Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > POB & Purchases? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Jason Elrod




Location: Winchester, VA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Likes: 48 pages
Reading list: 38 books

Posts: 698

PostPosted: Wed 25 Jun, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject: POB & Purchases?         Reply with quote

I recently made a comment to another forumite that most collectors of reproductions do not like swords with a Point of Balance (POB) beyond 5". However I realized that I have no proof for said comment, only the feeling that it was true based upon sword reviews, site statistics, and a conversation I once had with Angus Trim over a decade ago.

For instance, let's take Albion swords (only because they have the easiest statistics to access).

Albion has 76 Swords in production. Only 9 of the 76 have a POB of 6" or greater. The break down is below.

The 1st # is the # of swords with a POB of 6" or more. The 2nd # is the # of swords in each catagory and the # in ( ) is the average POB for each catagory.

Early 1 of 1 (7.125)
Roman 1 of 8 (4.61)
Viking 3 of 12 (5.41)
Single Hand 3 of 26 (4.77)
Longsword 1 of 22 (4.41)
Single Edge 0 of 3
Two Hander 0 of 4

So a couple questions:

1. Does a Sword's POB affect your decision to purchase a sword?
2. Would you consider a sword with a POB greater than 6"?
3. Do you think Swords are being produced specifically with a POB less than 6" in mind for the modern consumer?
View user's profile Send private message
Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
Joined: 14 Feb 2011
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Wed 25 Jun, 2014 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The truth is I have bought swords in the past without knowing where the POB was supposed to be. I think for me it would depend on the kind of purchase I'm considering, taking into account single handed/two handed, lower/higher price point purchase, and historical data available for the sword or sword type being reproduced.
View user's profile Send private message
Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,492

PostPosted: Wed 25 Jun, 2014 8:50 pm    Post subject: Re: POB & Purchases?         Reply with quote

Jason Elrod wrote:

1. Does a Sword's POB affect your decision to purchase a sword?
2. Would you consider a sword with a POB greater than 6"?
3. Do you think Swords are being produced specifically with a POB less than 6" in mind for the modern consumer?


I've happily bought swords with PoB greater than 6". Some of them are antiques. Quite a few types of swords out there for which PoB in the range of 6" to 8" is typical (not so many above 8"). So I have no problem with replicas of them (or antiques) having PoB past 6".

But for many types of swords, under 6" is typical, and I'd more likely buy a replica of such a sword if the PoB is in that typical range.

(Not sure if I have any swords with PoB past 8". One is right on 8" and it's a pig. I'll have to look.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 5,678

PostPosted: Wed 25 Jun, 2014 9:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The POB is wherever it is. As long as the design is accurate and a quality build, the POB will be proper for the type. I don't concern myself otherwise. My understanding of a swords design and what it's intended purpose was is the defining factor that forms my view of it. Individual stats taken alone don't concern me.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
View user's profile Send private message
Marik C.S.




Location: Germany
Joined: 16 Feb 2010

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Wed 25 Jun, 2014 9:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Given that I buy most of my swords for HEMA, the overall feel and balance of the blade is much more important than the fact-sheet.
If you add a large enough pommel to a splitting maul you might also get a nice 4" PoB, that doesn't make it a well balanced weapon.

PoB is ultimately just a single average value and while it can tell you a lot about the sword, it is not something to solely base any sort of decision on outside of some rather extreme cases.

Europe - Where the History comes from. - Eddie Izzard
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website ICQ Number
Harry Marinakis




Location: Kingdom of ∆thelmearc
Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 656

PostPosted: Thu 26 Jun, 2014 6:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The POB does affect my purchasing decisions, because with a well-made reproduction sword (e.g., Albion swords), the POB should reflect the nature of the sword.

In general, swords were designed to defeat the armor that was present at the time. During the period of mail, swords were meant for cleaving and hacking, not thrusting. Thus these swords had a POB further out from the cross, which made them feel somewhat "blade heavy." This blade-heavy balance was a desirable trait for a hacking weapon.

During the period of plate armor, the swords had a point of balance that was closer to the grip, so they felt lighter in hand and were much quicker and more maneuverable. Combined with a much more acute point, their quickness and maneuverability improved the sword's thrusting capability.

