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D. Austin
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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 3:37 am    Post subject: Falchion edges.         Reply with quote

Whilst trawling the net for pictures of falchions, I came across something I was not aware of. These swords appear to be falchions however they are sharpened along the concave edge, not the longer, convex edge. I have always assumed that a falchion is basically a sturdy sabre shaped blade with a clip point but these appear to be quite a different weapon.

The one in the photo below may be sharpened on the long edge (there is evidence of greater corrosion there) but the fuller along that same edge seems unusual.

Does anyone have any information on this type of sword?



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The Ypres town militia at the Battle of Courtrai with two flachions.jpg


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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have any information, but I will comment just to keep this interesting thread alive.

This blade design is pretty surprising; why would one put the cutting edge on that side? My understanding is that falchions should optimally have a straight to curved cutting edge (to give a good cut or slice) sometimes with a widened blade toward the blunt false edge (in order to increase the mass and cutting power at the optimal striking point). Why would one reverse this? It's hard to see how that angular blade would give a good cut...unless it is meant to be almost war-hammer like.

I would believe that the medieval artists had simply got it backwards if you did not include that convincing looking museum piece. If this is correct (???) then it would make one wonder if some of the modern reproductions are wrong. Weird.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 1:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

MRL's version of one of these has been discussed here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=10099

This style of sword has also been discussed here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8806

Happy

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Mathieu Harlaut




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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This falchion is indeed sharpened along the concave side and 25-30 cm from the point downward on the other side.
It is quite strange and I am still wondering how it would be used.

It is kept in the Musée de l'Armée in Paris and it seems that it would be a knightly weapon since the pommel seems to be gilded. It is dated from the 14th century.



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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Falchion edges.         Reply with quote

D. Austin wrote:
The one in the photo below may be sharpened on the long edge (there is evidence of greater corrosion there) but the fuller along that same edge seems unusual.


I would think it would be sharpened on the short edge. Period art seems to confirm that.

Happy

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B. Fulton





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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fairly sure I have better pics of the one from the Army museum in Paris, I took pics of all the falchions there (3 I think).

I'll have to check, and it'll be a bit before I upload them to my Flickr account (see the Massive Museum post) since we're still working on England and then Ireland.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 2:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
MRL's version of one of these has been discussed here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=10099

This style of sword has also been discussed here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8806


Thanks Chad, I missed those. That's a huge amount of information, especially in that second thread. Very useful since I have been meaning to get a falchion as my next purchase.

So to isolate this fellow's topic; is the above sword not really a falchion at all but rather a type of chopper?

The two hand MRL sword is the one I was thinking of. So what is the verdict there; that they mistakenly replicated a falchion from a chopper, getting the cutting edge on the wrong side? (Maybe this should be directed back to the earlier threads, I dunno)
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Dan Dickinson
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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I believe there was a thread on this type of Falchion over at Sword Forum a while back.
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t...t=Falchion

Tinker also make a recreation of this type of blade....and if I remember correctly was quite effective.
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t...ion+tinker

Hope this helps,
Dan
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D. Austin
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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help folks.

I guess that from this information, we can conclude that these weapons, although looking remarkably like a backwards falchion, would be used in a different style and could probably have another name to differentiate the two.

A particularly vicious weapon nonetheless, but I think I'll stick to the convex edged falchion for my first sword project.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 11:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Dickinson wrote:

Tinker also make a recreation of this type of blade....and if I remember correctly was quite effective.
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t...ion+tinker


Damn, that looks like something you'd expect to be lugged around by orcs in a fantasy movie. oO

Heh, I really love it when strange-looking stuff like this shows up. Happy

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Chase S-R




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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 12:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have seen several African weapons with rondels (cross and pommel) that are almost Identical! these also seem similar to weapons from the mawejowski bible. The edge would I expect give a similar cut to a kurki, or greek kopis.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Austin wrote:
I guess that from this information, we can conclude that these weapons, although looking remarkably like a backwards falchion, would be used in a different style


Somewhere in the previous thread (http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8806) the sensible suggestion was made that the short edge of the Paris museum piece could be used for chopping whereas the extended tip would be used for stabbing.

However I'm still curious about those choppers pictured in the medieval artwork above. The angular point on the sharp edge could deliver a very concentrated percussion, but the blade would have to be pretty thick at that point to withstand the stress of the blow. It does not look to be so in the picture. Otherwise, I'm not sure what advantage that shape would give.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Austin wrote:
I guess that from this information, we can conclude that these weapons, although looking remarkably like a backwards falchion, would be used in a different style


I wouldn't go that far. There are only so many ways to use a sword... consider that the messerfechten of Hans Leckuchner and the longsword of Johannes Liechtenauer is remarkably similar, almost identical in some places, even though the messer and longsword would appear to be fairly different weapons, superficially. If I had a reverse edged falchion, I would see no reason to use it any differently than a more typical falchion.

Regarding the edge, there are many variations of this design through history and other cultures, from the Egyption khopesh to the Greek falcata to the Ghurka kukri.

As for the name "chopper", I have to say, I really hate that term. It implies that these weapons must have somehow been brutish, requiring little skill. Now, I've never handled one for real, so I wouldn't know one way or another... but consider how many myths there are about falchions and messers being heavy, slow, and used for chopping through plate armour, and consider the reality. Those myths came about because people saw pictures and made assumptions about their usage without actually ever holding one, so much so that even many sword enthusiasts who will claim a longsword is light will sometimes also say that a falchion was awkward and heavy. But that's just my pet peeve. Happy

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D. Austin
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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I wouldn't go that far. There are only so many ways to use a sword... consider that the messerfechten of Hans Leckuchner and the longsword of Johannes Liechtenauer is remarkably similar, almost identical in some places, even though the messer and longsword would appear to be fairly different weapons, superficially. If I had a reverse edged falchion, I would see no reason to use it any differently than a more typical falchion.


Without wishing to claim any knowledge of the use of a falchion, I guess I would just assume that a convex edge wold be better for slicing or for a 'pulling' cut, than a concave one. But then again, this type of cut may be of little use against an armoured opponent anyway. I'll have to take your word though as I am certain that you're more knowledgeable than I on the topic of sword use.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Austin wrote:
Without wishing to claim any knowledge of the use of a falchion, I guess I would just assume that a convex edge wold be better for slicing or for a 'pulling' cut, than a concave one.


Well, it *can* be, but it really depends on more factors. A paring knife doesn't necessarly slice better than a chef's knife, for instance. It depends on other factors, such as how thin the edge is, how the bevels are shaped, etc.

But even if you have two swords, and one slices better, that doesn't necessarily change the main techniques used. A halberd, forrest bill and partizan have different specialized traits that can be utilized as necessary, but ultimately follow the same main techniques.

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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Tue 06 May, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:

As for the name "chopper", I have to say, I really hate that term. It implies that these weapons must have somehow been brutish, requiring little skill. Now, I've never handled one for real, so I wouldn't know one way or another... but consider how many myths there are about falchions and messers being heavy, slow, and used for chopping through plate armour, and consider the reality. Those myths came about because people saw pictures and made assumptions about their usage without actually ever holding one, so much so that even many sword enthusiasts who will claim a longsword is light will sometimes also say that a falchion was awkward and heavy. But that's just my pet peeve. Happy


Correct me if I'm wrong -English not being my first language- but doesn't the word "chop" simply describe a particular type of cut or motion, same as "slice" or "slash"?

To me it simply implies a weapon made to deal a certain kind of damage using a certain technique. I don't see how using a fighting style based on heavy cutting blows suggests a lack of technique, however. In fact, if I used a weapon based around heavy chopping I'd want to be pretty damn skilled with it.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 06 May, 2008 12:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders Backlund wrote:
[
Correct me if I'm wrong -English not being my first language- but doesn't the word "chop" simply describe a particular type of cut or motion, same as "slice" or "slash"?

