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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2015 1:36 pm    Post subject: Antique saber for test cutting, or high quality reproduction         Reply with quote

So I've finally scraped together enough money for some new swords, just in time for my tastes to change from longsword to early-mid 19th century sabers. I will be buying a couple practice sabers, probably Regenyei's Easton type, and also a sharp to test cut and have fun with. The problem I am encountering is that I can't seem to find a high quality reproduction of what I want. I'm mostly settled on the British 1821/22 pattern saber variants with the Wilkinson style blade, or the US M1850 foot officers/M1859 NCO sabers. Antiques aren't that hard to find in good condition and are relatively cheap, but the only reproductions I can find are like those from Military Heritage/Discriminating General or Universal Swords like this one (scroll down a bit):

http://www.militaryheritage.com/swords2.htm

I'm not sure if those are good, accurate reproductions, especially at that price point. I've also been looking at antiques, but am worried about cutting with a blade that may already be damaged. One that I found has a nick in the blade about 10-12 inches from the point, but is otherwise exactly what I want. Another is $200 more, but the blade doesn't have any nicks. Can I cut with a nick in the blade? Do I just need to file the nick a little so it doesn't crack? With as plentiful as these swords are, I don't feel too bad about using them, but I still don't want to break one. I won't be doing destructive tests, just the usual water bottle, melon, newspaper, and tatami mats.

Finally, could I get a new historically correct saber made by someone for similar money? I don't know anyone who does sharp sabers.

Thanks,
Adam

Violence is the supreme authority from which all other authority is derived.
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2015 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unfortunately, you won't find a really good quality repro saber. They're all clunkers compared to the originals which are fairly cheap, at least enough so that I wouldn't feel too concerned over using one to cut with.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2015 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With reproductions, browse the early modern section at Kult of Athena, as their sharpening service is said to be pretty good. When I decided I needed a reproduction saber for driiling and cutting, I went for a less curved foot officer sword. Completely anachronistic but a length I was looking for and I spent a lot of time with a file and stone to thin the blade a bit. far left in our view of this picture is the reproduction.



Fifth from our left (next to the two shorter eagle pommel swords) is a mounted artillery sword from the 1820s-1830s that I bought specifically to cut with. I have also cut with a very modified/re-ground Cold Steel 1796.

For something in the British 1821 cavalry vein, there is the Windlass US Dragoon sword for cheap (the numbers are not horrible.
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=501146

Look also to Legendary Arms and other sutlers for India made swords. As Patrick aptly points out, reproductions vs period swords show two different animals.

There are a number of period British 1821 types floating around the auctions and dealers but expect to pay for a sword in using condition. There is the late 19th century Portuguese 1821 likesabers (single ring scabbard) that show up in great shape for about $400.

My own reproduction is heavy, even after slimming the blade but as mentioned, exactly the size and form I was looking for. I was not looking for a cavalry sword to drill with.




The largest differences between the reproductions and period swords is often the stock thicknesses before distal distribution. Some sabres and other swords as thick as 3/8" thick at the guard, even some slim epee, with radical concave distal vs the more linear distal most reproductions have. However, even a lot of period swords of the 19th century starty to lean that way as well The mounted artillery sabre I bought for cutting is one such, it is quite light but lacks the radical distal we see on some.

In the end, if you want a repro to drill and cut with, go with something you think you'll like. For a using period sword, look for someting in superior build condition. The later 19th century stuff have the best value by cost but stay away from dress swords for that. Look for trooper type swords.

If you are looking to bouting, that is a whole other ball of wax. I defer to those guys for recommendations. I am just a hack Wink

Cheers

GC
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Sep, 2015 5:30 am    Post subject: Antique sabre for test-cutting, or high quality reproduction         Reply with quote


I bet all these swords are suitable for test-cutting.
Plus, I have 1 question:
Is the Portuguese 1821 cavalry sabre, the 1st sword in the picture, a repro or original?