I expect that a quality reproduction sword will reflect these characteristics. If I buy a Viking sword, I expect it feel somewhat blade heavy. If I buy an Oakeshott Group II sword, I expect it to be nimble.
View user's profile Send private message
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,221

PostPosted: Thu 26 Jun, 2014 7:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

PoB is not something you should think much about if you are making a sword according to authentic specifications taken from a sword or group of swords that were built well for their intended purpose. BUT, modern makers often choose to replicate better balanced and often smaller than typical swords from a certain group or, if you want, a type of, swords. While we are at Albion, take a look at their Next Gen XI's and XIIIa's for example. Both XI's are 33.75" blade length and just slightly above 5" PoB. That's on the lower end of historical XI's which are more often 35", 36" or often even 37" or 37.5" in blade length. Albion Museum Line Soborg is more realistic XI with 37" blade and a PoB of 6" although Soborg too is unusually light and well balanced for XI's although the blade length is in the higher range. Of Albion's XIIIa sword, until Archduke was introduced, 2 of 3 XIIIa's were light and narrow examples with 34.5" bladed weapons with slightly above 4 PoB's and less than 3lb. While XIIIa swords were often in 34" range blade lengths, they were usually longer, and even shorter examples are often wide and quite massive.
This is not a critique, just an observation, and as much an observation of current sword collectors market as of Albion's sword making politics. Wink
View user's profile Send private message
Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 21 pages
Reading list: 231 books

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 9,131

PostPosted: Thu 26 Jun, 2014 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't worry about the POB, but I only buy from vendors I know have done their homework. Happy

The preference for nearer POBs among some modern collectors probably stems in part from the cycles of partial knowledge we sometimes see in the industry.

For example, in the 90s people realized some swords should have some flex. This led to some companies (Windlass for example) making most or all their swords with lots of flex. Now we know that some swords should flex more than others depending on configuration and use. But some companies still value flex above all, resulting in bad (whippy, anyone?) cross-sections.

Another example: bad repro swords in the early days were often too heavy. So some companies/makers went too far in the light sword direction as a result. Now we know some were heavy and some were light and many were in between, but some people and makers still put weight at a premium.

In this case, bad repro swords in the early days (and still to this day) often suffered from bad mass distribution and a lack of understanding of proper cross-sections. They were blade heavy, or in a few cases, too hilt-heavy. People discovered a POB of a certain distance made things better. Some makers responded by making everything have a similar POB whether or not it was appropriate. People got used to fairly consistent POBs.

Makers have to decide whether to follow customer expectations or history. Those two paths don't always go together and balancing them can be tough. And the reality is that those who know the difference are not the majority of most companies' buyers. So a maker chooses accuracy they risk alienating their biggest group of buyers if they replicate swords on the extreme ends of the historical spectrum. So some choose to err on the side of popular opinion instead of on the side of full accuracy. Some choose to produce a lot of sword designs that fit both period norms and modern expectations, leading to a less wide spectrum of handling options than was present in history.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ken Jay




Location: Portland Oregon
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 141

PostPosted: Thu 26 Jun, 2014 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason - I tend to agree with your hunch that most like the POB closer to 5" as a maximum. I'll bet the manufacturers see that in their sales. Now days I much prefer a lighter and more closely balanced single hand blade because my aging wrist complains when I play with the heavier or longer POB swords. With a longsword don't seem to have that issue but do prefer the POB to be less than 6.5". HEMA stuff seems to run closer POB. Perhaps if we really needed to smack living adversaries such preferences would change? Maybe a differing preference in a sword to used on foot vs horseback?
View user's profile Send private message
Harry Marinakis




Location: Kingdom of ∆thelmearc
Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 656

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jun, 2014 3:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My beefiest hacking sword has a POB of 4-1/2 inches and that's about as far as I would want.
View user's profile Send private message
Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,492

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jun, 2014 4:25 pm    Post subject: Re: POB & Purchases?         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
(Not sure if I have any swords with PoB past 8". One is right on 8" and it's a pig. I'll have to look.)


Have checked. One is at 9.5". Kora/khunda/khuda, balanced at about halfway along the blade; in comparison, my other kora has PoB at 5", with a shorter blade and balanced closer proportionally.

Plenty with PoB over 6", including some fairly short blades (under 20"). No counter-weight pommel, so they're light, but PoB can be far out.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Reading list: 15 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 843

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jun, 2014 3:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think an absolute number like 6in is really meaningful. First, longer weapons may have their CoG farther out, all else being equal. Second, two-handed swords will generally have it closer to the guard anyway. Third, the total mass of the weapon will have some effect as Timo points out, with light weapons you can have the CoG further away without much detrimental effects.

