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Darrell Engelbrect





Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sat 09 Oct, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject: Need tips for customizing a Windlass sword.         Reply with quote

Hi, first time poster, long time member.
I bought a windlass fifteenth century sword a few years back and I was wondering what I could do to customize it? I cut down the quillons as they made movement unpleasant, but I still feel it needs to be more lively in the hands.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



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Picture 8.jpg
The sword in question has been painted black to prevent rust, if you ask.
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Julien M




Location: London
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Oct, 2010 11:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Need tips for customizing a Windlass sword.         Reply with quote

Darrell Engelbrect wrote:
I cut down the quillons as they made movement unpleasant, but I still feel it needs to be more lively in the hands.


Ouch...That might have been a little bit drastic!
Well it depends what you are aiming at (historical design or not)...as I am afraid quillons are not expendable on such a longsword historically. You can find plenty of examples on the website or look at accurate replicas in the review section.

Making the sword more lively...where is the current point of balance? It should be around 10/15 cm before the guard. Choping the guard quillons won't change much it terms of the sword balance I'm afraid and you may have to fit a new guard now.

Cheers,

J
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 1:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well as Julien wrote short quillon like this are not historically correct but it might work for a fantasy sword.

Long quillons can get in your way but you get used to them and learn to not have them hit your arm with practice and they where there for very good reasons when fencing they are very useful.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 2:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You could shorten the blade. Take off maybe the last 4" or so. You could thin the blade. If this is the version with a fuller that stops about 40% of the way down the blade, and diamond-section after that, you could grind the diamond section down to lenticular, and make it quite thin for the last 8" or so.

Either of these will take weight off the tip of the sword, and bring the point of balance back, and cut the moment of inertia by a lot.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 2:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had this sword few years ago. It was quite lively in it's original form. I cut of its side rings and that improved liveliness even more but cutting of almost entire cross guard is quite drastic and I'm sorry to say but you are on a good way to ruin your sword. And the sword is one of the better Windlass models.
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Mike Capanelli




Location: Whitestone, NY
Joined: 04 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 6:30 am    Post subject: Re: Need tips for customizing a Windlass sword.         Reply with quote

Darrell Engelbrect wrote:
Hi, first time poster, long time member.
I bought a windlass fifteenth century sword a few years back and I was wondering what I could do to customize it? I cut down the quillons as they made movement unpleasant, but I still feel it needs to be more lively in the hands.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Yo say the quillons hampered movement and now you need it to feel more lively. What type of training do you have? Do you practice any HEMA? I'm asking because I used to have the same trouble years ago when I started out. I found that it wasn't the sword but my lack of knowledge in how to actually use it as intended that was the cause of my problems. I don't mean this to be insulting yet my Father used to tell me all the time "A bad carpenter blames his tools", this was true in my case and it may be here as well. While I wouldn't say windlass is very accurate still the elements that you see on most of their swords are close to historical in most cases. Those elements, like the quillons, served a function or they wouldn't be there. There's a wealth of knowledge on how to use a word both in print and on this site. I suggest that instead of trying to modify the form of your sword further to suit a pre conceived notion you may have as to how it should work, you instead modify your knowledge of it's function so as to understand how it was intended to be used.

Winter is coming
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

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PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I gotta agree that cutting down the quillons was a bad call. The wide guard does not merely protect your hands, it also protects all the rest of you and helps you manipulate the opponent's sword. It works almost like an integrated buckler. With the quillons as short as they are, you have zero margin of error in blade-to-blade contact - your technique has to be absolutely perfect or the opposing sword will slip right past the minimal guard and into you.

That said... like Timo said, reshaping the tip of the blade would move the center of balance back towards your hands, resulting in a "livelier" feel. Just be very careful not to overdo it! I would actually suggest making the tip more acute, increasing the profile taper and narrowing the point rather than shortening and/or thinning the blade: this would result in a more thrust-oriented blade profile, which IMO would go better with the change in balance.

I kinda like the black finish, BTW. Happy

PS. I'll also have to agree with everybody about practice making it better. As a case in point, I recently got the Windlass German Bastard Sword. The moniker is spot on, it really is a true bastard - just light enough for one hand, just large enough for two. The guard is somewhat wider and the grip significantly shorter than anything I'm used to, as far as longswords go. When I first picked it up, it felt quite awkward and I kept hitting and even bruising my front forearm with the quillons. After two weeks of handling it, however, that problem has completely vanished simply because I've learned not to do that. Big Grin

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Darrell Engelbrect





Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: Need tips for customizing a Windlass sword.         Reply with quote

Julien M wrote:
Darrell Engelbrect wrote:
I cut down the quillons as they made movement unpleasant, but I still feel it needs to be more lively in the hands.


Ouch...That might have been a little bit drastic!
Well it depends what you are aiming at (historical design or not)...as I am afraid quillons are not expendable on such a longsword historically. You can find plenty of examples on the website or look at accurate replicas in the review section.

Making the sword more lively...where is the current point of balance? It should be around 10/15 cm before the guard. Choping the guard quillons won't change much it terms of the sword balance I'm afraid and you may have to fit a new guard now.

Cheers,

J


Yeah, I had done this a few years back and frankly I wassn't all that pleased with it either, I was intending to have kept another inch or so on them or so but it didn't tun out like that, interestingly I have saved the lugs.

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Well as Julien wrote short quillon like this are not historically correct but it might work for a fantasy sword.

Long quillons can get in your way but you get used to them and learn to not have them hit your arm with practice and they where there for very good reasons when fencing they are very useful.


Indeed I have . . .well . . . since actually learned better the fighting style. As for historical accuracy I am of the understanding that the Windlass 15th cent. sword is not really indicative of any particular sword type of the era, then again it has been a few years since I read said, well I guess article, and I never did much follow up.

On a different note where would a man get new fittings for such a blade?

Luka Borscak wrote:
I had this sword few years ago. It was quite lively in it's original form. I cut of its side rings and that improved liveliness even more but cutting of almost entire cross guard is quite drastic and I'm sorry to say but you are on a good way to ruin your sword. And the sword is one of the better Windlass models.


Ah yes, I was drastic in those days, it's been a long time now and well, I do regret it. I had also taken some conflicting advice from people and had originally kept the rings on rather than the quillons (my fault for that as he preferred kung fu to fending) -sigh-, I found I detested the rings and well. . . the rest is history.

"I speak not against masters of defence indeed, they are to be honored, nor against the science, it is noble, and in my opinion to be preferred next to divinity, for as divinity preserves the soul from hell and the devil, so does this noble science defend the body from wounds & slaughter. And moreover, the exercising of weapons puts away aches, griefs, and diseases, it increases strength, and sharpens the wits. It gives a perfect judgement, it expels melancholy, choleric and evil conceits, it keeps a man in breath, perfect health, and long life. It is unto him that has the perfection thereof, a most friendly and comfortable companion when he is alone, having but only his weapon about him. It puts him out of fear, & in the wars and places of most danger, it makes him bold, hardy and valiant."

George Silver - Paradoxes of Defense
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Darrell Engelbrect





Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 11:32 am    Post subject: Re: Need tips for customizing a Windlass sword.         Reply with quote

Mike Capanelli wrote:
Darrell Engelbrect wrote:
Hi, first time poster, long time member.
I bought a windlass fifteenth century sword a few years back and I was wondering what I could do to customize it? I cut down the quillons as they made movement unpleasant, but I still feel it needs to be more lively in the hands.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Yo say the quillons hampered movement and now you need it to feel more lively. What type of training do you have? Do you practice any HEMA? I'm asking because I used to have the same trouble years ago when I started out. I found that it wasn't the sword but my lack of knowledge in how to actually use it as intended that was the cause of my problems. I don't mean this to be insulting yet my Father used to tell me all the time "A bad carpenter blames his tools", this was true in my case and it may be here as well. While I wouldn't say windlass is very accurate still the elements that you see on most of their swords are close to historical in most cases.


Indeed, at that and at the current time I have had very little practice with anyone of the same style of fighting that I do. My friend prefers his kung fu fighting style to mine and any chance of asking to do drills he usually just poo poos, so I do drills on my own. He prefers only free fighting, so actually polishing my technique or learning to use anything but basic elements and tactics has been my only option, sure it made my reflexes faster but, well what I do can't really be called HEMA at this point.


[quote="Mike Capanelli"]
Darrell Engelbrect wrote:
Those elements, like the quillons, served a function or they wouldn't be there. There's a wealth of knowledge on how to use a word both in print and on this site. I suggest that instead of trying to modify the form of your sword further to suit a pre conceived notion you may have as to how it should work, you instead modify your knowledge of it's function so as to understand how it was intended to be used.


Ouch, but so true. I feel that on this point I was only interested in bringing it's point of balance down. My only idea was to find a new pommel, or have one machined, but unfortunately the machine shop had closed down in my town years ago. Currently I would like to buy a replacement guard, possibly without the side rings and bring it back nearer to it's original functionality.

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Yeah, I gotta agree that cutting down the quillons was a bad call. The wide guard does not merely protect your hands, it also protects all the rest of you and helps you manipulate the opponent's sword. It works almost like an integrated buckler. With the quillons as short as they are, you have zero margin of error in blade-to-blade contact - your technique has to be absolutely perfect or the opposing sword will slip right past the minimal guard and into you.

That said... like Timo said, reshaping the tip of the blade would move the center of balance back towards your hands, resulting in a "livelier" feel. Just be very careful not to overdo it! I would actually suggest making the tip more acute, increasing the profile taper and narrowing the point rather than shortening and/or thinning the blade: this would result in a more thrust-oriented blade profile, which IMO would go better with the change in balance.

I kinda like the black finish, BTW. Happy

PS. I'll also have to agree with everybody about practice making it better. As a case in point, I recently got the Windlass German Bastard Sword. The moniker is spot on, it really is a true bastard - just light enough for one hand, just large enough for two. The guard is somewhat wider and the grip significantly shorter than anything I'm used to, as far as longswords go. When I first picked it up, it felt quite awkward and I kept hitting and even bruising my front forearm with the quillons. After two weeks of handling it, however, that problem has completely vanished simply because I've learned not to do that. Big Grin


Yes, perhaps I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought it, it seemed that I had in fact bought a war sword rather than a bastard sword. In fact to me this sword feels just shy of being a great sword.


But anyway I like all the points pointed out in these posts and I will endeavor to try and restore this sword closer to it's original form. Though I would like a slightly heavier pommel, but I don't think that's going to happen.

"I speak not against masters of defence indeed, they are to be honored, nor against the science, it is noble, and in my opinion to be preferred next to divinity, for as divinity preserves the soul from hell and the devil, so does this noble science defend the body from wounds & slaughter. And moreover, the exercising of weapons puts away aches, griefs, and diseases, it increases strength, and sharpens the wits. It gives a perfect judgement, it expels melancholy, choleric and evil conceits, it keeps a man in breath, perfect health, and long life. It is unto him that has the perfection thereof, a most friendly and comfortable companion when he is alone, having but only his weapon about him. It puts him out of fear, & in the wars and places of most danger, it makes him bold, hardy and valiant."

George Silver - Paradoxes of Defense
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 945

PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 5:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BTW, one of the easiest and biggest improvements to any Windlass sword is re-wrapping the grip, as their standard glossy, slippery (p)leather can make the finest instrument feel like an out-of-control crowbar (besides looking plain ugly). It's really amazing what a difference a better looking and feeling grip makes.

There are numerous threads here on myArmoury about various posters' re-gripped and otherwise customized Windlass pieces, and IMO the results are invariably inspiring. For example:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=19423
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=15570
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=10376
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=12506
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=16742

There are basic instructions for re-wrapping a grip in the featured article The Instant Antique: A Practical Guide, as well as in the dozens upon dozens of threads about re-gripping projects you can find via the Search function.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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