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Tom Kinder





Joined: 27 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 03 Mar, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject: important qualities of a type XIIIb         Reply with quote

Gus and I have been talking about doing a type XIIIb and we'd like to hear from all of you as to what you think are the most important features in a type XIIIb. take a look at the spotlight article if you like:
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_spotxiii.html

turns out there are a couple different styles in the XIIIb family. in Records there are a couple of them that are surprisingly narrow and light. one of them is almost a type XII (and in fact was listed as a XII in Chivalry) except that it has a short fuller. these swords are very handy and easy to swing, but this doesn't seem to fit the common perception of the type XIIIb.

XIIIb swords are big and wide cleavers are they not? certainly some of them are. but the problem with those is that they are not the type of sword most people would enjoy swinging. in Records, Oakeshott mentions that one sword (with a 30" blade) weighs in about or maybe just over 3 pounds and has its POB about one THIRD of the way down the blade. would you like to swing a single handed sword that weighs 3 pounds and as a pob of 10"? I don't think I would.

of course there is middle ground and, of course, Gus works magic with steel and if anyone can make a sword that wide and that big handle good in one hand it is Gus.

so let us talk now of what you think is important in a XIIIb and what you would want it to look and feel like. just for perspective, the light swords in Records (same ones shown on the spotlight feature) are less than 2" across while the heavy ones are more than 2"wide at the hilt.

so what is important: fuller length, handling no matter what, size no matter what, spatulate tip? we'd like to hear from you because we want to make a new design but we don't want to choose to model it after a historical sword that no one will like either because it doesn't seem enough like a type XIIIb or because it handles too much like a XIIIb.

thank you for your input.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar, 2011 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To me, handling is the most important thing.

Oakeshott says that the only real difference between XIII's and XIIIb's is the grip length. If Gus made a singlehand version of the amazing AT1326, that handles more or less the same way, I'd be very happy with it..

Of the examples shown in Oakeshott's Records, I like the looks of XIIIb.2 the best. Unfortunately, that is the one with the COG 10 inches down the blade. The 3 lb. weight is OK as long as Gus works his harmonic magic on the blade and moves the COG back to a reasonable distance from the guard.

How about a type K pommel?



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Oakeshott XIIIb.2
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar, 2011 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I for one would love to see some type of production XIIIb on the market as I ended up going the custom route to get mine. The funny thing being that mine is based on the picture Roger posted here, just larger.

I do agree with Roger that handling is the most important part of a XIIIb. It definitely needs some blade presence to do what it was designed to but should not feel like you are swinging a baseball bat at the same time. I look forward to seeing what you and Gus come up with!

Chris Landwehr 10/10/49-1/1/09 My Mom
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar, 2011 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

XIIIB is something I have also thought about for a custom project, although they are not yet first in line.

I think that Mr. Trim understands his clientel very well and tends to add in more profile taper to XIII swords than was present in the originals, in order to improve mass distribution and thus handling. He knows exactly what he is doing.

I'd like to put in a vote for the parallel-edged XIII that existed long ago on the bloody battlefields of Europe. No, they likely did not handle well from a fencing point of view, but these things packed a wallop and that was their reason for being. I also think they did not handle so poorly as we might think, based on bad experiences with lower-end reproductions with inadequate distal (thickness) taper. There could be a niche here for a scary cutting machine.

But I may not represent the performance market that you guys are going for.

-JD
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Marc Bloom




Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm with J.D., it has to have the right profile; flaring shoulders, little profile taper and a single short fuller. It does have to handle well but some of the originals had a lot of distal taper. Albion talks about that for the Tritonia sword. The distal taper is in zones, thick at the base and thinner in the middle and then very thin at the tip but not a continuous taper.

There's a XIIIB in the Keinbusch collection in Philly. The pictures in the Album aren't the best but maybe you can get some from the museum. It's the second up on the right.

http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/displayimage....amp;pos=53

I've always like that one. I realize you're not going to make copper alloy pommels for these swords but the shape is still nice.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, mass distribution is key but a good many serious makers have pretty much figured things out. The Cashen migration cutter for instance, a cog out there at 9"-10" that feels like 3"-4". With Albion's Tritona really the only other worthwhile modern made XIIIb out there, I'm sure there is a market (as would a run of Moonbrands).
http://www.myArmoury.com/review_at_moon.html

Heck even the longer XIIa and XIIIa swords Gus has done typically weigh lighter in one hand than a good many others. IIRC, Gus has kind of gone back and forth with overall weights on swords from starting on the lighter side of the scale, then heavier more or less per demand and now apparently scaling back a bit again. In a heads up between two XIIa of smiilar proportion, my 8"1319 and the Albion Baron, the 1319 was simply a shy bit lighter with the overall performance of the heavier Baron with a touch less handle did win the ease of cutting thicker stuff (mats).

