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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 3:03 am    Post subject: Two Swords for Solingen 2011         Reply with quote

Hello fellow forumites.

The Messer Macher Messe in the Deutsches Klingenmuseum 2011 was on this last weekend.
This show is an incredibly rich and intensive experience, meeting friends among colleagues and customers, seeing work on a very high level and coming back home head filled with new ideas and inspiration. This year was no exception.

I had planned to bring four swords for this show, but postponed the completion of two of them, since I felt they would come out better with reworked hilts. They shall be finished later on this summer or autumn. One is a short sword inspired by early Hallstatt blades, and the other is a new/personal take on the traditional langes messer. I hope I shall get an opportunity to show these two over the next couple of months.

I did bring the two other swords however. They represent something new for me as maker. The basis for their design is something completely new I have found when analyzing documented material I have collected over the years. I shall return to this topic later on.
Next year´s catalogue of Park Lane Arms Fair will publish an article where I present this find and theory publicly for the first time (so far, I have only told a small number of people in confidence).
To me this find opens a new perspective in understanding the the medieval sword. For the time being the details shall have to remain in the dark, but it is something that has an application when looking at historical swords as well as the design and making of swords today. To me as a sword smith this is very exiting.

First of the two blades brought to the show was actually completed in time for the Park Lane Arms Fair in March earlier this year. It is a type XIV in hand and half size. Very nimble and responsive. It is a conglomerate of a number of swords that have drawn my eye and I think you can recognize where blade, guard and pommel has their inspiration. I wanted it to express the flowery high gothic style of the 13th and early 14th century. In personality, it may perhaps be likened to a fair but dangerous lady.

The second is something different. A sword that does not relate to a time period in form or style, but rather made as an attempt to be a time-less sword. I find this design problem both challenging and very interesting: something I shall return to more often in the future.
In function and heft, it relates to knightly hand and half swords that can be used in one hand or two. Its edges are resilient, and the point is strong. Its heft is muscular and smooth.
Guard and pommel are forged from 100+ years old strandy and slaggy iron, drawn and folded in 7 layers to solidify and purify it. The structure is brought out with deep etching and blued to a dark graphite grey. Added to highlight this dark complexion are details of fine silver (ends of guard, collars of the grip and washer for rivet button), finished with brushing to get a frosty surface. The effect I was after was moonlight on a cloudy night. I don´t know how successful I was, but it was an inspiring image to strive for.

Below are some bad snapshots of both swords. I apologize for the low quality of the images. Both have been professionally photographed: I will post the good pictures when I get them.



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Full length view of the type XIV

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Grip is maghogany red with risers spaced to give support for each finger.

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Pommel of a type that is a favorite of mine.

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Full length shot of the time-less sword.

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Blade is hollow ground with narrow fuller. Not strictly according to any historical type.

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Close-up of guard with silver collar of grip.

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The structure of the old iron is plainly visible here.
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 3:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That slender type XIV is truly magnificent Peter. I was lucky enough to hold it for a moment (Special thanks to Soren for distracting my kid with his ipad while I was drooling all over it!) at the London's arms fair and I was blown away by its handling qualities, its lightness in the hand, not to mention it's aesthetical appeal. I was not aware of any "XIVa" swords and the longuest I'd seen was the "solingen" from the RA in Leeds. Any chance for a picture of one museum original featuring those characteristics?

J


Last edited by Julien M on Wed 04 May, 2011 3:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 3:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julien M wrote:
That slender type XIV is truly magnificent Peter. I was lucky enough to hold it for a moment (Special thanks to Soren for distracting my kid with its ipad while I was drooling all over it!) at the London's arms fair and I was blown away by its handling qualities, its lightness in the hand, not to mention it's aesthetical appeal. I was not aware of any "XIVa" swords and the longuest I'd seen was the "solingen" from the RA in Leeds. Any chance for a picture of one museum original featuring those characteristics?

J


Hi Julien,

Thanks for kind words!

There is no single museum original with the exact same blade form & size (that I know of). There are several very big type XIV however. I think there is room for a XIVa sub category in the typology, even if Oakeshott himself did not thought it worth while. Some of the type XIV in ROMS are actually really big swords with longer than normal grips. They are not regular/typical single hand swords. They are short hand and half, perhaps. Small great swords.

