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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jan, 2010 11:09 am    Post subject: Using a two-handed sword with one hand?         Reply with quote

So, I have this sword design that I've been turning around in me head for quite some time now. It's kind of a highly personalized pet project built entirely around my specific preferences and philosphy. But since I'm really, really bad at physics, there's one detail I'm uncertain of.

The sword in question is basically a light, western-type backsword, and I imagine it would be best used in a manner similar to how you would wield a baskethilt, saber or similar weapon. However, for various reasons, I would want to make the hilt long enough for comfortable two-handed use.

What I'm basically asking is: is it reasonable for me to want to make a two-handed sword that is primarily meant to be used with one hand? And provided that I compensate for any balance and weight issues, would this design have any disadvantages when used in only one hand VS an otherwise identical single-hander, vis--vis the physics involved?

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jan, 2010 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The difference, from a physics point of view, is that you can get similar balance with a lighter pommel. Of course, the grip and tang are heavier. This leads to the extreme case where the sword with the two-handed grip has no pommel (perhaps a light end-cap), but is still the same weight and balance that you would like on a one-handed sword. For example, see a katana balanced for one-handed use. If you use a lighter mass further up from the guard to achieve the same PoB, you will increase the sword's moment of inertia, as compared with using a larger mass, closer [1]. This will also affect the centre of percussion [2]. I don't expect that this will be a large effect.

The other practical considerations are that, first, a longer handle gets in the way more, both when wearing the sword in scabbard, and when fighting. Second, and perhaps more important, a long handle is a nice invitation for your opponent to grab and immobilise your sword in close fighting. Needless to say, this can have undesired consequences. Third, aesthetics.

[1] The contribution to moving the PoB (i.e., the centre of mass) is mass x distance (from the PoB). Double the distance, halve the mass. Lighter pommel means you have a lighter sword, with the same blade and same PoB. But the moment of inertia of the pommel is mass x distance^2, so double the distance and half the mass contributes twice as much to the moment of inertia. I don't think this will be particularly important. If you end up using the same mass with a longer handle, you'll end up with a CoB closer to the guard, which will change the moment of inertia as well, typically increasing the moment of inertia about the CoB, but reducing the moment of inertia about the grip (which is the critical thing that affects handling).

[2] Centre of percussion in the rigid-body sense used in rotational dynamics, nothing to do with nodes of vibration. This might not be important, but I note that the CoP of an "ideal" katana is closer to the point that the CoP of a Western cutting one-hander. I was planning to write something about this, and run some numbers. I'll look at this more then.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jan, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like this?

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=17910

-Sean

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jan, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One traditional hilt solution to this is seen on the khanda, an Indian sword. These are often (usually? almost always?) seen with a "spike pommel", which is supposed to function as a two-handed extension of the grip. The current wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khanda_%28sword%29, shows this, and examples can be seen in Stone, Egerton, and many good ones in Tirri. This type of hilt is also seen on other Indian swords, and might be related to the shorter spike pommels seen on tulwars and other Indian disk pommel swords.
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Adam Bodorics
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jan, 2010 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Define "comfortable two handed use"... I need at least 400mm to be comfortable, while some of the guys I train with need only 220mm... the former would get in your way if used single handedly, the latter would trouble you far less and you would be able to use it for Griffhaken. After all, it's your choice to decide, we have seen weirder things in history than a long-hilted single-hand sword. Wink


 Attachment: 116.81 KB
pavise01b.jpg
I'd classify these as bastard swords, but due to the presence of hand-pavises, I'd say that these are more geared towards single-handed use.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jan, 2010 4:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
The difference, from a physics point of view, is that you can get similar balance with a lighter pommel. Of course, the grip and tang are heavier. This leads to the extreme case where the sword with the two-handed grip has no pommel (perhaps a light end-cap), but is still the same weight and balance that you would like on a one-handed sword. For example, see a katana balanced for one-handed use. If you use a lighter mass further up from the guard to achieve the same PoB, you will increase the sword's moment of inertia, as compared with using a larger mass, closer [1]. This will also affect the centre of percussion [2]. I don't expect that this will be a large effect.

The other practical considerations are that, first, a longer handle gets in the way more, both when wearing the sword in scabbard, and when fighting. Second, and perhaps more important, a long handle is a nice invitation for your opponent to grab and immobilise your sword in close fighting. Needless to say, this can have undesired consequences. Third, aesthetics.

