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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Tue 18 Nov, 2008 12:52 pm    Post subject: Windlass Effigy Sword         Reply with quote

So this is another piece that caught my eye in the MRL catalogue. Based on the images, it looks like one of Windlass' better attempts at least in terms of construction. Not sure about historical accuracy. Since MRL labeled it the "effigy", I'm guessing that means it's taken from art. Thoughts...?

http://www.kultofathena.com/product~item~5011...+Sword.htm
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Nov, 2008 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I went to www.gothiceye.com, searched for "Roger" and found:



Roger Elmebrygge (d.1435)
Beddington

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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 2:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is my .02:

Brass probably would not have composed the cross and pommel on the historical sword portrayed. Also, this in itself can lend to problems down the road if you plan on actually using it. I've had more than my share of Windlass blades with brass hardware that I got rid of due to this.

I am partial to their Sword of Auray which has the same basic look to it, but with steel instead of brass, a diamond cross section blade, and a formed wooden grip. It's discontinued, but I think some vendors still have a few laying around for pretty cheap:

http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/Sword_of_Auray_500852.html

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Tim May




Location: Annapolis, MD
Joined: 12 Nov 2006

Posts: 108

PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd second the Sword of Auray, I have it and love it. It's light as a feather but still able to cut surprisingly well. I took a 1/2" thick ship out of an oak stool on a bad cut with no ill effects at all, so it should hold up to anything you can throw at it. The Effigy Sword is interesting but just can't help but wish the blade had a wider fuller and stuck to say a type XVI, which is at least on initial impression what I thought they were aiming for.
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 8:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, steel is always a better choice for hilt material. The brass hilt looks nice, but is better suited for decorative purposes. However, I think that it works on this piece. From the impression I got, the sword is supposed to represent a decorative, yet functional side arm that a knight might wear for formal occasions. So it makes sense that it might be chosen as a burial sword too. I have an affinity for brass as I really like the way it looks when it's distressed and antiqued.

My biggest complaint (in terms of appearance) for the Effigy Sword, is the cord leather wrapped grip. It appears to be the spongy, chrome tanned leather that appears on a lot of swords in this price range. To me, it looks plastic-ish and like more of an afterthought.

I'm really curious about it's sturdiness and handling, but I'm always weary spending the money on Windlass swords without getting a review or at least some kind of feedback from somebody who's handled the piece.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim May wrote:
I'd second the Sword of Auray, I have it and love it. It's light as a feather but still able to cut surprisingly well. I took a 1/2" thick ship out of an oak stool on a bad cut with no ill effects at all, so it should hold up to anything you can throw at it. The Effigy Sword is interesting but just can't help but wish the blade had a wider fuller and stuck to say a type XVI, which is at least on initial impression what I thought they were aiming for.


For the time period, a Type XVI would likely be slightly out of date. A fullered XV or XVIII would perhaps be more appropriate. The Effigy sword looks to have something like a narrowly fullered XV blade.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JE Sarge wrote:
Here is my .02:

Brass probably would not have composed the cross and pommel on the historical sword portrayed. Also, this in itself can lend to problems down the road if you plan on actually using it. I've had more than my share of Windlass blades with brass hardware that I got rid of due to this.

I am partial to their Sword of Auray which has the same basic look to it, but with steel instead of brass, a diamond cross section blade, and a formed wooden grip. It's discontinued, but I think some vendors still have a few laying around for pretty cheap:

http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/Sword_of_Auray_500852.html


Brass or a similar allow known as latten was occasionally used on swords and daggers during that period. So it's not out of the realm of possibility. Some daggers had gilt copper fittings which would be even softer than brass.

Interesting comments on the durbaility issue. Some have made passing comments about that before, but no one has seemed to have first-hand experience with brass being worse for durability than mild steel. So I'd love to hear you experiences.

Brass as a hilt material has been discussed here. Feel free to add your thoughts to that thread. Thanks!

