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Josh Warren




Location: Manhattan, Kansas
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Apr, 2012 12:46 pm    Post subject: How "floppy" were real two-handed greatswords?         Reply with quote

Every single replica two-handed sword (over 50" long) I've ever played with had a certain amount of floppiness or wobbliness to it. This has led me to wonder about the genuine article. Do real ones do that, too, or are they stiffer than replicas?
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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Apr, 2012 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never handled any, but I imagine they'd be similar to a quality reproduction that has good distal tapering.
When you have a piece of metal that long, you're inevitably going to have some flex in the blade. (unless you make it excessively thick.)
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J. Hargis




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Apr, 2012 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This 'floppiness' characterization can be interpreted in different ways. I suggest a look at:
'flex vs. 'whippy''
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=25659

Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Apr, 2012 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've handled probably about 30 different 16th century two handers (antiques, not replicas), all of which were at least five feet long. Most, if not all, were quite "whippy" because of the distal taper, which cuts down on weight for such massive weapons. Many sagged under their own weight when held with the edges parallel to the ground. They were exactly the kind of blades that many modern people complain about. Happy
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Apr, 2012 10:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have only handled one authentic 16th century blade about 20 years ago, and as I remember it sagged a lot under its own weight, somewhere around 10cm. The blade was hexagonal in section, about 1.1-1.2 m long and surprisingly thin.
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Matt Easton




Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK.
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr, 2012 4:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most original examples I have held (for example at the Wallace Collection, Graz Armoury and at arms fairs) have been somewhat floppy. The exception were those which had quite narrow blades and were made correspondingly thicker in cross-section, a bit like a giant rapier - one example in the Wallace Collection was particularly lovely to handle and had a stiff blade, despite being about 5 and a half foot long in total.
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Scott Hanson




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr, 2012 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only original of this size that I've been able to handle had a bit of "droop" to it. Still very agile and had a definite "powerful" feeling to it. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end.

It's 72.5 inches, 8 lbs 1 oz.



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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr, 2012 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Floppiness will depend a lot on the cross section type used, thickness as well as the overall length. But in general some flex in the flat direction would be there, yes.
"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr, 2012 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Every single antique of this type I've ever handled exhibited some form of flexation (theres my personal addition to the bag-o-words surrounging the issue). The only ones that didn't where those with a obvious emphasis on the thrust and they were much like large ice picks. The main difference I've noticed between those originals and poorly made modern replicas would be the amount of flex. Many of the repros had so much flex that it compromised ones control of the weapon. When it was time to change direction the sword seemed to just want to keep on going on its own path, not so with originals. The worst offenders were some victorian era copies I had the opportunity to play with many years ago. Victorian replicas by and large seem to have been made with appearance as the primary motivator. If it looked good hanging on the wall that was all that was needed. Little emphasis seems to have been placed on the finer nuances of design, heat treatment, etc.
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Many of the repros had so much flex that it compromised ones control of the weapon. When it was time to change direction the sword seemed to just want to keep on going on its own path

This unfortunately has been my experience with my Scottish claymore from Armour Class -- it has wonderful balance and weight, but that came at the expense of making the blade extremely thin and hence very whippy and hard to control.
http://www.forensicfashion.com/1544HighlandScotSword.html

I'd like at some point to reinforce the blade somehow, maybe by attaching struts to the lower part of the blade (as is seen on some long sword blades from India). Any suggestions would be appreciated.

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not to get into a debate about Armour Class, but I have their 'Highland hand and a half' sword and it flexes quite a bit, but in a very desirable way. I have not noticed any significant recovery time when shifting directions. It is a large brute, but I do believe their Claymore is longer. I try to keep in mind what the piece was designed for.

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Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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Location: upstate NY
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What has surprised me is how much distal taper even the huge bearing swords out of Hanover had. Not as much as a fighting sword, but quite a bit. This actually had the effect of lessening the amount of deflection. The fighting swords of the classic landsknecht form (there is a different later type that has a blade that narrows towards the tip but has less distal taper) that I have seen and handled have been so thin for the last seven or eight inches of the blade that they almost seem to disappear viewed sideways, and will bow under their own weight when rested on their tips. It makes quite a contrast with the thickness at the ricasso, which is typically over a quarter inch.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Apr, 2012 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i've been working with montante's recently due to their style of construction. i haven't been privileged enough to handle anything that's currently made to an originals measurements, so how they actually flex or their rate of deflection i cant tell. their distal taper - well i've been trying to get more information on the cleveland montante's to see if their all in about the same range but the curator of armour court just advised me to buy his book.

i don't believe that an original swords deflection is a cause for too much concern with these bigger swords. the material that i've been poking at shows that these swords were kept in motion once the first cut was started, once the sword began movement the weight of them became a fraction of what is was when not in motion. you'd probably only notice the deflection of the blade once you met your target.

there are a variety of steels on the market currently, spring steel for example (which is one of our best loved steels for swords) has an amazing ability to rebound from deflection - though it can be overstressed to the point that it will break which can be done from a improper cut - or applying mechanics it still takes a tremendous amount of force to break it. the same was probably true for originals.

i have a Hrisoulas hand and half and it is truly whippy - his description to break the blade was to bend it in half - then run it over with a mack truck.


and i think a good bit of that flex that you see in the german two handers is due to just how their made. a good bit of them profile taper out to the tip rather than taper in like most long swords. their weight seems to be concentrated to about the last foot of the sword to make a real crushing hit.
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