I shall edit this post later today and add number and page for those swords in" Records" that share similar features. There are other swords apart from these, but they are easily referenced because of the book.

Best!
Peter
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Herbert Schmidt




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 4:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Having had the opportunity to handle both at the MMM in Solingen I can only attest to the marvelous handling characteristics of them both.
The XIV is really a wonderful sword and I am glad that I handled it first. Therefore I had the chance to appreciate it accordingly and truly enjoy the excellent work you did on this sword.

Then I moved on to the timeless sword and the other one was (almost) forgotten. The timeless sword is a wonderful piece that displays completely different characteristics as other swords. It is much more complex than one would think and it is mind boggling when you first pick it up. You feel that something different is going on with this blade - a riddle in steel it was for me.

Later on (Peter was so kind as to endure my coming back for more handling) it revealed itself a bit more, only to get more interesting by doing so.

It seems odd to talk about a piece of steel with a grip as if it was a living person but there are tools and then there are tools that are so well done that they go further. This is what happened with this sword.
It's still a toll but on a different level. Comparisons with world class violins come to mind.

Impossible to describe in words. Anyway - thank you Peter for your outstanding work!

Herbert

www.arsgladii.at
Historical European Martial Arts
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 5:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Flawless and beautiful work as always Peter - thanks for sharing.

The crispness of every aspect of your work, both in line and finish is quite extraordinary.

Tod

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You're such a tease, Peter! I'm poring over these beautiful pieces trying to figure out what new technique or theory you've applied here. I won't speculate beyond guessing that it probably must be felt as much as, or more than, observed. I'm content to wait for publication, though. Big Grin
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 8:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful and stunning. I agree with Leo that despite the fact that swords have so many linear features - your swords still have a flowing "alive" character to them and would also add that the proportions of all of the elements just seem so "right". thx for sharing! tr
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter,

I am entranced by the Timeless Sword. I hope your future explorations in this new direction prove as successful as you wish them to be. May I ask what the dimensions are on that sword?

The question I am now compelled to ask may be either pretentious or foolish or both, but does she have a buyer yet?

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stunning work! As usual Peter you continue to deliver some of the most beautiful work I have ever seen. I am especially glad to see the Type XIV. I have a long handled Type XIV that Tinker Pierce made in 2005 and I find the type works very well as a long sword. I'm sure some time in history some of these swords of that type probably were made long handled. Its too practical a design not to have been at least "experimented" with by someone at some time. Just because examples don't exist, doesn't mean it wasn't used. It just means none survive or have been found.

Anyway, excellent work as always and we appreciate you displaying it here for us to enjoy as well.

Bryce
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C.L. Miller




PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 11:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The XIV is absolutely stunning, and quite possibly, to my taste, the most aesthetically appealing sword of modern manufacture I have ever encountered. Bravo, and thank you.

The blade shape puts me somewhat in mind of a sword in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg (Inv. no. W 1765) - one of my long-standing and absolute favorites. Although clearly not a proper XIV(a), lacking the width of the blade pictured above, I feel that it nevertheless displays some fairly unique characteristics, and indeed rather resembles an extremely elongated variation of the Solingen blade replicated for Albion:



Note especially the flared base of the blade:



...but then, that might just be me.

In any case, I remain astounded. Thank you again for sharing this with us Peter.
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David Sutton




PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, what can I say that hasn't already been said about your work?!

As usual - the absolute pinnacle of present day swordsmithing. I particularly like the Type XIV Cool

'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

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Sean O Stevens




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 5:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eek!

While both swords are gorgeous and obviously masterfully crafted... that 'Timeless' sword really speaks to me... I'm entranced. Big Grin
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 8:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Basically what everybody above me already said but I wanted to at least add that I agree completely that these swords are both awesome.

The pommel and guard of the " Timeless " sword are so much more interesting with the " activity " of the texture of the steel/iron than they would be if they where made of a more homogeneous steel and mirror polished.

The comments about the handling characteristics make one sad that not everyone can experience them in hand as they do seem to have pleasantly surprised those lucky enough to have done so. Wink Big Grin

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




PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 10:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

C.L. Miller wrote:
The XIV is absolutely stunning, and quite possibly, to my taste, the most aesthetically appealing sword of modern manufacture I have ever encountered. Bravo, and thank you.

In any case, I remain astounded. Thank you again for sharing this with us Peter.


