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Jesse Belsky
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Oct, 2013 4:38 pm    Post subject: English Rapier after Wallace Collection A597         Reply with quote

I finished this over the weekend but the clouds finally went away and I was able to take some reasonable photos. This is closely based on an English rapier in the Wallace Collection, number A597, although I took license with the counterguard, and based that on a sister sword, Wallace A596.

I recently picked up Toby Capwell's The Noble Art of the Sword, and in addition to being a great read it has beautiful photos. I'd seen this sword before in the Wallace Collection online catalog, but the big beautiful "real" pictures from the book made it really stand out. I kept eyeballing it, and eventually I just had to try to make something like it.

I've never attempted anything with this kind/quantity of surface decoration, but I thought I would give it my best shot. It was an extended learning process on many fronts. I would like to give special thanks to Leo Todechini for mentioning the process of "brass brushing" here on the forum at exactly the right moment as I was deciding how to color/finish this piece.

The hilt details are electro-chemically etched into the steel and then plated with brushed brass. The non-etched portions of the hilt are deeply blued. Coming up with a process for that took some time, as did making a second pommel and a third grip when the previous editions weren't quite right. Finding colored wire for the grip that matched the finished quality of the etching also proved tricky.

The final sword is 42.25" long with a 36" blade. It weighs 2lbs 10oz. and balances exactly at the top of the hilt/ricasso.

Arms & Armor used to offer a much closer re-creation of Wallace A597, which I'm sure i've looked at in the past but didn't even realize until after I'd finished making this. The photos of their version would have been helpful to have on my workbench, but maybe its better using just the primary source.

Regardless, I hope you like my take on it. It's available for sale at www.jessebelsky.com/stageswords . If you need a dueling pair, I have this nagging urge to make a matching dagger.....



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Last edited by Jesse Belsky on Sat 19 Oct, 2013 12:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jesse Belsky
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Location: Durham, NC
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Oct, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a few more photos.....


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eMuseumPlus.jpg
the original from the Wallace Collection
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Lloyd Winter




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Oct, 2013 6:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bravo!
That is beautiful!
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Oct, 2013 7:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That really does look fantastic. I applaud you pursuing this type of piece with such an array of new techniques. Very nice to see the results.
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Gottfried P. Doerler




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Oct, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

wow, what a stunning work.

btw. this reminds me of a question i have had in the back of my mind for some months now:
what makes a rapier especially english ?
i suppose this is a category that was invented in recent years and played no role back then, but i already found in this book a "typically english rapier" and asked myself, what it might be.
(spanish=cup hilt maybe simpistic, but then it gets difficult, i suppose milanese,florentine stylez are not as clear as a look, at e.g. arms&armour homepage may imply.)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Oct, 2013 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gottfried P. Doerler wrote:
wow, what a stunning work.

btw. this reminds me of a question i have had in the back of my mind for some months now:
what makes a rapier especially english ?
i suppose this is a category that was invented in recent years and played no role back then, but i already found in this book a "typically english rapier" and asked myself, what it might be.
(spanish=cup hilt maybe simpistic, but then it gets difficult, i suppose milanese,florentine stylez are not as clear as a look, at e.g. arms&armour homepage may imply.)


Ta-da!

http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_engswords.html

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Vincent Le Chevalier




PostPosted: Thu 17 Oct, 2013 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice job on the hilt!

I do regret that you have mounted such a short blade compared to the original 44in... But that's because appropriate blade length is becoming a pet peeve of mine Wink

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Lee O'Hagan




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Oct, 2013 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful work there Jesse,
Well done,
Cool
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Jesse Belsky
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Oct, 2013 3:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for the kind words!

Sean, thanks for fielding Gottfried's question. I actually hadn't ever read that article and it had a ton of well-researched information, so thanks for that. But yeah, to sum up, this particular style of heavily decorated hilt with the round or oval "medallions" (or "lozenges" as Capwell puts it) with the big pear shaped pommels is a characteristically English decorative style. They were most typically encrusted with silver, as was the original I based this on. The end result of that is that on the originals the decorative detail sits above the surface of the hilt, while on my interpretation the detail is etched in below the surface. The type of decoration on the original is way, way beyond my capabilities Happy

Vincent, I totally hear you on the subject of blade length. I don't make my own rapier blades so I'm functioning as a sword-cutler. I buy a blade, modify it, and make a hilt to match. There are so many different kinds of folks buying rapiers and they all want different types of blades. WMA folks are interested in long blades with certain types of flex, historical arms collectors may want a sharp blade, similarly proportioned to the original. Stage combat practitioners usually prefer a shorter blade for their more theatrical style of swordplay, and they need it blunt but without the flex called for by WMA practice. So, for me trying to sell a sword, there's no "right" blade to choose (if only!). But, much like their historical counterparts, my sword hilts can be re-mounted to meet the needs of their owner.

If you like the hilt but prefer a Darkwood or Arms & Armor rapier blade I can work with you and remount the hilt on a new blade. The cost will change, obviously, depending on the price of the blade, but I want to get you the blade that's right for you. That goes for all my rapiers that are currently available, and any commission work of course. Don't like the blade? Pick a new one. I'll mount it for no additional charge beyond the price difference of the blades.

Handling dynamics will change, but this can be managed. With the 36" blade on this particular sword, the balance point is right at the end of the hilt. That's a stage combat length with more swashbucklery handling. A WMA fighter would want the balance further out for more point-oriented rapier play, and a longer blade would accomplish that.

I've been buying 43" Hanwei Practice rapier blades because at their price point they have a strong diamond cross section and a huge ricasso that can be cut down to various shapes. I find the last 6 or so inches at the tip a little thin and floppy, but when shortened the remaining blade has good flex and great visual presence. In short they are a good low-cost option that's highly customizable. I don't want to drop $200+ on a particular kind of blade, modify if for a specific hilt, and then find a customer who wants a different blade anyway.

You avoid all that uncertainty if you do work on commission, but so far I've just been making what I'm excited about, and trying to find a customer after.....
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Jesse Belsky
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Location: Durham, NC
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PostPosted: Sat 19 Oct, 2013 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The link to my website in my first post is now fixed.....an end-of-sentence period got trapped in the URL. Sorry for the confusion. Here it is again: www.jessebelsky.com/stageswords
best
Jesse
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