OlliN Sword Design

Xa.1

Overall Length: 41 inches
Blade Length: 34.25 inches
Point of Balance: 6 inches from cross
Center of Percussion: 23.5 inches from cross
Weight: 3.4 lbs
Pommel type: J
Cross type: 2
Blade type: Xa
Blade width at cross: 2 inches
Blade width 2 inches from tip: 1 inch

Performance Review: The first thing that you notice when you pick up this sword and swing it is that it is definitely blade biased. This is further borne out both in cutting and by the raw statistical numbers. If you examine the numbers you will notice that the point of balance is out at 6 inches on a 41 inch sword. That means that this sword definitely has what is often called "blade presence." It is a mean cutter but not as quick as other swords and it is much harder to recover from a swing then you might expect with this particular design. The point tracks reasonably well and is good for thrusting. At this time I do not know if the performance of this sword is similar to that of the original. I do know some people that have personally handled the original however and will update this review when that data is in hand. At this point I would say that this sword performs well but is not nearly as agile as I had anticipated.

Appearance: This is a very nicely executed sword. In the past I have had four different custom makers tell me that they had no interest in producing this particular sword because of the difficulty of the design. The biggest headache for the maker with this sword is the cross section that changes dramatically over the length of the blade. At the cross the blade is a deeply hollowground section with the added challenge of a strong fuller and as the sword tapers to the point the cross section becomes more and more hexagonal unti at the point it is completely hexagonal. Mark at OlliN did a superb job of the getting the most difficult part the cross section right... and he did it all by hand. The blade is nicely finished with no ripples or grind marks both things that one would expect hand grinding. This speaks volumes for Mark's talent. The hilt furniture is nicely executed with a few tiny pits on the cross. The handle is thin leather over cord with three risers and is also cleanly built. The pommel has been peened and then the peening has been ground down and polished to blend in with the pommel. It is so nicely done as to be almost undetectable. The only downsides of this sword aesthetically are that there are slight assymetries in the opposing sides of the pommel, there is a very slight asymmetry in the blade tip and the fullers at the very end slightly tail off out of the straight line that they maintain over the rest of the sword's length.

Conclusion: In my opinion this sword is aesthetically very nicely done. It captures the look of the Xa.1 from Oakeshott's records of the medieval sword perfectly. The fit and finish are on par with most production and many custom sword makers. Mechanically I believe that this sword needs to be tweaked a little. I think that the balance point is a little to far out and that the weight needs to be pared down slightly for this type of sword. Having said that the sword still performs well. This sword speaks volumes for the talents of Mark and the others at OlliN and I expect that we shall see more very good things from them in the future.