To take an extreme example, most fighting sticks would have a CoG well over 6in away from the hand. Bokens do and no one gives a second thought Happy

Swords tend to have more mass concentrated around the cross, and this brings the CoG back. But I know of at least three rapiers in the Wallace collection that have their CoG further than 6in (A570, A572 and A596) possibly because their blades are long. I own an Angus Trim type XI which has a 8in CoG and is certainly workable, because it is light (just a hair over 1kg). I have measured a spatha by GaŽl Fabre who had it at almost 8.5in but was even lighter (862g), and this was a perfectly good weapon.

In my opinion no one should be obsessed by a particular limit value for all sword types. CoG is a useful stat but must be mixed with the other aspects in order to be interpreted (I have written a relevant piece here). You cannot conclude anything from it on its own, you'd guess wrong most of the time.

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,221

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jun, 2014 4:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
I don't think an absolute number like 6in is really meaningful. First, longer weapons may have their CoG farther out, all else being equal. Second, two-handed swords will generally have it closer to the guard anyway. Third, the total mass of the weapon will have some effect as Timo points out, with light weapons you can have the CoG further away without much detrimental effects.

To take an extreme example, most fighting sticks would have a CoG well over 6in away from the hand. Bokens do and no one gives a second thought Happy

Swords tend to have more mass concentrated around the cross, and this brings the CoG back. But I know of at least three rapiers in the Wallace collection that have their CoG further than 6in (A570, A572 and A596) possibly because their blades are long. I own an Angus Trim type XI which has a 8in CoG and is certainly workable, because it is light (just a hair over 1kg). I have measured a spatha by GaŽl Fabre who had it at almost 8.5in but was even lighter (862g), and this was a perfectly good weapon.

In my opinion no one should be obsessed by a particular limit value for all sword types. CoG is a useful stat but must be mixed with the other aspects in order to be interpreted (I have written a relevant piece here). You cannot conclude anything from it on its own, you'd guess wrong most of the time.

Regards,


After all, Albion Gaddhjalt has a 6.75" PoB and nobody can say that sword isn't agile for what it is... Wink
View user's profile Send private message
Jason Elrod




Location: Winchester, VA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Likes: 48 pages
Reading list: 38 books

Posts: 698

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jun, 2014 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh I fully understand the POB is not the end all be all of sword design. For instance A&A's Bohemian Broadsword & Schloss Erbach both have a POB close to 6.3 but the Bohemian feels almost agile while the Erbach feels like a solid cutter. As others have noted blade type, length, weight, and mass distribution are all factors that determine a swords "handiness". I just found that there seems to be a limited range of POB on many of today's swords and I suspect that this is partially due to wanting a sword to feel "agile" or "handy" when a consumer picks it up. Partially a "wow" factor kind of thing. Again pure speculation on my part.

Somewhat off topic does anyone have Don Nelson's formula for sword "handiness"? Also I believe someone was working to refine that formula at one point after Don passed away. Anyone remember who that was?
View user's profile Send private message
Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Reading list: 15 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 843

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jun, 2014 7:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Elrod wrote:
I just found that there seems to be a limited range of POB on many of today's swords and I suspect that this is partially due to wanting a sword to feel "agile" or "handy" when a consumer picks it up. Partially a "wow" factor kind of thing. Again pure speculation on my part.

It is in part marketing I think, because not everyone has the opportunity to handle swords before buying, and even when they do they might check the PoB and discard the sword if it is too far. Informed buyers would know better, but not everyone is informed Happy

Quote:
Somewhat off topic does anyone have Don Nelson's formula for sword "handiness"? Also I believe someone was working to refine that formula at one point after Don passed away. Anyone remember who that was?


Check these three threads:
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=6821
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=9057
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=20110

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,584

PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2014 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't look for a particular PoB, but I would expect it to be historically accurate and appropriate for the type of sword. For some types of sword that are all about point control, that might be pretty close to the hilt. Being fond of early medieval cutters myself, I'm used to PoBs > 5" and that feels sweet to me. Less than that feels 'insubstantial'. But there's limits which are probably biomechanical. The Albion St. Maurice, at 9" is likely hitting that limit, at least for me.

If I could advise new buysers it would be, 1) learn about historical sword dimensions, 2) look for swords that conform to those dimensions (within the type you like), and then 3) learn to handle those weapons as intended, rather than try to make them conform to some pre-concieved notion of what should feel good.

The best medieval sword makers probably had a better understanding of the function of these tools than anyone alive today (with the possible exception of a few people like Peter Johnsson). That function was not to feel comfortable while flailing them around in the air or cutting water bottles. And yet, with practice and used properly, historically accurate swords should feel comfortable.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > POB & Purchases?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum