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James Sharpe





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Fri 02 Apr, 2004 1:39 am    Post subject: Left handed swords         Reply with quote

Just curious, I am left handed and I wanted to know what different styles of swords are specifically made for left handed versus right handed. For example I would assume that a type X viking sword would work for either where as a rapier would have to be one or the other due to the complex guard. What other types of swords would be one or the other? Would Basket hilt swords, schiavona, backswords, mortuary hilt swords, etc. be one or the other?
Thanks for your help, Happy
James
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E.B. Erickson
Industry Professional



Location: Thailand
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 436

PostPosted: Fri 02 Apr, 2004 4:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi James,
For Scottish/English baskets, many of those made in the 1500s were asymmetric, so a lefty would have to have one made to order. For most of the 1600s, baskets were of the same dimensions on r and l sides, as they had lost the asymmetric styling. Towards the end of the 1600s, and continuing on into the first quarter(?) of the 1700s, the thumb side was smaller, so again leftys would have to have a special order.

Most Mortuary hilts could be used with either hand.

For European baskets, whether Schiavona or one of the myriad of N. European/German types, they were almost always asymmetric, and reflected rapier construction with finger rings, thumb rings, etc...

Smallswords of the late 16-early 1700s had the thumb side of the shellguard smaller than the other. The triangular hollow-ground blades could be turned 180 degrees for use by either a righty or lefty. Shell-hilted broadswords/backswords of this period also had the thumb side smaller.

Spanish military swords of the 1700s are almost always asymmetric, no matter if they're Bilbos, shellguards, or semi-baskets.

OK everyone, what did I forget? Fill in the blanks, please!

--ElJay
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Allen W





Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Fri 02 Apr, 2004 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't expect rapiers or complex hilted cut-and-thrusts(barring basket hilts and some thumb rings) to give you much of a problem in spite of their being asymmetric as the weak side of the hilt is usually well within the range of slightly lighter variants within the same category (see Nathan's saxon military sword and Gustav Vasa rapier). Wearing them may present different problems however. I am right handed and can only guess at your needs though I have handled some Renaissance cut-and-thrusts (original and repro) in my left hand and found them both comfortable and protective.
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