My latest addition is Darkwood Armory‘s magnificent “Arms and Side-ring” side sword which they list under the code ARMSIDE. It’s a great example of a sixteenth century rapier which, for me, matches the swords you find in the diagrams in many manuals of the period, in particular, Joachim Meyer’s Art of War, Henri de Sainct Didier and the rest of the gang who published around 1570 or so.
It lacks the complex hilt of later rapiers in favour of a simpler cross hilt with a knuckle bow and finger rings. It’ll be interesting to see how much protection these give in practice. I suspect it will be fine. The blade, while def enough for point-work, maintains a reasonable blade profile for cutting attacks. The weapon is a little blade heavy but I’ve an armourer friend develop the fullers in the standard Darkwood blade a little more fully which has lightened the blade considerably and brought the balance point back very close to the finger rings.
I’ve had a few test bouts with friends in the few weeks I’ve had the sword. I’m really looking forward to giving it a proper work out when training at the Australian College of Arms (ACA) starts again this month. That will be the real test of the weapon’s value.