Post by Lonely Wolf Forge on Nov 9, 2014 0:01:48 GMT
This sword came into my temporary possession from one of our fellow forumites who purchased the sword and wasnt totally happy with the level of sharpness the sword came with from the factory. I offered my services to sharpen the blade up for him so that he could enjoy cutting with it to its full potential.
This sword is a classic Oakshotte type X sword based on the historical Ulfberht swords. Since Historical knowledge is not my area of expertise, I will not elaborate any further.
As i stated i recieved this sword from a forumite for the purposes of resharpening and i have no monetary involvement in this sword other than being paid to sharpen it. I did not purchase this sword and i am not in any way affiliated with Windlass Steel crafts. I am conducting this review simply because i had time to handle the sword and inspect it and i figure someone will bennefit from the information.
My initial impressions were that this was a very solid well put together sword with an overall pleasing look to it. Yup. It's a Sword
First ill list the Manufacturer specs and then ill list actual specs based on my own measurements.
Blade: 30-1/4" long, 2-1/8" wide
Wt: 3 lbs
Blade Length: 30 1/16"
Blade Width at Shoulder: 2 1/8"
Grip Length: 4"
Overall: 36 1/8"
Weight: 3lb 2.1oz
POB: +5" from guard
Thickness: 4.1mm at shoulder
Thickness: 3.3mm at tip
The Blade of the sword is very straight and cleanly executed with no visible deviation in the profile. The bevels are evenly ground and the fuller is well executed and tapers nicely. The blade has a very stiff temper and flexes with significant force applied. This was a very nice aspect for me, i like my swords on the stiff side. The polish on the blade is a low mirror finish and is well done, although there are some lengthways streaks in the finish. I do not know if this is how it was from the factory or if a 3rd party had touched the finish. The streaks hardly detract from the overall appearance of the blade and it is exactly what i expect a working mans sword to look like. I am not a fan of super mirrored finishes.
The handle is well shaped and comfortable to the hand, and the grip is long enough that it leaves clearance between your wrist and lower hand and the pommel allowing the wielder to use the sword with the Proper hammer grip comfortably. The grip is wrapped in black leather in a spiral pattern and is pleasing to the eye. The grip feels comfortable no matter what way you grip it and there is no visible or felt seam. I'm not sure exactly how they achieve this.
In my opinion the guard is on the clunky side, its very thick and large, without alot of taper, and the edges are not rounded so they can kinda of dig into your index finger when gripping the sword. I would have liked to have seen all the edges rounded and the profile of the guard itself to have a good bit more taper. The polish is very well done in a smooth even satin with no machine marks able to be seen. Pleasant to my eyes as i do not like overly polished fittings, but they were able to keep it very clean and satin.
The pommel is very well done and all the edges have been heavily rounded and smoothed out. The same nice satin finish was applied to the pommel as the guard, and i find it most pleasing. The pommel does not dig into the wrist in any way which seems to be a common problem with viking swords. I blame the nice grip length and the overall pommel execution on this sword for its superb feel in the hand. The peen itself is somewhat blended and ground smooth but still visible. I would have preferred that the peen been left with the hammer texture like my tinker viking had, but the general consensus seems that people lean towards the ground smooth/blended out peen. So no fault there.
The scabbard is pretty well done and is very nice overall, it is a wood core wrapped in black leather with some leather lace applied in a criss cross manner that gives the scabbard just enough artistic flare without coming off as gaudy and overdone. The chape is well formed and solidly attached, and the throat itself does not interfere with the blade at all. My only complain with the scabbard is that the tip of the blade rattles inside, although the scabbard is a fairly tight secure fit. It's no Crusader monk, but for a production scabbard I am fairly impressed.
This sword has alot of blade presence and a good heft to it. Its a solid hitter and cuts very well, however Ithink the sword would benefit from a little weight being taking out of the guard and pommel to bring the POB back to around 4 or 4.5" The sword is far from unwieldy though and is fun to cut with.
This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my reviews now, but the main weakness of this sword is probably the cutting edge, while it was a lot sharper than any of the Darksword armory or Hanwei Tinkers I've owned, it was still sub paper cutting sharp and did not perform spectacular on bottles. I do think that the sword was sharp enough to take to a fight right out of the box, but it was far from optimal for the swords potential, the bevels were ground very well and came to a nice edge, it just needed that extra care given and the edge would have been fantastic. If i would rate my Darksword Armory, Hanwei, and Windlass sword level of sharpness from one to ten id give the dark sword armory a 0, the tinkers a 3 or 4, and the windlass a 6. I guess i should be grateful because if these production companies didn't shoddily sharpen their swords I would have a lot less business :lol: but i know from past experience it can be disappointing to receive a sword that doesn't cut well when you don't have the tools or skills to sharpen it.
The windlass Ulfberht is an overall nice sword and is both visually and functionally pleasing, with a bit more attention and TLC it could be a real gem, however as consumers we need to be realistic. This is a 250$ sword and when making a sword at such prices corners must be cut somewhere. We can not expect ATRIM quality out of cheaper production swords, although that also doesn't mean we should bend over backwards and accept sub par quality either. Windlass seems to have done a good job on this sword overall.
Solid heavy hitting
Nice overall look
Edge could have been a lot better
Minor streaking in the polish of the blade(may or may not be factory mistake)
I noticed that the blade itself is sleightly offset as it sits in the guard and grip which could effect cutting performance and edge alignment if the user is not aware of it, while things like this can happen, I consider it a semi major flaw. At a glance you cant tell, but if you carefully bring it up to eye level and really look you can see the deviation from center line. More cutting will need to be done to determine if this effects the sword as a whole.
the only other con is the ugggggly MADE IN INDIA laser etch. Gross. they need to come up with a makers mark stamp or leave the blades face bare. cuz that looks horrible.
The Bottom Line
I would recommend this sword as it currently lies in its price point, The sword overall is quite nice and fun to play around with for a backyard beater sword, although it is not without its small issues i do think what you get for the price is of fair value. Windlass would benefit from tighter quality control, and better attention to their edges, but I'm pretty satisfied with the sword. It will cut out of the box, just don't expect fantastic clean performance. I'd buy one.