It's not just you, I love the shape of that blade. Sigh.... one day I'll be able to afford a sword from you Peter

Wink Razz
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C.L. Miller




PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 11:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Taylor Ellis wrote:

It's not just you, I love the shape of that blade. Sigh.... one day I'll be able to afford a sword from you Peter

Wink Razz


Seeing Peter's photos, I must confess that my thoughts flew immediately to what I might be willing to sacrifice in order to acquire such a blade - it's a line of thinking which I find leads to all kinds of dangerous questions. Who needs a car these days? Isn't this apartment really a bit big for my needs? Do I really need TWO kidneys?
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Isaac H.




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PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 11:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am totally in awe...Those must be the most beautiful,deadliest pair of swords I have seen this year so far...and I've seen many. EPIC SKILLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You inspire me .
Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2
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PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2011 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those are both truly impressive swords Peter! I really like the elegance of the "timeless" sword since it truly does look timeless. The XIVa on the other hand speaks to me. I love the choice of pommel matched with the guard just looks right. I also think the blade just looks brutal and would be great for not only thrusting but some truly brutal cutting.
Chris Landwehr 10/10/49-1/1/09 My Mom
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2011 8:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for your kind words. I am quite overwhelmed by this reaction, but naturally very glad that you appreciate my work.

First I guess I should have said in my first post that both swords are already sold. Sorry if I have awakened any strong urges ;-)

There shall be more swords from my smithy, and I keep hoping I will get the time and discipline to get my own site up and running so I can show available work.

Dimensions:
The XIV(a) is about 1,2 kilo in weight but feels considerably lighter as you move it about.
Blade is about 86 cm long and some 6 cm wide at the base. It is thin blade with lenticular cross section. Pretty flexible and with edges that really want to *bite* (my fingers can tell a bloody tale about it...)
Grip is some 15 cm and pommel about 5 cm diameter.
Total length is about 107 cm

The time-less sword is a bit larger and a bit more massive.
Blade is about 87 cm long and a bit less than 6 cm at the base. A thick blade, about one cm at the base with a stout midrib running all the way to the point.
Grip is about 18 cm and the pommel is some 8,7 cm long.
Total length is about 114 cm.
The weight is around 1,4 kilos.
Forward pivot point is just behind the very point of the blade. Vibration nodes and mid pivot point coincide in the blade and grip.

Both of these swords come with secrets and secret names.
In March 2012, when I have published the article in Park Lane Arms Fair catalogue, the owners of the swords will get a letter where the "key" to their sword is revealed. It shall then be their knowledge to share or keep for themselves. The same goes with the names. The true names of the swords relate to what is not obvious from casual observation.

I am very happy that both the swords have been met by your appreciation. The XIV is a classic type of sword, being a conglomerate of elements. It is made for those who appreciate work that is faithful to traditional forms and expressions of the sword.
The time-less sword is something else. A bit risky perhaps, for a sword maker like me who is known to be working within the framework of traditional forms. But there is something very appealing to make a sword that is real in any functional understanding and yet is unbound by the fetters of historical designs.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2011 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

C.L. Miller wrote:
The XIV is absolutely stunning, and quite possibly, to my taste, the most aesthetically appealing sword of modern manufacture I have ever encountered. Bravo, and thank you.

The blade shape puts me somewhat in mind of a sword in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg (Inv. no. W 1765) - one of my long-standing and absolute favorites. Although clearly not a proper XIV(a), lacking the width of the blade pictured above, I feel that it nevertheless displays some fairly unique characteristics, and indeed rather resembles an extremely elongated variation of the Solingen blade replicated for Albion:



Note especially the flared base of the blade:



...but then, that might just be me.

In any case, I remain astounded. Thank you again for sharing this with us Peter.


Thank you for posting these images and the inventory number of the sword!
It is very beautiful! (and it does indeed seem have something in common with the "Solingen" sword)
I would really like to study this one closely. A trip to Nuremberg...
Mmmmm.
:-)
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2011 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
First I guess I should have said in my first post that both swords are already sold. Sorry if I have awakened any strong urges ;-)

Undoubtedly for the best, at this moment. One of her sisters one day, perhaps. Happy

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Both of these swords come with secrets and secret names.

This is possibly the coolest "extra" I've ever heard of for a sword. They'd pretty much need to be imbued with actual magical powers to top that.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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