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Lou Weaver




Location: amelia island, florida
Joined: 04 Sep 2008

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 10:34 am    Post subject: one or two edges         Reply with quote

Question i think this is a good question , what are the advantages and dissadvantages of a sword with one or two edges? you can not use both at the same time, so what effect does this have on the blade profile and i will use a balistics term here "sectional density" ? the katana "family " uses one edge and i can think of a few advantages to that.( burroughs wrote that the barsoomian warriors were adept at using the flat edge/ side to block an opponents attack) it also gives you a safe place on the blade to put you're hand or other body part if needed. BigLou
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Paul Watson




Location: Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Joined: 08 Feb 2006

Posts: 387

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some would say two edges lends itself to thrusting ability and this would be the case for some types of blades. But what about two edged swords dedicated to cutting? One advantage is that as one side gets damaged/blunted you have another side to use. So it increases the longevity of the sword in this respect. There would also be some advantage in not having to rotate the wrist for a second strike on the same target as you can use the back edge.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Dan P




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 28 Jun 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A few minor points in favor of the two-edged blade:
1. Its harder for an opponent to grab the blade and disarm you.
2. Since there are two edges, you never need worry about accidentally striking with the back of the sword if your weapon gets turned around in the heat of the moment.
3. Symmetry is naturally pleasing to many people.
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I use the back edge of a single handed sword to wrap around shields or blocks when I have a shield or some other parry device in my other hand. Wraps are great for getting to the back of the leg too which often has little or no armor.

I also use the back edge when up close to make a on-side strike (high horizontal) to the head. The same shot with true edge requires more extension and will hit with the forte in close range. By using the false edge in the same strike I am able to bring my tip to my opponents head. Meanwhile my forte is across my face which is giving me added defense.

The back edge is also useful when your opponent steps to your shield side. Often I will start an on-side strike with the intention of making a true edge cut. At that moment my opponent starts moving in to my shield side. I just continue the same cut and let it roll on its false edge. Instead of getting hit in the original spot with the true edge, he gets hit one foot to my left with the false edge. Had I kept true edge my forte would have hit my own shield before hitting him when he moved to my left.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
www.poconoshooting.com
www.poconogym.com
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally, I'm naturally more inclined towards backswords then double edged swords, because the idea of a sword with a blade that can cut but also not cut appeals to my general philosophy.

But, personal preferences aside, can a case be made for structural differences due to heat treatment and/or construction in single edged vs double edged swords? As I understand it, a backsword benefits from having a softer back and a harder edge.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders, I agree with you. If you don't plan on using the false edge of a sword there is no reason to have one.
No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
www.poconoshooting.com
www.poconogym.com
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually in my training on longsword we use the back edge, or "false edge" of the blade on left side attacks for better speed. On right side cuts we use the true edge only.

If you use the false edge in this way you don't have to turn your hand to align the edge for the cut, its already there. It calls for a bit of training to employ it properly though since the natural inclination is to turn the hand for aligning the front edge ("true edge" in our terminology) with the target during all cuts.

This also is true with side swords and with rapier cuts (if you bother to use a rapier for cutting). Also some sabers have sharpened backside part way up the blade for this reason as well.

Bryce
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Douglas S





Joined: 18 Feb 2004

Posts: 177

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 3:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Bryce! Laughing Out Loud

Traditional practices such as double-edged swords were mostly begun and perpetuated NOT by analyzing the most effective design BUT by following traditions from the past. If these traditions worked for their purposes, they were not often changed.

In Europe, we can see a clean line from the double-edged swords of the La Tene and Hallstadt times, through the Roman empire, on into the Renaissance. The design served its purpose, and it was changed only conservatively. Single-edged weapons in Europe were by contrast, given as much attention as a workman's knife: the seax, for instance, is only distinguished from a smaller knife by its size. The Messer of German tradition, merely means knife.

The double-edged weapon can only be used as a weapon; it is not a tool. Perhaps this specialization and symbolism was the key to its popularity. A lord's sword was chiefly a way to intimidate rebellious peasants; a specialized anti-personnel weapon, versus something that could easily be tool, might have been much more intimidating.

It is telling that in Europe, the single-edged sword was not widely adopted until steppe cultures introduced it into Europe.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Douglas S wrote:
Hi Bryce! Laughing Out Loud

Traditional practices such as double-edged swords were mostly begun and perpetuated NOT by analyzing the most effective design BUT by following traditions from the past. If these traditions worked for their purposes, they were not often changed.

In Europe, we can see a clean line from the double-edged swords of the La Tene and Hallstadt times, through the Roman empire, on into the Renaissance. The design served its purpose, and it was changed only conservatively. Single-edged weapons in Europe were by contrast, given as much attention as a workman's knife: the seax, for instance, is only distinguished from a smaller knife by its size. The Messer of German tradition, merely means knife.

