Rough hemp cuts into your palms, but you bite your lip and continue to twist. The bitter sting is familiar now. Familiar as the dry, dusty stench of the ropewalk, and the weight of unwound material about your waist. You step methodically backwards, chapped fingers adding torsion to the expanse of rope before you.
You are roused from your work by the sound of footsteps, and a dark shadow crossing the gold thread of evening-lit rope. You glance up to see a figure, tall and wiry, leaning against the doorframe. You can tell he is a fencing master – not by his stance, or the scar across one eye, but by the montante which he holds like a pilgrim’s stave.
It is a streak of white steel, almost as long as its wielder is tall. The quillons and rings curl like ropework, threads of yellow metal braided with the white. Your fingers yearn to touch it, to release the rope into tangled chaos and instead take up the sword. To feel the tight coils of your trade rewritten in brass and steel.
The master makes a short bow, and showers you with questions about quality and quantity and price. You nod along but barely hear him as your stars shift their alignment, threads of fate unweaving and entwining into a new certainty:
You will learn to fence. Whatever it takes, you will learn. And one day, you will wield that sword.
This stunning montante was created in close collaboration with our client, who had a precise vision for his sword. Intended for solo drilling, the sword’s design balanced dramatic impact with a need for a relatively light weight. As such we had to assess each part individually to boost its aesthetic effect while minimising weight.
The result is nimble with a point of balance close to the hilt, reducing blade presence while still retaining an impressive length and breadth. The blade is as stiff as possible given the need for lightness, and has a historically accurate long flex over the last half of the blade.
A similar bespoke montante would start at £1,500 plus postage.
The hot-forged crossguard, protective rings and pommel are hand-carved with spiralling designs, and inlaid with brass. The blade features a deep double fuller and tapered parrying hooks.
The hardwood grip was left blank for our client to adorn in leather. He shared some photographs of the end result – and elegant design in black and gold, extending over the ricasso with cutaway portions.
Tempted by inlay? Get in touch to discuss your ideas.