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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug, 2015 1:04 pm    Post subject: Comparison of period rapiers with modern reproductions         Reply with quote

Hello all,

Florian Fortner and Julian Schrattenecker have just published a very interesting article:

Comparison of period rapiers with modern reproductions

It contains measurements for 7 antique rapiers and 5 modern blades. What makes it especially valuable is how thorough the measurements are; they include for example the total mass, overall length, blade length, point of balance, pivot points, and even measurements of cross-sections. They have used the method described in one of my earlier articles, which makes me very happy of course Happy A very important reference for anyone studying rapier!

Regards,

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Vincent
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Marco Danelli
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Location: Brighton - UK
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug, 2015 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really nice article and very informative, I hope a large number of people will read it.
It sums up everything I try to do with custom orders, with fewer budget restrictions, to get closer to the originals, like using blades starting at 8mm on the forte and a geometry that has a much stronger forte, but often the reply I get is "it is a bit heavy".
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Ryan Renfro




Location: Reno, NV
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug, 2015 3:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Another big difference between the original and the modern rapiers can be seen in the
thickness of the ricasso. All measured historical rapiers have a ricasso thickness of at least
8.3 mm and the thickest modern rapier is only 6.2 mm. This results in a very different way of
handling of the sword, especially when pressure is present....

Most modern reproductions have a low weight but still feel comparatively heavy in the
hand. The graphs of cross sectional area vs. blade length have shown that modern rapiers have
an almost linear decrease in cross section area over length, which results in less relative weight
in the forte of the sword and more in the debole. This arises due to economical production
by stock-removal. Usually a 1/4" stock bar is used as raw material for the blade, which results
in a thin ricasso. Diamond cross sections are preferred, because they are easier and faster to
manufacture.


Exactly.
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Tyler Jordan





Joined: 15 Mar 2004

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug, 2015 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marco Danelli wrote:
Really nice article and very informative, I hope a large number of people will read it.
It sums up everything I try to do with custom orders, with fewer budget restrictions, to get closer to the originals, like using blades starting at 8mm on the forte and a geometry that has a much stronger forte, but often the reply I get is "it is a bit heavy".


Hah. Rapiers are supposed to be 'a bit heavy'. They're not smallswords or fencing foils. They're a 'reach is everything' approach to the sword arts and are among the heaviest of the one-handed swords. I think people have been trained to have a different expectation of what a rapier is supposed to be.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 411

PostPosted: Sun 30 Aug, 2015 1:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marco Danelli wrote:
Really nice article and very informative, I hope a large number of people will read it.
It sums up everything I try to do with custom orders, with fewer budget restrictions, to get closer to the originals, like using blades starting at 8mm on the forte and a geometry that has a much stronger forte, but often the reply I get is "it is a bit heavy".

The one thing which surprised me was including the A&A Lombardy. That is a sharp replica of a specific piece, so it should be compared to that piece and not to seven other swords.

Modern smiths often sell different blade types of the same length, so more details about the modern rapier foils would also help.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
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PostPosted: Sun 30 Aug, 2015 2:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The one thing which surprised me was including the A&A Lombardy. That is a sharp replica of a specific piece, so it should be compared to that piece and not to seven other swords.


The bright side being that when someone goes and measures that original, the comparison will be easy Happy
The point of the article seems to be that there are trends in the sample of originals, and different trends in the sample of modern pieces, not really to compare sword to sword. Of course you could argue that this is not statistically significant. It's still way more significant than no data at all Big Grin

Regards,

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Vincent
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 1:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, my point is that modern sharp replicas of specific pieces are different from modern foils are different from early 17th century swords. Trying to find a trend from four foils and one sharp replica does not seem wise. A&A sells plenty of rapier foils, although if they did not have one handy and not want to spend $700 to buy one I would understand.

