Article by Will Kalif
If you always wanted to own a medieval sword to hang on the wall, show to your friends, or bring with you to a Renaissance Faire this guide will help you to make a good first purchase.
Sword buying can be a very confusing process. There are thousands of sellers, hundreds of manufacturers, and a dozen different types of metals that swords are made out of. But you shouldn't worry too much about any of this. If this is your first sword then you should make it a pleasurable experience by getting the sword that looks and feels right for you. If you stick with a reputable seller then the sword should be of a good quality that will give you many years of worry free enjoyment and maybe even start you on a sword collecting hobby.
Get your hands on some swords if possible
First and foremost you should, if possible, visit a retail or wholesale store that has a wide variety of swords that you can actually hold and handle. If this means taking a twenty-five mile trip in the car then it is worth the time and effort. Bring with you a small notebook so you can take notes about the different swords you like and write down the different manufacturers and model numbers so you can do some online comparison shopping for price bargains. It is important to actually hold the sword and see it because the feel of a sword is difficult to convey on a website.
If you are going to buy a sword online
If you cannot visit a place that sells swords and you absolutely have to buy one online here are a couple of things you should do. Make very careful note of the weight of the sword then get yourself something that weighs the same and hold it in your hands. You will be surprised how this feels and there is a very big difference between a sword that weighs two pounds and one that weighs four pounds. You should also note the length of the sword then use a measuring tape to get a feel for the actual size of it. I would recommend you even cut a piece of cardboard into the shape and size of the sword you are thinking about buying. You can hold this cardboard mock up, swing it around and even pin it to the wall to get an idea of how it will look on display.
Deciding why you want a sword
The first and foremost decision you have to make is why you want the sword. This will greatly help you in choosing your first sword. There are two main reasons I will describe here. If you want a sword to hang on the wall as a display piece that you occasionally take down to show to friends then you should look for a sword that comes with a wall mount display or a rack display all in one package. Because medieval swords come in many different shapes, sizes, weights, and lengths buying a sword then trying to match it up with a rack can be a tricky process. I recommend you get a sword that comes with the rack or wall mount. If you want a sword to wear as part of a costume or as an accompaniment to Renaissance Faires and Role Playing events then you should get a sword that comes with a belt and scabbard. Again, because swords come in a tremendous variety of sizes, finding a scabbard can be a very difficult task.
Narrow your decision down to one of the three basic types of Medieval Swords
Because there are thousands of different swords you should figure out which of the three main types of swords you want to get.
Replicas of original swords- You may want to get a sword that is a replica of an authentic sword such as a Scottish claymore, Japanese Katana, or Spanish rapier.
Movie Replicas: - You may want to get a sword that you have seen in a movie and Lord of the Rings swords are very popular.
Fantasy Swords - These swords can have a very creative look, often times they have intricate handles and unique blade shapes.
So now you have narrowed you selection down to the use of the sword and the type of sword and you are ready to start looking at actually purchasing a sword. Here are some guidelines to help you make a good purchase.
New or used?
I recommend you only purchase a new sword from a reputable retailer. This way you have an ironclad guarantee that if there are any problems with the sword. You can just send it back and try another sword. The big online retailers such as Amazon or Overstock are perfectly suited to this. And if you find yourself looking at lesser-known sites or weapons specialty sites there are a few things you should look for. Does the site have the hackersafe guaranteed logo? Does it have a clearly posted customer support telephone number you can call?
Do your research and shop around before you buy
The Internet has brought with it the ability to gather information from a lot of different resources. Search the web for sites, forums, and articles on swords and the particular sword you want to buy. Take lots of notes so you can make an informed decision.
Swords have a two thousand year history and there are many manufacturers, sellers, collectors, and experts of swords. But when it comes down to your first sword you should decide on the sword that is going to make you happy and not worry about all the details that can easily cloud your decision. Get a sword that looks and feels right for you and get it from an established and well-know retailer and you will have a sword that will bring you years of enjoyment and maybe even start you off on a new hobby.
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