The Albion Mark
Peter Johnsson Museum Collection

The Tritonia Sword
The Solingen Sword
Brescia Spadona
The Brescia Spadona

Albion Armorers is proud to be creating swords in tandem with prodigal Swedish smith Peter Johnsson, based on his years of research visiting museums throughout Europe.

Each museum piece is recreated in an exacting fashion, down to every last conceivable detail. Each sword will bear the Albion/Peter Johnsson Mark (above) making it a valuable collector's item and a cherished heirloom.

In addition, we will be introducing one or two pieces a year in the Hallmark Series -- very special swords with outstanding aesthetics and handling characteristics that make it a landmark sword recreation.

Peter Johnsson

Peter Johnsson on the Museum Line Recreation Process

"The main difference between a forged recreation of a museum piece that I make and the Albion recreations is simply one of the starting point.

On a forged sword, I create a "blank" or basic shape that establishes the distal taper and the basic volumes and distribution of mass. At Albion, we have chosen to use a CNC milled blank to serve the same function, which can be done more efficiently and consistently than forging each blank by hand.

In both cases the final quality is a direct result of the awareness of shape and dimensions as well as the control of the process. To use the potential of the CNC machine in blade production means that the skill and insights of the smith are translated to the program guiding the milling process. If the milled blank is incorporating the important details and proportions that are shaped during the forging, a high degree of consistency is possible while keeping the final swords very close to the characteristics of a forged blade (and the originals that are being reproduced).

It takes some tweaking of the data fed to the CNC machine to bring the milled blanks close to the dimensions of a forged blade blank. The most important aspects of this is that the shaping of the fuller, the character of distal taper, the edge bevels and outline shape of the blade are properly defined. The shape and proportions of the blade blank is the foundation of the final characteristics of the sword.

The idea is to bring the milled blanks as close as possible to the shape of what a forged blade blank would look like before grinding work begins in my own smithy. By measuring several original swords and comparing how distal taper and cross section changes along the blade, it is possible to make comparisons and see not only the amount of variation in specific measurements, but also how these typically relate to each other. Establishing the typical proportional relationship between different parts of the blade makes it possible to design blades today that will share both general and specific aspects of original swords.

During forging/milling some 70-80% of the shape is defined. The rest is achieved by grinding. This is very exacting work that puts high demand on the skill of the craftsman responsible for the grinding. The last 20% of the process often demands 80% of the work.

It is interesting to note that historical swordsmiths often seems to have been implementing design principles of harmonic proportions like the golden section. The same rules of harmonic proportions were used in anything from the building of cathedrals and seagoing ships to the making of books and musical instruments. That the best and most beautiful swords through the ages are the result of the same school of thought would not seem to be surprising.

In historical times the blade smith and the grinder of blades were often separate professions, and for good reason, I think. This was a way to make blade production rational using well-developed skills by specialized craftsmen.

The situation at Albion is actually quite close to how work was organized in the armouries in medieval times. Blades are produced by a smith (or a CNC machine as in the case of the PJ line) to be defined by the grinders. Cutlers are doing the mounting of the blades and hilt components and a scabbardmaker is responsible for scabbards and belts.

It is fascinating to see how the ancient method of organizing the production of arms and armour still is a viable process today.

We swordmakers today all face the same challenge: To make swords that are functional and true in both handling and aesthetic qualities, while working in a modern world with modern materials. High quality work is only possible when these four components are in harmony: materials available, production methods, aspired goals and the attitude of the maker.

There are many ways to go about this, in fact as many roads to follow as there are makers. The inspiring fact is that the resulting swords will always reflect the aspects of its production and the aspirations of its maker."

-- Peter Johnsson
About Peter Johnsson
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Sword design/specifications 2005 Peter Johnsson.
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