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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 5:22 am    Post subject: Windlass Battle Sword - Remember This?         Reply with quote

I am curious if anyone remembers this sword or knows anything about it. Here's my story:

I have been eyeing it for quite some time on the 'By the Sword' Windlass specials page. As long as I can remember they had it listed as a discontinued item. During their summer sale I decided to take a chance on it. The other good news was that, although the web site says there were no scabbards, apparently they had 3 left for their 7 remaining swords.

A few things surprised me when it arrived. Based on the picture and their description I thought it would have a parallel, flexible blade like the Windlass classic medieval sword. Instead it has a noticeable profile taper and good point, with its 3/4 length narrow fuller making it a type XII, for what its worth. The bigger surprise was how stiff the blade is, almost rigid, presumably due to the narrow fuller and slightly thicker blade. I have held many, many Windlass swords and this one just does not feel like a Windlass (although it had the typical older-style Windlass stamp).

An oddity of the sword was that the tang becomes round toward the tip, like it was meant to be threaded, but the pommel is peened on (in somewhat coarse fashion). This makes me wonder if either it was originally meant to be threaded, or they were otherwise in a state of transition from threading to peening pommels when they made this sword.

I was warned that the hilt had some wiggle, as did all of the other units. I found that both the handle and guard were loose, probably because these swords have been sitting around so long in a dry warehouse. I repeened the pommel, drove two dowel-edge wedges deep into the handle through the semi-circular circular slot made to let the tang pass through the guard, and drove 4 small triangular scalpel blades (cut to fit) between the tang and guard at the corners of its tang slot. These are not visible but now the furniture is tight and the blade rings like a bell when struck.

At first it looked scratched up, but this was just that 'Windlass varnish' they used to use. I took this off with fine steel wool dabbed in nail polish remover, which left nothing but smooth shiny steel.

This single hand sword is not for the faint hearted - with a blade of 33", a PoB of 6.5" and weighing in at least 3 pounds, it takes some muscle to handle. It's not for fencing, but I wouldn't want to be at the other end of it once it gets moving.

Finally, I bought this just because it seemed unique and interesting for a high medieval sword, and I wanted an affordable cocked hat pommel sword to replace the one I just sold. The curving guard opposite to the curving lines of the pommel creates a striking visual effect that reminds me of some earlier anglo saxon and viking swords, only on steroids.

I'm curious when this sword was made. I can't find any other sign of it showing up on the internet.
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Eric Meulemans
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Location: Southern Wisconsin
Joined: 30 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sure, I remember it, because I have one. I picked mine up from Windlass when they went on closeout in 2005. As I recall I paid $75 + S/H without the scabbard. I have since reground the blade and hilt components, reassembled, re-gripped, and aged it. I don't recall the present stats on it but it has dropped quite a lot of weight while maintaining decent stiffness. The guard I welded in place, so it certainly isn't going anywhere.

Upon receiving it I was surprised that it had a peened-on pommel, but aside from that I didn't think there was anything "un-Windlassy" about it at the time. The blade is fairly typical, with its undulating surface and wavering fuller, which I minimized but did not attempt to eliminate.

In any case, it is a fun sword that is fairly unique and can take a beating. And yes, I love the cocked hat pommel.



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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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Posts: 1,751

PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Eric, I like what you have done. So if they were on close-out in 2005, this sword must be at least 5 years old.

When I say it doesn't feel like Windlass, I mean the swords they have made in the past 5 years. I have handled just about all of them and I don't recall one with this much rigidity, at least not one with a blade this long. It appears that in the past few years they have been going to thinner and lighter blades. I have also noticed this in their older viking lines.

If anyone is interested, they have more here. Might make a good project like Eric's.

http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/Windlass_Specials.html
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,751

PostPosted: Sat 03 Oct, 2009 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Windlass Battle Sword - Remember This?         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
An oddity of the sword was that the tang becomes round toward the tip, like it was meant to be threaded, but the pommel is peened on (in somewhat coarse fashion). This makes me wonder if either it was originally meant to be threaded, or they were otherwise in a state of transition from threading to peening pommels when they made this sword.


The reason for this became evident when I tried to take it apart. The tang has a nut internal to the pommel, and then the tang is peened over both the nut and the pommel. This makes it very hard to remove the pommel. So I take back what I said about this being a good project sword - and unless you can grind it down like Eric it is too heavy for anything like fencing. I still like the way it looks.
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