When I was at AIMA Roma back in March, I was fortunate enough to bond with the Neyman fencing team for a number of hours. I kept glancing at a curious weapon on their table that I had only seen in pictures - the Aureus Feder, particularly the Renesans Swoosh model.
I had seen a number of videos of it online, and I loved everything I saw, but as someone who has been burned by feder makers in the past, I was skeptical. Nothing that good looking that wasn’t made by someone with the last name “Moc” had existed on the market. A gorgeous tool for sure, but I was certain it was fluff. Something about the weapon felt familiar, and I said as much to them.
“That’s because our dear friend who makes these designed the comfort fencing dobringer,” they told me.
The dobringer, despite my issues with CF, has been one of my favorite feders ever. Effortless, a strong presence in the bind, and sexy. I knew when I went home, i would order one.
Towards the end of the event, the Neyman team came over to say their goodbyes…and handed me the Aureus. I was confused, until they said, “This is a gift, because we believe deeply in Ireneusz and his work. You do not owe us a review for this gift, but we believe you will love it enough to do so.”
And so began one of the longest periods I’ve taken on a review, and one of the strongest conclusions I have come to: Aureus’s weapon trainers are some of the best on the market, gorgeous and strong. They are simply remarkable.
Review Experience / Methodology
While the original was a gift, a second feder had to be ordered (more on this later). Ireneusz did not know who I was when working through making the second feder, nor did his partner Milena. I paid $260 for the second one, not including shipping, and was put in the queue along with everyone else.
I’ve spent approximately 4-5 months with the trainer, seeing extensive, aggressive use (One of my training partners and myself are getting ready for Trnava & Swordfish) of 3 days a week of heavy sparring, including 1 tournament.
Construction & Materials
Right off the bat, two of the features of the Aureus were two that I loved about the Dobringer: a deep fuller running the length of the blade, and a healthy, swelled tip (I’ve been saying it for some time - rolled tips need to be discontinued). There’s a generous amount of flex in the last 3rd of the blade, but the fuller keeps it from being floppy.
This means it’s as forceful in the bind as your technique allows, while making it perfectly safe in the thrust. You’re never fighting the blade wobbling all over the place, but there’s no skimping on safety.
At 128cm (50 inches), this is not the longest feder on the market. But let’s be honest - long feders are only beneficial in pre-fencing/prep phase, and can become a hindrance to anyone who prefers 2nd or 3rd intention work. It’s longest enough that you don’t feel at a disadvantage, and short enough that you can work at a binding distance.
(And no, don’t throw that Vadi quote at me - swords aren’t shoes, and they don’t have to fit your body to work.)
The crossguard is s-shaped, a first for a feder. While perhaps a little shorter than I would like, I’ve really enjoyed its practical benefits. It stays out of the way of my arms while rotating the weapon, while being fun to experiment with when trying to ‘catch’ an opponent’s weapon in the bind.
The grip is a wonderful waisted grip, and is one of the most well balanced I’ve used in terms of being just right for both gloveless and full-speed sparring. It’s not too long, nor is it too short. And despite some nasty shots to the grip, it’s held up wonderfully.
The schilt is one of the most unique features of the feder, and I’ve seen nothing like it on any other weapon. It’s stout, concave, and not at all the wide schilts we see on so many other weapons.
This doesn’t typically matter to me, but this feder…looks like a sword.
With a POB of almost 9cm and a weight of about 1400g, this hits a sweet spot for me, and is incredibly well balanced given it’s other dimensions. It moves the way I want, without sacrificing any power with attacking in opposition.
In the tournament I used it in, the fencers in my pool were known, and known to fight with a lot of strength. But never once did I feel like the weapon didn’t do it’s job, nor did I ever get the sense that it was being displaced due to its profile. It sung in that environment, and the worst damage it came out of it with were a few small burs.
And I’ll take a few small burs any day of the week.
Customer Service: Beyond Exceptional
So, let’s get back to that 2nd feder. But before we do, I want to talk about customer service in HEMA.
Almost every vendor is a boutique one. They don’t have large teams doing quality control or customer service, nor do they have large margins where they can easily replace gear that breaks. I state this because Americans, particularly ones new to HEMA, tend to expect 2 day shipping for free and equipment that lasts for 5 years with a warranty.
So, we don’t review on how much a vendor has kissed our ass - we review on how they handle issues. And here is where Aureus has won me over, with only Pavel Moc being in the same league in terms of weapon vendors.
The feder that Neyman gave me was a prototype of the production model, and when I got it home we discovered the steel was soft, and it took a bad set. I wrote Aureus to let them know the issue - not to get a new weapon from them, but to make them aware that they may have an issue.
Ireneusz did not know who I was - he only new that Neyman gave me the feder. At first, he suggested ways of fixing the set. But after I sent him video of the set, he felt terrible. It meant a lot to him that his work was viewed favorably, and he felt terrible that the blade wasn’t performing up to his standards.
Since he didn’t supply it to me, and since I had not paid for it, he offered me a new weapon at a discount. Given that I had already loved the weapon, I quickly agreed.
Milena, his partner, took over from there. She kept me up to date on the status of my order, and even let me know of a potential delay long before it happened (this, to me, is my gold standard - giving me honest updates, rather than shifting the blame).
When the weapon sat in US customs for longer than we both liked, they even started another feder for me in the event that it was lost. Naturally, it showed up a few days after that (US customs, by the way, is not something vendors have ANY control over).
Nearly everyone I have spoken to who has purchased an Aureus has adored it. While there are a lot of great mass produced feders out there, these are a labor of love, and it shows in every detail.
If you’re looking for a feder that will treat you faithfully and consistently, all while looking like it came straight out of the witcher, then this is for you.
(I want to deeply thank the Neyman team for gifting me the original - without it, I wouldn’t have found one of my favorite weapons I have ever owned. I cherish this feder because of you.)