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Francis B.




Location: Canada
Joined: 10 Jul 2014

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PostPosted: Fri 05 Sep, 2014 4:25 pm    Post subject: Questions about ''single-edged vs. double-edged swords''         Reply with quote

So, I have two questions on the matter of single-edged and double-edged blades.

1.: How much information on this is true?

2.: Why would I favor one over the other?

Thank you for your answers.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 05 Sep, 2014 5:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Generally, the article looks fine, although I have not heard about the switching edges on double-bladed swords before, and I'm not sure to what extent it was done.

Having two edges on a sword gives much more versatility, particularly with a long sword, since two of the five principal cuts need to be done with the short edge and a third can be done with either edge. As the author stated, having two edges allows you to rapidly strike to the next opening, especially when the swords are crossed in a bind.

One thing the article did not mention is that single edged swords can cut particularly well. Slightly curved blades seem to be fairly effective against flesh. Double edged swords can hew very deeply with good cutting form, but single edged swords seem to have a bit of an advantage.
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Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Sep, 2014 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I found the part about thrusting with single edge vs. double edge interesting. I think I would need to hear corroborating opinions from those more knowledgeable than myself before I believed it however.
The part about threaded construction, if intended to address historical examples vs. reproductions, was also interesting. I would again need additional sources or surviving examples before taking that part as true either.
The fact that shield use was not mentioned also leads me to believe the piece may not have been written from a position of complete knowledge.
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sat 06 Sep, 2014 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Ballantyne wrote:
I found the part about thrusting with single edge vs. double edge interesting. I think I would need to hear corroborating opinions from those more knowledgeable than myself before I believed it however.
The part about threaded construction, if intended to address historical examples vs. reproductions, was also interesting. I would again need additional sources or surviving examples before taking that part as true either.
The fact that shield use was not mentioned also leads me to believe the piece may not have been written from a position of complete knowledge.

Well this had been written when shields and armor had been completely phased out of use in Western Europe, fencing no mention of the use of short edged cuts to get around shields or the use of a thick diamond cross section blade for probing in gaps in armor.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Sep, 2014 3:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Ballantyne wrote:
I found the part about thrusting with single edge vs. double edge interesting. I think I would need to hear corroborating opinions from those more knowledgeable than myself before I believed it however.


The single-edged blade only ends up thicker than the double-edged blade if they have the same edge angle (considering only simple geometries: triangle/wedge vs diamond). But that isn't normal - more commonly, the single-edged sword is the same thickness, but with a smaller edge angle, allowing better cutting.

Stiffness of the blade is very sensitive to the thickness (proportional to the thickness cubed), so even a small increase makes a difference. Single-edged lets you have both a thicker spine and a smaller edge angle. But it's more common to see double-edged swords with reinforced tips designed for thrusting than such tips on single-edged swords. Generally, I'd say that double-edged swords are better for thrusting, at the cost of effectiveness of cuts with the tip.

There are exceptions, where single-edged swords are made very stiff, including all the way to, or close to the tip. For example, the Khyber knife, Tibetan blades with wedge-section and triangular profile tapering to a fine tip. Pipe-back blades as mentioned in the article; those often have double-edged tips with the pipe central to blade near the tip.

Given that there are many single-edged swords with thick spines but tips not designed for thrusting, I don't think that the primary purpose of thick spines is always stiffness for thrusting. Many thick-spined single-edged swords have light grips, with no pommel or a light pommel. They depend on mass distribution in the blade for balance, so have very thick spines near the hilt, and rapidly taper in thickness (quite a few cavalry sabres are like this, though one must keep in mind that baskets/guards contribute to the balance, too).

Given that one can find many thin-spined single-edged swords, the thick-spined thing can't be taken as a generality, anyway.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
Joined: 14 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Sep, 2014 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Greg Ballantyne wrote:
I found the part about thrusting with single edge vs. double edge interesting. I think I would need to hear corroborating opinions from those more knowledgeable than myself before I believed it however.
The part about threaded construction, if intended to address historical examples vs. reproductions, was also interesting. I would again need additional sources or surviving examples before taking that part as true either.
The fact that shield use was not mentioned also leads me to believe the piece may not have been written from a position of complete knowledge.

Well this had been written when shields and armor had been completely phased out of use in Western Europe, fencing no mention of the use of short edged cuts to get around shields or the use of a thick diamond cross section blade for probing in gaps in armor.


I believe it was written in 2007, intending to compare single edge swords to double edged swords. At least the site it appears on has that date stamp.
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2014 6:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Ballantyne wrote:
Philip Dyer wrote:
Greg Ballantyne wrote:
I found the part about thrusting with single edge vs. double edge interesting. I think I would need to hear corroborating opinions from those more knowledgeable than myself before I believed it however.
The part about threaded construction, if intended to address historical examples vs. reproductions, was also interesting. I would again need additional sources or surviving examples before taking that part as true either.
The fact that shield use was not mentioned also leads me to believe the piece may not have been written from a position of complete knowledge.

Well this had been written when shields and armor had been completely phased out of use in Western Europe, fencing no mention of the use of short edged cuts to get around shields or the use of a thick diamond cross section blade for probing in gaps in armor.


I believe it was written in 2007, intending to compare single edge swords to double edged swords. At least the site it appears on has that date stamp.

Well the title has, I, Clausewitz : A Would-be Conqueror's Diary, so I thought the poster was parroting want that famous military theorist stated about single edge and double edged blades
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Francis B.




Location: Canada
Joined: 10 Jul 2014

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2014 5:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Apparently, single-edged designs are more popular. Well, if the best answer to this Yahoo! question is anything to go by.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Sep, 2014 2:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Francis B. wrote:
Apparently, single-edged designs are more popular. Well, if the best answer to this Yahoo! question is anything to go by.

It really isn't. He doesn't know half of what he's talking about, and grossly oversimplifies the rest.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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