Back in 2005, most of Windlasses longer hand and a half swords and up were considered to be too 'whippy' to be of any real practical cutting use.
However, there was one that broke the mold way back when - the massive Windlass Sword of War - which in many ways was ahead of it's time - and a real shame that it is no longer available.
Review by Grayson C., Florida, USA
I purchased this two handed sword a few years ago as my first truly functional sword. Up to this point I've only owned a training rapier and a rapier wallhanger. Needless to say, I was very excited to see this sword out of the box and in my grubby little hands :-).
These are only my opinions and anyone may feel free to differ. I'm doing this review to help the sword buying community out with what I feel is an anomaly: A beater from windlass??? Gasp...!
These are all pictures taken today and obviously, it may be a bit different from when it first arrived to me.
My first impression on the sword was its weight. This is a very large sword, 50 inches in length and a whopping 4 lbs. It came in a surprisingly well made leather sheath (for windlass quality at least...), but as always fits like a hefty bag on a a toothpick and Will fall off if turned at a 20 degree angle.
The blade is whippy, as is common on these two handed swords made by this company. While windlass "claims" that this can be wielded in one hand, I am a tall person with decent strength and I find it near impossible. The sword only reaches its true potential with two hands.
I checked the temper on this sword and, as was expected, it excelled beautifully. The blade sprung back after it was flexed more than a foot.
The hilt is made of wood with 3 unevenly spaced risers. Originally, the sword had a bright red suede leather handle, however with the addition of saddle soap, This turned into a more worn, rugged look that I like. Also, the suede feel is virtually non-existent after this. The tang is peened (however it is very obvious and stands out like a sore thumb...but still better than no peening, right :-D!?), which is surprising for windlass. A good improvement. A nicely designed wheel pommel tops it off, along with two metal rings at each end of the handle. Obviously, like all windlass, swords, the fittings have become loose and prone to the disconcerting "ping ping" sound.
On Handling: Needless to say, this sword is a cutter. While it is not sharp, it still delivers powerful and fast blows with the edge. I've cut several (hundred) limbs and clipped new growth from trees, all with ease. I've even slammed the sword into a 2 foot diameter tree trunk repeatedly at full strength without breakage -- a strong tang. Again, it can be a bit of a chore due to its weight, but after some practice, you get used to it and it doesn't become as tiring. The blade takes a little effort to swing from guard to guard during attacks and it doesn't "effortlessly" flow like some higher end swords do. regardless, it still handles well and I don't have any real qualms about it.
Thrusts were average. This sword is not a thrusting sword, and therefore cannot be expected to excel in the field like later designs dedicated almost solely for the thrust. The whippy blade is the only thing stopping this monster from doing better than it already does. If windlass could spend just 10% more effort on this, I'm sure their swords would be phenomenal. That being said, Thrusting at targets (my bed, no less :-)) the blade seemed to want to bend off target while the tip stayed in the desired location. Obviously, this sword does not excel in thrusts, but their is still some authority to them.
I took these pictures one after the other after each cut. There is absolutely no false image distortion or any of that malarky. Only the swords (blunt) edge and its awesome power! A bit like Paul's partial destruction of the maximillain, only my sword went through far less trauma and had a higher chance of coming out "alive," for lack of better term.
Here is the first cut:
Quite surprising results, I'd never expected it to be that good of a cut. I was actually expecting the blade to bounce off. Hey, it was dull! Who'd-a-thunk it? By the way, those cuts made above and below are from previous cuts by the Shrewsbury (another sword that I like very much from windlass). I personally don't think they had any effect on the results of the sword of war's huge gouge because the sword of war's cut is so tremendously DEEP!
Alright, so I tried again!
Wow! Even deeper! I'm just happy that nothing bad has happened. Like the tang breaking and getting a face full of tempered steel -- a guaranteed, one way trip to the morgue, all expenses paid (by someone other than you).
Ok here's the big one. I swung with full force, giving everything I have to this last cut, thinking for sure that I would here the ominous "ping" of a snapped tang.
The picture is good enough without my commentaries!
Here is the blade after, not a single nick in sight, but it sure has a lot of sap.
Now I should mention: During these tests (and several other that I felt didn't need to be pictures, such as striking a huge tree limb (at least a foot in diameter) repeatedly about 300 times) I noticed that the handle and hilt components were loosening even more than before. Again, while this makes an audible grating, ping-like sound when used, it does not significantly affect the performance greatly enough to be noticed. A professional on the other hand, might have easily picked up on a lack of handling ability due to this malfunction.
I'm forced not to be too scathing with this, simply because this is NOT what a sword is intended to do. Striking a tree limb with such force is not only stupid, but may nullify any waranty you have with the seller of the sword. I do not encourage anyone to do this with a sword. I chose to do this with full knowledge of what could happen in the case of a more serious malfunction.
I'm sure that Paul Southren would agree with me on this (Editors Note: Yup!). Please, please, PLEASE, PLEASE don't do this at home. If you do, I refuse to be held responsible.
I hope this review of Windlass Steelcrafts Sword of War has been helpful. To return to Affordable Replicas of Medieval Swords from Windlass Steelcrafts Sword of War Reviewed, click here