This Balaur Arms longsword has a classic lenticular cross section and a long-fullered design typical of many classic medieval swords of the 13th – 14th century. It is a Type XIIa blade designed to reduce much of a blades unnecessary weight whilst giving it a tapered profile better suited for contending with the improved armor of the time over earlier swords. The forged blade is high carbon steel with a finished spring temper and a well-tempered and resilient hardness of 50-52 HRc. The sword is fitted to the hilt with a solid peen of the tang over the pommel. The crossguard and pommel are steel and the grip is seasoned hardwood which has been bound in tight dark brown leather.
The sword is paired with a wooden scabbard which is wrapped in fitted dark brown leather and finished with a steel chape.
Please Note: The leather is very dark brown and not black. It may appear black depending on your monitor settings, but is actually a very dark brown.
No Returns on Close Outs
rockmodenick (verified owner) –
I bought this because I’ve been meaning to get an inexpensive sharp long sword and actually quite like both of my prior generation Balaur swords, despite both being seconds due to a small warp, specifically a very slight twist in the geometry.
I’ll start with the good.
The weight and balance are excellent. The blade actually weighed in at 2 lbs 9.5 oz, which is 2.5 oz lighter than the published specification. It sounds like a small difference but I like light and getting a sword this size down to basically 2.5 pounds is great. It feels very lively, I think a strong person used to longsword could easily use this one handed if they wanted.
The grip has a good thickness and feel. The leather has a nice texture, as though shrunken over cord. Easy to index, with nice, smooth risen ridges at the top, bottom, and two in the center, prominent but not uncomfortable.
It is on the short side for a modern hilt, exactly as I like it, only about an inch between my hands. If you use gauntlets you will probably have to palm the wheel pommel, which seems suitable for it, but I don’t actually have gauntlets to test that. The pommel is smooth and solid, with the tang peen smoothly integrated. It’s a squared tang, so this pommel will NOT be twisting on you.
I like the guard as well, the geometry seems designed to be strong in the directions it would be taking impacts, but still light. The inset for the blade is quite tight to the blade shape.
The overall build of the hilt is very tight guard to peen, with no movement at all. The finish is on the course side, but good for a working blade. Kind of a “wire brush” look that won’t show scratches and would be easy to clean dirt and tarnish from.
The base of the blade is solidly set into the guard, with the fuller running down to the tang. The first half to 2/3 of the blade shows good symmetry with an even, smooth, deep fuller grind. The lines where the fuller ends are parallel with the cutting edge and acceptably crisp for the price point. The surface of the blade shows some rippling, especially in the fuller, but again, acceptable for the price point.
The very tip is also pleasing – good shape, good symmetry, and sturdy but pointy.
Now, the bad.
The whole last 1/3 of the blade other than the tip is a bit of a mess. The lines of the fuller become irregular, giving the whole fuller an unpleasant wobbly appearance. The rippling kicks way up as well, creating a messy look, but it’s not just the finish – the irregularities are in the structure as well. The cutting edges stop being straight, curving in, then back out in different places on each side – it’s not an uneven taper, it’s random wandering, caused by uneven grinds. I had this sharpened, so I can’t imagine how bad they were before that evened it a bit, especially next to where the fullers end. The fuller terminations themselves are bad as well, sudden and not at all symmetrical or centered.
The edge is also not great. I can see the sharpening service brought it to an edge, it’s just not very keen. Forget a paper test, it couldn’t even cut into corrugated cardboard neatly, tearing and crushing it instead. The blade steel seems to stay quite thick right up until the edge bevel starts, that might play a role.
Overall, while the bottom half of the blade is good, very good for the price, there’s still issues. To compare, even the known second quality Balaur items I bought at a steep discount show much fewer irregularities and a much more even surface than this sword has. The fullers terminated evenly and remained perfectly centered on one, the spine created by the hollow grind was similarly perfect on the other. The edges are even, not clearly suffering from an uneven surface that’s more than cosmetic. This hilt on the new versions does seem to be nicer, as does the scabbard, and there’s no twist in the blade at all. The first half or so of the blade seems as well ground. But even with the twist, the blades on the discounted seconds were overall nicer – a small warp literally was literally the only thing off, vs one of the most important cutting areas of the blade with those grind issues.
I had originally considered that this might be an outlier which didn’t meet required standards, but having paid for the sharpening service, I know for a fact this blade was closely examined along the whole length during that process. Several of the defects which reached the edges probably even made it more difficult. Since there’s no way the state of this blade could have been unknown before it was shipped, what I’m seeing must be considered within acceptable tolerances.
