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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2011 8:38 am    Post subject: Custom 'Records XII.10' / Korsoygaden Sword Project         Reply with quote

Dear fellow sword fans and collectors,

It's been a few months since I've had anything really novel to post here, so I thought its time for a new project. Right now I want to tell you about a project that came together very recently (indeed, over this weekend). Although I've had the fortune to sponsor custom projects by some of the best known swordsmiths in the USA, this time I was looking to sponsor someone who is less known but has already shown a lot of talent, here in my home province (Ontario). I spotted this young fellow when he posted some of his work on myArmoury, here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=21758

The Swordsmith

According to his web-site http://www.jeffhelmes.com/ Jeff Helmes has been bladesmithing since 2003 and blacksmithing full time since 2004. Jeff's main interest so far is Viking Era Swords and Seaxes, as well as axes. He has done some beautiful pattern-weld work with decorative inlays (for example, the sword linked above which I believe is still for sale at this time). After I saw that work, I contacted Jeff about the idea of doing a simpler mono-steel medieval sword to fit my taste and budget. I contacted him again yesterday with some more specific ideas. Given Jeff's interests in Viking swords, and my own interest in Viking-influenced medieval swords, we quickly settled on a project of mutual interest, and things were set into motion very quickly. Indeed he has started sketching out the plan already and means to start working on it tomorrow (given the wait times one often experiences with most custom projects, I think for this reason alone a lot of you will be interested in the outcome here). We also agreed that I would post his progress on this site (and he uses facebook for his own progress shots). This is, I believe, Jeff's first foray into smithing a true medieval sword, so we will be witnessing his learning curve. However, I have warned him that I will be writing a critical review at the end.

The Project

I have long been a fan of medieval swords with a curved, lobated type M pommel and downcurved cross. These swords appear to have emerged from Viking and AngloSaxon influences and have been primarily popular in the region of Northern England and Scotland. This 'transitional' hilt type is most closely associated with type XII blades, and seems to have reached its peak in general British popularity around 1100. However, they survived in slightly modified form for several hundred more years as the typical Scottish 'halflang' sword depicted in Balliol's seal and many graveslabs of the Western Highlands and Isles. Likely, as with so many European Medieval swords, the blades were made in central Europe and the hilts were added locally to fit local fashion.

Probably the most famous of these swords is the Cawood sword that has often been replicated, photographed, and discussed on this forum. However, we choose to replicate its 'sister sword', found in the Korsoygaden region of Norway, and housed in the Oslo museum. This beautiful sword is very similar to the Cawood, but has a longer (nearly 35") blade and ruin-inscribed bronze collars on the tan, while still retains some of its wooden grip. It was found in a stone 'cist' along with some other late Viking/early Medieval artifacts, and has been dated to ~1100 based on the style of the ruins. Given the high similarity between this sword and the Brittish swords, and the strong presence of Norway in Western Isles of Scotland all through this period, I believe this sword originated in Northern Britain and was carried by or traded to someone who took it back to Norway. For more information, see Oakeshott's 'Records of the Medieval Sword', pages 76-77 (sword XII.10) and 254-256.

Here are some pictures:

http://www.myArmoury.com/view.html?features/pic_spotxii05.jpg
http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/hist_mus_osl...amp;page=2

Although this sword is very well known --it's shown in just about every book on medieval swords I own-- it has not been replicated to the same degree as the Cawood sword (although personally I think its more beautiful). The only version I know of at this time is a cheap and innaccurate copy made by Depeeka. Therefore, this seems like a great opportunity to 'bring it to life'.

Hopefully the project works out well, and I look forward to reporting on Jeff's progress.

Yours truly, J.D. Crawford
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2011 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I almost forgot, Arma Bohemia has an attractive interpretation of this sword, but since its overall length is about 35" (just the length of the blade on the original) one could not call it a replica: http://www.armabohemia.cz/imgnew/epees/epees/ep42v4.jpg
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2011 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are Jeff's measurements of sword's proportions:
________________________
Blade length 89cm some of which will be recessed into the cross .
width @ hilt 5.7cm
@ 44.5cm 4.8cm
@10cm from tip 3.3cm
The edges apear to follow straight lines till 23 cm from tip when they begin to curve toward tip.
The cross from tip to tip is 16cm
The pommel height is 4.5cm
width is 8cm
Grip length is 9.3 cm
________________________

This is going to be a big one-hand sword. We don't have access to detailed measurements of the blade thickness. However, I think that other than the slightly pointy tip, it bears more resemblence to the blades on big XIII swords rather than the typical XII. Its indeed pretty close to an XIIIb. To my knowledge, these would typically start at a shade over 5mm at the cross, and progress with a non-linear concave distal taper toward a shade over 2mm near the tip. That seems to be consistent with the shading visible in some of the pictures. So that's what we're aiming for. It's up to Jeff to pull it off - from what I hear, not a trivial task.
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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2011 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations, this looks like another great project for you!
I've liked this sword for years, and even more since first seeing the high quality photos on the site you linked.
Did Jeff estimate the blade width from the photos, or did you guys have another source of info?
Also, will he be recreating the pommel as one piece or two? It's hard to tell from the pics which way the original was.
Looking forward to the result!
Dan
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Dickinson wrote:
Congratulations, this looks like another great project for you!
I've liked this sword for years, and even more since first seeing the high quality photos on the site you linked.
Did Jeff estimate the blade width from the photos, or did you guys have another source of info?
Also, will he be recreating the pommel as one piece or two? It's hard to tell from the pics which way the original was.
Looking forward to the result!
Dan


Hi Dan,

Well, we don't quit have the research resources of a Peter Johnson here in Ontario, so we're going by photos. Good point about the pommel - I did not think of that. I always assumed it was one piece, but looking now at the detailed pictures of the pommel it looks like it could be two. Unless some expert from Norway can tell us, I'll leave it to Jeff to sort this out. Thanks for the encouraging words!

Regards, JD
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J Helmes
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Location: Lanark Highlands Ontario Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2011 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Guys, I have estimated most of my mesurments via photos. It looks to me that the pommel was done in two pieces. Here is a link to a pic on Vikverir http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/hist_mus_osl...mp;page=2# Look at the picture on the second row down at the end. It would not be an easy task to carve that kind of a shape in one piece.


Jeff
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2011 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I look forward to seeing this project come together,

I especially am drawn to the blade outline with it's acute point section. The blade really seems from a hundred or more years later than the hilt section which is pretty striking.

I will be a nice addition to your collection to be sure.
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2011 8:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ahh, Moriarty, good choice! Our tastes are too similar! I almost had Robert Moc make me this one earlier this year but opted for the type Z he made me instead, and I considered asking Michael Pikula to do it but had him make the other type Z/ weird for me. This sword is a great choice. It will look great next to your type O! Your collection is getting pretty nice JD. Whenever you want to sell some off, just ask me... Wink I'm looking forward to seeing some of Jeff's work, and especially looking forward to good progress shots!
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 4:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Tim, Jeremy. Tim, you've picked off so many of my favorite 11th century and earlier designs -including that wierd Swedish one that might have been the choice here- fortunately there are still new ones to be done. Maybe we'll start trading some day...

Jeff, I see what you mean with the two - piece construction, I suppose it would be hard to make the grooves between lobes with the 'upper guard' protruding in the way.

Yes, looking forward to the progress shots which I hear should come soon!
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Johan S. Moen




Location: Kristiansand, Norway
Joined: 26 Jan 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a quibble from a native: "Korsoygaden" is not a place name in Norway, and doesn't even fit into the Norwegian language in any meaningful way. "Korsødegården" is the correct spelling.

That being said, good luck with the project! The blade on that sword is especially neat I think, the proportions just look "right". Happy

Johan Schubert Moen
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan S. Moen wrote:
Just a quibble from a native: "Korsoygaden" is not a place name in Norway, and doesn't even fit into the Norwegian language in any meaningful way. "Korsødegården" is the correct spelling.

That being said, good luck with the project! The blade on that sword is especially neat I think, the proportions just look "right". Happy

Johan Schubert Moen


Thankyou Johan for the Correction. In his books, Oakeshott spells it 'Korsoygaden'. Elsewhere I have seen it rendered as "Korsoygarden' by English Speakers. We'll try to stick with "Korsødegården" from now on. Happy
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Nils Anderssen




Location: Drammen, Norway
Joined: 08 Dec 2005

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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is one of my favorite swords. Looking forward to see how the project unfolds Happy

There is a picture that I have not linked to from the Vikverir page (going to at some point) and that is a composite picture of that sword. It is 30 000 x 5324 pixels and about 55 meg.

http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/extreme_hd_swords/Sword_HD_2.jpg

It is worth noticing that it does not give a good overall picture of the sword because of distortion in the lense and that the angles where the picture is taken changes slighty, but it gives a good idea of the details.

I thought you might like it Happy

I have seen this sword a lot of times and one of the things that strikes me is the proportions between the sword blade and the hilt. Both the pommel and the crossguard is quiet small compared to the broad and long blade. I guess the pommel is about 250g (a wild guess) and there is not that much weight in the guard either. The location where the sword is exhibited gives you the opportunity to see the blade from the side and it is really thin towards the tip. I think the blade alone is quite maneuverable without the hilt and not as beefy as it looks top down.

I have seen a couple of reproductions where the blade is either to small/thin or the hilt to big and that is a easy misunderstanding of the sword.

When it comes to the pommel, I also think it is i two pieces. That is a fairly common feature for these types of hilts and it looks like from the pictures.

I might pass by the museum next weekend, if there is any information/pictures you want just send me a PM. Since the sword is fairly close to the glass I might be able to measure some of it.

I hope I get the opportunity to document this sword in details sometime in the future.
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Nils Anderssen




Location: Drammen, Norway
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A little note: The picture I posted above with extreme resolution does, for some reason, not have the whole pommel. I will try to update the picture tomorrow.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 2:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks so much Nils, your information tends to confirm our guesses so far. The hardest thing to get from the pictures is the detailed blade geometry - again, we've guessed it starts from ~5mm and then tapers fairly rapidly toward ~2mm. I'm sure Jeff could benefit from your kind offer to drop by the museum for more details! -JD
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J Helmes
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Location: Lanark Highlands Ontario Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Nils, Thanks for posting that picture. Any sort of measurments that you can share with us would be fantastic.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

2 days since I commissioned this sword, and here's what Jeff just sent me. Is this a magic trick?


 Attachment: 50.27 KB
PB070083s.JPG


 Attachment: 47.45 KB
PB070087s.JPG

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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

??? Unbelievable! Eek! In a great way, of course. Happy
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 4:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
??? Unbelievable! Eek! In a great way, of course. Happy


You said it Luka. I gather there's still a lot of work to be done on the blade, and I don't think its been tempered, but still I'm amazed how quickly this is taking shape. And that's a handsom looking blade so far. Apparently Jeff has to get back to his day job as a blacksmith for a few days now, but at this rate I don't expect we'll have to wait long for more progress shots. If anyone has further information on the original sword, please pass it along soon before Jeff is finished. Happy
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 8:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Man that was quick! The blade looks nice. I think he did a great job at capturing the look of the original. Very interested in seeing more progress on this one!
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Nov, 2011 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I missed this one the other day - here's the blade at an earlier stage of development.


 Attachment: 59.82 KB
korsoygaden3.JPG

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