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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Couldn't do it at SFI, so I'll ask here... Reply to topic
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Thu 22 Jul, 2004 8:48 pm    Post subject: Couldn't do it at SFI, so I'll ask here...         Reply with quote

For those of you who frequent SFI, you may have seen the thread on Albion's Squire line. Rather predictably it turned into a running commentary of how Gus' swords are better cutters. I did reply there, but since it's been deleted, I'll put it here, especially since Albion users tend to frequent this forum much more than SFI.

I'm putting this here because I think we are all grown up enough here to offer unbaised opinions that will benefit the sword buying community without demonising or upsetting anyone. I'm sure we all think both makers make a fine product.

I own or have owned longswords from Kevin Cashen (XIIa), Manning Imperial (XVIIIb) and Atrim (AT1321 XIIa). I bought all these swords because I like the look and expected handling qualities of each, and I still do. In my experience, the Manning Imperial and the Atrim are about equal when cutting (I've used both to cut bottles and meat). The XVIIIb has a blade length of 36 inches and weighs about 2lbs 8oz, and the Atrim has a 32 inch blade and is about 2lbs 5oz IIRC, so they are in a similar ball park. If anything, the wider blade of the 1321 should give it a small advantage?

I am the first to admit I am no great cutter, but I know how to do it, and how to do it in a historical fencing context. I've noticed little to no difference cutting with these swords. They both do fine. Now whilst I have never cut with a next gen Albion, I highly doubt there are any design elements in the Manning Imperial sword that PJ would have missed in the Albion swords. So why does it seem to be the general consensus that Atrims are better cutters? Is it just me?

As an aside, the Cashen sword was easily the best cutter I've ever seen, but that's to be expected from Kevin. Happy
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jul, 2004 9:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First, This can lead to an interesting discussion provided that it stays civil, and it better or it goes right to the trash. We don't normally like the issues of other forums to spill over here, but let's hope for some mature discourse this time.

Taylor,

It's my opinion that this whole cutting performance issue is due to one primary reason, fanaticism. For whatever reason people seem to invest an unusual amount of emotionalism in this hobby. When that happens logic ceases to be a determining factor. People seem to have their favorite makers and they're fanatically devoted to them. We also have the "It's mine so it's got to be better" factor to throw into the mix. Combine these things with a bit of overenthusiasm (and maybe some ignorance) and you have a volatile mix. We also need to remember that this is a business, and many makers feel the need to try and protect what they see as their piece of the market (read that as sales hype). Another factor is personal bias and experience. If you have experience cutting with one sword chances are you won't do as well with a strange one. Practitioners of the Japanese arts are very familiar with this. If you're naturally expecting sword A to out cut sword B that's probably what's going to happen, because you're letting your own bias cloud your judgment.

I've cut with Albions, Atrims, A&As, Del Tins, MRL, Hanwei, and others. As well as swords from Vince Evans, Peter Johnsson, Tinker Pearce, and others. I did see a difference in the swords made by the lower tier companies. However, when it came to the high end production swords, and the custom stuff, I really didn't see much discernable difference. In the end whatever difference there may be is largely academic anyway. If you were to cut an opponent with Brand A and Brand B I doubt if he'd care. IMHO the issues of harmonic proportion and mechanical structure are far more important than how many rolled beach mats your sword can cut through, or how many times you can slice a milk jug. If a sword possesses the aforementioned attributes it will perform exactly as a sword should perform, period.

I for one wish that we, as a community, could move passed these kinds of pointless issues. The fact is that we have more makers, both production and custom, that are turning out more quality swords than at any time in the past. We should be excited about that instead of fighting over the sword sandbox.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jul, 2004 9:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
This is just a general comment that isn't meant for anyone in particular.

Since Albion announced the Squire line I've seen quite a bit of discussion here and on other forums. Quite a few people seem to have the desire to sharpen these things and use them for cutting and what not. While I certainly understand that desire I think people need to understand what they're getting. These swords are meant for reenactment purposes, and for use as a blunt in training. However, the general reaction seems to be "Great! Now I can get an Albion on the cheap!" I think that's a dangerous point of view that will do a disservice to the product.

I'm sure that Albion can sharpen them if the customer wants. On the other hand, these swords won't have the same blade geometry as the Next Gen. and Museum Lines. Consequently they won't respond in the same fashion during a cut. Down the road I can see this leading to disappointment, and bad opinions being formed through the lack of understanding towards the product.

