The classic Italian Longsword from Balaur Arms returns with a twist – we asked swordmaker and martial artist LK Chen to not simply reproduce the original model, but to further optimize it to create a performance longsword. In addition to a host of material and construction improvements, LK Chen was able to achieve outstanding balance and performance characteristics with the use of substantial distal taper and faithfully executed hollow-ground blade. In the hand the sword is a natural extension of the arm and deft enough to be used with a single hand if necessary, but it truly comes into its own when wielded in two hands. A quick striker with a fast recovery, this is a sword that can keep pace with the speed of your mind in the duel.
The sword itself takes its inspiration from late 14th and mid 15th century century longswords, namely an unnamed longsword with an acutely tapered blade in the collection of the Royal Armouries, the longsword attributed to Edward the Black Prince and also inspiration for the hilt in the form of the famed Brescia Spadona in the Musueo Civico in Brescia, Italy.
The blade is forged from GB 60Si2MnA high carbon alloy spring steel and is well tempered to a 54-55 HRc hardness. This version of the Italian Longsword has a sharp edge as factory standard from the manufacturer for a smooth edge that removes the efficiency loss from a secondary bevel for optimal cutting. The hollow ground blade cross section not only reduces weight, but also ensures that there is minimum drag as the blade bites into and passes through its target. The blade has a tapered profile and is intended for efficient cut-and-thrust use – it retains the necessary rigidity for thrusting and will handle half-sword technique well for defeating an armored harness. LK Chen was able to optimize the tip shape and blade rigidity to bring out the full potential of this longsword for thrusting as a fine match to its already excellent cutting ability. The sword will reliably slice through tatami when matched with practiced technique.
The crossguard and pommel are crafted from stainless steel with a satin polished finish. The crossguard resists loosening because it has an internal wedge-shaped channel that ensured a tight friction fit when mounted onto the blade tang and shoulder. The The tang was then hot-peened over the pommel to anchor the blade into the hilt and ensure a robust construction. The hardwood grip is crafted from two halves of wood which were glued at the seam over the tang and then bound in tight leather. This construction method for the grip ensures that even if the wood were to shrink slightly over time it would not compromise the tightness of the sword hilt. Swords with friction-fit peens can loosen over time if the wooden grip shrinks and then leaves a gap in that friction-fit for the hilt. This alternate method used for this Italian Longsword removes that possibility by keeping the grip fitting separate from the pommel and guard.
The sword is paired with a tough wooden scabbard which is tightly bound in well-stitched black leather and completed with a stainless steel chape.