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G. Ghazarian
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Location: Florida USA
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 10:58 am    Post subject: Weights of Swords         Reply with quote

Hello Everyone,

This is my first post ever since I joined this Forum long ago. This does not mean however that I am a stranger to this wonderful site, to which I owe a lot of knowledge and inspirations for this hobby and which help me put together a large collection. Honestly speaking, I am proud to be a member among all you good people.

Anyway, here goes my question. How important a criteria is the weight when judging on the quality of a well made sword. Could this be a deciding factor or a turn-off even if certain qualities can directly be related to it, for exemple, rigidity or what have you.

I would like to know what you guys think.

Thanks,
Gabriel
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gabriel,
Congrats on your first post. Happy For me, overall weight can be a factor, but it's not the only one. Swords varied greatly in weight during their heyday and repros do as well. Factors like the maker's attention to research and the little details all factor in, too.

If the weight seems inappropriate for the style and/or size of the weapon, I might very well reject it for the weight alons. If it's in the normal range, it would be one of the factors considered.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's very tricky. I have a Windlass German Bastard Sword that was well over 3.5 lbs right out of the box. That sounds heavy and some folks wouldn't even consider buying a weapon that seems to run counter to current conventional wisdom about historic sword weights. But do a little digging and you'll discover that the original sword on which the Windlass is based weighs almost a full pound more, without any significant differences in blade length or overall length. Depending on how that weight is distributed, these weapons wouldn't necessarily feel much different. On the other hand, they might feel like they differ by much more than a pound. Theoretically, both weights could be perfectly reasonable for this particular sword type. You'll sometimes see similar hilts mounted on very different blades.

I personally think it's more important (within reason) to consider the function of a given blade type and judge the weight and balance accordingly. In this case, for example, if the Windlass sword had a balance at the cross, that would make it a much quicker and lighter-feeling, sword but would undermine the function--strong cutting blows--and betray the design of the original. Better that it feels a bit heavier and has a stronger blade presence. Although significantly lighter than the original, the Windlass seems to be true to the function of the original. In my view, that keeps it within the bounds of historical plausibility in spite of the weight difference.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 12:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Weights of Swords         Reply with quote

G. Ghazarian wrote:
Hello Everyone,

This is my first post ever since I joined this Forum long ago. This does not mean however that I am a stranger to this wonderful site, to which I owe a lot of knowledge and inspirations for this hobby and which help me put together a large collection. Honestly speaking, I am proud to be a member among all you good people.

Anyway, here goes my question. How important a criteria is the weight when judging on the quality of a well made sword. Could this be a deciding factor or a turn-off even if certain qualities can directly be related to it, for exemple, rigidity or what have you.

I would like to know what you guys think.

Thanks,
Gabriel


Hi Gabriel

I'm going to assume for a moment, that what we're talking about here is *not* something that is supposed to be an exact replica.......

Assuming that's the case, then weight is important to me, but dynamic balance more so.....weight should be within an acceptable range for the type of sword and the dimensions of the sword...........

swords are fun
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Greg Coffman




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it's too heavy it's bad and if it's too light it's bad, depending on the type of sword. However there is a range where weight is acceptable and other factors play more important roles. This range is usually lighter than most people who have not been exposed to critical study of swords think it is. There is no "ideal" weight and a better balanced sword may be preferred over a lighter sword.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 6:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Upper body strength might influence one's perception about what is too heavy or not too heavy: A person weighing 140 pounds versus a person weighing 240 might perceive a sword differently. ( Well muscle weight! Just extra fat won't make you stronger. Wink )

But strength can fool one into liking initially too heavy a sword: After some minutes of handling endurance becomes more important than strength.

Maybe, what can be defined as a good handling sword is one that has first a balance appropriate to the type of use and one that minimizes fatigue or does what it supposed to do and only takes the minimum amount of energy to do it i.e. one isn't fighting the sword but fighting WITH the sword.

Gabriel: Welcome to posting. Big Grin

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Torsten F.H. Wilke




Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2007 8:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad, Sean, Angus, and Jean made some really good points! Personal perception sure adds an interesting variable to acceptable historical guidelines. To which school would you belong? (a purely rhetorical question)
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G. Ghazarian
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Location: Florida USA
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Posts: 215

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 5:14 pm    Post subject: Weights of Swords         Reply with quote

Geltleman,

Thanks for your prompt and professional replies. Also thanks for your cordial welcomes.

I am glad to see that weight is given the proper consideration and not used to dissmiss a sword outright. It may be a necessary evil but an important one to trade off with other important characteristics, as Gus very well put it right on "...weight is important to me, but dynamic balance more so..."

Thanks,
Gabriel
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G. Ghazarian
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Location: Florida USA
Joined: 01 Nov 2005

Posts: 215

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 5:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Weights of Swords         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:
Hi Gabriel

I'm going to assume for a moment, that what we're talking about here is *not* something that is supposed to be an exact replica.......

Assuming that's the case, then weight is important to me, but dynamic balance more so.....weight should be within an acceptable range for the type of sword and the dimensions of the sword...........