Happy

ChadA

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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never personally viewed furniture constructed of wholly of solid brass or latten alloy without intergral steel or iron components. I am sure it did gain promenance at some point when mass military production ensued, but definately not until long after the Late Medieval Period. Historically, the preference seems to have been bronze. I cannot bring myself to agree that brass was used for anything more than ornamental/decorative purposes until way later, say the mid-late 1500s. I'll do some reading in the other thread after while when my shift settles down, because this will definately be a seperate argument.

Ok, as far as my personal experiences with brass and Windlass goes:

Windlass Oakeshott Type XIIa - New sword that I ordered for a private customer. Guard bent out of the box, siginificant rattle in due to loose pommel where steel had ate away some brass during manufacture.

Windlass Castillion Sword - Bent guard, developed severe thread deformation in pommel after using for cutting.

Windlass River Schwert Viking Sword - Loose pommel due to the tang chewing away the brass and working away from the tang over time.

Windlass Mercenary Sword - Guard bent over 45 degrees out of true when recieved. Broke off while straightening.

This could be that Windlass uniquely uses too soft of a brass. If you really like brass, then rock on and get add some to your collection; but do so with my caveats about it. I still think you'd like the Sword of Auray better in the end if you are considering going with a Windlass product.

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have heard that brass furniture was used more commonly in Scotland due to the weather. Any truth to this?
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan,
Thanks for the info. The bent guards are telling. Though the pommel issues could well be caused by shoddy fit and ahistorical assembly (threading).

I've always thought it would be great to take 2 identical swords with historical design and assembly where the only difference is brass on one hilt and steel on the other and test them side by side.

And as a musician whose instruments are made of brass, I can indeed tell you that there is a wide variety of alloys out there and some are softer than others, though they are all generally a copper/zinc alloy.

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ChadA

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Matt Easton




Location: Surrey, UK.
Joined: 30 Jun 2004

Posts: 239

PostPosted: Fri 21 Nov, 2008 5:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are quite a few surviving 14th and 15th century swords with bronze or other copper-alloy hilt parts - just see Records of the Medieval Sword for examples.
Bronze can be harder than iron, and remember that most medieval sword hilt parts were not steel, but iron.
Modern brass is somewhat different to the copper-alloys used at the time of course.

Matt

Schola Gladiatoria - www.fioredeiliberi.org
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Antique Swords: www.antique-swords.co.uk/
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Will C




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 22 Nov 2008

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2008 4:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a 14th C hand and a half sword custom made for me way back in 2000 it has a solid brass guard and a solid brass pommel. I've been re-enacting with this sword for the better part of 8 years and sure it has a couple of minr dents in the brasswork but I have had no problems at all with the brass. It was taken apart in 2001 to replace the timber in the grip, which had been split by a sword blow during a fight, and then put back together and re-peaned (excuse my spelling) . I dont have any experience with Windlass swords though so I cant add my 2 cents to that debate.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2008 6:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will,
That's interesting info. Your sword was peened, which distributes the stress of the assembly differently than a threaded assembly would, which ought to make it more durable. Do you think the dents from strikes yours received are worse than they would be if the hilt were a mild steel or iron?

I suspect, but can't confirm, that a decent number of durability issues with modern brass hilted swords have to do with shoddy construction (threaded pommels, sloppy fits) more so than the material itself. A chunk of the rest could be due to cheap alloys that are overly soft. Again, I don't doubt that mild steel or a good wrought iron is a better choice, but the fact that we see brass used historically on weapons that saw actual use tells me the material isn't inherently unsuitable.

The stories of bent guards straight from the vendor/maker intrigue me. Well, we've seen bent iron guards on surviving swords. So if the material is soft enough and the guard thin enough or of a cross-section that isn't stout, it can bend regardless of what it's made of. But, again, the type of makers who use brass a lot are likely to use the cheap stuff that is very soft. They're also going to be more likely to use poor assembly methods that will contribute to issues. And they and their vendors are going to be more likely to be careless when packing weapons for shipping.

