Also there was a gap between the blade and the hilt which required a good deal of filing to make it fit properly. If left as it was it could have weakened the sword.
I don't think I have big hands, but my index finger knuckle occasionally caught on the brass guard, also I was finding the sword heavy in the hand. So I removed part of the guard. Below are some images of before and after customising. I am pleased with the finished product.