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Tom Kinder





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PostPosted: Sat 05 Dec, 2009 6:03 pm    Post subject: A question about surviving historical swords X-XIV         Reply with quote

Having not had the opportunity to handle or closely examine any surviving historical swords I have a question that I have not found an answer to yet in the books and on line articles I have read.

on cut oriented swords, particularly types X-XIV I know that in general they have flattened lenticular cross sections and I know that as you go down the blade towards the point they can get very thin but I want to know just how thin is thin? and do they ever get totally completely flat especially out near the tip past the fuller. my previous understanding was that no matter how thin they got they would still maintain a slightly ovil-oid / elipse shape and not actually be flat like sheet metal. in a recent discussion this understanding has been called into question and I want to know if, historically some cutting swords were made with tips or forward cutting sections so thin they lost all hint of swell and eliptical shape and became flat sheets of steel.

thank you all in advance,

Tom
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Dec, 2009 3:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote by Nathan Robinson from the "Messer" thread: "I remember Eric McHugh (former head of R&D at Albion) making a comment about a very different type of weapon (in this case, the original on which their Tritonia was based) where he mentioned surprise at how thin the last quarter of the blade was. He said it was almost like having a steak knife on the end of another sword blade. I always liked that comment as it made me re-think many swords' design attributes."

In the previous discussion on another forum I was going by memory and said some things a bit wrong. Now you see the original quote. Wink
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Dec, 2009 4:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that historically a blade could be in the last 50 mm., toward the tip, of a thickness very small, even 1.7-1.8 mm. (not all of course).
With a thickness so small it makes no sense to talk lenticular section at that point, it becomes flat.
I do not think a blade suitable for cutting has problems, even with such small thicknesses. It is very wide.

Ciao
Maurizio
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Dec, 2009 8:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is true that thin wide lenticular blades can indeed be very thin in the outer part after the fuller. Not on all, naturally, but commonly. I have documented swords that are less than a millimeter one cm behind the point. This was a type Xa, that started out some 6 or 7 millimeter at the base. It is over 90 cm long, and is very crisp and fine in the last quarter of the blade: at one cm from the point it is only 0.8 millimeter thick. It s a well preserved blade, so it has not lost material to rust in any meaningful way.

These qualities of swords are sometimes complex and quite subtle.
But this is just the thing: it would be a mistake to say they are not lenticular even in the thinnest part.
It is a subtle shape but it can only be described as flat if you rationalize and simplify to a degree that turns it into something else.
Doing that is missing the whole point of sword design. It is all about subtlety, about suggesting shapes, about including that which s not absolutely square, flat and straight.
If the curvature is slight, the cross section only barely lenticular, the edges *almost* straight, the guard hints at a curve, the pommel *slightly* thinner at the rivet end: well that is just the point, is it not?

If you take away all things that are subtle and instead make them absolute and strict, the resulting sword will fall to the ground like a dead crow instead of soaring like a falcon.
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Tom Kinder





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PostPosted: Sun 06 Dec, 2009 4:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Johnsson, thank you for that reply, that helps me out a lot. the sword I first encountered this "flatness" on was in fact an Albion Norman Xa. the sword did end up having other problems that were real issues but I always wondered if that flat area above the fuller was really correct or not. I have had a few swords that really challenged my concept of what swords are and what they are supposed to be and that Norman was one of them. I always felt that I would have gotten used to the flat part if everything else had been ok. I eventually traded it and have been very happy with the trade, but I think that Norman has helped me learn some things. I'm glad to hear this straight from the horse's mouth so-to-speak. I will assume that I was unable to detect the subtler nuances of the blade in question. I am quite sure that there will come a day when I own another Albion sword. it's just a matter of getting far enough down my wants list and I think a few Albion swords just moved up a slot or two.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2009 12:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glad I could help.

The blade used for the Norman is a good example: it is thin out towards the point. It becomes *Almost* flat, but retains its lenticular section all the way to the sharpness of the point. The Duke and the Tritonia are very much the same. A *slight* doming in the surface of a wide and thin point section.
This is all established by hand grinding and takes awareness and some skill to do, while at the same time establishing proper edge geometry.

Really sorry to hear that you had problems with your norman!
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2009 1:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, do you have an idea as to why they're built that way? I had a theory that it might have something to do with impact around the COP, or perhaps it's wear and tear from use and resharpening.

These are armchair theories and I don't have the privilege of handing period pieces.

M.

This space for rent or lease.
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2009 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:

With a thickness so small it makes no sense to talk lenticular section at that point, it becomes flat.
Maurizio

My expression is wrong, not technically correct.