I wonder if the KHM has any rapier foils from the sixteenth or seventeenth century?
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 1:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Only two show up under "rapier".

http://bilddatenbank.khm.at/viewArtefact?id=372997
http://bilddatenbank.khm.at/viewArtefact?id=373000

You can always wade through the returns for "schwert".
http://bilddatenbank.khm.at/coll_gg

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
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PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Well, my point is that modern sharp replicas of specific pieces are different from modern foils are different from early 17th century swords. Trying to find a trend from four foils and one sharp replica does not seem wise. A&A sells plenty of rapier foils, although if they did not have one handy and not want to spend $700 to buy one I would understand.


Well, part of the point of modern foils is that they are supposed to have handling properties close to period sharps. It wouldn't necessarily be meaningful to compare them to period foils either, as it's possible that these were not meant to be as close to sharps as that. In truth I don't know, for lack of data of course.

Period foils are a lot rarer in collections. But I too would like to know more about them...

Regards,

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Vincent
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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A measurement I'd like to see for swords in the future is rotational moment of inertia about a standardized point - the easiest point to establish this as is the center of mass, or rather, the point of balance. One can then use the parallel axis theorem to determine its rotational performance as held.

To be more constructive (but not too constructive, my apologies), the procedure to determine this is not at all too hard. I recall an experiment in physics class a few years back where we found the moment of inertia of a bycycle wheel. We set the wheel up on an axis (in this case... an axle) and let a given mass rotate the wheel. We then evaluated the performance of the rotated wheel to determine its moment of inertia. The precise procedure has escaped my memory, but being a commonplace experiment, I am certain it would be an easy one to dig up.

It ought to be fairly trivial to design a test apparatus for a sword - the inertia of the apparatus itself would be tared from the results before the conclusion of testing. This would be a useful tool for just about anyone interested in sword mechanics, as it would serve to illustrate just how much force one would need to put into any given weapon to inflict harm, at least in the cut.

...I realize that may have been a bit off-topic, but one can always hope for those wonderful historian-scientist hybirds.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
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PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 11:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Michael,

I'm one of the hybrid here, though more scientist than historian by education Happy

Actually they have measured moment of inertia here. That's why I stressed the thoroughness of the measurements! See, the thing is that pivot points are intricately linked to moment of inertia. For example, in the tables in the article, if you compute:

Total Mass * Dynamic Length * Point of balance

You have the moment of inertia around the cross. Use the parallel axis theorem as needed if you want it elsewhere.

The authors have used a method that I describe here:
A dynamic method for weighing swords
I think it gives results that are easier to relate to than raw moment of inertia.

If you want further things to read on this topic, I have two other articles:
Geometrical analysis of mass distribution
Visual representation of mass distribution

It is all still a work in progress at the moment. But the foundation that pivot points are a good way to measure and analyze moment of inertia will remain...

Regards,

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Vincent
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Julian Schrattenecker





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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2015 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@ Sean Manning: The measured A&A Blade is not sharp, it is blunt and used for training. At the KHM we haven't seen any foil-blades.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Sep, 2015 12:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julian Schrattenecker wrote:
@ Sean Manning: The measured A&A Blade is not sharp, it is blunt and used for training. At the KHM we haven't seen any foil-blades.
If you could add exactly which versions of the modern weapons you used to a version 1.1 of the article that would help (part numbers would be ideal, trade names would be useful). Right now readers have to look at the catalogues of A&A and Darkwood and guess among three or more possibilities for “off-the-rack” blades alone, and as time passes and their stock changes it will get even harder. The A&A, Hanwei, and Darkwood blunt blades I have handled have rectangular cross-sections but the ones which you measured seem to be different (and the Hanwei swords which I am familiar with get redesigned every few years, so the date of manufacture matters too).

Scott Wilson of Darkwood makes some blades with broad forti and narrow deboli. He thinks that these behave more like originals, but look less like sharp swords. Many swordsmiths today have to balance the desires of stage fencers, show fencers, the SCA, and serious students of a variety of 16th and 17th century arts.
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