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Mon 07 Sep, 2015 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you decide to use an antique for cutting, make sure it there is nothing special about it, e.g. provenance, special pattern, etc.. It would be sad, in my opinion, to degrade or destroy a unique piece of history when so many common, unprovenanced (is that a word?) or standard pattern swords are out there. Good luck!

Jonathan
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,803

PostPosted: Mon 07 Sep, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Antique sabre for test-cutting, or high quality reproduc         Reply with quote

Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:

I bet all these swords are suitable for test-cutting.

Hi Shahril
You seem to have completely misread my post. Some of the sabres shown are in no condition to be used for test cutting. While I have cut with a couple of the others, I found a sound sword that had a keen edge specifically to use for test cutting. I believe I somewhat stressed that in my post.

Quote:

Plus, I have 1 question:
Is the Portuguese 1821 cavalry sabre, the 1st sword in the picture, a repro or original?


No where in my post did I indicate the sword I mentioned is shown in that picture. Here is an example of the sword that I did reference as a sabre frequently found and has potential for functional use.
http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.p...alry-sword

Here is a list as to what is shown of this sabre group


I had though bought an India made saber for hacking at stuff and play foot officer. I had ended up selecting a reproduction of a confederate sword more for it's specifications than for any association, I simply found too few narrower and shorter swords that could bridge a bit of a gap in what I was looking for in swordplay. I did not want a cavalry sword for cutting and general fooling around with sabre drills.

I guess top to bottom is the best way to list them and they are not in a chronological stack. The wee eagle pommel on the side is a late fraternal piece, possibly for an adolescent wing of the Patriotic Sons Of America.




At the top a rather ubiquitous generic Prussian made "wristbreaker" of the French 1822 vein which became the standard American patterns both before, during and after the American Civil War.

The next an eagle pommel from the late 18th century listed now in books as by Francis Thurkle in England. In Peterson's old bible of American swords, it was listed as likely U.S.made but we know better now. It had been charred badly either in a fire or over a fireplace. I have cleaned up the hilt, which is ivory and the hilt heavy with gilt. Usually listed as mounted artillery.

The next eagle figure the 1830s and Solingen, probably Knecht. I can't quite make out the name under the langet. A foot officer length, this brass hilt (dark uncleaned) might best be regarded as an artillery piece. Swords were most often private purchase though, so fair game in any service up until the later 1800s.

The blue&gilt sabre also of foot artillery size and marked to the Berger family of the Alsace are. Some Bergers are marked to Paris but I believe they were all made in the Alsace forges/shops. My thoughts are that it is post the 1812 period and as late as the 1830s but I am not positive.

The two hussar hilts next represent the last half of the 18th century with the big one probably Swedish and of the 1750 timeline. The smaller one sized for footwork and typical of the 1788 and later swords with these hilt. The smaller oine likely all British with the big boy having a German makers mark.

The two eagles in the middle, also of the foot artillery/naval size with no blade decorations at all and horn grips. They are generally regarded as junior officer/nco pieces and the scabbarded one a Ketland head with the bare blade a "weeping eagle" Osborn pommel. Both British through and through. Ironically, some sword trade between England and America lasted throughout the 1812 conflict with barrels and trunks of swords being shipped and manifested as umbrellas and canes.

The longer brass hilt below those a typical mounted artillery piece from the Solingen side of trade. This is actually the most recent purchase and one I had bought specifically to play with and do some cutting. Sound as a bell, it did do some cutting at the last outing and it needs some more edge work but is quite a bit of fun. A compatriot was comparing its ability to equaling his Cold Steel 1796 that he has ground on a bit. The old sword is just so much livelier that the speed brings up the cutting capability up. Practice helps to.

The next a late 1840s or 1850s Bavarian infantry piece etched to Maximilian of Bavaria, following Ludwig's reign. White brass for the hilt and nicely etched with stands of arms and foliage. The langet rather unique to some other Bavarian swords I have encountered. There is a bit of a saga, I have worked on for those.

A rather common and inexpensive American 1902 sword for all officers to represent the last century of American sword development. A cadet grade sword. Nothing particularly special about it but these 1902s are a great way to start with an American collection as being plentiful and cheap. Even cheaper without a scabbard, which is how I came into mine.

Next a rather obscure folding guard 20th century naval eagle pommel by Horster of Germany. I am blaming Romania but am getting resistance from collectors about that. The eagle itself is very much like the WWII Italian air force swords but this has an anchor and did have a white grip (which is currently in black). A parts sword that I did some work on and is a lot of fun as a flyweight.

At the bottom my reproduction College Hill foot officer sword with a 32" blade. A good bit narrower than the cavalry reproductions and the blade suffers as most of the reproductions as having a rather lackluster mass distribution and distal taper. Still, sharp and when I do my end, I have managed to cut stuff up to mats but I have gone out of practice in recovery (I'm working on that though).



Cheers

GC
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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Mon 07 Sep, 2015 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glen, I am super jealous of your collection, so many nice pieces. I guess antique is the way to go for what I want to do. Out of the few I really like, the one I like most has a nick in the blade, can I cut with that, or should I spend a little more and find one with a better blade? All say they're nice and tight/firm in the hilt, with only light patches of pitting. Here is a picture of the artillery officer's saber with the nick.



Here is one of the others that I like, a dragoon variant.



The price difference is about $200, and puts the nicer one at the top edge of my range. Worth the extra money, or will I be fine with the first one?

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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,803

PostPosted: Mon 07 Sep, 2015 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Adam, sometimes you cannot judge a sword until you have it in hand. A deep nick might worry me and a sword having undue corrosion may have a rotted grip core.. As to price, it can be worthwhile in the long run to pay for a nicer sword. With my cutter, I looked at a lot of pictures opf it, ascertained with the owner it was sharp and got it at a price many pay for a reproduction. Small nicks can be dressed out but a rotten grip core may be a nightmare if you wanted a user.

Cheers

GC
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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2015 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I did it! I found a sabre that I like for a good price and got my wife to approve! Why she had to approve what I spent my allowance on is a mystery. Plus, she's holding it hostage until I get some house stuff done. But still, I got a sword! It's a 1821 pattern artillery officers sword from 1870s-ish, and has Pembroke artillery on it. Made by Hill brothers 3 Old Bond St London. Blade is in excellent shape, a little discoloration near the tip, no pitting. Blade is tight to the hilt, but there is a slight wobble to the wood grip at the bottom. I have a few pictures, but they're not very good. It will be a while before I get better ones, again, it's being held hostage. My questions are, how do I sharpen it (seems to have never been sharpened), and how do I take care of the grip (provided I can do something about it)?



Little guy is my middle child, girl is a friend's that was over to play

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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2015 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hostage? Eek! You may have to find one for yourself as well Laughing Out Loud

Hopefully Jonathan will chime in on this one, as it is in his field of expertise. The way I secure grip movement is usually super glue, the runny kind. I like the artillery and engineer etches and the blade form overall.

Cheers

GC
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 325

PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2015 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Bohnstengel wrote:
My questions are, how do I sharpen it


If you are asking this question DO NOT SHARPEN IT! Go get yourself a cheap machete to learn on. You will also need a 1x30 belt sander with some progressively finer belts. There are tutorials on YouTube.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,803

PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2015 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

British service swords were generally sharpened by the military using grinding wheels. I use files (draw filing) and stones, going along the edge in small sections, then long strokes. Belt grinders have become popular with sword enthusiasts. The thing about files and stones is that you can screw it up slowly Wink

Since this is a very etched blade, one would only want to mar that small width but at as low an angle as possible. I would ping Jonathan first though. What I had mentioned about finding that cutting specific sword rings true in that. If you are determined to sharpen this one, you might want to farm it out to someone (and chew your fingernails in apprehension).

Possession being nine tenths of the law, you have to get your sword back first anyway Wink (kidding but she may never let you sharpen her sword)

Good luck

GC



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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2015 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
Adam Bohnstengel wrote:
My questions are, how do I sharpen it


If you are asking this question DO NOT SHARPEN IT! Go get yourself a cheap machete to learn on. You will also need a 1x30 belt sander with some progressively finer belts. There are tutorials on YouTube.


I will both agree and contest this - yes, if you cannot sharpen knives, you should not sharpen a sword without prior experience. I disagree with the requirement for power tools - you can sharpen even long blades just fine with stones and files. As Glen hinted (if I took this the wrong way, please correct me!), a sander can take off A LOT in a hurry; a mishap with a hand tool is much easier to correct. Besides, your wife might just let the sabre go if you put an edge back on those kitchen knives... she won't even know you were practicing!
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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

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PostPosted: Tue 24 Nov, 2015 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay, I don't know if I have the patience to do it with stones unless there's a really easy to use kit that sets the angle for you. I did find this video that uses a little belt grinder. Would this be a good idea?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jfD1_gHpraw

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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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Posts: 325

PostPosted: Tue 24 Nov, 2015 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Beeching wrote:

I will both agree and contest this - yes, if you cannot sharpen knives, you should not sharpen a sword without prior experience. I disagree with the requirement for power tools - you can sharpen even long blades just fine with stones and files. As Glen hinted (if I took this the wrong way, please correct me!), a sander can take off A LOT in a hurry; a mishap with a hand tool is much easier to correct. Besides, your wife might just let the sabre go if you put an edge back on those kitchen knives... she won't even know you were practicing!


I'll agree and contest, too. Razz

I hand sharpened on Arkansas stones, diamond stones and leather strops for most of my life and I'm really good at it but a 1x30 with an appropriate set of belts will do an incomparably better job in much less time and with much less opportunity to scratch up your blade. The only way you're going to take a lot of material off a blade is if you're using a relatively coarse belt to establish the initial edge and you let the blade rest in one place rather than moving it slowly and steadily. After you've established the initial edge you'll hardly ever need to work with anything but an ultra-fine abrasive belt or leather leather belt with polishing compound because the latter is exactly what you'll be doing, not removing material but just polishing the edge. Like all other sharpening methods it is a skill and one you don't want to learn on your $1,000 Albion, an antique, etc.

Adam Bohnstengel wrote:
Okay, I don't know if I have the patience to do it with stones unless there's a really easy to use kit that sets the angle for you. I did find this video that uses a little belt grinder. Would this be a good idea?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jfD1_gHpraw


I wouldn't let that thing anywhere near my blades. The edge guides aren't stable so they won't actually force a consistent angle but they do provide an opportunity to bind a blade against a moving belt which is a problem that's compounded by the small footprint of the device which means it won't sit as firmly in place on the work table. Learn a 1x30 and you've got a much better sharpening platform.

Also, Mike Edelson has some much better material on sharpening up on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dndjr3YXsLA

I don't do everything the same way he does. For instance I don't use less than a 400 grit belt on a blade that already has any kind of edge and I use fewer different grades of belts than he does(or at least used to) but the principles are pretty much the same. I also know Mike personally and I've cut with his swords, he isn't just guessing or winging it he really knows what he's doing.
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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Mon 30 Nov, 2015 12:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay, just got around to watching that video. Doesn't look too hard. Would something like this one be better?


http://m.sears.com/craftsman-21513-1-3-hp-ele...921513000P

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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 325

PostPosted: Wed 02 Dec, 2015 1:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks like the angle of the belt assembly is adjustable, personally I wouldn't mess with it because it's not a necessary feature but it introduces more points of articulation. If the screw that holds the angle on the belt lets go while you're sharpening you could damage your sword. I use a Dremel 1x30 belt and disk sander that I've had for most of my life so I'm not up on all the current brands but this offering from Grizzly,

http://grizzly.com/products/Belt-Sander-1-x-30-/H3140

is of the general type, it just doesn't have the sanding disk that you probably won't use anyway.
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