Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Origins of "Blood Grooves" Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next 
Author Message
Xan Stepp




Location: Ithaca, NY
Joined: 19 Dec 2008

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 9:56 am    Post subject: Origins of "Blood Grooves"         Reply with quote

Does anyone know the etymology of the term blood grooves? I was thinking about it the other day, and while I have no doubt that the primary purpose of fullers would be to lighten and strengthen the blade, I have to imagine that they also channeled blood down the center of the blade. I realized that it was entirely possible that fullers may have been called blood grooves by contemporaries after an observed effect rather than primary purpose. However, it is also equally possible that they were given the term at a later date when the function of the fuller was simply assumed by people with little practical experience.

So my question is whether anyone does know for sure, and can document the origin of the term? I've don't remember ever having seen it in medieval or renaissance sources, but then again I don't remember the term fuller either.

Deyr fé, deyja frćndur
deyr sjálfur iđ sama;
en orđstír deyr aldregi
hveim er sér góđan getur.
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Johnson
Industry Professional



Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 16 pages
Reading list: 20 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,281

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject: Hi Xan         Reply with quote

The term "Blood Grove" in the context of a description for a fuller I believe is a modern alliteration. I have not found any period use of the term or reference to this particular function being described. In discussions with surgeons and emergency room doctors the whole concept is pretty much a wash. There is no technical need or function for such a grove in a devise puncturing the body. As one said to me "Humans are soft, steel is hard."

Their is no suction component to wounds and the trauma created by a piece of steel entering the human body that needs much help in increasing the results of said intrusion.

Now if we could find such a comment from a period source it would be quite interesting, but I have not come across it in many years of watching for it.

Best
Craig
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know know accurate it was, but I saw a documentary at least 10-15 years ago to said that "blood groves" for the purpose of "relieving the suction on the blade" were first used on bayonets in the late 19th or early 20th century. I don't remember what people they were talking about, I suspect some eastern European group. From there, the use of blood grooves spread to most bayonet knives. Again this was a documentary form 10-15 years ago, so the info may be out of date. I am hoping someone else has more information on this. This documentary was the first time I heard the term "blood groove".

I have seen the blood grooves on WWI and WWII bayonets. It is a very thin line, not wide like a fuller. My ka-bar has a slightly wider one, but short. Clearly the purpose of it is not to reduce the weight like a fuller on a sword. Regardless if the bloodgrove is effective or not in breaking suction, for most of the 20th century people believed it did and put blood groves on the blades for that reason. Hence, those ARE blood grooves on bayonet knives, not fullers, based on the reason why they were put on there.

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


Last edited by Bill Tsafa on Wed 31 Dec, 2008 1:35 pm; edited 2 times in total
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Jason Manville




Location: Madison
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you Google the term “blood grove”, you are often re-directed to sites regarding “fuller” In most of my discussion, I have heard “blood groves” used when referring to a knife or shorter blade. I have heard the term “fuller” used when referring to a sword or longer blade.

The term “blood grove may be nothing more than a marketing term intended to make a knife seem better or more effective.

If we want to discuss the purpose of a fuller on a sword blade:

The main function of a fuller is to stiffen and lighten a sword blade.

1.) When slashing the main tension of the cut is along the back of the blade. By removing material; sword makers can lighten a blade without weakling it.

2.) In an unfullered blade, there is only the single spine. Once you add a fuller you actually produce two spines along the blade

There is no evidence to support the “blood letting” myth regarding fullers. No evidence that there is any suction when stabbing or cutting a person/animal. If you can cut your way in, you can cut your way out.

On shorter blades the fuller does add a nice decorative aspect. I personally like the look of a fuller on most blades. However, if the blade is under 24”, I doubt that a fuller would add much in the way of functionality.

Jason

http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonmanville
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,146

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
I don't know know accurate it was, but I saw a documentary at least 10-15 years ago to said that "blood groves" for the purpose of "relieving the suction on the blade" were first used on bayonets in the late 19th or early 20th century.


Just because a documentary says so, doesn't mean people in the 19th & 20th century did so.

Quote:
Regardless if the bloodgrove is effective or not in breaking suction, for most of the 20th century people believed it did and put blood groves on the blades for that reason.


But did they? I'm not saying they didn't, but I am saying we should look at more proof than a 10-15 year old documentary on the subject. Considering the amount of knife attacks in modern times with things such as kitchen knives, and considering that many of them involve multiple stabs (i.e. the blade was removed without trouble), I find it hard to believe men in combat believed a "blood groove" was necessary.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clearly I was questioning the accuracy of the documentary myself.

