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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Rebirth of a Sword         Reply with quote

In the 19th C there were work done on the dock side in the harbour below the rapids of the Fyris river. A stone quay was constructed and in preparation of this, earth, clay and mud was removed from the river side and the bottom of the river. During one day no less than three swords were found.
In medieval times, in the 13th or perhaps even 12th C, there was already a harbour here. Cargo was reloaded for transport above the rapids. On higher ground, overlooking the harbor was a manor house that belonged to the crown. One of the King´s houses, that could welcome the monarch and his ambulating court. It was common practice that the King moved about between different locations, to make sure he maintained good contacts with the lands under his rule. It was also a good way to spread the effects of enthusiastic feasting that invariably took place wherever the King put up with his house hold.

Apart from being a place of logistic and strategic importance, the rapids of Fyris river was also a place of political importance.
The swords that were found may have been dropped into mud or shallow waters while being taken from a boat. Perhaps it is more probably that they were lost in a skirmish or attack on the harbor, sine one of the swords were found broken in a way that is fairly typical for battle damage.

Together with many other weapons found in the river, the swords were deposited in the archaeological collection of Uppsala University.

Back in 2003 Eric McHugh and I visited the store rooms on one of his study trips. We documented dozens of axes, spears and swords from bronze age up to renaissance. Among all the swords we measured that day, the B78 was perhaps the one that made the strongest impression on me. It was the broken sword of those three that was found back in the 19th C. Very broad in the blade, but made with a deep fuller and a thin cross section, it spoke to me of a blade smith with very interesting and specific ideas about sword design. I had a feeling I could learn much by studying this sword closer.

Over the last year I have been working on a hypothesis for an original medieval principle of sword design. A first presentation of this theory shall be published early 2012, so I will not go into details about it in this post. It turned out to be a handy tool to reconstruct the original shape of the broken B78.

When you see this sword first hand, you get an impression of it being made to a scale slightly larger than life. It would fit someone of rather sturdy built, but despite its hefty presence, it does not feel heavy as you wield it.

The blade is 72 millimeter wide at the base and some 830 millimeter long. Total length is 999 millimeter. Weight is a hefty 1414 grams, but it feels lighter in the hand. The blade has a heft that leads in the cut, but at the same time it has an agile feel to it.
It is interesting to study blades that are extreme versions of types. This sword was made by someone who appreciated the importance to reduce all "dead meat" in the blade. Cross section and edge geometry is proof of very effective use of material.

Below are some images of the finished sword:



Thanks for looking!



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The reconstruction together with the original.

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Semi-finished sword with a rather worn looking fellow, to show its scale.

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Close-up of hilt

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Detail of criss-cross binding
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Brian K.
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stunning. I love the look of that sword. It speaks to me. The provided background you gave was very nice, too. 1414 grams is not bad at all, especially for the size. I want to hold & wield this one!
Brian Kunz
www.dbkcustomswords.com
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Einar Drønnesund




PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is gorgeous. And big. Larger than life indeed. Your reconstructions of these extra broad blades have made me really want one for myself.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you guys.
It is nice to hear that this sword speaks to others as well.

I would actually like to keep it for myself, but this one is already spoken for.

Since this is a good example of how a design principle can be used to estimate the original shape of a damaged original, I may return to this sword with another study, perhaps making another reconstruction and documenting the process step by step. There was no time to do so this time.
With the design theory, the find place, and the turbulent times in Swedish history contemporary to this sword it might be possible to tell a story of more than the details of just one sword.
-Perhaps the theme for a booklet?
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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:

With the design theory, the find place, and the turbulent times in Swedish history contemporary to this sword it might be possible to tell a story of more than the details of just one sword.
-Perhaps the theme for a booklet?


Absolutely! A fascinating read it would be!

Brian Kunz
www.dbkcustomswords.com
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 2:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter,

I'm sure this won't surprise you, but this sword speaks to me quite strongly. I love the overall sense of proportion. The sword seems massive yet hardly cumbersome, a powerful yet graceful weapon. I love your choice of grip covering. Will there be a scabbard? The furniture appears to be slightly darkened, or perhaps it's just the lighting. If so, nice touch.

