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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 3:48 am    Post subject: Reconstructing a mid 15th century sword         Reply with quote

In preparation of the Park Lane Arms Fair on Sunday 4th of March, I am currently working on the reconstruction of a sword from the Castillion find. Last year I brought a reconstruction of one of the type XVIII swords of this group. This time it is one of the XXa swords that were found that will be made anew.

Blade and hilt components are still in the rough, but have reached almost final form and are fitted.
I find this sword to be very beautiful. Its proportions are graceful and the form of guard and pommel are finely sculpted. Striving to come close to the powerful and elegant form and character of the original sword has been a challenge.
It is at least very close to the dimensions of the original sword.

In the following days and weeks I will show how it is gradually completed.



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A full length view of the sword.

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Close up of the hilt.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 3:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sword from last yearŽs Park Lane fair: a replica of one of the type XVIII of the Castillion find.


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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Peter

Very nice work ..... I look forward to viewing it's completion !

Pic attachments from - Oakeshott's "Records Of The Medieval Sword"

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'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great choice Peter! More Castillon eye Candy.

I've been lucky enough to document this sword at the RA. Is that the one it;s based on? (it's certainly looks like it but might also be a "sister sword" kept somewhere else). I got extremely nervous when handling this one as the blade as been severely corroded mid way and is as thin as a sheet of paper. It also took me a while to realise there was a triple fueler under the ricasso though it was right under my nose.



I'll most likely will be at the London arms fair so looking forward to see the finished sword (and to read you article since, unless I;m mistaken, you will publish in the catalogue this year).

J
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 6:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you guys!

Yes that is the sword. It was published by Oakeshott as XXa.2 in Records of the Medieval Sword.

It is quite stunning when you see it.

-Julien, it would be great to meet at the Park Lane fair. I will have an article published in the catalogue this
year. It will be the first public presentation of a hypothesis I have been working on over the last year and half. It deals with a theory on original medieval principles for the design of swords.

This Castillion sword will serve to illustrate the principles in actual use.
When the article has been published I will present this aspect of the sword on this thread.
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 6:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fantastic work, as always, Peter! When do you think the article will be published?
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artis Aboltins wrote:
Fantastic work, as always, Peter! When do you think the article will be published?


Thanks Artis!
As I understand, the catalogue will be available in time for the fair, 4th of March.
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As always, Peter, beautiful work. You set the standard..

I hope that you will recreate even more of the Castillion swords, perhaps one of the XV's.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also am very attracted to that sword. There's a certain magic there in its proportions. Very nice, Peter.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger, thanks: I hope to make studies of some more of them. I have documented several and will perhaps get an opportunity to document yet another few. They are all so splendid examples. At least those that I have seen first hand. The Castillion group of swords could keep a sword smith busy for many years...

Nathan, I am glad you like it!
-"Magic in the sword there is."
:-)
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like to imagine the moment when that first cutler/smith thought, "what if I put this pommel on upside-down...Ohhhhhhhh!". I'm looking forward to attending Johnsson University Online in coming weeks! Big Grin
-Sean

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 12:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice one, Peter!
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Feb, 2012 9:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Absolutely beautiful sir!! You are truly an artist and craftsman of the highest caliber.
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Bruno Giordan




PostPosted: Fri 10 Feb, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Thank you guys!

Yes that is the sword. It was published by Oakeshott as XXa.2 in Records of the Medieval Sword.

It is quite stunning when you see it.

-Julien, it would be great to meet at the Park Lane fair. I will have an article published in the catalogue this
year. It will be the first public presentation of a hypothesis I have been working on over the last year and half. It deals with a theory on original medieval principles for the design of swords.

This Castillion sword will serve to illustrate the principles in actual use.
When the article has been published I will present this aspect of the sword on this thread.


I'm looking forward to seeing your theoretical work revealed to the word! It would be just about time, really. That will likely find an immense echo among sword enthusiasts. And, as ever, congrats for the piece, it resonates highly like a well directed symphonic orchestra.
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Jeffrey Faulk




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Feb, 2012 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful work! I imagine it must have quite a bit of distal taper for such a long blade to balance with a short grip?

The Castillion swords have quite a nice aesthetic going on...

Along a similar line, Peter-- are you aware of any falchion or single-edged blade being part of the Castillion find? I ask because in a book I recently picked up ("The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Knives, Swords, Spears & Daggers: Through history" by Harvey J S Withers and Dr. Tobias Capwell), what appears to be possibly a falchion with a long, narrow blade and I believe a pommel similar to this one you've made shows up. I'm not sure if it's just the way the photograph worked out in the book, but it really looks very like the blade widens and then comes up to a clip-point... I'll have to see if I can scan the relevant page sometime soon!
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Feb, 2012 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeffrey Faulk wrote:
Beautiful work! I imagine it must have quite a bit of distal taper for such a long blade to balance with a short grip?

The Castillion swords have quite a nice aesthetic going on...

Along a similar line, Peter-- are you aware of any falchion or single-edged blade being part of the Castillion find? I ask because in a book I recently picked up ("The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Knives, Swords, Spears & Daggers: Through history" by Harvey J S Withers and Dr. Tobias Capwell), what appears to be possibly a falchion with a long, narrow blade and I believe a pommel similar to this one you've made shows up. I'm not sure if it's just the way the photograph worked out in the book, but it really looks very like the blade widens and then comes up to a clip-point... I'll have to see if I can scan the relevant page sometime soon!


Thank you all for kind words!

Jeffrey, the balance of this sword is very inviting. A long blade and short grip, but extremely responsive. There is quite a bit of distal taper and it is obviously a pointy blade. This minimize the mass in the point. Even with a relatively thin blade, it has a good stiffness. No sense of wobble at all, no drooping of the point. It is acute and direct in its feel.

Yes, one of the swords is a falchion. I documented that one at the same time as I traced and measured the XXa.4 and the type XVIII.
The hilt of the falchion is very similar to the hilt of the sword I am now reconstructing. They must have been made by the same master.

IŽd like to study more of the Castillion swords to see if there are other swords that may come from the same work shop. Most of them share similar design elements, but there are differences between them that suggest they are a sample of production from several workshops.


Last edited by Peter Johnsson on Fri 10 Feb, 2012 2:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ryan McLaurin




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Feb, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, that is really beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen a pommel like that before. Is the blade hollow ground, or am I seeing things?
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Feb, 2012 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Ryan.
The section of the blade is for the most part a flat diamond. The first quarter has a narrow fuller and a couple inches at the base has a ricasso with triple fullers on each side.
Oakeshott gave this the classification of a type XXa.
It could also be seen as a conglomerate of several styles/types of blades.
In a way it is an early embodiment of blades that are found on later renaissance cut and thrust swords.

My impression is that is it a very good compromise between cutting and thrusting ability.

The blade length is over 90 cm but the weight is only some 1100 grams on the original.
As it lacks part of the blade, with holes eaten by corrosion, the reconstruction will be heavier. Without the wood and leather grip it now weighs some 1140 grams, but more material will be filed away from the guard, the blade will be further worked and I shall also adjust the pommel slightly. It will yet loose a couple of grams before I put a grip on it.
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Nils Anderssen




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2012 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When I saw this thread, my first thought was to quit my job and turn my hobby of making swords into a full time job :P

It is so inspiring to see this kind of extremely well executed work with so much attention to the visuals as well as its functionality. I hope I will be able to handle it some day. Are you going to Owen's forge-in this year? If you are, then you should bring it Wink

How are you planing to do the end of the pommel? Rounding it off?

Do you have a better picture of the fuller on your sword? It almost looks like it keeps much of its depth towards the end of it, while it decreases in width... almost like this blade:
http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/musee_de_lar...G_2037.JPG
If, it does, how did you do that?

Looking forward to see this develop Happy
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hej Nils.

Thank you for kind words!
Really glad if my work can be a source of inspiration.

I hope I can join OwenŽs hammer in. Not sure yet is I can work it out.
In any case, I hope this sword has found a new home by then ;-)
-We shall see...

Pommel: the rivet shank is protruding much more than is needed for the rivet head. It shall be cut down to proper length before the hilt is mounted (extending some 2,5 millimeters). I peen the tang into a recess (a countersinking) carved out of the top of the pommel. Only a small rounded dome will be visible of the rivet head. Most of it will be formed in the recess in the pommel. This makes for a strong rivet. The original was also most probably mounted like this. The top of the pommel is slightly rounded, but no rivet head is visible. It was tightly peened, leaving no tell tale line.

Fuller: on this sword it is a regular type of fuller, shaped with a constant radius from one end to the other. The sword from the Army Museum in Paris that you show has a fuller with a flat bottom and a profile that changes from one end to the other,keeping most of its depth but growing more narrow towards the point. A fuller like this is made by a combination of forging tools and takes quite a bit of file work and hand stoning to get right. Possibly scrapers were used in the clean up work. You cannot use one single forging tool for the shaping. My guess is that a regular fullering tool is first used to mark out the overall shape of the fuller, and then a tool with a narrow peen is used to form the edges of the fuller. Most probably by two men: the master holding the peened forming tool and an assistant working as a striker with a sledge hammer. You would have to have a neat little beaked anvil on the opposite side to avoid getting the profile distorted.
-Alternatively, the fuller was forged in rough and its shaped refined afterwards with scrapers, files and stones.

The fuller on the sword I am working on has a constant radius along its length. After the ricasso area, it is gradually lifting out of the section of the blade. But as the blade also grow thinner at the same time, it may look like the fuller keeps at a constant depth. This is a trick on the eye.
What is noteworthy is that the fuller is shaped in the section of the blade so that it does not cut away anything of the midrib. There is no dramatic increase in thickness of the midrib after the fuller. Instead the edge bevels are formed around the fuller and central midrib in a way that a nice and gradual distal taper is achieved.

The two groves in the ricasso on each side of the fuller are also interesting. They cut into the edge bevels only slightly. To get this right, one has to balance the depth and radius of these groves against the thickness of the blade and the angle of the edge bevels, so that the fading out of these groves do not extend too far into the blade after the ricasso, or end too abruptly. This is very nicely done on the original, and it has been fun work trying to get close to this.
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