[1] The contribution to moving the PoB (i.e., the centre of mass) is mass x distance (from the PoB). Double the distance, halve the mass. Lighter pommel means you have a lighter sword, with the same blade and same PoB. But the moment of inertia of the pommel is mass x distance^2, so double the distance and half the mass contributes twice as much to the moment of inertia. I don't think this will be particularly important. If you end up using the same mass with a longer handle, you'll end up with a CoB closer to the guard, which will change the moment of inertia as well, typically increasing the moment of inertia about the CoB, but reducing the moment of inertia about the grip (which is the critical thing that affects handling).

[2] Centre of percussion in the rigid-body sense used in rotational dynamics, nothing to do with nodes of vibration. This might not be important, but I note that the CoP of an "ideal" katana is closer to the point that the CoP of a Western cutting one-hander. I was planning to write something about this, and run some numbers. I'll look at this more then.


Thanks for the insight. (Though I admit things start going over my head once inertia gets involved. Like I said, I am not very good at physics.)

Sean Flynt wrote:
Like this?

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=17910


Not quite, though a good swiss saber is on my list of dream swords.

Though, my impression has always been that traditional bastard swords are usually meant to be used primarily two-handed, single handed secondarly, which is kind of the opposite of what I'm going for here. I may be completely wrong about that, though.

Adam Bodorics wrote:
Define "comfortable two handed use"... I need at least 400mm to be comfortable, while some of the guys I train with need only 220mm... the former would get in your way if used single handedly, the latter would trouble you far less and you would be able to use it for Griffhaken. After all, it's your choice to decide, we have seen weirder things in history than a long-hilted single-hand sword. Wink


220-240mm sounds about right. Though that's not accounting for the pommel, the size and shape of which I'm still unsure of. The blade should be about 33" - all in all I'm aiming for a rather light weapon.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jan, 2010 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All things being relatively close to being equal in a static sense (resultant weight distribution (POB) being similar) and if the nodes are still in the right place (harmonics) ............. the longer grip will primarily change the pivot points of the sword, and hence the way the sword feels when in motion when swung with one hand.

If you look closely, you'll find that there are a fair amount of swords, especiallly in the 14th and 15th century, that have grips that are longer than what is needed for a single hand yet are not quite big enough for two hands on the grip itself (especially with gauntlets on). However, many of these swords have pommels (particularly style T's) that are easily gripped with the back hand so that the back hand grabs both the pommel and a portion of the grip. Its a very effective technique - you see this on XVa's and XVIIIa's a lot.
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Greg Coffman




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jan, 2010 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should take a look at a few swords in Albion's lineup. The Castellan, Mercenary, and Constable, based on a single blade, all seem to be in the dimensions you describe. What I've heard is that they handle just as well with one hand as with two. I've heard the same about Albion's Gallowglass. The Gallowglass and the Markgraf and Hauptmann designs seem to be what curators generally refer to as "basterd swords" being given to either one or two handed use. Albion's versions are larger at 37 inch blades, but that style of sword may be what you are looking for. Contemporary swords to the Markgraf and Hauptmann designs would sometimes have backsword blades.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jan, 2010 3:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Coffman wrote:
You should take a look at a few swords in Albion's lineup. The Castellan, Mercenary, and Constable, based on a single blade, all seem to be in the dimensions you describe. What I've heard is that they handle just as well with one hand as with two. I've heard the same about Albion's Gallowglass. The Gallowglass and the Markgraf and Hauptmann designs seem to be what curators generally refer to as "basterd swords" being given to either one or two handed use. Albion's versions are larger at 37 inch blades, but that style of sword may be what you are looking for. Contemporary swords to the Markgraf and Hauptmann designs would sometimes have backsword blades.


Oh, I'm not actually looking for a sword with these dimentions. Rather, I'm putting together a number of features I find desirable in a sword, in doing so designing a very specific weapon which doesn't really seem to have any good historical equivalent.

Frankly, even if I could afford an Albion, non of the swords mentioned are ever close to what I'm imagining.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jan, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam, that is a very interesting image. Do you know what the source is?

The images shows things that have been debated here in this forum numerous times as not fitting together.

1- We see guys in 15th century plate armor using full size shields. It is the position of many people today that shields serve no use when full plate armor is worn and would not have been used in this combination historicaly.

2- While we see the knight left preparing a thrust, we see the knight on the right preparing a cut... against a man in full armor.


With regard to the swords, I would consider the one on the left a bastard sword. Hand & Half grip on arming sword length blade. The one on the right appears like a typical Longsword. Given that both knights have gauntlets and there is plenty of room left over then the handle of the sword to get a second gauntlet on there, I would say that these swords probably have at a minimum 12 inch handles, maybe 14 inches.

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