The Hedemark Viking sword is the first Dark Age sword in the Valiant Armoury Signature Series - a highly successful and well regarded collaboration between Valiant Armoury and Gus Trim and Christian Fletcher, two modern masters of sword design and creation.
In this hands on, warts and all review, we take a close look at this sword to see exactly what a little extra money will get you - and you can decide for yourself if it is worth it or not..
Review by Avery Pierce, Harmony, USA
As soon as I saw the first pictures of this blade earlier this year, I knew I had to have it. I bet I bugged Richard Tabor so much he probably wanted to slap me. I constantly asked for updates on the release 'till I was blue in the face, and he was always patient with me, promptly answering all my questions.
My love of the Viking culture and their blades stretches back to my childhood. I've always Been fascinated by the "barbaric" raiders who ravaged Europe during the dark ages, and am always glad to add a good Viking weapon to my collection.
The Hedemark arrived in the above box. This is the first V.A. sword I've bought, so I didn't know what to expect with the packaging. The box was well taped and secured, no complaints there. After opening the box I found another box inside.
"Solid packaging so far" I thought. I cut the tape away and flipped open the box. There it was, My long awaited Hedemark.
Held in place with Styrofoam cushions, it looked well rested and ready for action. Overall I give the transit packaging an A+, I doubt this would've been hurt if the delivery truck turned over.
My overall first look was more than worth the wait. I gently drew the sword from its scabbard to examine to tightness of the fit and the blade itself.
The blade was coated with the usual oil which I wiped off before taking it outside for a few dry swings.
More on the handling later.
HISTORY: The history of the name Hedemark is simple enough.
Hedemark is the name of a county in Norway.
As for the history of this sword, well I'm not really sure. I assume it's named for an artifact find in said county, but I really have no idea.
But the history of this type of sword, man what a rich history.
First off, this is one of the coolest scabbards I've ever seen for a Viking sword. It's certainly the coolest I own. The sword fits tightly in the mouth of the scabbard. Tight enough to be turned upside down without falling out, but not tight enough to hinder a draw. It appears to have a wood core, but I couldn't see deep enough in the mouth to get a picture.
The leather joint on the back is even and tight. Honestly, I can't tell if it's stitched or glued. I can't see a stitch anywhere.
Also the leather wrapping that holds the wooden Baldric loop on this one meets evenly and appears to be glued.
On the face of wrappings there is a type of knotwork that adds a bit flair to it as well as holding the wooden belt loop.
The other cool thing about the scabbard is the chape it has. I'm not entirely sure it's period correct, but I still like it. It looks to be just a bit of polished metal and I can see no imperfections.
The only downside to the scabbard is that it doesn't meet The crossguard completely. The arc of the scabbard mouth is shallower than the guard. But since this was the first run and I think they were a bit rushed to get these out, it's no big deal to me.
Aside from the fact that this is a Gus Trim blade, it was the hilt that immediately drew me to this sword. Many of the Viking blades I've handled in the past had a cramped grip. Almost too small, especially if you have large hands.
This one, however, just looked comfortable in the pictures I saw. But I was still surprised at how good it did feel in hand. The first thing I did was break it down and have a look at the tang. I know alot of folks don't like the hex nut attachment, I'm actually one of them. But with anything it has its pros and cons. The biggest pro is the fact that you can break it down. With just a few quick turns of an Allen wrench and she was loose.
The pommel is a 2 piece construction which I think ROCKS! Plus the tang is a full 5/8"s wide.
The components are all satin polished to a clean finish. There is some light pitting on the back of the pommel, but I couldn't get a good picture of it either.
As I said, this is a very comfortable grip. After reassembling the hilt, I took a few pics in the hammer and handshake grip. You can see in the hammer picture how much room my hand has.
Now the handshake pic turned out a bit odd. I was taking these myself and it looks like the pommel is digging into my wrist. But when holding it to cut I never really felt it.
The grip appears to be glued and cord wrapped. The seam of the leather is so clean I couldn't even get a picture of it.
I think most of use know the story about Gus Trim's and Chris Fletcher's involvement on the new blades. So I won't dwell to much on this, I'll just say their work is AWESOME!
The blade has a satin finish which I prefer to a mirror finish. The fuller is even and has no deviations, terminating under the crossguard. The blade is lenticular in cross section with a sharp edge. It's sharp enough to cut a piece of thick paper but not sharp enough to cut note book paper.
I've always been a sucker for Type X blades and this one is no let down. The blade has a nice distal and profile taper leading into a nice spatulate tip.
When holding this sword, the blade just begs to cut something.
Steel - 1060 High carbon
Weight - 3lbs 2oz
Overall length - 38 3/8"
Blade length - 31 3/4"
Grip length - 4 1/4"
Fuller length - 30 3/16"
Crossguard length - 4 3/4"
Blade width at guard - 2"
Blade width at fuller termination - 1 1/2"
Fuller width 5/8"
P.O.B. - 5 7/8" from guard
C.O.P. - about 15 1/2" from guard
Tang width - 5/8"
Hex nut assembly
Baldric length - 79"
Baldric width - 1 1/16"
With the P.O.B. on this sword it feels lighter than what it really is. After dry handling it a bit I figured it was time for some bottles. While I was cutting I realized 2 things.
1) I really need to work on my recovery. To used to axes I guess.
2) This sword doesn't need near as much power as I was using.
But I'll let the video speak for itself.
VIDEO: Water bottle cutting|
Nice clean cuts, notice how the base of the bottle stays put.
Realize that I'm out of practice with swords and I'm so used to axes now that it's hard to change up. I was swinging using more force than necessary, and I got to get out there and work on that. As for the sword itself, it handled like a dream. For a Viking type X, I was happily impressed.
Even though this one is over our standard $300 price point, I figured it was worth a review. And really, it's not that far over the mark. Plus, for the way that this blade is weighted and the way it handles, I believe the value for money on this one is through the roof!
The Valiant Armoury Hedemark sword sells for US$530 and is currently exclusively available only at the Valiant Armoury Custom Sword Shoppe here.
Please note that as some customization of the leather coloring is available, lead time may vary considerably between placing an order and receiving the sword depending on their current workload.
I hope this review of the Hedemark sword has been helpful.