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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > The outer limits of fuller width Reply to topic
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Michael Granovsky




Location: Indiana
Joined: 09 Mar 2014

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue 02 Dec, 2014 7:15 am    Post subject: The outer limits of fuller width         Reply with quote

What is the outer limit of fuller width? How wide is the widest historical example?

Lets assume a hexagonal cross section, a width of 2.5" and a thickness of 1/4". If the edge to fuller distance is, say, 5/8", then the fuller would be 1 1/4" wide. If we increase width to 2 3/4" and towards 3", obviously we increase either fuller size or skirt size.

Now, if the cross section became true lenticular, a 2.5" x 1/4" lenticle/oval, it would reduce the blade thicknesses of the two shoulders (the edges of the fullers) by some 32nds of an inch.

At what point do you start to lose the benefit of I-beam construction and invite structural weakness?

im designing a custom is why Im asking. Thanks!

If you let it out NOW there'll be none left for battle!
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Tue 02 Dec, 2014 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a trade-off between aesthetics and structural considerations.

The aesthetics of the matter are not really something worth discussing because it's a highly subjective thing. Some people like very thin fullers, some like very broad fullers, others like multiple fullers... it's really a matter for the individual taste to decide.

Structurally, however. The rule of thumb, I think, is that you have to balance the thickness of your blade material with the width of the fuller and blade. If your fuller is excessively wide, your edge bevel will be fairly thick and cutting will suffer. But if you have a very narrow fuller on a very wide blade, especially a thin one, then your edge will be pretty thin-- it'll be a monster of a cutter but it'll have serious issues with damage. If you try a thin fuller on a wide but thick blade, it'll be more durable-- but it'll be very heavy.

Frankly the best thing to do is tell your bladesmith you want a wide fuller on however wide of a blade, and let them do their job. If they're good, they'll know how best to accommodate your wishes.

Historically, most blades never really went above 3" wide IIRC. Fuller width would be up to 2 inches or so as there was typically between 1/3 to 3/4 of an inch of edge bevel on each side. It's hard to tell with most examples that we have though as we suffer from not having many examples in non-corroded condition. A general estimate can be made, though.

EDIT: Just to be clear, I am talking about Viking era through roughly Oakeshott X type swords. After that, it's all over the map. Viking/Frankish/whatever swords tended to have a fairly consistent wide fuller upon their blades, so I am assuming that this is generally similar to the type of sword that the OP is looking for. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong Happy
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Dec, 2014 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out Geibig typology. It has quite accurate measurements of fuller and blade widths for different types of swords from 9th to 13th century...
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Dec, 2014 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The outer limit is T-spined blades and their relatives. One could say that a T-spined blade has a triangular fuller from the T-spine to the bevel on the edge. It works. Can give 400g swords with 27" blades, with respectable rigidity. Note that these are single-edged blades, so don't suffer from the problem with either blade too thin or edge too thick (or both at once) that Jeffrey described.

For a double-edged blade, too avoid those problems, use a central ridge with a fuller on each side. Which is, of course, a hollow ground blade when the fullers go all the way from ridge to edge.

"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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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posts: 480

PostPosted: Wed 03 Dec, 2014 2:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael,

The sword below in the Musée de l'Armée has one of the widest fullers I've seen:





The blade is very broad for it's length and supposedly very thin, but I've never seen a good picture of the edge. As you can see, the fuller spans nearly the width of the blade (~3in).

'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Wed 03 Dec, 2014 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ian Hutchison wrote:
Michael,

The sword below in the Musée de l'Armée has one of the widest fullers I've seen:

The blade is very broad for it's length and supposedly very thin, but I've never seen a good picture of the edge. As you can see, the fuller spans nearly the width of the blade (~3in).


Yeah, this is one of the examples that came to mind; it's illustrated with a drawing by Oakeshott in a couple of his books and he specifically mentions its width and size, so I imagine it's quite the outlier compared to other blades from the same period. The form is fairly typical though, the extraordinary thing about it is simply its size. While it's rather worn you can still see that it maintains around a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch of edge bevel after the fuller, illustrating the point I made about not having too thick of an edge by having too narrow of a bevel.
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Michael Granovsky




Location: Indiana
Joined: 09 Mar 2014

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed 03 Dec, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow if thats a 3 inch wide blade... then my design should work fine =D. Thanks Ive never seen it before!
If you let it out NOW there'll be none left for battle!
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