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Daniel Wallace

Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Mon 21 Dec, 2015 8:49 am    Post subject: Study of Wallace A 4473 and two handed (montante) swords.         Reply with quote

I made up a model of this sword using the below measurements. how I arrive at these measurements was a little crafty on my part and help from other forum members. I had 2 primary sources that I used to derive at this information - #1 was a very similar sword I was allowed information on that I made a previous model from, secondly was a blow up print out I made from the museum's wed site which did not show the entire sword but with some basic measures of the original and creative geometry I came up with these stats. These are not the exact measures of A4473, but being I had access to another similar sword, it may be very close.

That being said, I'm only going to give a general overview of my measurements that I based the model from. These measures should allow for a general appreciation of the original's size, and not give out too much information that the museum may not wish to have publicly posted.

I was attracted to 2 handers a while back, and as a collector - I wanted to research what was available on the market for an affordable purchase. Consequently, the more I learned about a 2 handers dimensions the less I seen available. I have since dropped my collecting, and turned toward researching swords as best I can, and building up my hobby shop to include blacksmithing.

I've worked on this project on and off for a few years just in down times and when work would allow me to. The initial plans of the sword left me lacking in the experience of 3 dimensions, Therefore, I went ahead last year and built this model of A4473. It may be laughable about how it was built, but it led me to striking ideas of how swords may have been manufactured.

The model is made of lee wood and plywood. The blade is made up of 3 strips of lee wood. pummel was turned from a block of poplar, and the guard is pine plywood. All made from scraps and left overs from other projects. I am ashamed of the grip, but at the time I was on night shift, and lowes wasn't open when I wanted to turn the grip, so I was stuck with a piece of pine that . . . worked.

overall length: 1758 mm - 70 in
Blade length (overall): 1390 mm

With at quillon block: 32.5 mm
with at 20mm from tip - 19mm

distal taper: ?

Parrying lugs
flat styled

length from quillon block: 128mm (suggestion: tapering into a possible flat grind?)

length: 314mm (52mm pummel + 2mm peen) = 368mm overall

Findings: The first riser allows a muted and comfortable grip almost as if a simplified Italian grip of the sword allowing the index finger to better guide the sword to target. The central riser helps to keep the right hand into place also, the outward taper keeps the hand in position.

length: 52mm (suggested 2mm peen) = 54mm

Findings: This style of flattened pummel seats to the base of the off hand locking it into position during cutting arch's - suggesting that the power of the cut comes from the off hand shoulder yet guided by the right hand. The thin taper of the grip allows for the off hand to float as guards and positions change.

quillons and block
length (overall): 336mm

Over all findings from the sword model:
It is apparent that the notion of half swording a two handed sword is impractical for this style. The space between the guillion block and parrying lugs is truly too cramped to comfortably hold. Holding in a few different fashions, the knuckles of my hand are squeezed into the space, locking it uncomfortably.

A second notion of half swording a 2 handed sword is to possibly grip above the lugs for better control, but from reference of the Memorial, I cannot see any suggestion that this grip was ever used. Moreover, there is no advantage to this grip. To remove the offhand from behind it's guard where it is safe from attack offers very little advantage in a thrust. Consequently, the model is better balanced when the off hand is in position at the pummel, and supply's more power from this position.

The only comfortable half swording method was to hold the sword as if in a "murder stroke" with the right hand below the lugs. In thinking of this sword as a pole arm (as it should be considered), in this position it has a feeling of a pole axe. However, again - there is no written evidence to support this style of half swording I know of in reference to a 2 hander.

Use of the sword:
By its general construction, this slender two handed sword is nothing to be laughed at. I would suggest from other swords, that the cross section of the blade is robust enough to do the jobs shown in interoperations of the Memorial. Swat away opposing attacks by its arching cuts, and to finish the opponent by a thrust over the shoulder. Although these swords may have decent cutting power - geometry suggest that a trust should be the recommended finish, both swords I looked at are hexagonal that taper to a diamond cross section, their grind however I can only speculate but suggest is probably just a flat grind.

The model dose not force you to use a high guard - but works much better in it. In low guards I had to mind where the tip of the blade was as to not hit the ground where as in the high guard about my shoulders, I knew the tip would always miss the ground. movements were tighter, I felt more protected by the blade as it seems to dance around my head and torso.

