just to bring the POB in. (I know it isn't useful for you for me to disagree with your teacher on this, but I do!)

    Depending on the weight you're willing to accept, some of the 4" jian can be adjusted. I looked at the Cold Steel Gim, which, IIRC, had a 3.5" POB on this particular example. The pommel is hollow, and it would be quite easy to add some extra weight there, perhaps using molten lead, or epoxying in some lead weights, and bring the POB to perhaps 2". But I think it's very well balanced as is, with a pivot point very close to the tip, which is nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted MacKinnon View Post
    Zhi Swords informs me they could manage something from 5-10 cm. 2" (5 cm) is better than 3", but I have no idea (again) about their quality.
    IMO, Zhi Swords are quite OK. Usable, and good value.
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  5. #5
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    Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
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    Thanks, everyone. Good information!

    I do understand that it's not historical to see Jian with that kind of point of balance (or so I'm discovering the more I delve into this), and it's possible that I'm reading too much into the POB. I have to admit that my own experience with Jian has been with the usual crappy practice stuff and the Kris Cutlery Gim (an older model, not their current one) which has an absolutely awful grip (wrapped in plasticized wire, of all things, which makes it slippery and uncomfortable).

    Perhaps something with a 3" Point of Balance would do, if it's of the proper weight, length, and quality.

    Chris, the Arms and Armor one I've seen - it looks good, but I'm disappointed in the lack of the scabbard (especially at that cost). Still, worth consideration...

    Lee, I'll check out that site and the Seven Star guys; as I recall, they don't have any email, you have to phone. No problem there.

    Timo - you say there are splendidly handling Jian with PoB of 4" or so. Can you list one or two examples (aside from Cold Steel, thank you for that one)? I was originally hoping to go with Ji-Shi, but Garrett informs me it's impossible for him to do less than 5" (which is a darned shame, as his stuff seems to be extremely good for the price).

    Again, thank you for the replies. :)
    Last edited by Ted MacKinnon; 08-03-2011 at 05:13 PM.

  6. #6
    Good to see you're getting settled in, Ted. I hope you do find a good sword that suits you.
    "This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
    -Homer Simpson.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted MacKinnon View Post
    Timo - you say there are splendidly handling Jian with PoB of 4" or so. Can you list one or two examples (aside from Cold Steel, thank you for that one)? I was originally hoping to go with Ji-Shi, but Garrett informs me it's impossible for him to do less than 5" (which is a darned shame, as his stuff seems to be extremely good for the price).
    The Hanwei Chinese Cutting Sword is good. Huanuo jian are good (the Cold Steel Gim is made by Huanuo, and I believe the Dynasty Forge jian are as well). I hear the Arms & Armor jian is well-handling too.

    I haven't handled any Zhi Sword one-handed jian (they do nice longsword-sized jian, and a very nice big two-handed jian, but these are very different to what you're after).
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
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    Thanks, Anders. :) Looks like I'm going to be here for a while trying to figure this all out.

    Thank you as well, Timo - I'll check out those swords.

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