If I were Albion I'd simply refuse to sharpen these swords, just so there'd be no misunderstanding as to their purpose.

Just my opinion.


This should pretty much address your question. The squire line (I hope that is what is being discussed) is not meant to have a sharp cutting edge, so a sword designed to cut should be expected to fair better. There have been several threads on this forum http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=1076 discussing sharpening swords designed to have blunt edges, and the consensus is that it is possible, but largely counter productive. I.e now you have a sword which does not cut as well as an intended sharp sword, and cannot be used as a blunt in sparring or practice.

Del Tins provide a similar problem. They were not intended to be sharp. You can sharpen them. You can cut with them rather well, but it is not the same as a sword intended to have a sharp edge.

In other words comparing the cutting performance of the Squire line to any sword that is produced with proper sharp edge is misleading and unfair. Apples and oranges anyone?

Cheers,

Alexi

[Edit: Patrick is bringing up some other interesting issues which I thought I should not mention so not to start a nasty dispute)
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Thu 22 Jul, 2004 10:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Alexi,

Whilst I agree with you on the issue of blunt swords being sharpened, the claims have been talking about both the Squire and Next Gen lines.
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Scott Byler




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can't speak on any of these sword comparisons til somebody sends me a handful of each to test out for them.... Oh, sure, I promise to send them back.... Wink Big Grin

About the name brand loyalty, I have come to think of this as something humans normally do. I've seen it in everything form comic books to art, to cars, to swords.... I think Patrick has nailed the issue on the head already very well. The only thing I'd add to it is that there is a certain amount of 'personal recognition' in this. Some folks deal more with one maker or another, sometimes that means a certain amount of 'I know them' feeling.... This is fine, ofcourse, but it leads to some biased views at times.

Myself, I can't afford either of the lines we are talking about right now... That is terrible, as I can see models from both makers that would make me a happy camper to own and play with. Oh well, maybe some day, when I can manage to figure a way to fix the lottery.... lol
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick , I couldn't agree with you more . Buy what you like ( isn't the looks the first thing that draws you to a particular piece in the first place ) and can afford , appreciate what you can't afford but want and enjoy what you own . The "my dads better than your dad " arguments never made a great deal of sense to me . When it comes to chopping things up I like you have had the chance to use a variety of makers ( many of the one's you mentioned ) and i'm still busy thinking it really neat when the top of the two liter hops quickly up and then drops back down when I cut it right and all the water spills out irregardless of who made the sword . Heck you can beat some one to death with a sword thats not sharp and I don't think they'd enjoy it any more than getting cut .

Taylor the only thing I can come up with is this Albion next gens are about twice the price of most AT's and alot of folks are sqeamish about using something that cost that much to cut with for fear of somehow "damaging " it ( the same kind of mindset is common with really old militaria , i'm of the school of what'd ya spend that much on it for if your not gonna use it ) where as an AT at half the price has people feeling more comfortable using them . Thus by law of averages At's become know as cutters . I've used both and enjoyed each thoughroughly !
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 9:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For what its worth I trashed that thead on SFI. It got away from the original topic, which was the Albion Squire line, and went into cutting comparisons, mostly apples and cantaloupes......

I got it stopped once, and donned the moderators hat, said that the thread was going to be trashed if it didn't get back on topic. It got back on topic, for two posts.......

Then Taylor dug up the comparison stuff again.......Since Don Nelson's death there's a lot less tolerance for digging sh*8 and argueing over really dumb stuff on SFI. Threads that turn pointless and have no real educational benefit, are being trashed quickly to avoid the inevitable flareups. The same anti flame, anti politic feeling you have on myArmoury, you're going to find on SFI today.

Trashing threads is a better way to handle things than banning people in my honest opinion. Since Don's death, there's been a banning a week at SFI, and trashing that thread then, probably kept a couple of people from getting "warned"........

Brand name fights have been going on since the first time a Chevy blew away a Ford at a stoplight. *g* And its not just the Western sword brands with "history". One of the nastier ones before it got trashed was over which kabbage kutter brand cut best......

Sheesh, kabbage kutters, of all things to argue about..........

Auld Dawg

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As others have stated, I agree that Patrick preety much nailed this one.

