Question Of The Day: Who Owns A Sword?

Does this licensed reproduction of Narsil/Anduril (from the Lord Of The Rings) make you think “Damn, that’s beautiful” or “what kind of unwashed gaming nerd would ever hang something like that on their wall?”

Which is basically another way of asking: Have you ever owned a sword? Do you still?

Before I ask for embarrassing admissions from the rest of you, I’ll make the first confession myself: back in my early-1890’s days of Dungeons & Dragons and junior high school, I used to own a couple of completely nonfunctional swords.

One of them was a decorative cavalry saber made of some kind of stainless steel, and the other was a flea-market longsword that might have been forged from old coffee cans.

I learned how nonfunctional they were when I tried to use them to eradicate a patch of Canadian thistle in our mountain backyard. The saber  was a reasonably effective scythe, but had such a tiny grip that even my small hands couldn’t use it comfortably.

The soft-steel longsword bent at the hilt with the first swing, and once I bent it back into shape both blades were relegated to the mantel over the fireplace. I’ve never felt the need to replace them, at least not with any sword I could actually afford to buy.

comments

  1. Matt in FL says:

    I’ve handled my friends’ swords (giggity), and while they’re neat, I’m always left with the thought of, “You paid $300 for that?”

  2. David says:

    “back in my early-1890′s days of Dungeons & Dragons”

    If that was a joke it was funny. If not you are making feel old as I could remember those days especially the D&D cartoon.

    Yes I still own a sword and Lord willing I’ll submit a video that has said sword in it. Swords are cool – no shame dude 🙂

  3. Brian.Z says:

    My father has a collection of Japanese swords he “acquired” during his time in the military. The blades on all of them are near impeccable but some of the dressing is in less than perfect condition, including the ivory hilt and scabbard of one that is cracked. He has gifted one to me, it is my understanding it belong to a soldier in WWII and the rest will come my way after hopefully many, many more years. I do tend to avoid saying that I have one or showing it to people as I understand the stigma associated with owning them.

    1. Chris Dumm says:

      There’s nothing uncool about vintage Japanese swords, other than the evil purposes they were used to.

      1. Brian.Z says:

        I understand that, however saying “Do you want to see my Japanese swords” makes people think “Oh, this guy bought the Highlander sword”.

  4. jwm says:

    No. Never owned one. My largest edged weapon is a Ka Bar cutlass machete. That was given to me and it’s been in a drawer ever since.

  5. Sam L. says:

    Used to have an Indian-made/style saber some 40+ years ago, and sharpened the blade. Never tried to cut anything with it, and am pretty sure it was dumped after I got married 35 years ago. Kept looking at the Museum Replicas catalog and thinking about buying a claymore, but like the pistols and rifles I also thought about, thinking was as far as I got.

    I took up fencing and the first thing I learned was that I didn’t EVER want to do that with real swords.

    1. Steve I. says:

      Edged weapons in a real conflict can be unnerving, but if accosted while gunless they’re the next best thing. Check out the various Fillipino martial arts (Kali, Arnis, Eskrima) for quality training. They utilize everything from small knives/daggers to swords, and the technques carry over well to empty hands. Training is usually done with sticks for obvious reasons.

  6. ceffalo says:

    I never owned any licensed reproductions; while they are pretty, their construction and materials are a bit …shaky. I studied historical fencing for a few years, so I was drawn to production swords by Lutel and Angus Trim. My favorite, however, was a semi-custom hand-and-a-half by Tinker Pearce. It was a joy to use, though I didn’t go through many exercises with it because I couldn’t bring myself to rebate the edge or even mess up the finish of the blade.

  7. Acepeacemaker says:

    I have two “Legacy Arms” brand swords. A crusader era broad sword and a shorter celtic sword… as a backup. I like to have weapons for every contingency. They are not toys. Forged, tempered, carbon spring steel, sharp enough to cut an orc’s head off with minimal effort. Also, it’s good exercise swinging them around and a serious dose of hand eye coordination training. I’m getting a spear next.

