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Phil D.




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Mar, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Question on Medieval Daggers...         Reply with quote

I was handling a few of a friend's replica daggers this weekend.On the average they are very pommel heavy to where the balance is at the guard or just under where the handle meets the guard.This seems to make it awkward when hanging from a belt.I have never handled an actual antique dagger /poignard/etc.and am curious if this was also the norm.Or were more pommels hollow as compared to the modern replicas.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sun 18 Mar, 2012 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mass distribution can vary greatly in daggers. For one thing, mass distribution is much less critical with a short blade than with a sword. Most ballock daggers have very light organic hilts, which when combined with a thick, stiff blade can give them a quite blade-heavy balance. People who are unfamiliar with ballock daggers, when they handle one of mine, will often complain that the balance is "wrong" or "poor." Rondel daggers are generally constructed so as to make the metal hilt fittings as light as possible, ie hollow or thin sheets sandwiching organic layers. "quillon" or sword-hilted daggers can sometimes have heavier hilt fittings, and I would not consider a center of mass at the cross or in the grip to be unusual or awkward. On the other hand, hollow pommels were not uncommon either and may even be considered the norm. As to your question about suspension, try the search funtion, I know that there is a thread about dagger suspension. Methods of dagger suspension that seem counter-intuiitive or awkward to modern users were quite normal in period.
Edit: the thread is called "wearing daggers"
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 18 Mar, 2012 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
As to your question about suspension, try the search funtion, I know that there is a thread about dagger suspension.


Here's the thread you're referencing:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=13897

You'll find solid pommel quillon daggers as well as ones with hollow pommels. You'll find thick rondels that are solid and some that are hollow or made up of wood sheathed in metal. You'll find quite a variety in all forms.

While it's possible the daggers you handled are simply poor reproductions that are too heavy in the hilt, I think that the use of a dagger is not hindered by hilt-biased balance points the way it would be on a sword. First, daggers are shorter. Second, they're made for stabbing and are usually shown depicted being held point-down (the so-called icepick grip). Weight centered in your hand will help make for a powerful short thrust.

Happy

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Phil D.




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Mar, 2012 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the thread...it is very informative.
"A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world." -- Louis Pasteur

"A gentleman should never leave the house without a sharp knife, a good watch, and great hat."
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Eric W. Norenberg





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PostPosted: Sun 18 Mar, 2012 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Question on Medieval Daggers...         Reply with quote

Phil D. wrote:
...they are very pommel heavy to where the balance is at the guard or just under where the handle meets the guard.This seems to make it awkward when hanging from a belt...


I wonder if this might be compensated for by the hardware on the scabbard? A substantial chape might help prevent the scabbard from flipping "tip - up" while thonged to the belt (most suspensions do not seem to have been tight, bound to the belt arrangements).

Perhaps someone well-versed in daggers (Chad? Leo?) might chime in on this, as applies to the original artifacts.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sun 18 Mar, 2012 7:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a general rule, most medieval daggers have light-weight sheaths, often of 2 layers of leather, sometimes with no chape, sometimes with a chape of light sheet metal.
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Phil D.




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Mar, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to be more specific .It is the sword hilted daggers that seemed the most pommel heavy.Though some of the pommels seemed a bit thick so that may be the fault in some of the modern replicas.
"A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world." -- Louis Pasteur

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Mar, 2012 1:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Phil D wrote
Quote:
Just to be more specific .It is the sword hilted daggers that seemed the most pommel heavy.Though some of the pommels seemed a bit thick so that may be the fault in some of the modern replicas.


Generally quillon daggers do not suffer from this too much and it is rondels that it is most likely to happen with. You see upside down or tipped up daggers in art quite frequently so it was obviously a problem then too. Heavier chapes do help.

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