Again, if you're concerned about durability, a good mild steel and proper assembly are the way to go. What I'm trying to do, though, is figure out if many modern collectors' dislike of brass is related more to shoddy weapons making than to issues with the raw material itself.

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ChadA

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Will C




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 22 Nov 2008

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2008 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is the guard from my sword. According the smith who made it its solid brass. Like I said the dents are minor. I like the look of brass furniture on a sword especially when its well polished, it looks great. as for strength if its properly prepared brass can be as hard as mild steel. I have never liked threaded tangs and screw on pommels, the threads create a weak point in the tang and I've seen them snap on the battlefield. In my opinion its more likely poor manufacturing methods and cheap materials than the fact that its brass that is the cause of the defects.


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Li Jin




Location: NYC
Joined: 21 Feb 2008

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Sun 23 Nov, 2008 1:51 am    Post subject: HI         Reply with quote

Hi

I have a windlass 1840 NCO sword with whole brass pommel up to the guard. I can only say that this was a pretty bad one I got from windass, the whole brass parts just doesn't fit the sword.
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Mon 24 Nov, 2008 2:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So I guess we can determine that a threaded pommel on a sword with brass hilt furniture is a big no no in terms of structural integrity. Personally, I prefer a traditional peened pommel on any sword. A threaded pommel, even if well executed, to me just seems too, modern, for lack of better terms.

The Effigy sword appears to be peened in the photos. One thing I noticed on Windlass swords that have peened pommels, is that they almost always grind down the peen so it's flush with the surface of the pommel. I never understood this practice. I may be mistaken, but I've never seen this done on historical pieces.
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Steve Halston





Joined: 26 Nov 2007

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
JE Sarge wrote:
Here is my .02:

Brass probably would not have composed the cross and pommel on the historical sword portrayed. Also, this in itself can lend to problems down the road if you plan on actually using it. I've had more than my share of Windlass blades with brass hardware that I got rid of due to this.

I am partial to their Sword of Auray which has the same basic look to it, but with steel instead of brass, a diamond cross section blade, and a formed wooden grip. It's discontinued, but I think some vendors still have a few laying around for pretty cheap:

http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/Sword_of_Auray_500852.html


Brass or a similar allow known as latten was occasionally used on swords and daggers during that period. So it's not out of the realm of possibility. Some daggers had gilt copper fittings which would be even softer than brass.

Interesting comments on the durbaility issue. Some have made passing comments about that before, but no one has seemed to have first-hand experience with brass being worse for durability than mild steel. So I'd love to hear you experiences.

Brass as a hilt material has been discussed here. Feel free to add your thoughts to that thread. Thanks!


I bought the Windlass sword of Acre. I'm not sure if the brass presents major durability issues, but the sword does have a steel tang peened to the brass pommel and I have noticed loosening after very minimal use (water bottle whacking).

It's enough to turn me off of swords that are peened and have brass furniture. Brass seems fine for a threaded pommel, and I actually prefer a threaded tang because if any loosening results it's easy to just disassemble the sword, shim the handle and tighten the pommel back on. I can't say anything of hilt durability, though I would be worried about incoming blades whacking a quillon off if the brass is cast, because casting seems to leave brass very brittle.

Tempered steel and tempered spirit are the foremost attributes of a man at arms.
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Steve Halston





Joined: 26 Nov 2007

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 2:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Jonathan,
Thanks for the info. The bent guards are telling. Though the pommel issues could well be caused by shoddy fit and ahistorical assembly (threading).

I've always thought it would be great to take 2 identical swords with historical design and assembly where the only difference is brass on one hilt and steel on the other and test them side by side.

And as a musician whose instruments are made of brass, I can indeed tell you that there is a wide variety of alloys out there and some are softer than others, though they are all generally a copper/zinc alloy.


I'm not sure if they are still made, but I know of some swords which would suit your purpose. CAS Iberia has made a number of swords featuring both steel and brass hardware. There are no other structural differences.

Tempered steel and tempered spirit are the foremost attributes of a man at arms.
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