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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Sword with saw-teeth         Reply with quote

Hello!

During my last visit at the Musée de l'Armée, I took pictures of a somewhat special sword I had noticed previously. I don't remember seeing the like of it anywhere else...

The inventory number of the sword is J PO 1818. The only information provided on the notice is that it is a German work from 1590-1600, with a blade by Clemens Meigen from Solingen (the blade is engraved CLEMES but it does not show on the photos). Unfortunately this sword is located in a rather crowded display, with abysmal lighting and a specially reflective glass in front of it. So I had to post process the images quite heavily, hopefully they are still informative...

As you can see on the first picture below, the sword has a very classical complex hilt, but the blade is surprising. On the first three quarters, the blade is single edged. The true edge is created by flat bevels starting from a ridge about one third of the blade from the edge (i.e. the ridge is not centered). The back edge has these saw-teeth that I think are uncommon on swords of this type (historical swords, I mean Wink ), and is hollow ground. Over the last quarter of the blade, a false edge appears, symetrical to the true edge, and the hollow grinding turns smoothly into a fuller.

The saw teeth are more complicated than it seems at the first glance. In fact the teeth are not lined up on both sides of the blade. I think the effect is created by some imaginative file work, where the slope of the back of the sword changes direction twice over the length of one tooth. It's very hard to see, even being there in person. I tried to shoot it from an angle, and zoomed in to obtain the second picture below. There you should see the two series of serrations that alternate from side to side. Well, maybe Happy The black part at the bottom is the flat of the blade, the greyish part at the top is the backdrop. The strange lightning on the top and to the right is an artefact...

Now I wonder what this sword was meant for exactly? I have found this discussion of a simpler saw-back hunting sword, but the one here is not grouped with hunting swords... Of course there is the possibility of a misidentification by the museum. However it does not show the wide flaring tip and the bar that other hunting swords with complex hilts seem to often have. I'm not sure it would be too efficient as a saw either, because of the central ridge.

If this is a fighting sword, why was the ridge brought so close to the true edge? A ridge in the middle might have allowed deeper cuts... And what was the saw-back used for? The most plausible explanation I can come up with is that an adversary trying to grab the blade or oppose it with his hand would probably regret his move. Or maybe this was done in order to ruin the edge of other swords?

Bonus question: how would you go about making a scabbard that could survive sheathing a blade like that Razz ?

Regards,



 Attachment: 14.65 KB
serrations.jpg
The saw-teeth.

 Attachment: 42.45 KB
Full view of the sword. [ Download ]

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Vincent
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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could it have possibly been a pioneer's sword? I have seen examples of saw backed blades that were used by explorers and pioneers in the 1700's and the 1800's, although they were usually shorter. Very interesting blade nonetheless. It might also be misidentification, as you said. Hunting sword is also a good possibility.
Nathan.
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Neal Matheson




Location: sussex UK
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 10:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the highlanders in the penicuick sketches is shown using a broadsword with what look like saw teeth on both edges.
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Kurt Houghton




Location: Kureelpa
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 2:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've seen this very similar type of blade only as a bayonet which makes sense as an all purpose kind of thing for marching. So taking that into account i'd also agree with it being for early settlers.

hope this helped

Kurtulees Happy
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 2:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah yes, like this one?


(from this earlier thread)

Indeed the design seems similar, except for length... I've found other pioneer's sword, but the blade is flat, which is logical if the saw is going to see use on things wider than the blade. Here it seems that the ridge would prevent that.

Well, if it's a pioneer's sword, it seems to be one of the earliest examples...

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Vincent
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Kurt Houghton




Location: Kureelpa
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yeah, very much like that. However if its a bayonet then its for infantry in the army thus, they're not exactly cutting tree's up but more sticks or branches for fires i would think ??

it does seem to be a multi purpose type of weapon
anyway, glad to be of help if i was.

Kurtulees Happy
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 3:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The infantry cut a suprising amount of small trees , for all kinds of purposes (impoving positions, propping up camo netts, carrying stuff, and so on). Nowadays, small hatchets, forlding saws and such are favorites.

As for the sword, it is most likely a bright idea that didn't turn out to be that brigth. Quite posibly it could be for binding, or stopping the opponents bind.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 12:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
As for the sword, it is most likely a bright idea that didn't turn out to be that brigth.

Given the scarcity of examples, I'd say that's likely indeed Happy

Funny how I can't seem to imagine such a sword in the hand of someone using it to clear bushes... But perhaps it would work.

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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 7:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are instances of later swords that have a jimping quite like the crosscut look.



Could the older sword shown simply been decorative, or more meant to snag an opponent and not as a wood saw?

The 19th century was rife with examples of the pioneer ilk. The Rusian 1827 below is a simply humungous example of the type. I failed to weigh it or measure it when this visited but it felt like at least four pounds in its scabbard. The internal scabbard fitment of that one seems to guide on the fuller to keep from doing damage to the core. The saw teeth themselves are unbelievably sharp but apparently never, ever used. Maybe because it was not very popular to ballast either side of the carry.

The Swiss had some very purposeful long and handy looking pieces with similar quite effective crosscut grinds.

Cheers
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K J Seago




Location: Suffolk, England
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 1:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i've been to belgium and the ww1 museums and have found that the germans were filing the backs of their bayonnettes into saw blades for sheer ruthlessness,and any prisoner found with was shot on the spot,a cut from one of these wasn't likely to heal-and as far as i know that why they were used on the german side.

feel free to set me right. Happy

just another student of an interesting subject, Happy
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This could be another case of misunderstandings leading to sumary executions.

Paralells would be the wooden bullets used by german and japanese troops to launch rifle grenades during WW II. Allied troops who found these figured they where made to splinter on impact, and often shot the unlucky grenadeer in fury.

Personally, I would love to have a engineer shortsword in my field kit, for general camp work.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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