My wooden model was still very blade heavy (and I did not weigh it). Not accurate to the original, yet still showing the blades dominating presence - it does illustrate that once in motion, this blade should stay in motion. It simply takes less energy to continue moving the sword than it would if it were stop and start again.

Ideas on Manufactured Blades:
I've come to believe that the two swords I have been able to model are part of some manufacturing process of the 16 century - probably coming out of the same work shop around the same time. When I started to map out A4473's blade and got to the lugs, I began to notice something from my print out that didn't occur to me. I knew this blade was similar to the other I had info on and it was the reason why I went after A4473. I kept my drawing and measures of blade #1 away until I got down to sketching out the profile of the blade. Once at this point, I compared them, and was shocked that both blades were an nearly an exact match to each other. From sketch to sketch, I came up with a mm of difference( if that) in with at the base of the blade. Although sword #1 was nearly a foot shorter, its lugs, and profile fit the same profile of A4473. the lugs, also in different styles, both began at the same points of the blade and ended at the same points and their with at their broadest points were the same.

The differences between the two seem much more of items of personalization. ricasso lengths differ as well as fullers, decoration. other things such as hilts, match in dimensions, pummels exactly the same dimension just again different personalization's to them. Grip is different due to sword #1 having a shorter blade.

Date of sword #1 is 1530s, and A4473 I believe is 1580s. I think it's reasonable to believe these swords were produced within the same decade. Someone who understands makers marks and styles may be able to say these dates are pretty definite. If these 2 are clearly dated that far apart, I think it may be a stretch to say the man that made sword #1 in 1530 lived to make AA473 in 1580. He would be 60-70 years old if not older.

What's more likely, is that a work shop has plans for a job on the shelf, a cutler or other official comes to the shop and states- "I need (x) amount of these swords made I have a class of officers graduating and ready for service. Bod favors a thrust and likes floral designs, Tim is more a cutter and like crosses." the decoration of the hilts may have been done in region, but I think that blade decoration probably happened before the heat treating process as both swords have chisel punched engravings. not very fun to do on hardened metal by my experience, but I may be wrong.

At this point there is a lot of room for discussion, and there's a lot of aspects I don't know of, such as, maybe the plans were held by the cutler and traveled with him to which would give a reason why hilts were locally supplied, yet still in the same dimensions. But what I believe anyone reading through this can take from it, is that there must have been some documented blueprints to work from, something existed that told two different craftsman at two different decades make this like this.

Or, it is also reasonable to say, Yeah right Dan, you just made a mistake or two in your print outs and the swords happened to match up. I'm not expert in this, so yeah it's possible I do make mistakes, but for profile, quillons, and pummel to match up so close to 2 swords of different lengths at two different time frames, I wonder if anyone else is scratching their head. And if I told you I suspect the two Cleveland montante swords would be more evidence to support an idea of blueprints of design, then gosh dang - I wish I could go over there and document them for myself instead of using printouts to attempt to make up a theory.

I wish I was able to document the swords myself - it would add a bit more validity to what I've got stated above here, but I'm not going to make it to A4473 or sword #1 anytime in the near future, and getting access to the Cleveland Montante swords - I was shot down pretty quick by the curator years back and never followed up.

I hope you enjoy what I've put together its been in the making for quite some time, Its more a presentation of ideas about montante swords gathered from 2 very similar blades than any working theory's. and please do excuse my grammar, I'm not accustomed to any kind of formal writing these days.

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plans of A4473 with scaled print out

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blade made up to scale

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quillions and rings

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all put together

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entire model
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Daniel Wallace

Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Mon 21 Dec, 2015 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

more photos of attempts of half swording and comparison of sword #1 and A4473

just wanted to show how unlikely a historical montante is to half sword. I had to photo myself so yes I'm not gripping it correctly, but it's still, with my average sized hands tight to grip no matter how it's done.

I did think about putting in the bevels and fullers of the models, but feared that in wood, it would be too fragile.

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similarity between sword #1 and A4473

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first grip off hand

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an attempt that's shown in marozzo of gripping above the quillions

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gripping above the lugs. at about my second knuckle the ricasso ends

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murder stroke only comfortable half swording, still not likely.

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hand seated nicely against the pummel. this pummel is a hair thinner than my print out, but still gives a good idea of how well it seats.
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Daniel Wallace

Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Tue 22 Dec, 2015 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

some recent YouTube finds of two handed sword use, there's other stuff out there, but I had recently found these and saw that the guy has put together the rules in one video.
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