Peter Johnsson wrote:

But this is just the thing: it would be a mistake to say they are not lenticular even in the thinnest part.


Hello Peter,
I agree with you on the idea expressed on the drawing of the sword.
My concern is that the majority of the people, (for thicknesses around 1 mm.) expect to find in a section lenticular to the point, a curve, even at 1 cm. from the tip.
Well if this is right and proper in fact the curvature is so small that it might not be appreciated. In this way, one what that is right, comes exchanged for one wrong.
The curvature is so small that it seems flat. In some designs I have made full scale, the difference is a few tenths of a millimeter (0.003936996 inch) may not be appreciated by eye, and surely mistaken for a flat surface.
Perhaps it is better to correct information that explains the concept, that for small values of which we speak here.
In this way people know what to expect to see.
You certainly can explain better than me.
Ciao
Maurizio
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2009 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Maurizio!

I know, when we talk about this the limits of words become very apparent. I feel that too!
There is therefor a temptation to resort to numbers and a longing to find exact values that will carry meaning outside single examples. This is impossible I think.

We have to accept that some aspects of the sword is always going to be elusive.
And still we have to try and be specific and exact. It is a paradox, just like the sword.
:-)

There are certainly many reasons why sword blades are made thin towards the end. One important reason is to keep mass down and thereby making the sword quick and lively. Another reason is that you can get a more thorough hardening in thin sections of low hardenability steel. A third reason is that it makes the blade stronger if it distributes stresses evenly along its length. To do that you need a progressively thinner blade, otherwise the meeting of blade and tang will become a weak spot and the blade a rigid rod with leverage. It is actually rather ironic that the ambition to make contemporary swords *stronger* they are built in a way that a weak spot is created where there were none before!
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2009 10:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Hey Maurizio!

I know, when we talk about this the limits of words become very apparent. I feel that too!
There is therefor a temptation to resort to numbers and a longing to find exact values that will carry meaning outside single examples. This is impossible I think.

We have to accept that some aspects of the sword is always going to be elusive.
And still we have to try and be specific and exact. It is a paradox, just like the sword.
:-)


Hey Peter,
Yes, you're right, often I try to turn things into numbers, is for professional deformation ( my work is mechanical precision ) , due to lack of command of the language into English, so the numbers are easier?
I do not know, but true.
I took your point of view, I think your eyes are trained like those of the falcon you mention, and this is not for everyone. Thanks for the explanation.
Ciao
Maurizio
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Jan Svejkovsky




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find this thread interesting because I own a circa 1250 type XII sword that I purchased (without handling it first) from Germany. When it arrived I was a bit dismayed about how thin the blade was toward the point. It starts out at several millimeters but is less than a millimeter within several centimeters of the point. It is lenticular, although the curve is less pronounced on one side than the other, so perhaps there was some excessive honing done in the past, making the blade thinner than when it was made. On the other hand, Peter's comments prove that other well preserved blades exist that to some of us may seem unrealistically thin near the point.

It does make me wander, though, I can't imagine a blade like this standing up to a single hard thrust in battle against chain mail or even hard leather without bending. At the same time I find it hard to believe that in the heat of a fight a knight would always only use a sword to cut or slash and never thrust (intentionally or accidentally). There must have been a lot of bent swords around....
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2009 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jan Svejkovsky wrote:
I find this thread interesting because I own a circa 1250 type XII sword that I purchased (without handling it first) from Germany. When it arrived I was a bit dismayed about how thin the blade was toward the point. It starts out at several millimeters but is less than a millimeter within several centimeters of the point. It is lenticular, although the curve is less pronounced on one side than the other, so perhaps there was some excessive honing done in the past, making the blade thinner than when it was made. On the other hand, Peter's comments prove that other well preserved blades exist that to some of us may seem unrealistically thin near the point.

It does make me wander, though, I can't imagine a blade like this standing up to a single hard thrust in battle against chain mail or even hard leather without bending. At the same time I find it hard to believe that in the heat of a fight a knight would always only use a sword to cut or slash and never thrust (intentionally or accidentally). There must have been a lot of bent swords around....



Fiore dei Liberi tells us that in this way the sword bends or breaks.
He has certainly had a lot of swords in his hands, he made a lot of fighting.
This tells us much about the quality of their steel. Is true, the type of sword is different, but ...
That said, the ancient knight could take risks in hard thrust , sure enough in the cut, the wide, blade does not break easily.
Swords current, should have no problem ... at least I think ...
Test yourself for believe ... Happy I do not reimburse broken sword Cool
Ciao
Maurizio



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