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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject: A question on quillon length for longswords         Reply with quote

Not sure if this has been brought up before, but I didn't find anything with the search engine, so here goes.

Basically, I'd like to ask if there's a minimum and maximum length for the crosses on longswords.

IOW: How short can the quillons be before they become ineffective for standard techniques? And how long can the quillons be before they get in the way?

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like quillons as long as possible without them hitting my wrist. I swing a two-handed sword sword different then a single so it varies. Curved quillons is a greatway of getting both protection and wrist mobility. On a rapier I like them long and straight because I'm not swinging, rather I am rotating them to trap blades. So the answer really depends on how you grip and use the sword.

Here are some actual measures from swords and blunts I use.

My single has a Straight cross guard that is 6.25 " across. Any longer and it would hit my wrist when I roll the sword back in my hand.
I have a single that is 8.75" across but works fine because it has a curve.
My bastard sword has an 8" straight guard. With two-handed weapons I roll my hand back less.
I have a Longsword that has a straight 11.75" guard. That works because it has a 12" handle (38" blade) and I hold the sword an inch above the guard.
My rapiers all have 12" guards.
I had a dagger with a 12" guard and I had to bend that into a curve because was hitting my wrist.

The worse qillion for me on a cutting sword is those bow-tie ones that fair towards the wrist. I have seen some cool ones in an "S" shape that naturally go to the side of your wrist.

Just some ideas for you to digest, but the key element is how YOU fight.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 9:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a Del Tin with 17" quillons and two large side rings but this is a " Huge " two hander and bigger than a longsword.

That should be about close to the maximum one could expect from a two hander meant to be used, some ceremonial presentation swords were even bigger but these are too heavy to be actual battle weapons.

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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So, the maximum is somewhere between 12 and 17 inches, depending on the size of the rest of the sword? That sound about right?

Any clue on the minimum length?

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
Just some ideas for you to digest, but the key element is how YOU fight.


I don't, actually. This is more a question of academic interest.

Anyway, I'm not asking with the intent of finding a comfortable cross length. Rather, I'm curious about what kind of extremes one can go to and still have a functional (albeit uncomfortable) weapon.

For example, if I make a longsword with a cross only -shall we say- six inches long, is it still possible to use it as a longsword?

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
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Patrick Jones




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders:

I've forgotten where I got the information, but my impression is that the length of the guard is supposed to be the same as the length of the grip.
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Anders,

The length of the guard on my Baron is 8 inches (20.32cm), and on my Liechtenhauer it's 9.25" (23.5cm). I think these would be on the short side, but as was mentioned earlier, it depends on how you fight.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Jones wrote:
Anders:

I've forgotten where I got the information, but my impression is that the length of the guard is supposed to be the same as the length of the grip.


I don't think it's a rule and although some might have a handle and guard of about the same length there are too many that don't follow this rule for it to be a rule. Wink

Oh, if you look at the Albion Castellan the guard is on the short side of the scale although not stated on the stats I assume 6" to 7" wide.

From this review: http://www.myArmoury.com/review_alb_cast.html
Guard 7 3/8"

The Generation 2 Dordogne's guard is 6" wide and although it's borderline if one can define it as a longsword due to the short handle the blade is around 36" long and one can use it twohanded if one holds the pommel: This sword although not an exact copy of a period sword does base it's dimensions on swords of the Castillion find.
http://www.imperialweapons.com/swords/Reinhardt/IP-701.html

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Steven Reich




Location: Arlington, VA
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 7:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Jones wrote:
Anders:

I've forgotten where I got the information, but my impression is that the length of the guard is supposed to be the same as the length of the grip.

That is what Filippo Vadi advises in his treatise.

Steve

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven Reich wrote:
Patrick Jones wrote:
Anders:

I've forgotten where I got the information, but my impression is that the length of the guard is supposed to be the same as the length of the grip.

That is what Filippo Vadi advises in his treatise.

Steve



A valid preference or opinion from a period master as to what he considered an ideal size of guard but certainly not an accepted rule since there are many swords not following this rule at least at different periods but interestingly enough my Del Tin twohander seems to follow this rule as the guard is 17" long and so is the handle+pommel.

This may be true for the late 15th to the early 16th century two handers and for the Renaissance period ?
My possibly earlier period A & A two hander has a visibly shorter guard to longer handle proportions.

( Oh, the above is just my theory off the top of my head and not something I assert as being a sure thing or the truth. )

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What Vassilis said.


Might also be worth noting that I really hated S-curved guards when I first started collecting...after I started using a bit I really grew to appreciate them. Neat ergonomics at work.

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Steven Reich




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Nov, 2008 5:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
This may be true for the late 15th to the early 16th century two handers and for the Renaissance period ?

I would say that it is the "rule" when practicing Vadi's Longsword system, but it clearly wasn't a universal "truth".

Steve

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Justin King
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Nov, 2008 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Jones wrote:
Anders:

I've forgotten where I got the information, but my impression is that the length of the guard is supposed to be the same as the length of the grip.


I have heard this as a rule of aesthetics and proportion, and I have found that I do prefer the looks of longswords that hold to it. It has been pointed out that there are plenty of examples that do not follow this rule so obviously it is subjective. Probably the best way to judge guard length on historical designs is to look at original examples within the type/style in question, there will of course be some variation but you may find a a general trend among a particular type.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2008 3:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

Oh, if you look at the Albion Castellan the guard is on the short side of the scale although not stated on the stats I assume 6" to 7" wide.


I'd guess it's slightly longer, myself.

Still, would you say 6-7 inches is a good minimum?

Steven Reich wrote:
Patrick Jones wrote:
Anders:

I've forgotten where I got the information, but my impression is that the length of the guard is supposed to be the same as the length of the grip.

That is what Filippo Vadi advises in his treatise.

Steve


I appriciate your input, but still, this is kinda the opposite to what I'm looking for.

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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Justin King
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2008 5:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not really sure how this fits into the discussion, but since I have one, the guard on my Castellan is 7-3/8".
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Bill Love





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The width of the cross equaling the length of the grip is also mentioned in Guy Windsor's Swordsman's Companion as part of the overall dimensions of a good practice longsword. I have to agree from a personal preference standpoint, as shoulder problems prevent full extension of my arm and some of the longer cross arms seem to be magnetically attracted to my skull-
"History is a set of lies agreed upon."
Napoleon Bonaparte
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