What is not questionable is that many WWI and WWII knives have blood grooves (or fullers) on them. The question then becomes:

1-Is it there to make the blade lighter? If yes, its a fuller.
2- Is it there to break suction? If yes, its a bloodgrove.
3- Is it there to be decorative? What would Gen. Patten say?
4-What did the men who used those weapons call them? I suspect blood grooves.


A fuller on knife is barely going to take off an once in weight. Its not worth the trouble. Testing may prove that a blood groove does nothing to help in breaking suction. That does not change the fact that they were used on bayonets because they believed it did at the time.

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


Last edited by Bill Tsafa on Wed 31 Dec, 2008 12:04 pm; edited 3 times in total
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Craig Johnson
Industry Professional



Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 16 pages
Reading list: 20 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,281

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Blood grovy         Reply with quote

I think you have hit on it Bill. Sometimes you will get something from popular culture that sneaks into supposed academic discussion as it gets assumed to be true rather than any first hand knowledge or even a simple check with someone who has first hand knowledge.

I think blood grove will have to join the list of great sword myths that I have heard from people who should know better.

List of sword Myths

1) 30 pound sword
2) Swords can slash through armor and my favorite off shoot -(Japanese swords can cut through teh barrel of a machine gun)
3) Scottish Highlanders threw their Claymores with deadly affect
4) Real swords don't flex.
5) Swords need to be razor sharp
6) Blood Groves - function and name i.e.(related sucking action of would trapping blade)

This might make a good thread on its own "What are the worst sword myths?"

Best
Craig
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Craig Johnson
Industry Professional



Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 16 pages
Reading list: 20 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,281

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 12:01 pm    Post subject: Hi Vassilis         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
Clearly I was questioning the accuracy of the documentary myself.

What is not questionable is that many WWI and WWII knives have blood grooves (or fullers) on them. The question then becomes:

1-Is it there to make the blade lighter? If yes, its a fuller.
2- Is it there to break suction? If yes, its a bloodgrove.
3- Is it there to be decorative? What would Gen. Patten say?
4-What did the men who used those weapons call them? I suspect blood grooves.


A fuller on knife is barely going to take off an once in weight. Its not worth the trouble.


I would expect that when you look into the design aspects of these implements it will become quite clear that the fuller is used as a structural stiffening element. I.e. the need for a good thrust from a bayonet or modern fighting knife.

Best
Craig
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Eric Myers




Location: Sacramento, CA
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 214

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Craig,

Do fullers actually increase the stiffness of a blade, or just lighten the blade without sacrificing much stiffness? I have a hard time believing that the sides of a fuller act as additional spines, but perhaps that is just how I am looking at it. If I take two flat bars and put fullers in one, it shouldn't be any stiffer than the other.

Eric Myers
Sacramento Sword School
ViaHup.com - Wiki di Scherma Italiana
View user's profile Send private message
Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't suspect a fuller does not work any differently then an I-beam. The I-beam is not stronger then if you had a solid bar of steel in the same dimensions. The solid bar is stronger but weighs at least 10 times as much (vs I-beam) and is much more expensive. The I-beam is however a more efficient use of three thinner sheets of mettle that greatly improves their strength. The same concept applies to a rubber hollow ball vs a solid one of the same material.

The wording I would use to describe a fuller is... the removal weight from a blade in such a way that it does not significantly weaken the blade or change its dimensions. .

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


Last edited by Bill Tsafa on Wed 31 Dec, 2008 1:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Eric Myers




Location: Sacramento, CA
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 214

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
I don't suspect a fuller would not work any different then an I-beem. The I-beem is not stronger then if you had a solid bar of steel. The solid bar is stronger but weighs at least 10 times as much and is much more expensive. The I-beem is however a more efficient use of three thinner sheets of mettle. The same concept applies to a rubber hollow ball vs a solid one of the same material.


That was my line of reasoning as well. Although in some structural cases the extra weight of an "unfullered" element causes extra strain and weakness, I don't think that applies to swords....

Eric Myers
Sacramento Sword School
ViaHup.com - Wiki di Scherma Italiana
View user's profile Send private message
Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Myers wrote:

That was my line of reasoning as well. Although in some structural cases the extra weight of an "unfullered" element causes extra strain and weakness, I don't think that applies to swords....


...especially since we see that some swords have no fuller at all, but have a thicker diamond cross-section.

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
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,587

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 4:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Blood grovy         Reply with quote

Craig Johnson wrote:
3) Scottish Highlanders threw their Claymores with deadly affect


Wasn't it Porthos who invented this technique for disarming oneself? Wink
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 6:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Tsafatinos,

On Wednesday 31 December 2008, you wrote:
Clearly I was questioning the accuracy of the documentary myself.