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


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Sat 10 Sep, 2011 5:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 2:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow.

That's right up my alley. Medieval Swedes must have had a thing for over-sized swords like this and the Tritonia. It must be genetic (I'm Swedish on my Mother's side). I love the blade profile - this sort of leaf-like convex curve toward the tip is my favorite. This one seems to be an XII on steroids (I'm surprised, I was expecting a spade-ended XIIIb), but interestingly there are several XIa swords with very similar profiles - just a lot smaller. Quite interesting. And of course the execution is beautiful.

Peter, I have noticed that in your generic one-hand designs you tend to go for light handy swords, and yet when it comes to replicas you have chosen to go with several on the far heavy-duty side (This, Tritonia, St. Maurice). Is this a coincidence?

Even assuming this one is up for grabs I know its out of my budget, but any chance it will become an Albion museum line piece? It would make an interesting companion to the Tritonia (I just purchased one of those to quell long-time XIIIb envy).

It just doesn't get any better than this!!!
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
It would make an interesting companion to the Tritonia (I just purchased one of those to quell long-time XIIIb envy).


J.D.,

Are you the one who snatched that Tritonia out from under me on the classifieds? Shame on you. Big Grin

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Quote:
It would make an interesting companion to the Tritonia (I just purchased one of those to quell long-time XIIIb envy).


J.D.,

Are you the one who snatched that Tritonia out from under me on the classifieds? Shame on you. Big Grin


Heh...heh..heh. Sorry my fellow big one-hander fan, its already in the mail. That's what happens when you write too good a revew. Wink
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Stephen Curtin




PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow cant wait till 2012, as always Peter stunning work.
Éirinn go Brách
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:

Heh...heh..heh. Sorry my fellow big one-hander fan, its already in the mail. That's what happens when you write too good a revew. Wink


While I had a pang of regret when I saw it had sold I really didn't need to spend the money, so you did me a favor. The Tritonia is one that's right in my line of interest and I can't think of why I don't own one already. Oh well, another day perhaps. Enjoy!

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am really glad to see you doing the wide bladed swords of various types Peter because the result is always stunning. This sword doesn't so much speak to me as scream out.

The grip is exceptional. Every aspect of it is taken to a further level than what is currently seen elsewhere, the over and underwrap and pins are immaculate and show a level of detail and craftmanship that we have come to expect from you, yet still pleasantly suprises like something new and unexpected.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Paul Greathouse




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 8:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter,

This blade is amazing. The look can only hint to the true feel of this sword, I would love to get my hands on it! I look foreward to a booklet. As always you are an inspiration to us all!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 10:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It sort of reminds me of a type XIIIB up to the end of the fuller but then tapers more to the point than a type XIII, so it has a lot of the characteristics of the very broad cutting swords but near the point it seems to want to " rediscover " a thrusting ability. Wink

The very spatulate points of the type XIII and XIIIB would favour tip cuts more but would be less effective in the thrust, although even a very rounded but very sharp point can thrust effectively if the unfortunate recipient of the point is unarmoured.

Very attractive sword by the way. Big Grin Cool ( No surprise for me that you made another wonderful sword. Wink Laughing Out Loud ).

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




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 12:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stunning sword and one anyone would be proud to call their own.
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Jeremiah Swanger




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 1:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geez... that thing is like a double-edged CLEAVER!

Masterful work as always, Peter-- you are one of the few who can truly bring a long-gone era to life through your craft!

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Antonio Lamadrid





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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 3:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stunning. Lovely grip. I wish I could wield it.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 6:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is really a beautiful sword. I love the broad but relatively more acute tip. The definition of the fuller edges is especially attrative to me as they seem a bit "soft" but this could just be the effects of lighting.
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David Sutton




PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another superb sword; the broad blade is magnificent! Cool
'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

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Scott Kowalski




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow Peter, that is a truly impressive sword. When you first mentioned it earlier I was really looking forward to seeing it based on your description. It was well worth the wait. As a fellow big single handed sword lover this just speaks to me. I always love seeing what you do with your custom pieces as they almost always have the qualities that I love in a sword. Big cutting blades that speak to the less refined part of my nature!
Chris Landwehr 10/10/49-1/1/09 My Mom
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