One additional thing to consider though. Cutting abilty, IMO, has become another type of market hype in its own way. When any vendor picks a feature and markets it, attention and passion is going to be generated. Once that happens in the market, comparisons are going to be made regardless whether they are particularly relevant to anything.

Personally, cutting ability does not even blip on the buying radar for me. If its sharp, it will cut. If its blunt it will cut, just not as well. I've seen Lutel blunts cut well enough to ruin anybody's day. I've even had a padded practice sword ruin a good part of my day eventhough it could not cut.

Maybe if I was in some kind of cutting competition it would matter more to me?

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy


Last edited by Joe Fults on Fri 23 Jul, 2004 9:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 9:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gus,

I thought you were the one who trashed that SFI thread, and I think that was probably the right choice given the way it was going. I think that discussions that involve comparing one sword or maker to another are valuable for we consumers. Unfortunately it seems like emotions always take over and the discussions go down hill fast.

Hey, better kabbage kutters than real swords! Laughing Out Loud
(Just showing a little of my own personal bias *g*)

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
As others have stated, I agree that Patrick preety much nailed this one.

One additional thing to consider though. Cutting abilty, IMO, has become another type of market hype in its own way. When any vendor picks a feature and markets it, attention and passion is going to be generated. Once that happens in the market, comparisons are going to be made regardless whether they are particularly relevant to anything.

Personally, cutting ability does not even blip on the buying radar for me. If its sharp, it will cut. If its blunt it will cut, just not as well. I've even seen Lutel blunts cut well enough to ruin anybody's day. I've even had a padded practice sword ruin a good part of my day.

Maybe if I was in some kind of cutting competition it would matter more to me?


I think that the importance of cutting ability stems from our desire for a well constructed and historically accurate sword. Years ago most replicas couldn't cut period. If you tried you'd wind up with several pieces of a sword instead. I'm not a dedicated cutter, but historical accuracy is a big thing for me. This is primarily because I appraoch my collecting from the standpoint of historical research. I've never been that interested in finding the one "ultimate" sword. If a modern recreation performs as well as its historical counterpart, good enough, that's what I'm after. So while I don't do a lot of cutting every day, with every one of my swords, it's important to me to know that they can perform in that context.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Joe Fults wrote:
As others have stated, I agree that Patrick preety much nailed this one.

One additional thing to consider though. Cutting abilty, IMO, has become another type of market hype in its own way. When any vendor picks a feature and markets it, attention and passion is going to be generated. Once that happens in the market, comparisons are going to be made regardless whether they are particularly relevant to anything.

Personally, cutting ability does not even blip on the buying radar for me. If its sharp, it will cut. If its blunt it will cut, just not as well. I've even seen Lutel blunts cut well enough to ruin anybody's day. I've even had a padded practice sword ruin a good part of my day.

Maybe if I was in some kind of cutting competition it would matter more to me?


I think that the importance of cutting ability stems from our desire for a well constructed and historically accurate sword. Years ago most replicas couldn't cut period. If you tried you'd wind up with several pieces of a sword instead. I'm not a dedicated cutter, but historical accuracy is a big thing for me. This is primarily because I appraoch my collecting from the standpoint of historical research. I've never been that interested in finding the one "ultimate" sword. If a modern recreation performs as well as its historical counterpart, good enough, that's what I'm after. So while I don't do a lot of cutting every day, with every one of my swords, it's important to me to know that they can perform in that context.


Guess this is probably a good example of how personal experience makes opinion vary. You have been with this hobby a lot longer than I have. By the time I jumped in, things improved quite a bit, so I don't have the experince of getting tons of non-functional pieces. Functionality is important as is historical plausabilty to me. However, I've stuck to reputable vendors, done homework, and dodged the lemons. Cutting has just not been a criteria I've had to apply to define the others (so far).

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
Joe Fults wrote:
As others have stated, I agree that Patrick preety much nailed this one.

One additional thing to consider though. Cutting abilty, IMO, has become another type of market hype in its own way. When any vendor picks a feature and markets it, attention and passion is going to be generated. Once that happens in the market, comparisons are going to be made regardless whether they are particularly relevant to anything.

Personally, cutting ability does not even blip on the buying radar for me. If its sharp, it will cut. If its blunt it will cut, just not as well. I've even seen Lutel blunts cut well enough to ruin anybody's day. I've even had a padded practice sword ruin a good part of my day.

Maybe if I was in some kind of cutting competition it would matter more to me?


I think that the importance of cutting ability stems from our desire for a well constructed and historically accurate sword. Years ago most replicas couldn't cut period. If you tried you'd wind up with several pieces of a sword instead. I'm not a dedicated cutter, but historical accuracy is a big thing for me. This is primarily because I appraoch my collecting from the standpoint of historical research. I've never been that interested in finding the one "ultimate" sword. If a modern recreation performs as well as its historical counterpart, good enough, that's what I'm after. So while I don't do a lot of cutting every day, with every one of my swords, it's important to me to know that they can perform in that context.


Guess this is probably a good example of how personal experience makes opinion vary. You have been with this hobby a lot longer than I have. By the time I jumped in, things improved quite a bit, so I don't have the experince of getting tons of non-functional pieces. Functionality is important as is historical plausabilty to me. However, I've stuck to reputable vendors, done homework, and dodged the lemons. Cutting has just not been a criteria I've had to apply to define the others (so far).


My length of time in this hobby does have a lot to do with the way I look at things. I remember when you just couldn't find an accurately constructed sword. They either flew apart upon the first contact, or they were overgrown knives, ie. boat anchors. Consequently, Even though I'm into the high-end custom stuff now I still get really excited when I find a production sword that's accurately made. Even thought the high end production stuff isn't one-of-a-kind, and therefore not unique, those qualities that really intrest me are there.

Like I said, it's a great time to be a sword lover.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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J.G. Grubbs




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:


I think that the importance of cutting ability stems from our desire for a well constructed and historically accurate sword. Years ago most replicas couldn't cut period. If you tried you'd wind up with several pieces of a sword instead. I'm not a dedicated cutter, but historical accuracy is a big thing for me. This is primarily because I appraoch my collecting from the standpoint of historical research. I've never been that interested in finding the one "ultimate" sword. If a modern recreation performs as well as its historical counterpart, good enough, that's what I'm after. So while I don't do a lot of cutting every day, with every one of my swords, it's important to me to know that they can perform in that context.



I agree entirely with this statement. Although my collection is very small and some of them are not entirely historically accurate as far as constructions goes, I have no doubts whatsoever that they will perform as well as a historical blade. I cut do not cut a great deal and one of my swords has not been used for cutting at all, but I KNOW that it could very well if called upon...thats what matters to me.

Regards,

"The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour."
Samurai Proverb




James Grubbs
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have often wondered about cutting ability of period originals, especially Migration/Viking.

Would the blade geometries of the originals really be the optimal design for cutting the things people cut today? Or were they designed to cut people covered in cloth or leather? (maybe even maille?)

If there is a difference in the material to be cut, then trying to recreate the blade geometries of originals may not be the best cutters for things we cut today. Also other conditions may have important to the original owners of the original... like how well does it keep a functional edge with what is being cut, and how much mass in behind the edge to impart some trauma even if the cut does not penetrate.

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick The Wise steps up to the plate once again. Is it any wonder why I love coming here for info. and knowledgable advice? One of the main points I liked is to collect what YOU like and don't try to keep up with the Jones'es.

I'm like alot here who have a great passion for the hobby & history, but do it with -in my means. Historically, a swords' main function was to "kill" and I don't think (or hope) that anybody is looking to see how many notches they can carve into the grip.

Thanks to Patrick and others for their civil discussion about this topic.


William
aka Bill
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kirk Lee Spencer wrote:
I have often wondered about cutting ability of period originals, especially Migration/Viking.

Would the blade geometries of the originals really be the optimal design for cutting the things people cut today? Or were they designed to cut people covered in cloth or leather? (maybe even maille?)

If there is a difference in the material to be cut, then trying to recreate the blade geometries of originals may not be the best cutters for things we cut today. Also other conditions may have important to the original owners of the original... like how well does it keep a functional edge with what is being cut, and how much mass in behind the edge to impart some trauma even if the cut does not penetrate.

ks


Thanks Kirk, you've brought up a very valid point. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about when I say that these things should be put into the proper historical context. i'll use the Japanese analogy again, since it's an apt one.

There are many blade designs used today in Japanese Tamashegiri (sp?). Some of these blades are specially designed for this practice. As such they feature blades that are very flat and thin in their cross section. These blades wouldn't stand up to the abuses of combat yet are perfectly suited for their specialized task. We also see these same kind of differences in comparing far older Japanese blades that were in use during the countries long period of civil war, and those that were made during the more peaceful Edo period. The former tend to be much more robust while the later are far lighter since they weren't intended to be used on the battlefield against armorerd opponents.

We also see these differences in european swords from the various different periods. Designs changed due to the military and social requirements of the day, this includes edge geometry. So a sword that is designed specifically for the modern day mat whacking bottle chopper (no offense meant to those who enjoy these pursuits) may render different results than an historically based design made for use against armored opponents, and vice versa.

It's important to fit the tool to the task at hand. It's also important to remember to avoid judging every similar tool by that narrow context.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 6:33 pm    Post subject: Variables of Cutting         Reply with quote

There's an awful lot of variables to cutting, and seemingly very few people that are familiar with this. There's the target material, there's the sword, and there's the operator........

Once upon a time, plywood and cardboard tubes seemed to be the targets of choice. These kinds of targets stress a sword, and harmonic and dynamic balance are extremely important.

Today, the targets of choice are mats, various plastic bottles, and pool noodles. These targets test an operator's edge alignment, the edge geometry and main bevel geometry, and the operator's ability to get the weapon up to speed in that order.....

Then there's the sword....... How long is the sword? Other variables will affect this, but in general the longer the sword, the better the "cutter", higher tip speed and a cop further out being the "general" reasons why. Other important variables are edge geometry ahd sharpness, main bevel geometry, blade width at cutting point, width, thickness ratio, dynamic balance, harmonic balance, etc........In general, the better custom smiths and the US manufacturers are pretty good with these things now.......

Then there's the operator. Some folks have a great deal of martial background, and have no problem with body mechanics and things like keeping edges aligned. Others can do this kind of stuff with sheer muscle. Others {fortunately a very small minority} seemingly can not get a sword up to speed, nor keep the edge aligned.......

Historically accurate edge geometry? Well, it can be very, very acute and sharp, or fairly stout and not all that sharp. Variables here depend on the intended use of the sword {in period}, the type of sword, the mass of the sword, the owner of the sword, the "condition" of the sword, and possibly the final entity involved in the manufacture of the sword, be it blade grinder or cutler........

"Condition" means in this context whether the sword is pristine, or "tired". And "tired" means a sword that has been over polished and or over sharpened.........

Then we have something that is a minor bug of mine. We have a lot of folks that will compare cutting ability of various swords, without taking into context the apples vs apples kinda stuff. Type stuff, like a XII vs and XVI say, or blade length, things like 32 inches vs 37. Or mass, things like 3lbs 3 vs 2lbs 6 say.......

Lets use two manufacturers, manufacturer A, say in China, and manufacturer B in Slovakia say...... The sword from A is a Xa with a mass of 2.5lbs and a blade length of 34 inches...... and lets say that manufacturer B's sword is an XVIIIb with a mass over 3.5lbs and a blade length of 39 inches {difference being a bit extreme here} . I have seen people rag on sword from A because it couldn't cut with the sword from B.......

Say what? *g* Apples and watermelons anyone?

When all is said and done, most discussions comparing cutting abilities wind up useless, simply because garbage in garbage out.........

And most swords made today cut well enough to be plenty lethal............

auld Dawg

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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 6:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Variables of Cutting         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:

Historically accurate edge geometry? Well, it can be very, very acute and sharp, or fairly stout and not all that sharp. Variables here depend on the intended use of the sword {in period}, the type of sword, the mass of the sword, the owner of the sword, the "condition" of the sword, and possibly the final entity involved in the manufacture of the sword, be it blade grinder or cutler........

"Condition" means in this context whether the sword is pristine, or "tired". And "tired" means a sword that has been over polished and or over sharpened.........


Hi Gus,

Why would an over-polished sword be "tired"? I assume "tired" in a negative connotation, as meaning diminished performance. Same for over-sharpened sword. I can see that in the long run, an overly-sharpened sword will get its edge damaged faster and worse, but at lest for a while it should it not perform pretty well against "soft" targets?

Alexi
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 7:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well said Gus.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jul, 2004 7:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great post Gus!!!

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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