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Will C.





Joined: 18 Jan 2015

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Feb, 2015 3:28 pm    Post subject: Sword Guard Attachment Methods         Reply with quote

It seems like loose guards are a common problem and most modern manufacturers attach the guard to the sword by holding it in place through pressure from the wood grip from pressure on the pommel by either a threaded nut or peening. Using wood to hold steel in place is strange as not only is it softer than steel but it can rot, decay or loosen over time.

Albion advertises that they hammer wedge the guard onto the sword. This keeps it in place without needing pressure from the wood grip. But wedged in place can still come loose, if you drop the sword and it lands on the guard or block a heavy blow that strikes the guard.

Why aren't more secure methods used to attach the guard? Maybe leave tabs on the blade that can then be hot peened onto the guard, or hot peen additional steel when the guard is added?
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Daniel Wallace




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Feb, 2015 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

histocially I don't think there was too much worry about a little wiggle in the quillon block. its also pretty easy to touch up a loose block by a few solid whacks with a hammer on the peen.

if you'd rivet the blade and guard together, I don't see that being a problem, but it would take longer to forge taps on either. and I wouldn't want to rivet the guard through the tang of the sword. it can be done, but depending on how much meat is in the tang it would be weakened regardless.

other methods of attachment is a natural asphalt that when heated the tang is set in it until cool and it hardens like epoxy. but I don't know of European examples of that. (I'm thinking of indo/Persian tugwars)



in todays world, you could set them with an epoxy if the little wiggle in it annoys you to go that way, i think its over kill unless it really needs to be addressed.

can also attempt a hot fitting which is to under cut the size of the drift hole for the tang heat it to red - while cooling the blade - fit them together - and once back at room temp the expansion and contraction of the parts with bind them. i never seen nor heard it done before on swords.
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Feb, 2015 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

See the appendicies in Oakeshott's Records.

They took apart the hilt of a sword and and found that the cross was being held into place by a wooden wedge.
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Feb, 2015 4:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've fixed wiggling hilts two ways, metal shims and dribbling lock tite down the fuller. The shimming was recent, but the lock tite has been holding for... Three? Three and a half? Years.

If I were to make a sword I would take a cue from knife makers, and solder the guard in place before fitting the grip. That would fill any wiggle room, and the grip to support it should prevent the solder from breaking apart. Plus it's not permanent so you could reverse it if you needed.

Harry, was the wedged sword of a high quality? Is this how a "nice" sword would have been made or was it more of a soldiers weapon?

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Ralph Grinly





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PostPosted: Thu 12 Feb, 2015 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By "hammer-wedging" do they mean actual wedges driven into the gap, or by centre- punching along the edges of the gap and creating little dimples in the guard metal that fill the gap ?
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Feb, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Wallace wrote:
can also attempt a hot fitting which is to under cut the size of the drift hole for the tang heat it to red - while cooling the blade - fit them together - and once back at room temp the expansion and contraction of the parts with bind them. i never seen nor heard it done before on swords.


I've seen this (probably) on Chinese S-guard dao.

Some attachment methods I've seen:
Close fit to tang, friction enough to keep on without grip
Close fit to tang, requires grip to keep it against shoulders
Loose fit to tang, secured by wood, pushed against shoulders
Tight fit to wooden grip, no contact with blade
Loose fit to wooden grip, tied to grip (wire or cord)
Pushed against shoulders by grip, nailed to grip
Forge-welded to blade
Rivetted to blade
One-piece casting (on bronze swords)
Integral to blade
Integral to handle (welded, soldered, brazed, rivetted, or cast as part of handle, or forged as part of handle)
Guard passing through hole in tang
Cast onto blade
Glued onto blade (especially wooden guards)

"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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Will C.





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PostPosted: Thu 12 Feb, 2015 7:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ralph Grinly wrote:
By "hammer-wedging" do they mean actual wedges driven into the gap, or by centre- punching along the edges of the gap and creating little dimples in the guard metal that fill the gap ?


The tang is tapered and they hammer the guard down into it. http://youtu.be/cTg0Oc0mQy4?t=3m
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Will C.





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PostPosted: Thu 12 Feb, 2015 9:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just took a quick look through Peter Johnsson's FB page and I think I got some answers.

Here you can see the wood grip being assembled independent of the guard and pommel.


Pommel peened without the wood grip.


His comment: "An example from the 15th century showing how a chisel has been used to push material from the guard against the tang for that last tightening of the fit. This is how I got the idea for the method I use."


His comment: "The marks of the center punch are placed so that they push in material against the sides of the fuller. This makes for a pinching action that helps locking the guard in place. Please note that this is the inside of the guard: the marks will be covered by the grip."


If he is a top end smith then my suspicions are correct, the guard should be secured and not by the wood grip.
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Boris Bedrosov
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Feb, 2015 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will C. wrote:
His comment: "The marks of the center punch are placed so that they push in material against the sides of the fuller. This makes for a pinching action that helps locking the guard in place. Please note that this is the inside of the guard: the marks will be covered by the grip."


Usually, I use this method and/or combination with close fit to the tang.
With support of the grip it's absolutely enough - this one



withstood almost three years of heavy, twice-a-week training before starting to wiggle after brutal (as the owner said) strike on the guard.
Here, although obscured, the marks from the center-punch are well visible


"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

Find my works on Facebook:
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Joel Chesser




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Feb, 2015 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also I think in today's culture we tend to anticipate purchasing a product and largely leaving it alone. You don't (usually) plan on buying a sword and rehilting it periodically. This was not necessarily the case historically. If something got messed up, you pulled it apart and fixed it. either by re wedging or putting on a new grip. Hilts were changed. be it a simple grip re-wrap because the old one is worn, or because fashion has changed and you want to put a new hilt on an old blade. You cant do that as easily if it is all welded together.
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Feb, 2015 7:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew P. Adams wrote:
Harry, was the wedged sword of a high quality?