A long XIIIb may be a bit of a niche market of appeal but for a one handed backyard special not a bad club in the bag of tricks as it were. I have always wondered if there is a historic paralell for the Braveheart Stephan sword.
http://www.yourprops.com/Original-David-O-har...-4734.html

Cheers

GC
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar, 2011 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

XIIIb swords have to be large, wide bladed swords in my opinion. The Tritonia is a nice example of what I mean. It weighs 3 pounds 6 ounces but doesn't feel heavy or ponderous It's large pommel helped to balance it. I have sold mine but remember well it's handling. While it wasn't quick or agile like a XV, it wasn't supposed to be! It felt like a freight train in your hand. When it got up to speed it just rolled along. I think the context of these swords need to be considered. We often want to see swords that are perfect for cutting pool noodles in our backyard, but the real ones were used to crush armor and shields from horseback. They might seem a bit heavy for the former but not for the latter. I'm all for a big nasty beast of a XIIIb, but if it's a nimble little thing I'd rather have a XII.
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Clive Thomas




Location: Warwickshire, United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I considered myself very fortunate last year when one of the Alexandrian XIIIb's came into my care for a few weeks. The sword in question was very similar indeed to the one in Philadelphia mentioned above - they are, after all, "like peas in a pod".
If it helps your understanding of this type of sword, here are a few measurements:

Overall length: 109.2cm; Blade length: 91.5cm; Width of blade: 5.65cm at the hilt, 5.0cm at the centre of percussion (only the slightest amount of profile taper!); Thickness of blade: 4.25mm at the hilt, 1.5mm at the centre of percussion;
Span of crossguard: 17.7cm; Length of grip (bare tang): 11.5cm; Pommel diameter: 4.8cm; Pommel thickness: 2.6cm; Point of balance: 16.2cm from the crossguard; Centre of percussion: 27cm from the tip; Weight: 1,300g (2lb 14oz).

The pommel was of basically the same type as the one in Philadelphia (copper alloy), but instead of the usual 'wheel' style with protruding central hubs, this one was more 'disc' shaped with bevelled edges and flat faces, and with the incised concentric circles so characteristic of this group of Alexandrian swords. The Arabic inscription on the blade is dated 1367-68. It was an absolute joy to handle, as long as you remember that it was balanced for dealing devastating shearing cuts, probably from horseback. The perceived 'balance' is further down the blade than many medieval swords, but nowhere near the 8"-10" described in a couple of the posts above.

I'll post a photo if any of you are interested (as long as I can find it!).
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clive Thomas wrote:

I'll post a photo if any of you are interested (as long as I can find it!).


Yes please!
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Lison wrote:
Clive Thomas wrote:

I'll post a photo if any of you are interested (as long as I can find it!).


Yes please!


I too would like to see pictures of this sword. Love me them XIIIb's!

Chris Landwehr 10/10/49-1/1/09 My Mom
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Tom Kinder





Joined: 27 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2011 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yes, pictures please! sounds like a real treat to have been able to handle such a sword. congrats and thank you for sharing
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Clive Thomas




Location: Warwickshire, United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2011 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok, sorry to disappoint but the photos of the above sword are unavailable at present. However, I do have a pic of another XIIIb (also from the Alexandria Arsenal and now in a private collection) which I took great pleasure in having for a while in 2007. This one is of very impressive proportions and is slightly heavier, with the perceived weight (when held) being quite far down the blade. The point of balance is also further towards the tip when compared to the sword above.

Measurements are as follows:

Length overall: 111.75cm; Blade length: 94.8cm; Blade width: 56mm at the hilt, 51.5mm at the centre of percussion (again, only a very slight profile taper!); Blade thickness: 5mm at the hilt, 1.5mm at the centre of percussion; Span of crossguard: 18.1cm; Length of grip (a bare tang again): 10.2cm. Length of pommel: 5.5cm; Width of pommel: 4.5cm; Thickness of pommel: 2.2cm; Point of balance: 21.6cm from the crossguard; Centre of percussion:18-20cm from the tip; Weight: 1,382g (3lb 1/2oz).

As you can see from the photo, it has one of those unusual 'pear shaped' pommels. These were often thought to be much later replacements but enough examples are shown on fourteenth century effigial slabs (from Cyprus and northern Europe) to confirm that they are probably contemporary with the swords.



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Clive Thomas




Location: Warwickshire, United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2011 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Apologies for the rather poor quality of the previous full-length photo. Here's a closeup view of the hilt. The Arabic inscription reads simply as:

"Donation to the arsenal in the frontier city of Alexandria"

There is no name or date on this inscription, but the "handwriting" and the type of blade suggest that it should be included in either the 1367-68 (Ukuz) or the 1368-69 (Sultan Sha'ban) bequests to the arsenal of Alexandria.



