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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: A new fascination with big swords?         Reply with quote

Hey folks,

I haven't started a topic around here in a while, but lately I've been noticing a trend on the board... There seems to be a new fascination and respect for large, historic blades from the High Middle Ages among the enthusiasts here. Am I sensing this correctly? I think it's pretty cool, honestly, but am wondering why exactly - did one sword pop up that inspired a chain reaction, or are people just getting bored with the same old blade styles being reproduced over and over? What's up?

-Gregory
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,229

PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know, but I'm finally feeling at home. Wink I was always fascinated with biggest examples of a type and still am, so I'm very grateful for this situation. Happy And all this info and talk about big swords and how to make them so big and still agile is very useful for creating a design in my head for my new fully custom commission. Idea
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Josh Maxwell




Location: Michigan
Joined: 01 Jul 2009
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Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 3:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

myArmoury goes through these phases I've noticed, one of my favorites was when we were in our messer phase. But just looking back on things, I'd say this big sword phase started when the vigil was released.
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 3:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heh. I'm in a spears/polearms/armour phase right now (thank you Windlass for your Deal of Day spearheads).

Not feeling this big sword thing, but I have to admit I'm impressed with the examples and reproductions shown as of late, even if I have no intention of purchasing or owning such a thing.

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,606

PostPosted: Sat 10 Sep, 2011 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Funny, I was thinking of writing something like that too. 'In praise of bigger swords'.

If there's really a trend (at least in a few prominent threads here lately) then perhaps its a backlash against the backlash. Consider:

Myth #1 (prominent with the average person) All Medieval swords were too heavy to be lifted by a modern person.

Myth #2 (prominent with learning students of the sword). All Medieval swords had a PoB/CoG of 4" and handled like fishing rods.

If #2 is a backlash against #1, then its time to put both myths to rest. One sees a huge variantion in the weight, size, and CoG of real medieval swords. To my mind one needs to think of the sword as a tool. Each tool is designed for a specififc purpose. one does not expect a hammer to do what a screwdriver does, so why expect a 13th century cavalry sword to handle like a 15th century side sword? And so on. They did what they were designed to do. Warswords were not designed for the use of most modern day collectors, i.e., dry handling or cutting water bottles (not that there's anything wrong with that), they were designed for battle.

And as long as the fundamentals of mass distribution are observed, they can handle surprisingly well. But this is not something one can appreciate from a quick handling session. It too me years to get used to the handling properties of larger one-handed swords. Its not that I'm any stronger, so it must be in the brain or little muscles that we don't normally use. That's why I think its important to have accurate replicas of actual swords and take time handling them over months to understand what they were all about.

Putting aside that high-minded crap, I just think big swords are cool - great wish fulfillment in a dragon-slayer kind of way.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 3:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Funny, I was thinking of writing something like that too. 'In praise of bigger swords'.

If there's really a trend (at least in a few prominent threads here lately) then perhaps its a backlash against the backlash. Consider:

Myth #1 (prominent with the average person) All Medieval swords were too heavy to be lifted by a modern person.

Myth #2 (prominent with learning students of the sword). All Medieval swords had a PoB/CoG of 4" and handled like fishing rods.

If #2 is a backlash against #1, then its time to put both myths to rest. One sees a huge variantion in the weight, size, and CoG of real medieval swords. To my mind one needs to think of the sword as a tool. Each tool is designed for a specififc purpose. one does not expect a hammer to do what a screwdriver does, so why expect a 13th century cavalry sword to handle like a 15th century side sword? And so on. They did what they were designed to do. Warswords were not designed for the use of most modern day collectors, i.e., dry handling or cutting water bottles (not that there's anything wrong with that), they were designed for battle.

And as long as the fundamentals of mass distribution are observed, they can handle surprisingly well. But this is not something one can appreciate from a quick handling session. It too me years to get used to the handling properties of larger one-handed swords. Its not that I'm any stronger, so it must be in the brain or little muscles that we don't normally use. That's why I think its important to have accurate replicas of actual swords and take time handling them over months to understand what they were all about.

Putting aside that high-minded crap, I just think big swords are cool - great wish fulfillment in a dragon-slayer kind of way.


as someone who is getting into the swing of using swords mostly for reenactent, i can tell you that a tightly balanced, agile sword is what i desire purely because i like swords to be very responsive to the movements of my hand and wrist,

that said my sword feels very bladeheavy and clunky, when more accurate replicas of viking and norman swords ive held are often alot more 'weightless' and responsive in the hand
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,606

PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 5:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:

as someone who is getting into the swing of using swords mostly for reenactent, i can tell you that a tightly balanced, agile sword is what i desire purely because i like swords to be very responsive to the movements of my hand and wrist,

that said my sword feels very bladeheavy and clunky, when more accurate replicas of viking and norman swords ive held are often alot more 'weightless' and responsive in the hand


I don't know your sword's dimensions, but it might be a problem with mass distribution. I've had a 3 lb sword with 27" blade that felt quite sluggish and hard on the wrist, and currently have a 3 lb sword with a 34" blade that feels great. The important diffence was in how the weight is distributed relative to the hand, how the handle cradles the grip, etc.

Having said that, if I was packed in close formation like a shield wall (sounds like that's what you are doing), I would rather have a smaller lighter sword. But then if you want an historically accurate viking age sword, you're looking for one with a CoG of about 7" - much further out than most modern 'accurate replicas'. That added blade presence gives more bang for breaking through shields and knees (in history, not in reenactment). It's all about having the right tool for the job.

My point was not to put down smaller, handier swords which are right for fencing and many other purposes, but rather to defend larger, 'blade heavy' swords - they also had their place, and can also handle well when made and used properly.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
William P wrote:

as someone who is getting into the swing of using swords mostly for reenactent, i can tell you that a tightly balanced, agile sword is what i desire purely because i like swords to be very responsive to the movements of my hand and wrist,

that said my sword feels very bladeheavy and clunky, when more accurate replicas of viking and norman swords ive held are often alot more 'weightless' and responsive in the hand


I don't know your sword's dimensions, but it might be a problem with mass distribution. I've had a 3 lb sword with 27" blade that felt quite sluggish and hard on the wrist, and currently have a 3 lb sword with a 34" blade that feels great. The important diffence was in how the weight is distributed relative to the hand, how the handle cradles the grip, etc.

Having said that, if I was packed in close formation like a shield wall (sounds like that's what you are doing), I would rather have a smaller lighter sword. But then if you want an historically accurate viking age sword, you're looking for one with a CoG of about 7" - much further out than most modern 'accurate replicas'. That added blade presence gives more bang for breaking through shields and knees (in history, not in reenactment). It's all about having the right tool for the job.

My point was not to put down smaller, handier swords which are right for fencing and many other purposes, but rather to defend larger, 'blade heavy' swords - they also had their place, and can also handle well when made and used properly.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...highlight= my sword is a hanwei practical norman sword and i created a thread asking for advice on changing the mass of my blade, unfortnately noone piped up to give me a hint

oneofthe swordsof reference that i compared my own blade to is the manning imperial 3 lobed pommel sword.

regarding viking and migration era/ type X blades, i was under the impression they were spposed to thin, fastslicers of flesh like oversized scalpels.
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