Hi Gus,
Of course the question concerns generic swords in general.
If you remember I still own your prototype blade of LPM 1446. Made into a sword of 4 pounds and 5 ounces, is one of my favorites - a sword of a lot of presence !

Gabriel
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Igor Omeliantchuk




Location: Ukraine, Kirovograd
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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jul, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And what was the heaviest really used in combat sword, axe, hammer etc. ?
Because I heard some stories about the 70 kg knight swords, and especially about the 70 kg sword of Yurij Dolgorukij ( he should have been a Hercules because all the russian swords are one-handed Big Grin ). For example my two-hander weights 4,5 kg and as far as I know it is normal...
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Bram Verbeek





Joined: 27 Mar 2007

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jul, 2007 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think for the heaviest weapons you must look into polearms, if you see the length of them, you can estimate a weight (using 600 kg/m3) and up to about one kilogram for the head, less so with pike and spear. 70kg would be more appropriate if the person wielding it would be included. 4,5 kg would be on the heavy side, but not entirely impossible for a two handed sword.
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B. Pool





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2007 4:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thought everyone might get a kick out of this as far as sword weights go. I have never seen it mentioned before, and only found out last night. While bored I popped in Kingdom of Heaven. I decided to check out the Pilgrim's Road? I believe it is called that adds subtitles about historical counterparts to characters in the movie. More than once they rambled off topic, but the two things they mentioned that made me about choke myself on popcorn I thought I would pass along. According to them Damascus steel was produced by stabbing a slave with a hot blade and quenching it in water. Europeans copied this using wetted animal skins to add nitrogen into the blade. Perhaps someone might mention if that was in fact the case because I have never heard that, and as far as I know they don't truly know how damascus was made. Second was a rambling off-topic during the the dinner at the king's table. The subtitles discussed tournaments and that when jousting the fighters might be reduced to foot combat with broadswords. According to their historical info broadswords at that time weighed in at 20-30 lbs. I nearly died on a piece of popcorn I was so shocked. Now I love big swords. I have an odachi that has a 46" nagasa with a 21" tsuka. It weighs in at about 6.5 lbs.. I can only imagine the one handed broadswords that weighed in at 30 lbs., and the men who could use them.

Eek!
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2007 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

B. Pool,
Please see this thread on what 20-30 lb. swords would look like if they had existed: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...rd+weights

Jonathan
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Marcos Cantu





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2007 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is it true that Roman soldiers trained with a gladius that weighed 3 times that of a normal one so that they would be faster with the real thing and not tire as soon?
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2007 7:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marcos Cantu wrote:
Is it true that Roman soldiers trained with a gladius that weighed 3 times that of a normal one so that they would be faster with the real thing and not tire as soon?


I don't claim to know the full answer, but this does seem to have been mentioned iin the 4th century by Flavius Vegetius Renatus. He described recruits being given "double weight" shields and weapons.. As a reference, he is pretty exhaustive in details of "how" they trained. http://museums.ncl.ac.uk/archive/arma/content...a/veg1.htm

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2007 11:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is one of the topics that most people out there will instantly tell you swords weighted 15 pounds or more, sometimes ridiculously more. It happenes even when they pick up one of my swords and ask if it weights 20 pounds... I love telling them it only weights 2 or so pounds, gets them every time. I am nost sure if it is because people usually do not have a good grasp on appx. weights, if they are just really out of shape or if they do not want to offend me by saying my sword is really not a proper weight Big Grin .

The heaviest sword I own is a true two handed sword, taller than me by an inch and I am six foot and 165-170 pounds. The sword weights 6 pounds and 12-14 ounces (cannot get a perfect measurement on it). I can swing it around for hours no problem, it also is an incredibly capable cutting sword. I was cutting in a friends backyard that was well wooded. We had measured out enought space to not cut anything around us as one does and at one point I hit a branch likely pretty close to an inch and a half perhaps with the last 2-4 inches of the blade, went throught the branch with little hesitation, I even hit my intended target with enough force to slice into it as well thought not all the way through. It does not need be a super heavy sword to carry out good cutting as somepeople have told me at my presentations,

RPM
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B. Pool





Joined: 26 Jul 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 16 Aug, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan, thanks for the link. Personally I was thinking the classic anime sword that was 7-8' long, 1.5' wide , and about 3" thick. I was so shocked I e-mailed 20th century fox to see if I could find out who did their fact checking for them on the damascus making and sword weights. I keep meaning to go back and watch more of the Pilgrim's info but I'm not sure if my mind can handle more of their "historical information". Big Grin
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Aug, 2007 8:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

B. Pool wrote:
Jonathan, thanks for the link. Personally I was thinking the classic anime sword that was 7-8' long, 1.5' wide , and about 3" thick. I was so shocked I e-mailed 20th century fox to see if I could find out who did their fact checking for them on the damascus making and sword weights. I keep meaning to go back and watch more of the Pilgrim's info but I'm not sure if my mind can handle more of their "historical information". Big Grin


Just think of the " HORROUR " if this becomes a " primary " source for historians a few thousand years from now. Eek!

Makes one wonder about the accuracy of some of our " trusted " primary sources i.e. swords splitting helms for example.
( Half joking, but still the tendancy to be sloppy with facts is not something unique to modern time I think ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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