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Houston P.




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Dec, 2015 6:28 pm    Post subject: Question About Viking Sword Weight         Reply with quote

As I was looking through some of the pieces made by Patrick Barta of Templ Historic Arms, I couldn't help but notice how high the weight was on some of the Viking Age pieces. Several are over three pounds, and one was approaching five; which completely shocked me as I have always been under the impression that Viking Age swords ought to weigh from two to three pounds. Since he obviously appears to know what he's doing, I started wondering if I was completely off. If you know the weight of many originals, or have encountered such ( seemingly ) heavy swords and find it to be appropriate, I would be very interested in knowing what you think about this. Is my idea of the weight of such swords wrong? Have any of you handled these swords from Templ? If so, do you feel the weight is excessive, or gratifying? Thank you all in advance.
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬) To be without silver is better than to be without honor. -Norse proverb
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Dec, 2015 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For what it's worth, all of the Albion viking replicas are between 2 and 3 lbs. It's surprising that TEMPL would make one that was close to 5 lbs. Which one is it? I'll have to go look.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2015 2:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

About 1.2kg appears to be the median, without crunching the numbers. There are a small number weighing about 1.8-1.9 kg (a little over 4lb). I don't know of any that reached 5lb. These are exceptionally heavy tail end of the distribution. On the other side of the distrubution, there are a bunch of Viking swords under 1kg.

If the TEMPL weights are for the swords only, they look heavy on average. If they are the weights of the sword + scabbard, perhaps they're normal (I haven't seen enough weights for Viking scabbards, or even for accurate replica scabbards to judge).

"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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Houston P.




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2015 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
For what it's worth, all of the Albion viking replicas are between 2 and 3 lbs. It's surprising that TEMPL would make one that was close to 5 lbs. Which one is it? I'll have to go look.
The catalogue number 144. It is described as " sword of 'D' type". It is listed as 2200 grams, which if my mental math is correct is about 4.4lbs. I suspect the weight is mostly in the hilt, because it is solid, but it still seems incredibly heavy to me.
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬) To be without silver is better than to be without honor. -Norse proverb


Last edited by Houston P. on Sat 19 Dec, 2015 9:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Houston P.




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2015 9:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:

If the TEMPL weights are for the swords only, they look heavy on average. If they are the weights of the sword + scabbard, perhaps they're normal (I haven't seen enough weights for Viking scabbards, or even for accurate replica scabbards to judge).
I thought it may be for the sword and scabbard as well, but the Migration Era swords are usually 900-1400 grams or so.
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬) To be without silver is better than to be without honor. -Norse proverb
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2015 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Houston P. wrote:
Roger Hooper wrote:
For what it's worth, all of the Albion viking replicas are between 2 and 3 lbs. It's surprising that TEMPL would make one that was close to 5 lbs. Which one is it? I'll have to go look.
The catalogue number 144. It is described as " sword of 'D' type". It is listed as 2200 grams, which if my mental math is correct is about 4.4lbs. I suspect the weight is mostly in the hilt, because it is solid, but it still seems incredibly heavy to me.


2200g is more like 4.8 pounds... Still, for the amount of material it seems entirely reasonable, and a heavy hilt does not mean that the blade will not be balanced and function properly. How much less could the original one weigh, given that it was constructed in the same fashion with the same materials? Patrick even got to examine the original sword and made a report of its construction for a museum display. I doubt that it is an unrealistic weight - it's just a replica of an unusual sword to begin with.

http://www.templ.net/english/making-blatnica_sword.php

-Gregory
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Sun 20 Dec, 2015 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've seen a number of Viking Age originals that have hollow pommels and crosses, even sheet metal. Often when a reproduction is made its built with solid components which will add weight, maybe that's what's happening here. IIRC the original the Albion Valkyrja is based on was made with hollow components and was probably a fair bit lighter than the reproduction.
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Sun 20 Dec, 2015 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
I've seen a number of Viking Age originals that have hollow pommels and crosses, even sheet metal. Often when a reproduction is made its built with solid components which will add weight, maybe that's what's happening here. IIRC the original the Albion Valkyrja is based on was made with hollow components and was probably a fair bit lighter than the reproduction.


