Dear Mr. Mason,
I’m sorry to hear that you are no longer able to create the beautiful smallswords fully finished. I am looking to get one, either in parts or as a whole, and was wondering if you could help me make sense of what is available and good for me.
First, some context: I am part of a historical reconstruction group that also promotes fencing, as such, we do fencing workshops during the summer. I would use this sword during those workshops and demonstration fights, so it will see some use.
Then, my questions
SS no.1 third from left
SS no.10 first on left
I was wondering how complex it would be to fit the pommel to a blade with a tang resembling that of a fencing epee? Is it still possible to purchase wire wrapped grips from you? Is it possible to ask for specific colours? I was also wondering if you sold the fittings for the scabbards? How much would it cost?
Hilt-wise, I like hilt No. 1 as It actually looks a lot like the hilt on a smallsword I grabbed at auction last year. I was wondering how well it stands up to some beating. Otherwise, my second choice would be hilt No. 2 (or No. 10 depending on the grip length, I have small hands). I don’t know if this could help but the foil I use currently has a 4.5” grip and the pommel is 1” long. I’m hoping to be able to obtain similar characteristics with a smallsword.
I was about to forget, do you ship to Canada? If so do you have an idea of the shipping cost to X?
Thank you very much for any advice you can provide,
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you but my Parkinson’s makes it difficult to do much typing and so I am dictating this to my associate. As to the “immediately” available page I’m afraid that it’s an old page and those weapons are no longer available. In regard to fitting the pommel to a blade or tang, as you know the tang is the part of the blade that runs through the hilt. That and making the grip are the two biggest challenges to making your own sword. To modify the pommel as it comes from the foundry you will have to cut or grind off the pommel button and drill the remaining part to receive a six mm tap, assuming that is size of the threads on your blade. Check with your supplier.
I’m afraid that I no longer make the grips. You might appeal to one of my following associates who have made grips for some of my other hilts:
Make sure that they have made a grip for the weapon that you are interested in if you contact them.
I was never able to achieve a standard for scabbard fittings which brings me to a special point- no pun intended. Its problematic making a scabbard for a sword used for fencing as a proper fencing blade will of course have a protective button on the end which makes a practical scabbard rather disproportionate. If however you are using stage combat choreography and not free fencing a blunt blade without the button is permissible. All a bit moot as I no longer provide scabbards anyway, Sorry about that.
I’ve learned over time that the size of your hand makes little difference. As to the hilts you mentioned No.1 is among the most decorative and popular among my hilts and No. 10 is yet to make it to full production, No.2 is probably my favourite of those three to fence with and is in the more decorative range.
The commercially available blades I use most often are the Leon-Paul epee steam blade no.2 (the 2 is the size, as you probably know http://www.leonpaulusa.com/lp-non-electric-epee-blade.html , it doesn’t appear that they’re called steam blades anymore) it is a child sized epee blade, which makes the length appropriate for smallsword. It is unfortunately a rather ugly blade but it has become the standard in the UK for smallsword fencing. For stage combat purposes I always used what the London website used to call the theatrical epee replacement blade though I don’t know if those are still available, I’ll look into it. Otherwise the only other blade I would recommend at the moment is the 30” musketeer blade from Zen Armory in the US (http://www.zenwarriorarmory.com/catalog.php?item=257&catid=40&ret=catalog.php%3Fcategory%3D40 ). There is currently some interesting development in Colichemarde blades but I don’t have the details.
I just shipped a hilt to Canada last week, it cost about £12 in shipping.
P.S. As Ben and I have been composing this email we have been pulling out various swords and pieces and I have discovered that I do still have the very two weapons you mentioned at the beginning of your email. The no.1 with the bone handle is from the early days of Jacob’s Armoury. It’s heavier than subsequent versions of the hilt as this was before we had developed the ability to cast hollow pommels and ricasso. The bone grip is one of only two I ever made and is real bone, it also includes turk’s head knots which are still quite rare. The no.10 that you mentioned is one of only two I ever built.
These two weapons now represent historical points in the evolution of Jacob’s Armoury and I have become rather attached to them.
However all things have a price and quite frankly it would have to be a pretty high price to make me part with them now. I would be hard pressed to put a price tag on them but it would have to be in excess of £1000 each and it would probably even take some cajoling then but, hey ho.
P.P.S. These were good questions and I hope I’ve answered them to your satisfaction. It was done by no small effort; that being the case I hope you won’t mind if I repost much of our two emails in blog form on my website for general information. Visit the blog page on my website to review what I have posted and let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to retract, otherwise consider it free publicity.
Kind regards, Joel