Customized Sabre by Jordan Williams Nov 5, 2019 16:12:04 GMT
Post by lebleuchevalier on Nov 5, 2019 16:12:04 GMT
Recently, our Jordan Williams customized a Cold Steel British 1796 light cavalry sabre blade for me. If you are familiar with Cold Steel's replica, then you know about its shortcomings: it's too thick at the foible and its distal tapering is inadequate. The result is a rather slow-moving and clunky sabre and not the deft and fierce chopper like the originals. When I received this sword, it did not have the 1796 fittings. What I received was the old version of their Indian tulwar, which utilized the 1796 pattern blade. So although the hilt and the scabbard was Indian themed, the blade itself was the same as their 1796 replica.
I removed the old brass hilt and replaced it with an iron hilt I imported from India. I also removed the vinyl wrap from the scabbard. Unfortunately, I marred the etchings on the hilt, and my feeble attempts to polish away all the etchings were for naught. Here is the condition of the sword before I sent it to Jordan for customization.
Jordan's proposition was to remove the damaged hilt, remove a considerable amount of material from the foible, improve the distal tapering overall, and re-polish the blade and outfit it with a new hilt that he would build himself.
He offered the following design:
The hilt design he proposed is rather curious. It's outwardly Mexican/American, but also feels rather English as well. I was very keen on the idea that the sword should have a dubious ethnic origin, almost as if the sword had been retrofitted with new hilts multiple times. The result would be a sword that appeared well-traveled, lived in, and possessing a history.
Jordan kept me updated throughout the process and was a delight to collaborate with. His true-to-scale drawings were especially helpful. He is also practical and cost-efficient. I wanted the sword to be low status in terms of materials used and the overall aesthetic, a sort of no nonsense and fierce chopping blade. That is definitely what I received, but the sword has several unexpected little touches. For example, the hole he drilled for the pin through the walnut grip, was marred on one side by a chip in the wood. So he got creative and put a small brass plate over it. The tiny touch of brass is charming and it wound up flowing beautifully with the brass scabbard fittings. Sometimes "mistakes" yield unique qualities.
Shortly before he shipped the finished sword to me, he proposed trimming down the length of the blade by two inches. This would result in the tip being reprofiled.
He offered the following historical sketch as inspiration:
I approved his plan and received the sword within a week. I have had it in my possession for nearly three weeks now and thought it best to hold off on a review until I lived with it for a short time and refinished the scabbard. When it comes to the scabbard, I removed the horrible lacquer from the brass and wrapped the wood core in two layers of cotton/linen. I sealed the fabric with garnet shellac and waxed the material with beeswax (very historic). I am thrilled with the result.
In terms of the handling characteristics, I will say very little. I have no practical or martial experience with modern sabre blades, but I can comment on its general dry handling qualities. For starters, it's a light blade, 1 lb. 10 oz. I believe. It has rather a forward balance, about 9-10 inches from the grip, but that appears to be within a normative range. It feels deft and lively in the hand and there is no doubt to my mind that this sword, in the right hands, could chop through a Gordian Knot.
Overall, I am thrilled with the outcome. I highly recommend Jordan's services as a cutler. He is a wonderful collaborator and the cost for his services are more than fair. He is also honest, which I sincerely appreciate. The sword is quickly becoming very dear to me. What I value most about it is that it looks and feels as though it has a long history. I like to imagine that the sword wound up in the hands of an Irish immigrant to the U.S. during the War of 1812, and that it passed through his descendants until it was re-hilted for use during the Mexican American War, and perhaps even the Spanish American War.