What is not questionable is that many WWI and WWII knives have blood grooves (or fullers) on them. The question then becomes:

1-Is it there to make the blade lighter? If yes, its a fuller.
2- Is it there to break suction? If yes, its a bloodgrove.

You've left out at least one major possibility here, although you do allude to it in a later post: Considering that the military bayonets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were made by the thousands under industrial conditions, putting channels in the blades could have been a way of conserving steel to reduce manufacturing costs. If manufacturers can make, say, fifty-one channeled blades using the same amount of steel that fifty unchanneled blades would require, and they're making twenty thousand, it's very likely that they'll choose to make channeled blades.

Quote:
3- Is it there to be decorative? What would Gen. Patten say?

He'd probably have said that his swords were fullered to lighten their blades without losing stiffness. He was an Olympic fencer (actually a modern pentathlete), which suggests that he would have understood the utility of fullers from experience; and no doubt he also paid some attention to previous sword designs when developing his saber. Note also that as a West Point graduate, he would very likely have had some engineering in his background.

Quote:
4-What did the men who used those weapons call them? I suspect blood grooves.

Perhaps, but soldiers don't need to know the whys of weapon design. They just need to know how to use the weapons. They can be as uneducated as laymen when it comes to terminology.

Quote:
A fuller on knife is barely going to take off an once in weight. Its not worth the trouble. Testing may prove that a blood groove does nothing to help in breaking suction. That does not change the fact that they were used on bayonets because they believed it did at the time.

If, indeed, it is a fact that the channels were placed there to serve as blood grooves, and not as fullers (to use your definitions)--but I don't think that you've proven your case.

Best,

Mark Millman
View user's profile Send private message
Xan Stepp




Location: Ithaca, NY
Joined: 19 Dec 2008

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First of all, I don't buy the concept of "suction" in a wound; the physics just doesn't make sense. First of all, suction is usually caused by a differential between atmospheric pressure and a closed volume. I don't think that most swords would adequately seal a wound so that there would be no air exchange between the systems. However, even if they did the pressure differential would be along the cross-section of the blade, and at 14 psi at one atm, the cross section of the sword is too small to add more than about 10 lbs. to the force required to remove the blade, and if the wielder can't muster that, he has bigger problems. Beyond that, the blood in the human body is under a considerable amount of pressure, and would be trying to force the blade out rather than keep it in. That's how I see the physics, but does anyone have another opinion?

Also, look at historical blades. Consider a Roman infantry sword (no fuller) and a Viking Age sword (with a fuller), which is more likely to be used to inflict a stabbing wound? Also, if it really were an issue of suction, wouldn't we expect to see fullers on spears in the Viking Age?

As for the "blood grooves" in historical bayonets. Even though the amount of weight saved is minimal, remember that they were place on the end of what could be very long guns, multiplying their effective weight for the wielder. So that one ounce saved, may feel like more to the soldier.

However, it is also possible that "blood grooves" were included in these bayonets because the manufacturers had bought into the myth that the blade could get stuck, and were merely perpetuating false information.

But my original question still remains, can anyone track either the term "blood groove" or fuller. When did these words begin to appear?

Deyr fé, deyja frćndur
deyr sjálfur iđ sama;
en orđstír deyr aldregi
hveim er sér góđan getur.
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Myers,

On Wednesday 31 December 2008, you wrote:
Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
I don't suspect a fuller would not work any different then an I-beem. The I-beem is not stronger then if you had a solid bar of steel. The solid bar is stronger but weighs at least 10 times as much and is much more expensive. The I-beem is however a more efficient use of three thinner sheets of mettle. The same concept applies to a rubber hollow ball vs a solid one of the same material.

That was my line of reasoning as well. Although in some structural cases the extra weight of an "unfullered" element causes extra strain and weakness, I don't think that applies to swords....

I suspect that it would be exceedingly rare for a blade to be fullered to prevent weakness due to strain from excessive material. It's far more likely that fullers are present to preserve stiffness (without adding thickness or weight), so that the weapon doesn't flex to a degree that would interfere with its use. Naturally, this will depend in part on its intended use; thrusting swords are more adversely affected by excessive flexibility than are cutting swords. And similarly, cutting swords need to keep their blades thin more than thrusting swords do.

(An aside: I'm not engineer enough to know whether a fullered blade would be significantly stiffer than an unfullered one given typical materials, thicknesses, and lengths for combat-knife blades. Does anybody have this information, or can anybody show me the math?)