  8. Aharon says:

    No sword. My longest knife is an 8″ Ka-Bar Becker BK5. I do want to get something with a blade length between 12-22 inches.

  9. ChuckN says:

    I own several. A few are antiques that sit on a shelf. Others
    are modern reproductions for reenactments, such as a Cold
    Steel US Cavalry Saber. A few are handmade replicas, blunted
    and lightened, that get loaned out to the local theater groups.
    I also have an assortment of foils and epees standing in a
    corner waiting for far too infrequent practices.

  10. Mark N. says:

    I fenced in college, both foil and saber. Still have a saber in the garage, but too old to go fencing now. But I enjoyed it a lot and still think about sword fighting.
    My first “sword” was a cheap Chinese-made stainless Katana. Not a full tang. The fancy handle (plastic) quickly broke, so I fashioned my own from oak. No big loss. Then I bought an Angus Trim hand and a half Irish bastard sword, which is hanging on the wall a few feet away as I write. It has cut a lot of greenery and milk jugs. Very sharp, amazing point penetration. Weighs about the same as a full size .45. Unless Fletcherized (which is about the only way you can get one these days), Angus’ swords are plain and functional and nearly indestructible. I don’t know about now, but he used to test his blades by banging them on the edge of a 55 gallon steel drum. Architecturally, a proper sword, and he subs out the tempering to a high tech shop, so his hardness is always where it should be. For a machine made weapon (CNC), it is about the best there is. Maybe some day I’ll get rich and be able to purchase a hand-forged sword, but at $5000 for a low end and $20,000 plus at the high end, it ain’t happening soon.

    Interestingly enough, the sword at the top of the page is hanging on the wall in my son’s (former) bedroom. Definitely a hanger, not a useable weapon.

    1. Sam L. says:

      I doubt you are too old. Slow and out of practice, likely. Maybe out of shape, too. I don’t fit my foil and saber lames now.

  11. Duncan Idaho says:

    I enjoy reading about swords, but I don’t have the money- I like bows better anyway, for my medieval side.

    Took a kendo class, for a bit, but only used the bokken or shinai.

  12. Brad says:

    I own a sword. It’s a naval officer sword. Not sure how good it would be in a defensive situation

  13. Shane S says:

    This “unwashed gaming nerd” has owned many movie replica swords. They look awesome and that is all they are for. Better than hanging pictures on the wall.

  14. Aragorn says:

    I own two military swords.
    One is from the Rough Riders Era and has been passed down over the years.
    It is an officers model but not the made for show stuff made now. This was made for fighting. The other is a Japanese Sword from WW II and in excellent condition.

    I also own two medieval reproduction daggers which I paid about $400 and are
    of very good quality.

  15. Mr. Lighter says:

    I have my fencing Épée (like a foil, only with a thicker, stiffer blade, a bell guard, and a “pistol grip”), and a rather large Bowie, but that’s about it for sword type things.

  16. Pantera Vazquez says:

    Early 80’s, my late teens, I was into samurai swords, and pretty much any weapon I would see in kung-fu movies. Outgrew that fad by my mid 20’s. Today If I come across an interesting sword or fantasy knife at a gun & knife show, I pick it up as my brother has always loved them and his wife’s chinese heritage doesn’t hurt either. Their t.v. room is a veritable bladed weapon armory.

  17. Bob says:

    My father passed on to me his father’s katana that he picked up in WWII. I know a few people who train professionally with, but large amounts of geography prevent me from learning from them. So the sword just sits pretty on the wall…next to the 870.

  18. Dyspeptic says:

    If you own a machete then you own a sword. I have an Ontario Knife Co. 18″ machete which hangs in my garden shed. Looks and operates just like a short sword which is why I’m real careful using it. Whacks bushes real well. I sometimes think about grinding a spear point on it to make it better for thrusting. The way things are going in Crazyfornia it may be my only legal means of self defense soon.