To me it simply implies a weapon made to deal a certain kind of damage using a certain technique. I don't see how using a fighting style based on heavy cutting blows suggests a lack of technique, however. In fact, if I used a weapon based around heavy chopping I'd want to be pretty damn skilled with it.


( Edited: Yes, a chop is a type of cut and I may have misundertood the point of your question?)


A chop is something one can do with a sword but think of the way one uses an axe: A chop has no slicing component and cuts as a sharp wedge hitting at 90 degrees to the object cut. ( At least mostly 90 degrees but with cutting logs one will tilt the axe on alternating sides to cut a wedge of the wood out of the log or tree ).

A slice is a pulling or pushing of the edge with more or less pressure.

With a sword there can be a combination of chopping along with a slice or draw cut to varying degrees from an almost pure chop to almost no pressure but a fast slice. Curved edged swords create a slicing component so that almost any chop will also slice with minimal effort. ( With very curved swords one would have to work hard to do a chop without some slicing motion at the end of the stroke at least ).

The short answer would be that in English there is a difference between a chop and a cut. In French I don't think there is a word for chop: One has to write " coup de hache " Surprised At least that is what the translating program in my computer says !? I'm French speaking but I never asked myself the question before. Eek! There are many cases where in different languages there are no single word equivalents for some concepts but the concept still can be expressed but one needs to write a sentence to do it instead of having a single word for it.

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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Tue 06 May, 2008 2:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
A chop is something one can do with a sword but think of the way one uses an axe: A chop has no slicing component and cuts as a sharp wedge hitting at 90 degrees to the object cut. ( At least mostly 90 degrees but with cutting logs one will tilt the axe on alternating sides to cut a wedge of the wood out of the log or tree ).

A slice is a pulling or pushing of the edge with more or less pressure.

With a sword there can be a combination of chopping along with a slice or draw cut to varying degrees from an almost pure chop to almost no pressure but a fast slice. Curved edged swords create a slicing component so that almost any chop will also slice with minimal effort. ( With very curved swords one would have to work hard to do a chop without some slicing motion at the end of the stroke at least ).


This is pretty much the way I saw it.

It's just that if I understand Bill correctly, the word "chop" makes him think of -for example- woodcutting axes, which itself leads to the mental image of a "chopper" sword being swung in a slow, two-handed overhead arch. Frankly, I think that's almost as bad as looking at a falchion and assuming it's slow and clumsy just by the way it looks.

For that matter, isn't that sort of the same thing as claiming a battle axe is a brutish weapon with little requirements of skillfull use? Because that's certianly a chopping weapon, no matter how you look at it.

What I'm trying to get to here is that "chopper" doesn't have to mean "cumbersome", and that Bill might want to start by considering his own attitude to the word in question.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 06 May, 2008 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, don't read too much into what I said about the name "chopper". Happy But truthfully, you're assuming that these weapons are used for "chopping" and not for other methods of attack, when in fact none of us here knows, which is exactly why I don't like the term. People have always assumed standard falchions are brutish chopping weapons, which isn't any more true than it is for any other sword. I don't see why we should make such assumptions for these reverse edged falchions, or for the weapons illustrations in the Maciejewski Bible.
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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Tue 06 May, 2008 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Taking back the discussion to the original post; I work now myself on a falchion project and in the process of collecting images. The falchion from the invalides museum is well known to me, but when I saw it in person I was not so interested yet, therefore didn't pay much attention to its edge geometry, a matter of high importance to me know, as I like its overall appearance very much. Here is somewhat wild idea: The fuller is not a fuller actually but a steep hollow forge from the wide thick blade which acts like a weight, towards the narrow and thin edge, on the convex side. This way the acute point has enough substance to withhold thrusts into armor.

And as for the long reversed 'falchion', appears in two different illustrations (one is in another thread) - to me it looks like an oversized Nepalese Kora - concave blade with a beak. And haven't you guys noticed it has a long (two handed?)rectangular D-guard?

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