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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

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PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 2:28 pm    Post subject: Questions About Guards Inlet For Tang Shoulders         Reply with quote

First, is there even a proper technical term for this?

I've seen the feature on swords from the Viking Age so clearly it's been around an awful long time but are Medieval swords ever encountered with guards that aren't inlet?

Are there any good theories as to what practical purpose this feature may serve?

How about any ideas as to how the cut was made? I've heard it suggested that in the old days guards were made with tang slots that were slightly undersized and then driven onto the sword while red hot+, I could see how the shoulders of the tang/blade would likely end up recessed into the guard as a result of that method of construction but it seems like it would probably leave the tang and base of the blade in an annealed state.
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Isaac H.




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum , Mike

Fascinating question. You might try re- phrasing it in a bit simpler form, as it's difficult to understand precisely what you want to know,so hopefully this will help you. Also, pictures illustrating the feature you are asking about would be very helpful.

Best as I can discern, you want information about "inlet gaurds" , which I think you mean a sword guard in which the tang shoulders sit into a recessed space . Frankly, it's hard to find a sword that doesn't have that feature to a degree. Except perhaps later swords with complex hilts that feature a "live" blade that does not come in contact with the guard, such as the attached photo.

If you look at the tang shoulders of the blade in the provided photo, or the shoulders of any other well made blade, you will see the transition from tang to blade is not abrupt ( a 90 degree angle) .It is curved and flowing instead. The gentle transition between tang and blade prevents a structurally weak spot . Thus on many swords, a blade really cannot be properly mounted to the gaurd without most, if not all ,of the transitional area between blade and tang recessed into the gaurd. Overall, it also creates a much more solid assembly and affects the vibrational properties of the sword. On a less important note, it looks much better asthetically.

As for the methodology , the way you described it is indeed used ,at least by today's artist swordsmiths.It creates a perfect fit. Heat would be a problem for a blade that is heat treated, but the process can be done before heat treatment takes place. Files can also be used, and I'm sure there are other methods as well.



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Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

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PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 3:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, it's a bit tough to put in words but the images at this link illustrate it well.

I'm asking partially out of pure curiosity, it's an aspect of sword design I don't understand well at the moment. From a practical point of view I'm thinking about mounting some blades without that inlet as a labor saving method and I'm wondering if I'll be giving up anything significant in terms of utility.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov, 2013 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The point where the tang enters the guard is a crucial one. Be it as it may, squared shoulders on a long blade would make for a weak spot. The rounded ends of true medieval blades seat themselves in the recesses of the guard and relieve a lot of stress on a hard strike. Hope my input helped. I think this was what you were referring to. Blush ....McM
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov, 2013 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anybody have any ideas on how to form the recess(modernly) without forging or casting? Files sound practical for a bare blade mounting project but I'm having a hard time imagining how that would work.
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Radovan Geist




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov, 2013 9:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A careful work with Dremel disc should do the job: http://www.dremel.com/en-us/Accessories/Pages...catid=2030
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Lukas MG
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Nov, 2013 10:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I wouldn't hammer the red hot guard directly onto the sword but sure might work. Many sword makers (including me) use a self made die that has the same shape as the blade's shoulders and tang. Much shorter and easier to work with than a long blade Wink
I don't have a pic handy right now but I know there's some good illustration in one of Peter Johnsson's threads (think it was on Don Fogg's forum).
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Isaac H.




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Nov, 2013 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you exclude any hot work from the process, you'll have to have a lot of time and patience to work with Happy Circumstantialy, exactly how you go about it would depend on the shape of the shoulders on your blade. A Dremel cutting disc is only so wide, and cannot cut a very deep slot if your shoulders happen to be nice and gradual. With a high speed tool, it's also very easy to slip and mess up the surface of your guard. Files are much cleaner and controllable. I would suggest starting the slot with the dremel, and then using the slot to guide your files. A set of small files that are narrower than the slot for the tang is what you will need. Mount the guard in a vice, and have at it. The little nuances of the process could be best explained with photos . I just realized I've never taken any of this step ,lol!

It's not exactly what you're talking about, but you may find this discussion useful here :

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?sho...+%2Bblades

Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2
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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Thu 07 Nov, 2013 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lukas MG wrote:
Well, I wouldn't hammer the red hot guard directly onto the sword but sure might work. Many sword makers (including me) use a self made die that has the same shape as the blade's shoulders and tang. Much shorter and easier to work with than a long blade Wink
I don't have a pic handy right now but I know there's some good illustration in one of Peter Johnsson's threads (think it was on Don Fogg's forum).


I second this approach, and this is how I have done it.

I would forge a die, essentially, a little bit smaller than the shape/size of the blade at it's shoulders, then I hot slit and drift the hole for the tang. Finally, while the guard is at slitting heat, use the die to form the recess.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Nov, 2013 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Dustin! Wink

Yeah, the die method probably is the best way. I might experiment with an etching process but my guess is the dimensions would tend to wander the deeper you try to etch.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Nov, 2013 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is how I do it.

The countersinking of the blade shoulders into the guard is covered in the WIP thread I made on Don Fogg´s forum.
A few more tricks are also covered.

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=17507
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Lukas MG
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Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Nov, 2013 9:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The link Peter Johnsson posted is what I meant but was too lazy to search Wink

@Mike: You're not giving up anything in utility if you go without an inlet IMO. It's really mostly aesthetics. You can still have rounded shoulders, just shape the slot to the shoulders: Instead of having a straight rectangular slot all the way through, you widen the upper few mm in an outside curve, according to the curve at the blade shoulders (I hope I'm making sense here, I wish I could post a pic but I'm away from my workshop atm). This takes about 5min with a needle file, nowhere near the time consuming forging of a die, hot drifting, clean up, etc.
I'm currently working on a Feder and if I wasn't using a pre-made guard, I'd go the way without the inlet. It's a tool after all, no need to be pretty or historically correct (btw, many originals have VERY sloppy guard inlets).
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Apr, 2014 10:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any more ideas as to *why* guards were slotted like this?
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Apr, 2014 1:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When you have sword blades that are mostly less than exact in the shaping of the shoulders of the blade (where the tang meets the blade) and the guard is forged and not milled, this makes for the most efficient, neat and robust construction.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Apr, 2014 2:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Peter! I can see how a slotted guard would make a blade with uneven shoulders look neater when hilted. By way of contrast 19th century saber blades tend to have squared shoulders and aren't slotted into their guards. I am curious though, by what mechanism does it make the sword more robust? I've been looking at a lot of pics of antiques tonight and it appears that it's often not a very close fit. As far as that goes my H/T Norman has the slot but it's not a close fit, I cut with that sword all the time and it's still as tightly mounted as the day I got it.
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