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J. Hargis




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject: flex vs. 'whippy'         Reply with quote

We know that a certain amount flex in a sword is generally desirable. But a word we see frequently used in describing too much flex is 'whippy'.

So my questions are:

At what point is a sword considered 'whippy'?
Is it something that can be clearly determined?
Are there 'rules of thumb'?
Or is it merely something that will vary dependent upon the user's preferences?

Thanks for your thoughts.

- Jon

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Dan Dickinson
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The definitions can often overlap in common usage. A common test is if when the pommel is slapped, the tip vibrates back and forth more than 2 inches. However, this is where I feel the pivotal moment arrives. If it quickly stops vibrating, then I would consider if flexible (for example an Albion Thegn). If it continues to vibrate back and forth for several seconds, then I would describe it as whippy. The greatest contributors to whippyness are lack of proper distal taper and a correspondingly oversize pommel (causing terrible harmonics). Many windlasses over a certain length exhibit this fault. Essentially you have a sharpened spring that has a counterweight acting to continue the vibrations.
I hope this helps a bit,
Dan
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a Hanwei Practical Bastard that does this. Can it be helped by giving it more profile taper? or is the only remedy adding distil taper?

When you hit the pommel the thing just keeps going, and the vibration is slow as well. Instead of the trill of an arrow hitting wood, it goes woga woga woga for ever. Worried

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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew P. Adams wrote:
I have a Hanwei Practical Bastard that does this....


As do mine. I think this, being on the heavy side and the grip being too thick are what puts this in the lower class of federschwert. That being said the Hanwei Practical Bastard is a good value propositon and I keep a couple around as loaners. (I use a A&A Fechterspiel myself)

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Mackenzie Cosens




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From a different point of view:

If you cut a downright blow, fendente / oberhau / what ever and I make the crossing / block / parry and you still hit me because you blade bends over my crossing, that's whippy.

If I cut a downright blow, fendente, oberhau or what ever and you hit me with a thrust / stop hit and don't take off my head because your blade bend enough when it hits, that's flex.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's going to vary by sword type. Some sword designs are meant to have at least some flex. Others should have much less (swords designed for thrusting, for example). It really depends on what the sword is supposed to be. I wish I could tell you there was an absolute rule, but there isn't.

Also, some use the term "whippy" to refer to swords whose blades are too light and/or pommels too heavy. The resulting sword lacks authority in the cut and has too little blade presence. The blade whips about without authority. So make sure you know which "whippy" someone means.

MRL/Windlass swords often get this branding and the term "whippy" is almost as over-used and misunderstood as "battle-ready." It seems to be a case of the danger of a little knowledge. In this case, I believe they knew swords should have some flex. Well, if some flex is good, a lot of flex is better, right? Happy

Combine that with blades that are often too thin and which have a less-than-deal cross-section, and you have some MRL/Windlass swords that are both overly flexy and too light in the blade for what they should be. However, some of their swords are just fine.

I'd be happy if some folks would stop indiscriminately using the term. Happy

Happy

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J. Hargis




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow said:
Quote:
... "whippy" is almost as over-used and misunderstood as "battle-ready." It seems to be a case of the danger of a little knowledge.

I'd be happy if some folks would stop indiscriminately using the term.

Indeed, I do see that term applied very often without definition or explanation of how it applies to the sword in question. It seems to be the 'in' criticism to make in sword reviews by the less experienced, hence my inquiry here.

Jon

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David Giacalone




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm under the impression that a number of historical cutting swords were a bit whippy by nature. I have an A&A Bohemian Broadsword that is quite whippy. It has a long, not terribly distal tapered hexangonal blade. However, when comparing to the original as presented in Records of the Medieval Sword, it seems that the A&A version is pretty accurate to the original.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Giacalone wrote:
I'm under the impression that a number of historical cutting swords were a bit whippy by nature. I have an A&A Bohemian Broadsword that is quite whippy. It has a long, not terribly distal tapered hexangonal blade. However, when comparing to the original as presented in Records of the Medieval Sword, it seems that the A&A version is pretty accurate to the original.


Here's a prime example of the problem with the term. Happy The sword you talk about was probably that way by design. "Whippy" has come to be a term of derision/criticism, when it could be part of the sword's design. Some historical swords will flex a lot, on purpose. Calling them "whippy" puts those swords, true to their original design, into the same category as poorly made modern swords whose improper cross-sections, bad mass distribution, and one-size-fits-all approach to heat treat create less-than-ideal swords.

My two cents. Happy

Happy

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 4:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Hargis wrote:
It seems to be the 'in' criticism to make in sword reviews by the less experienced, hence my inquiry here.

Jon


Indeed. Happy A simple answer to the question of "how much flex is too much?" is this: when the sword flexes to the point that it negatively impacts the sword's intended function(s), that's too much.

Examples: A Type XVIII meant for thrusting and for facing armoured opponents shouldn't be overly flexible; if so, it can't thrust with much impact. A Type XIII cutter, meant more for opposing mail- and cloth-clad opponents will flex more because of its thinner, wider cross-section and intended use.

Happy

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When you execute a cut and think "OMG is that blade going ever going to stop moving/bending!" or if you feel like the blade is bending and sending so much energy into the tang that the handle is going to pretty much explode at any minute, you've hit too whippy. When a sword is in that too whippy zone you'll feel like you are over powering the blade even if you technique is good. Pretty much no matter what you do. How much flex is too much depends on the sword, its intended use, and how you are trying to use it. If we assume usage is within expected parameters though you'll know whippy when you use the sword.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What Chad said. Happy

One of my big pet peeves is when someone online complains about a sword being "too whippy" when they don't actually understand what the sword's function is. Sure, if you have a type XVa that wobbles like crazy when you whack the pommel, then it probably is too whippy for the type. But I've handled hundreds of antiques by this point, and so many of them would be scoffed at by many internet reviewers because of their "whippiness". Just last spring I was in the Veste Coburg where I got the chance to handle about a dozen 16th century two handers, and every single one of them would "droop" a bit when held horizontal with the flat parallel to the floor. This is simply a by product of making a thin blade, and with swords that large you simply have to take the weight off somehow.

Likewise, I own an original 17th century rapier that many would cry as being poorly made due to it's "whippy" blade (indeed, some self-proclaimed experts swear that all rapiers were completely stiff with no flex at all), and yet the one I own is fairly common amongst the surviving specimens.

Again, there is certainly such a thing as "too whippy", but Chad said it best here:

Chad Arnow wrote:
when the sword flexes to the point that it negatively impacts the sword's intended function(s), that's too much.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
What Chad said. Happy

One of my big pet peeves is when someone online complains about a sword being "too whippy" when they don't actually understand what the sword's function is. Sure, if you have a type XVa that wobbles like crazy when you whack the pommel, then it probably is too whippy for the type. But I've handled hundreds of antiques by this point, and so many of them would be scoffed at by many internet reviewers because of their "whippiness". Just last spring I was in the Veste Coburg where I got the chance to handle about a dozen 16th century two handers, and every single one of them would "droop" a bit when held horizontal with the flat parallel to the floor. This is simply a by product of making a thin blade, and with swords that large you simply have to take the weight off somehow.

Likewise, I own an original 17th century rapier that many would cry as being poorly made due to it's "whippy" blade (indeed, some self-proclaimed experts swear that all rapiers were completely stiff with no flex at all), and yet the one I own is fairly common amongst the surviving specimens.

Again, there is certainly such a thing as "too whippy", but Chad said it best here:

Chad Arnow wrote:
when the sword flexes to the point that it negatively impacts the sword's intended function(s), that's too much.


My two Michael Pikula swords have really changed my perceptions of what is whippy or blade thinness should be for a functional sword.

The Type XIIIb by Michael is almost paper thin in the foible and certainly with the extremely spatuale point and very flexible blade would be a poor thruster against any minimal armour, but as a cutter with extreme width it would still have enough mass and presence to hit with good blunt trauma and cut through a soft target like a hot knife through butter.

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

The type XV or is it an XVIII ( Long discussion about this in a previous Topic ) is still much thinner than most reproduction swords of the Type but rigid enough and pointy enough that it would thrust though a soft target with little resistance without bending unless hitting something it couldn't be expected to pierce even if grossly overbuilt. It should also be rigid enough to slip though gaps between plate armour without too much difficulty.

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

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

Now, to work these more extreme designs depend on being made of the best materials and heat treated properly otherwise they would bend easily and take a set or have edges much too easily notched.

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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember handling several schiavonas with different blade types, all of them rather "flat" types- All of them, if knocked near the point, would rattle like snakes, no jokes, they were extremely elastic.

I have seen a type XVIa, again an original, whose blade would probably disappoint many sword enthusiasts if they were examining it thinking of it as an antiqued item.

My estoc instead exhibits a different behavior, it is rather stiff, but its obvious purpose is different from that of the aforementioned blades.

My perception is that blades with an oval or hexagonal profile were necessarily elastic
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2012 10:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do not have much to add, but the one original that I have handled was a very long (40"+ blade) type XIII (supposedly claymore) blade that would sag a good 10cm when held horizontally. I have developed a definite liking for thin cutting blades.
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Michael Pikula
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Apr, 2012 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is important to remember that swords are tools and should be built in a way that there is just enough material to perform the intended function. The modern mind set is if a 2x4 is enough, a 2x6 must be better, when this mentality is applied to modern sword construction you essentially end up with a wall hanger. Instead of asking is this too whippy go and cut some water jugs, or pool noodles and work your way up to mats. With out this first hand experience the answer you accept is empty.
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