I wish I could give this three and a half stars instead of only three, but with the issues with the fuller near the end and surface/edges in that area of the blade, I can’t give it four.
It’s still not bad for the price, but with general appearance near the end of the fullers I doubt I’d display it. It’s just slightly disappointing because one area that makes up less than 1/4 of the total blade length brought the overall impression down so much. If you’re not a stickler for structural details and don’t mind the cosmetics this is probably a four star item.
Jesse Southwick (verified owner) –
I bought this sword with the sharpening service and I can say that the sword itself is quite good for the price point. Mine in particular has a great balance to it, not too heavy, a good edge, and a semi straight fuller. My issue comes with the scabbard. The scabbard with mine is completely loose and does not hold the sword when held upside down, the sword is barely held in there anyway. I may have just been unlucky with a bad scabbard and a great sword, but at least the sword is good! I’ll make a makeshift shim for the scabbard with paper towels most likely :)
kawayama (verified owner) –
Very nice sword, well balanced and light.
Nathan K (verified owner) –
This is a great sword at this price point! I own several Albions and have owned Del Tin, Windlass etc…
I would rate this above the Del Tin’s I’ve owned. Fit and finish very good. A slight waviness to the fuller when looking down the blade is the only thing I can find to nitpick. The handling is great. The grip leather is on par w Albions and it has a decent scabbard. I would prefer a choice of grip color other than black but oh well.
Eoshock (verified owner) –
for 300 you get a real handmade sword. its REAL if its not sharp do it yourself. its good steel. its around 1075 carbon steel with a somewhat soft spring temper. the hilt and pommel will rust. BLUE IT look up perma blue. your welcome
Peter Grande (verified owner) –
A great feature not mentioned in the specs: the cross guard has a double bevel ‘edge’ well suited for half swording and close contact.
A very good 2-hander for the price.
The pommel could use more meat, giving a closer POB.
Steven (verified owner) –
I knew ahead of time this would be no Albion. However, I find the sword to be well made. I’m no expert since I am not a soldier during the 13 or 14th centuries. That being said the line of the blade are straight. The cross guard is solid and straight. The handle is solid after one modification. The pommel is slightly off center but it doesn’t change the feel of the sword.
The handle developed a small movement after a few days. It would move laterally (broad side of sword to broad side of sword). The movement was likely less than a millimeter but was noticeable. I drill a tiny hole on the bottom of the handle and used a glue injector (like a syringe) to inject 3mL of JB Weld into the handle. It doesn’t budge at all not and there is no damage to the leather. I love the sword. I almost want a second because I enjoy the first so much.
Don Cárlos (verified owner) –
Short but sweet.
I have to say as a fabricator myself (different professions, I know) I pay good attention to details and know my way around steel. That being said I am very pleased with this sword for the price.
The blade overall is perfectly straight and so is the fuller on both sides.
The hilt is fantastic, wrap is great and the pommel is fairly straight. Only gripe I have is the hilt is slightly off center with the blade.
Guard fit is very snug compared to some other models I have seen. Next to no gaps.
Overall everything is snug and well assembled.
Edge put on by KoA is very nice. Seems by the grind put on it that the blade has a nice even temper throughout.
Wsabers (verified owner) –
Item arrived very quick, I was impressed with the shipping. The weight of the package was a bit light for what I was expecting. As I opened, and unwrapped the sword, I was a bit dismayed. The blade is crooked. I wondered why the blade did not sing at first test, or second or third. Closer examination revealed several flaws. There are so many flaws in this blade, I do not think they can be repaired without reforging. This truly makes me sad.
Ray Blundell (verified owner) –
I just received my balaur arms 13 century long sword,ordered a munitions grade.The weight is 2.8oz,blade length 36″,pob is 4&5/8,s”,the guard is 7&1/2″.First off -sharping-I have the balaur arms type xI v knightly arming where the sharping was perfect,on the balaur arms 15th century Italian long sword was good, the balaur arms german long sword it was good.On this one 13th century long sword about 12″ at upper end of the blade it got off and little wide,also the blade has twist not bad but it also has a bend at the last 6″.The Italian 15 century long sword has twist also which one would expect in a munitions grade,I bent my 13th century long swords bent back some.I really like the size of the guard ,The promel was just litter biger than expected but is done well ,grip really like the small cord in it,also the seam where it is glued together is done well.The grip is thinner than the other balaur arms sword,kind of like the feel to it,also really like th dark brown color.I have ordered the templar sword to me its some what arn used in the movie -arn the knights templplar The sword shiped out within aprox 2 and half days then fedx ground took over.On there groung shipping they don,t deliver early if ahead of schedule,although I did get one day early ,I was sitting chandler hub for two to three days after talking with them I accidently got it a day befor the due date.After I get the templar sword I will cut some mats,cult of athena has doon a real good job getting the swords ready and shiped out I did cut some water bottles right after I got the 13th century long sword ,cut very and I didn’t find the blade to whipie.Rember to only cut water bottles ,mats and bamboo,safe cutting Ray Blundell
Ray Blundell (verified owner) –
I almost forgot the scabbard is great ,had to file down little bit due it was relly tight now everything is good It is very nicely done,Ray Blundell
crowtalons (verified owner) –
With the unique situation that came about with this order, I will be reviewing two of these swords. I am an experienced martial artist in many Asian weapons, but due to lack of places to learn at the time I got started, I lack experience in the European styles that got me interested in swords to begin with. With the growing popularity in HEMA and this close out sale I figured it was a great opportunity to buy my first longsword.
