The sword cane was one of the last live blades carried by the Renaissance gentleman. But this model brings this relic of a previous age right into the 21st century...
Touted as both extremely practical, durable and deadly - this review by Charles Appel will take a closer look to see if it lives up to its reputation.
Review by Charles A. Appel, Marietta USA
The first two swords I ever owned were a Swiss sword bayonet (which I still have) and a sword stick which I purchased from a company in India. This was not what I would call a high quality product, but for about ten dollars, I couldn't very well complain. Unfortunately that sword disappeared in one of several moves I've made. Despite the fact that it wasn't much of a sword, I found the idea interesting and decided recently to get another.
No problem. There is a glut of sword canes/sword sticks available today. As expected, these range in quality from junk to very high grade. Now, it happens that I am a fan of Cold Steel products, including their swords. And it also happens that they market several types of sword cane.
Four of these are the same except for the handle. They are light weight, thrust-only designs. But one of their more recent efforts is a different breed of cat. It is called the Heavy Duty Sword Cane. Cold Steel claims that this sword is capable of cuts as well as thrusts. This intrigued me and one day, while perusing the items for sale at Trueswords.com, I felt the need to buy one of them.
As is normally the case when purchasing from True Swords, the sword arrived quickly. Inside the outer carton was a cardboard box. This contained a long bag made of bubble wrap, which in turn contained the sword.
My second impression, on un-packaging the sword was that the blade was extremely thick. In that respect, it reminded me of the blade on a katana. Upon measuring the blade I found that it was 0.240 inches in thickness at the handle, though it looked thicker.
The sword was also extremely sharp along most of the true edge. The false edge near the tip was semi-sharp. All in all, it seemed a very businesslike piece of equipment but not something you might call attractive. It is not ugly. It is simply plain.
And now Ill let you in on my first impression. Drawing the sword from the cane body requires quite a bit of effort and when you do so you are greeted with a distinctive and unpleasant odour. It reminds me of wet enamel house paint. I was sorely tempted to give this sword the name "stinky". As it turns out, the sword deserves a better appellation.
(1) Measured at the handle.
(2) Measured at ricasso.
(3) Measure three inches from end of blade.
(4) A very rough estimate.
The blade is constructed of 1050 carbon steel. The flats have a mirror polish while the remainder of the blade has what looks like a brushed finish. Most of the true edge was sharp when it arrived and I found no reason to sharpen it further. (There were some points along the forte that were less sharp than I would like.) If I were better at making reverse cuts, I would probably have touched up the false edge. It arrived only semi-sharp.
Most of the blade is single edged but the last eight inches is double edged. This gives the sword a rather wicked appearance, at least in my opinion.
In the pictures above and below you can the transition from single edge to double edge.
Above is a picture of the blade at the ricasso.
Above you can see the blade as it enters the handle.
Safety Note: This sword cane has no guard. It would be easy to injure yourself while thrusting. The hand can slide forward onto the blade. This is what is known as a 'bad thing' and extreme caution should be exercised.
The grip and hilt appear to be one piece, held to the blade by three metal pins. This grip/hilt is made of a synthetic material called 'Grivory'. Cold Steel claims the material is extremely tough and durable. For more information on Grivory, check out the web sites below.
The grip also houses dual O-Rings which serve to keep the blade in the body of the cane until needed. The O-rings form a vacuum seal which is very strong. Removing the sword from the cane requires some effort. This method of closure has the advantage that there are no exposed buttons or other giveaways that this is a sword cane. It has the drawback that the O-Rings will wear out. Fortunately they should be cheap and easy to replace.
The worst design feature of the grip is that it is round. This means that there is no tactile index to determine the best grip. I found that I could gain a proper grip visually, but this could introduce a delay factor that would be undesirable in a tense situation.
The sword cane body is made of aluminum. It appears to be very sturdy, but I didn't try striking anything with it. It serves its purpose, but there is a problem. It is likely that when drawing the sword, you will scrape the edge against the aluminum. This gives the potential of dulling the blade. However, I did not notice any problem in dullness during testing.
Cutting and Thrusting tests were conducted using water-filled containers, cardboard, and 5/16th inch plywood. The sword had no problems with any of these targets.
Despite the fact that the grip is round and the sword is blade heavy, it handles quite nicely. It is important to maintain a firm grip when thrusting as there is no guard to prevent the hand from sliding onto the blade. For thrusts against plywood, I shifted my grip so that the cane was held rather like a - - well, like a cane. See the picture below. Am I repeating myself. You bet.
I really like the blade design used on this sword. I'm seriously considering buying a second cane and finding a good sword cutler who could set the blade up with a spadroon or small sword grip.
As far as the sword can itself, this is probably the toughest one you can buy for a reasonable sum of money. For the $94.95 price that True Swords is asking this is a bargain indeed.
I hope this review of the Cold Steel Heavy Duty Cane Sword has been helpful. To return to Renaissance Swords from Heavy Duty Sword Cane Review, click here