There doesn't seem to be much to indicate that this hilt is hollow. There's definitely a large chunk of the pommel missing and it looks like solid material. Here's Patrick's photo from his investigation of the original piece:

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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Sun 20 Dec, 2015 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, you're right about that. Even the handle itself shows some deep pitting but appears to be solid. It's an unusual piece for sure.
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Houston P.




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PostPosted: Sun 20 Dec, 2015 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I understand that this particular piece is probably heavy because of the hilt, and I listed it because it was the most extreme example, but I don't understand the general heaviness of the Viking Age pieces he makes. As I said before, his Migration Era pieces are usually in a much more understandable weight range, but the vast majority of Viking Age pieces are over weight, and not necessarily by a little bit. Many of them seem to be of similar dimensions to Albion swords, and yet they are much heavier. Because he makes many lighter swords he is obviously capable of doing so, and that makes me think it must be intentional. I simply can't imagine a sword of this type functioning well when it's this heavy. Perhaps I'll have to get one and see at some point...
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬) To be without silver is better than to be without honor. -Norse proverb
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Sun 20 Dec, 2015 11:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Houston P. wrote:
I understand that this particular piece is probably heavy because of the hilt, and I listed it because it was the most extreme example, but I don't understand the general heaviness of the Viking Age pieces he makes. .


I wonder how much distal taper he puts on his blades? If little to none, that would explain the extra weight. Though I'd be surprised if that was the case since he is such an esteemed swordmaker, and, as you say, his Migration stuff is much lighter. It would be interesting to see what is the COG on these swords. If it is really near the hilt, that would say something. Unfortunately, that spec isn't listed for the swords on his website.
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Houston P.




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PostPosted: Sun 20 Dec, 2015 8:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The review of the Sutton Hoo sword on this site lists it as weighing 2 pounds 2 ounces with a 7 3/4 inch Point of Balance. It's also described as handling well though, and swords from this time were balanced quite far out, so that too may be intentional.
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬) To be without silver is better than to be without honor. -Norse proverb
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Mon 21 Dec, 2015 4:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My Patrick Barta Viking sword (discussed here: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.1787.html ) weighs right about 4 lbs even. I have several Viking-era-style swords in my collection, and the Barta is easily the heaviest and the largest of them all. However, this might not be too far off the mark, as noted in that thread, the size of the original hilt was quite large, giving the possibility that the overall sword was quite massive. It is a massive sword, especially when compared to my A&A Shifford....

Somewhere on-line some time ago, I saw a graph of a variety of original Viking sword weights, that showed most of those sampled were between 1.5 and 3 lbs, but there was one that skewed the sample, weighing upwards of 5 (IIRC) lbs... wish I remembered where I saw this chart....

David K. Wilson, Jr.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 21 Dec, 2015 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It isn't an unhistorical weight. Peirce http://myArmoury.com/books/item.1843830892.html lists a couple of very heavy Viking swords. Elsewhere, you can find a few more. I don't think I've seen one above 1.9 kg (I've seen a few in the 1.8-1.9kg range), so details of specimens of 2kg or more would be good.

Big spectacular metal-hilted swords are what you'd expect to see at the heavy end of the weight range, and that describes a lot of Barta swords.

"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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Houston P.




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PostPosted: Mon 21 Dec, 2015 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for your post, David. The main thing I was wondering was if the sword felt like a crowbar due to being so overweight, or if it still seemed useable. I wanted to know before I purchased something from him if anyone could tell me about the handling and was curious if there were originals that heavy, as I have never seen any that overweight and this is my main field of interest (although I am far from being an expert),but his stuff looks so nice I was still willing to consider it as an experiment. I noticed you did describe it as being very heavy and being a workout to use, but do you feel it has the infamous " dead " feeling of many cheaper pieces, or is it still something that you think could be used?
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬) To be without silver is better than to be without honor. -Norse proverb
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Dec, 2015 4:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Despite my sword's weight, it still feels useable, if not exactly "lively". Patrick did incorporate a bit of distal taper to the blade which helps keep the CoG closer to the hilt. It's weighty, but it's not dead weight. A friend of mine (who is, shall we say, more muscularly developed than I) enjoyed handling this sword, and keeps asking if I'll sell it....
David K. Wilson, Jr.
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Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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