  19. Steve I. says:

    Yes, just like anything else real, high-quality swords are expensive but not necessarily necessary just for trying one out to see if it’s the thing for you. Your first handgun probably wasn’t a Wilson Combat 1911 either…
    If you’re handy and want to make a sturdy one effective sword for practice against invading shrubbery (or small zombie trees) start with an old leaf spring from your local junkyard. Rough size/shape it with a cutting torch, then get busy with a beefy bench grinder. Balance is the key to a good feel and ease-of-use. A couple slabs of scrap hardwood bolted on will make a decent handle. Copying the general size/shape of a Japanese sword will yield a more enjoyable and useful tool than a huge medievel Viking type. (Unless you’re a huge medievel Viking of course). Think Kill Bill rather than Dungeons & Dragons….
    They can actually turn out quite nice, and if after reading up on basic technique and doing some backyard bushwacking you decide you enjoy weilding one, then the investment in a quality sword can be made.

  20. Ross says:

    Yes, I own a sword, Katana as a mater of fact, one of the CAS Hanwei blades, would love to get some more.

  21. sagebrushracer says:

    Yup, own a sword, a Cheness Cutlery “Tenchi” with a fullered blade. Very sturdy construction and the blade is properly shaped, cuts well. Got lots of use taking down low hanging pine branches to avoid “ladder fuels” if a brush fire ever came through. I beat on it more than I should but it cuts so much better then a axe or machete. Any proper sword blade will.

  22. Paul W says:

    Does a machete count?
    I want a sword, but I can’t stand cheap crappy non functional ones, and real ones cost more than I want to spend.

  23. Luke says:

    I’ve got a fairly cheap ACW reproduction cavalry saber. Overall, it’s about on par with what they issued to troopers back then. Which isn’t a high recommendation.

  24. Eric J. says:

    I’ve got an 1850s British officer’s sabre which I display on top of a bookcase in my library. As it’s the “real deal,” it would be capable of doing some major damage. The blade is still pretty sharp.

  25. scubamatt says:

    Yes, my wife and I both own Ginuntings (Filipino short swords, currently issued to their Marines). We also train (PTK) with them, however, so they were not a casual purchase. Ours are weapons, not decorations. For certain situations, nothing is better than a long knife/short sword, not even a hand gun.

  26. Grunt says:

    Seriously impressed by the number of ex fencers on here.
    Yup, 1 x handmade (as in I ground this thing out of a plank of pig iron) katana good for shrubs and thats about it. 1 x Spanish Toledo steel rapier (pig sticker of note) and few foils, epees and fencing sabres.
    I learnt the hard way though, unless you have wrists like a gorilla, good luck treating a rapier like a foil.

  27. Pat says:

    I have a Cheness short wide bladed (22 inch) Katana under the bed. Better than any baseball bat. I have a few other large bladed tools and weapons as well.

  28. 2hotel9 says:

    “Have you ever owned a sword? Do you still?”

    Yes. I own several, one is an antique of considerable age, taken as a war trophy in the Philippines in 1944. All are full function, not toys. The one I practice with was purchased from True Swords, a Musashi 1060 carbon steel blade, 27 1/2 inch blade, 55 HRC. $80. And no, I am not embarrassed to admit to people I own and know how to use swords, as for them handling them only people I trust. And they get the sharp knife speech,”Be careful, this is sharp, I don’t want to hear no boohooing cuz Bobo The Monkey Child done cut itself.”

  29. Evan says:

    I own that sword in the picture! I also own a non functional katana, Gimli’s battle axe, a very nice functional katana in a bamboo came sheathe, and a nice lightweight steel battle axe/ mace combo.

  30. Gabe says:

    i gots me one of them fancy samurai swords, a musashi hand honed on kultofathena.com

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Question Of The Day: Who Owns A Sword?

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