The double-edged weapon can only be used as a weapon; it is not a tool. Perhaps this specialization and symbolism was the key to its popularity. A lord's sword was chiefly a way to intimidate rebellious peasants; a specialized anti-personnel weapon, versus something that could easily be tool, might have been much more intimidating.

It is telling that in Europe, the single-edged sword was not widely adopted until steppe cultures introduced it into Europe.


Douglas! My main man! ;-)
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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An advantage of a single edged sword would be the ability to give it a thicker spine, which would increase the strength and weight of the blade, which is the opposite for a double edged sword.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Fri 10 Oct, 2008 12:07 am    Post subject: Re: one or two edges         Reply with quote

Lou Weaver wrote:
you can not use both at the same time,


You can--when you thrust. This is why many single-edged blades have a sharpened "false" edge near the tip.


Quote:
the katana "family " uses one edge and i can think of a few advantages to that.( burroughs wrote that the barsoomian warriors were adept at using the flat edge/ side to block an opponents attack)


The blocks and deflections done with the blunted back are not necessarily done with the back as such--most of the time the Japanese don't seem to be very fussy about whether they're taking the blow on the back or on the flat as long as it's not on the brittle chisel edge of the Japanese sword. Note, also, that a two-edged sword still has a big, unsharpened part--the flat--that can be used to receive blows, as in Tafels 224 and 226 on Talhoffer's messer/one-handed sword techniques.


Quote:
it also gives you a safe place on the blade to put you're hand or other body part if needed.


Again, a two-edged sword has the flat, and it's perfectly possible to do half-swording (grabbing the sword in the middle of the blade) on a two-edged blade without cutting yourself if your grip is firm enough and you could put most of the force of your grip against the flat rather than the edges.
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Bennison N




Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Joined: 06 Feb 2008
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Posts: 416

PostPosted: Fri 10 Oct, 2008 3:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Douglas S wrote:
Hi Bryce! Laughing Out Loud

Traditional practices such as double-edged swords were mostly begun and perpetuated NOT by analyzing the most effective design BUT by following traditions from the past. If these traditions worked for their purposes, they were not often changed.

In Europe, we can see a clean line from the double-edged swords of the La Tene and Hallstadt times, through the Roman empire, on into the Renaissance. The design served its purpose, and it was changed only conservatively. Single-edged weapons in Europe were by contrast, given as much attention as a workman's knife: the seax, for instance, is only distinguished from a smaller knife by its size. The Messer of German tradition, merely means knife.

The double-edged weapon can only be used as a weapon; it is not a tool. Perhaps this specialization and symbolism was the key to its popularity. A lord's sword was chiefly a way to intimidate rebellious peasants; a specialized anti-personnel weapon, versus something that could easily be tool, might have been much more intimidating.

It is telling that in Europe, the single-edged sword was not widely adopted until steppe cultures introduced it into Europe.


Umm... What about Kopis? Or Falcata? I know Greeks are essentially Mediterranean people, but they're Europeans, right? Spain and Macedonia are definitely Europe. Even Romans used a few Falcata...

I prefer two-edged blades. I can't explain it in words. I do like a few one-edged types, but two edges are my flavour for sure...

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

अजयखड्गधारी
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Fri 10 Oct, 2008 4:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lou Weaver wrote:
the katana "family " uses one edge and i can think of a few advantages to that.


There actually were double edged nihonto, the Kissaki moroha-zukuri. (AKA Kogarasu style swords.) These were double edged or had a long false edge along the upper third of the blade.

However, the Japense seem to have generally prefered the single edged variety, which makes sense since curved swords benifit less from having two edges the straight ones. (Also, I suspect a double edged sword would be more difficult and expensive to make using the Japenese method then a single edged one.)

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Fri 10 Oct, 2008 4:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah. Yes. The kogarasu-maru blade shape. This page has a good picture of it. It's good to remember, though, that the kogarasu-maru isn't exactly a two-edged blade type--it's more of a single-edged blade with a fairly long false edge.
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Craig Shira




Location: California
Joined: 02 Feb 2007

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri 10 Oct, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject: Single-Edge Power!         Reply with quote

.

Justin Pasternak wrote:
An advantage of a single edged sword would be the ability to give it a thicker spine, which would increase the strength and weight of the blade, which is the opposite for a double edged sword.


Adding to this, single-edged swords are better at cutting or cleaving. Yes, a double-edged sword cuts quite well, but a single-edged sword does it better (especially if it is curved), hence the popularity of the falchion, the wide variety of messer-type weapons, and the saber.

As has been mentioned, there are falchions, messers, and sabers that have a small section of the reverse edge (false edge) sharpened toward the tip to gain the advantages of a doule-edged sword while leaving the rest of the spine thick and stout to reinforce the cuts.

.
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