I ordered one of these swords in the standard grade, sharpened. When the first sword arrived I was slightly puzzled because it was not packaged the way I am used to receiving a new sword. It was shipped in its scabbard and even though it was oiled, it was not the thick packing oil wrapped in plastic that pretty much any high carbon sword or tool is shipped in that I am used to. I chalked this up to the sharpening service. I was very please with it at first inspection. The scabbard looked great with nice straight and centered stitching, the risers were nicely defined and the sword fit very nicely in it. It’s definitely an affordable style scabbard but it looked really nice and functioned well.
The handle on the sword looked great too. The pommel was nicely shaped and the peening was done well enough for the price range. The leather grip looked and felt great. The wire wrapped texture of the leather was done so well it nearly fooled me into thinking it was actually wire wrapped. The guard also looked very nice and they sharpened the ends of the quillon (which I didn’t know was a thing that was done). The blade of the sword was nice and straight and the sharpening was sufficiently done. There is a tiny dull spot here and there but over all the sharpening was very well done and I was confident that I could could easily touch up the dull spots myself. I have read about the fullers on these not being very nice, but the one on this particular sword looked great, very straight and neat. The one thing wrong with it was it did somewhat go off center as it went down the blade and it didn’t match exactly on both sides. I am really nitpicking on that though. Over all, the initial reaction to the sword was great.
Once I started to train with the sword I thought I noticed some movement in the pommel but I had a hard time duplicating it so I kept training with it. I felt that the sword was nicely balanced and lively. Very easy to wield with one hand or two. I was a bit disappointed in the length of the grip. I would call this more of a hand and a half sword as opposed to a two handed sword. Someone reviewed that they had about an inch in between their hands on this grip and I found I had no space between mine. I guess I just have larger hands? That being said, after about three hours of training with this sword the movement in the pommel became obvious and easy to duplicate. I then deemed the sword unsafe to continue training with and asked for a replacement.
The staff was very helpful and friendly and sent me a return shipping label and issued a replacement sword for me. Great customer service.
When I received my replacement sword I found that the packaging was more like what I expected with a new sword. The blade was packaged outside of its scabbard, with the thick oil in a plastic bag with a hard plastic tip on it just like I am used to seeing with other swords I’ve ordered.
Sadly the scabbard, while still nice, was not as nicely made. The stitching on the back is straight but goes diagonally off center which doesn’t look nice. The risers are not as well defined as the first one either. I’m nitpicking again but it’s just not as well made. Over all, it still functioned well and will serve its purpose. I’m just disappointed that it doesn’t look as nice as the one I sent back.
Unfortunately that trend continued with the sword. The pommel has a rougher shape than the one I sent back. The peening was probably just as nice though. The wire wrapped texture on the leather was not stamped as well as the first one. The pommel, guard, and blade are also covered with small scratches where as the first sword has a very nice finish all over.
The fuller on the blade is dead center and matches on both sides, but it’s ugly and wanders around towards the tip of the blade. Similar to other reviews I read on this sword.
The sharpening on this one was poorly done. I think there is only one section on the sword I would call sharp down near the tip on one edge. They gave me a bevel to start with, but I will have to spend some time with my sharpening stones on this one to actually get it sharp.
With all of these mostly cosmetic flaws I have to say that this sword is solid and nothing moves on it yet. I’ve only put about 4 hours of training in with it but it feels solid and I think the balance is even better than the first one. It’s very lively and fun to wield.
Over all, I am happy with it and it is a good solid first longsword at an affordable price. I wish that I could combine the best parts of both swords I received and give this sword a higher rating but with the amount of inconsistencies in quality with this sword I can only give a 3 stars. I imagine that this is why this model is on closeout.
Ray Blundell (verified owner) –
Ray Blundell-update on single mat cutting cut great.