Fullering is further useful to help balance weapons. It's certainly possible to balance a sword by increasing the pommel's weight, but it's usually more efficient to reduce the blade's weight if the sword needs to balance closer to the hand. This is especially the case with industrially produced swords of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which were produced to pattern with great consistency. Sword designers had the opportunity to make adjustments in advance of production runs, and could fine-tune their designs with reasonable expectations that their tweaks would be correctly incorporated.

Also, an unfullered sword may tire out a combatant's arm sooner than a fullered one, which is a significant consideration when combat is conducted with hand weapons. I grant that this is rather less likely to be an issue for a knife than for a sword; but a bayonet, especially when at the end of, for example, a ten-pound musket (as was often the case in the nineteenth century), could well be subject to this constraint. (Edited to add: I see that Mr. Stepp also addressed this point while I was writing this note.)

Best,

Mark Millman
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 7:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Stepp,

On Wednesday 31 December 2008, you wrote:
But my original question still remains, can anyone track either the term "blood groove" or fuller. When did these words begin to appear?

The Oxford English Dictionary will certainly tell you when the word "fuller" begins to appear in the English-language documentary record, and may give some information about related words in other languages. It also tracks some phrases, so there's a chance that you'll be able to find "blood groove", but I'm afraid it's not a certainty.

Regrettably, I think it's unlikely that you'll be able to find a copy of the OED in Iceland on New Year's Day. I don't have immediate access to one, but I'll try to remember to look up these words and post to this thread.

If anybody else here has an OED at hand, please feel free to jump in.

Best,

Mark Millman
View user's profile Send private message
Xan Stepp




Location: Ithaca, NY
Joined: 19 Dec 2008

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 8:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Millman,
You're absolutely right, I don't know why the idea to check the OED never occurred to me. It's an obvious solution that escaped me for some reason. I'll check it as soon as things get up and running over here after the holidays unless someone posts it here first.

Deyr fé, deyja frćndur
deyr sjálfur iđ sama;
en orđstír deyr aldregi
hveim er sér góđan getur.
View user's profile Send private message
Eric Myers




Location: Sacramento, CA
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 214

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Myers wrote:
Although in some structural cases the extra weight of an "unfullered" element causes extra strain and weakness, I don't think that applies to swords....

Sorry, no one was supposed to think that might actually apply to swords. It's an architectural consideration, in my experience mostly applicable when building with stone or earth on a very large scale.

If I remember the math right from my bow making days, doubling the width doubles the stiffness, but doubling the thickness increase the stiffness by a factor of 8. I don't really know how the math considers arcs, or anything other than parallel surfaces.

I would hesitate to say that a fuller was a way of lightening a sword, simply because I don't know of any historical references to working swords being brought in to the shop for a fullering job because they were too heavy Big Grin I'm sure cutlers did additional grinding to blade blanks, and that could have been partly a weight consideration, but I suspect it had more to do with fine tuning several aspects of weight, balance, etc. I certainly haven't noticed sword blades with fullers being lighter weight than ones without fullers - there are some pretty nicely balanced non-fullered swords out there....

My original question for Craig was really more from a design perspective, though I clearly didn't say that very well. I am curious if his experience with original pieces has led him to any conclusions about why someone would design a fullered blade rather than using a different cross-section. Are they better for wide cutting blades, for example, or are they just a different solution to using the material at hand, or do they specifically allow for more flexibility, or what? Does the place and period and material make a difference? For example, are iron blades with wide fullers less likely to take a set, because they are actually more flexible? (I mean the ability to flex and return to the original shape, there may be a different engineering term.)

Eric Myers
Sacramento Sword School
ViaHup.com - Wiki di Scherma Italiana
View user's profile Send private message
Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 650

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2008 9:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Every time I have read an account of a weapon getting stuck, it has been bone related, not suction related. For some reason the only example that comes specifically to mind is the fictional reference from All Quiet on the Western Front, where the soldiers use sharpened shoves to fight rather than bayonets, which tend to stick in ribs.

This makes far more sense to me prima facie than a weapon sticking in flesh. A modern example that cemets this notion is the footage of a person at a track and field event who gets hit in the shouldet with a javelin, and reflexively pulles the javelin out immediately without any apparent difficulty.

The other issue that I take with the suction theory is that fullers appeared on swords that were not at all designed to thrust, like the kophesh, and notably absent on some very thrust oriented swords that in fact have a diamond cross section.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Origins of "Blood Grooves"
Page 1 of 4 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum