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Scott Roush
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Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

PostPosted: Tue 28 May, 2013 5:08 am    Post subject: Viking sword 'hand feel'         Reply with quote

I've now made three viking era swords... a shorter type G, a single edge type C and a type H. They have all been within historical dimensions as to weight, length, balance and grip length. I also have a Hanwei practical type sword for sparring (may not be the best basis for comparison). And none of them have been what I would call extremely comfortable in the hand... mostly due to short grip length and hand exposure to the edges of the guard and pommel. The type C is especially annoying due to the hard geometry... which is very evident from everything I've seen in the literature.



All three swords have been handled by folks who practice Western Martial Arts and the feedback from them has been favorable and spot on. But... to me... well.. I guess I like long swords. :-)

I understand the difference between the hand shake and hammer grips..and the hand shake grip does feel a bit better. My question.. is this simply universal amongst Viking era swords that are made to historical parameters? Right now one of my biggest handicaps as a maker is limited experience with actual historical pieces.. and I guess I just don't have a good baseline for how they should feel.

Looking forward to comments!

(I write this as I'm about to leave for the Atlanta Blade Show... and I'm trying to prepare myself for the inevitable comments regarding the short grip and hard edges on the type C which I will have available for sale... and I wonder if I should do some quick file work on the edges....)

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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Tue 28 May, 2013 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott, its hard to imagine that any of this hasn't been covered here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=2478

If you look through Ian Peirce's book you'll find a few grips that are long enough to consistently use with a hammer grip, but its not the norm. I haven't been handling Viking swords for years, although I have still been handling early medieval swords with short grips and wide flat pommels such as Brazil nuts. To summarize a view I have likely stated already several times, I think too much emphasis is placed on 'it should be this way' or 'it should be that way' based on theory. I think that if you play around with one of your swords long enough your body will naturally find its own comfortable strategy. For me, that is generally a looser grip switching between hammer and handshake, generally for bent/straight arm respectively, and allowing the palm to slide over the flat of the pommel. Obviously one would need to have a firm grip at any point of contact - but this is more predictable while using the sword for offense and using a shield for defense. This is much like Karate where a looser fist is used until the point of contact. These are only anecdotal opinions - people who have put in serious time with Viking martial arts may know better.
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Scott Roush
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Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

PostPosted: Tue 28 May, 2013 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting that link.. My brain had placed that thread in another forum and I couldn't find it there!

Nice to look through it again. Somebody even posted a picture of a type C asking a similar question... :-)

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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Tue 28 May, 2013 5:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Scott,
Is the sword in question "Forn"?
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=27808
I had looked that one over previously but not fully appreciated how very sharp the hilt's shape is until now.
I don't have any expertise on how the real deal was gripped or swung or if Viking men had teeny tiny mitts or tremendous tolerance to discomfort (possibly...), but if you think the angles would be off-putting to any potential modern buyer, you might consider this approach:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=27133
Keeping any re-working to the level of a "melt job" such as Mr. Sarge demonstrates here (a new thing to me, and I love the look of it) might be enough to relieve the "ouch" factor while retaining the historical aspect of the hilt. Might play havoc with the etched and aged surfaces tho...
-Eric
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Scott Roush
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Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

PostPosted: Tue 28 May, 2013 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes Eric.. It's Forn the sword of a 1000 grips. It now has a different grip than what I have pictured. I was thinking I'd have an easier job selling it at Blade Show with a longer grip.. but that turned out to be a bad idea. After reading the thread the JD pointed me to I removed the pommel today.. which wasn't peened on yet.. and cut the grip 3/4" shorter. I can't believe how much better it feels. The pommel now rests nicely in my palm. I guess they were indeed short for a reason. :-)
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Tue 28 May, 2013 9:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Forn inn ■˙sund grÝpa sver­".
...but that might mean "the sword that's been grabbed a thousand times" Worried
So the pommel rides against the meat of your palm now instead of against your wrist bone, yes? Post some photos if you get a chance, before it goes off to a new home?
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Scott Roush
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Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

PostPosted: Wed 29 May, 2013 3:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sure... will try to do that today.

What I really meant is that with the shorter grip you can use the hand shake grip effectively so that the pommel CAN rest on the palm. With the longer grip.. switching to the hand shake grip didn't help because the pommel was still in a place to cut into your hand uncomfortably.

This was alluded to by Peter Johnsson in that thread.. and the advice seems spot on.

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