Well, it was apparently special enough that an appendix was dedicated to an anlysis of this one particular sword.

When they cut off the wood grip there was a wedge of wood hammered in between the tang and cross, holding the cross in place.
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Will C.





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PostPosted: Sat 14 Feb, 2015 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's an example from Stellenbosch.

"The last phases in the making of the German longsword. The guard is fitted snugly and peened up agaist the tang to secure it permanently. The pommel is also fitted and peened over a pommel nut."



http://stellenboschbladesmith.blogspot.com/20...erman.html
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Will C.





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PostPosted: Sun 15 Feb, 2015 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Albion also peens the guard as a final step.

"Step Six

The guard is first wedged on to the blade. The slot has been specially cast to have a slightly undersized tang opening.

Hand filing brings the guard to within an inch of the base of the blade . It is then the hammered into place, seating it firmly on the shoulders of the blade.

The edges of the tang opening on the top of the guard are then "peened" with a hammer to wedge the sides even more firmly against the tang."



http://www.albion-swords.com/swords-components.htm
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Feb, 2015 8:51 am    Post subject: Re: Sword Guard Attachment Methods         Reply with quote

Will C. wrote:
Why aren't more secure methods used to attach the guard?


Why do people use compression fits (relying on pressure from the peen)? It's historical. There are numerous swords in museums where the guard is loose because the grip has decayed an this method was used. In many cases, a loose hilt on a sword with a grip is an easy problem to fix, with a quick tightening of the peen.

Albion's method is one of the historical methods used, and not the only one. It's no more or less accurate than other historical methods. Oakeshott notes the sandwich style grip was used with certain grip shapes in certain eras, while the bored-through tang was used on others. You can't hot peen with the grip in place or you risk setting the grip on fire. So if you choose to hot peen, the grip needs to be sandwich style and put on at the end. If you choose the perfectly historical method of sliding the parts on and then peening at the end, the bored through grip usually makes sense.

See the bottom of this page for more info: http://myArmoury.com/feature_oakeshott4.html .

Happy

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Eric McHugh
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Feb, 2015 1:09 pm    Post subject: Guard and pommel fit         Reply with quote

When you look at originals, it is very surprising how loose the fit is in regards to the pommel and the guard on many examples. I've seen some pommels with Peter that have such a large cavity that wood was hammered into that cavity to make a secure fit. Most originals I've seen have very loose guards. They were secured in place with wood wedges and the positioning of the sandwich grip to secure them in place, BUT in battle I imagine the guard would come loose. This was obviously an expected result of battle and the owner would live with it or take it to a cutler who could restore the fit.

The method Albion uses is on of the methods witnessed on many of the best examples. These examples testify to the care of the craftsman who took time and patience to make sure that a solid fit was established. By driving the guard and pommel onto the tang, you create a strong connection with the blade. The peening or pushing of metal around the guard to pinch it on the tang provides added strength. Finally, the peening of the tang end in the pommel assures that the pommel will not back off of its solid base that was established when it was driven onto the tang. Are any of these methods fool proof? No. When a sword is subjected to a lot of action, it is always possible that the forces will loosen the fittings. With that said, I believe the Peter/Albion method is the most secure historical method. Short of TIG welding the fittings, you will be hard pressed to find a more secure method, but TIG welding would be a modern technique.
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Will C.





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PostPosted: Mon 23 Feb, 2015 10:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Guard and pommel fit         Reply with quote

Eric McHugh wrote:
Short of TIG welding the fittings, you will be hard pressed to find a more secure method, but TIG welding would be a modern technique.


Speaking of welding, from Kult of Athena's description:

The blade is peened and welded to the pommel for strength and the crossguard is also welded into place.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...alf+Sword+
http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...Half+Sword

These two swords look like they are from Wulflund.

http://www.wulflund.com/weapons/swords/mediev...sword.html
http://www.wulflund.com/weapons/swords/mediev...plica.html

Although not historical, welding the crossguard seems like a no brainer and by far the most secure attachment, at least for modern manufacturers.
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Will C.





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PostPosted: Mon 23 Feb, 2015 10:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Two more examples.

The blade has been peened and welded for strength and the crossguard has been welded on.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...ded+Sword+



http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...rown+Grip+
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2015 1:13 am    Post subject: Re: Guard and pommel fit         Reply with quote

Will C. wrote:
Although not historical, welding the crossguard seems like a no brainer and by far the most secure attachment, at least for modern manufacturers.


There are historical examples of welded guards. East Asian for sure, and Central Asian by the looks of it (but I'm not sure); some of the latter might be west enough to call "European".

Modern welding has the problem that it will locally heat the blade where tang meets blade, and can basically break the heat-treatment, and leave the blade weaker. Stronger guard, weaker blade. IMO, not good, since a loose guard is unimportant, whereas a broken blade is a Bad Thing.

"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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Will C.





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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2015 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another example of peening the guard.





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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2015 7:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have worked on a fair number of swords in the 400 to 500 year old range, and the guards were all quite loose. Of course, few of them had working life grips on them, but even the ones that did were not at all tight. Wooden wedges could have shrunk, I suppose.
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