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Cornelis Tromp




Location: Holland
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2011 1:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clive Thomas wrote:
Apologies for the rather poor quality of the previous full-length photo. Here's a closeup view of the hilt. The Arabic inscription reads simply as:

"Donation to the arsenal in the frontier city of Alexandria"

There is no name or date on this inscription, but the "handwriting" and the type of blade suggest that it should be included in either the 1367-68 (Ukuz) or the 1368-69 (Sultan Sha'ban) bequests to the arsenal of Alexandria.


Do you think it is also possible that it is later fe. 1436 inspector amir sayf al-din Faris.
or is the type of blade not matching the other swords of this donor and is the handwriting too rough.

attached: Ludvik kalus no.80 Museum Istanbul no. 11396



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Clive Thomas




Location: Warwickshire, United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2011 4:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Cornelis, and thanks for the post.

The inscription on the sword that I posted above, while slightly unusual, does not really conform to those of the Faris bequest of 1436-37. One of the best indicators of this can be seen by comparing the "handwriting" of the Arabic word 'hubs' that begins the inscription (and which can be seen on the right in my photo, and at the top right of yours). Reading from right to left, this is composed of three letters: 'ha', 'ba' and 'sin' (or H, B and S, effectively, with no vowel for the 'u' sound). You'll see that the letter 'sin' is composed of two small ridges and then a longer 'hook-shaped' finial at the left end of the word in the earlier inscription.

On the Faris inscription, these ridges are omitted in favour of a single line. This is effectively for convenience and may be seen frequently in modern handwritten Arabic, and this practise was first introduced by the engravers of the Mohammed ibn Mahmud inscriptions on swords that can be dated 1392. There was a transitional period where both styles were used, but by the time of the Sultan Barsbay we no longer see the ridges on the letter 'sin'. Similar nuances in these hand-engraved inscriptions occur on other words as well, which can all help to date these inscriptions with some accuracy.

The type of sword can also help with dating its inscription, although this should not be relied upon as certain sword types can be seen to occur across several of the bequests to the arsenal (and there are 11 main bequests in total between 1367-68 and 1436-37). Ludvik Kalus included another bequest for the year 1439, but I think this can be discounted when you look at the handwriting of those inscriptions. The distinctive, broad Type XIIIb blades under discussion here all seem to have been donated in the 1367-68 and 1368-69 bequests, where they are dated at all, and the handwriting of those that aren't dated seems to match the dated ones quite well. I hope this makes sense!

An article I wrote for the Spring 2007 London Park Lane Arms Fair catalogue shows the differences in epigraphy for the word 'hubs' in all of the various bequests, and would probably be of further help if you can get a copy.

Once again, thanks for your interest in the subject of these inscriptions - I hope we're not going too far off-topic by discussing them!
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Tom Kinder





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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2011 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clive Thomas,
thank you very much for the wonderful stats and descriptions. you have helped us fill in the blanks we needed filling in. Gus says he will make two versions of XIIIb soon.

the first one (made first because Gus has the material on hand and doesn't need to retool anything to get it started) will be a narrow bodied XIIIb that will be fast and agile and probably a great cutter. he is drawing inspiration from the narrower XIIIb swords in Records.

the second one will be a wide bodied XIIIb drawing inspiration from the swords Clive mentioned to us. based on what Gus already knows and the information provided by Clive, Gus thinks the sword he makes for this style will be 32" in blade length, more than 2" wide, about 2.5 pounds, and a lively and dynamic sword.

I don't know about all of you, but I am excited to see this sword.

one more great big thank you to Clive Thomas, you've been a great help sir and you have our gratitude.
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Clive Thomas




Location: Warwickshire, United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2011 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom,

Thanks for your compliments... it's an absolute pleasure. I'm glad the measurements could be of help!
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2011 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clive Thomas wrote:
As you can see from the photo, it has one of those unusual 'pear shaped' pommels. These were often thought to be much later replacements but enough examples are shown on fourteenth century effigial slabs (from Cyprus and northern Europe) to confirm that they are probably contemporary with the swords.


That's an interesting pommel. It can't readily fit into any of the Oakethott pommel typology niches. It sort of looks like an upside-down T1. I looked at the Albion Doge, but the pommels aren't really that close to each other.

I wonder if Gus Trim will recreate it on one of his designs.

I'm looking forward to these two new XIIIb's. There are so many XII's, XIIa's, XIIIa's and XIV's on the market - these will be something fresh.
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Tom Kinder





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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2011 4:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe these two XIIIb swords will have wheel pomels, but who knows, with time many things are possible. that pommel is certainly very interesting and would look great on a modern reproduction.
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