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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Szabla in the style of the Karabela by Marek SarniakProduct Review Reply to topic
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Sebastian Szukalski





Joined: 10 Jun 2012

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Wed 05 Oct, 2016 3:39 am    Post subject: Szabla in the style of the Karabela by Marek Sarniak         Reply with quote

This is a second hand Szabla I bought via an online auction made by Marek Sarniak, (http://www.szablakarabela.pl/galeria-2) known among Szabla collectors for his metal inlays in his blades - that's the only way I identified this. There's a very similar one on his site, about a third of the way down. This is one of his more simple swords, with only brass inlays and no precious metals or elaborate hilt decoration.

This specific design is a Polish - Hungarian design, from the 17th century (1600 - 1700), likely around midcentury. It was a noblemans (Szlachta) weapon, reserved for a specific class in the Polish - Lithuanian commonwealth.

This design is a decedent of the Batorowka and classic karabela sabres, with all the aesthetic and design elements of a batorowka, but at a much smaller scale.





Full size image here

The scabbard is wood cored with leather, and is decorated with brass chape and throat. It has two hanging rings of steel, and holds the blade well (can be shaken upside down without falling out, but also easy to draw).



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Closeup of the handle. Solidly made brass fittings in the style of the day (hollow and filled with alum). No rattle, tight as can be. Leather wrapped wooden handle. In this dimension the handle tapers thinner towards the pommel.

One small issue is that whilst hollow fittings are historically accurate, they do make the sword more blade heavy. I'm not overly a fan of the balance, but it is historical. More on that later.

On the topic of leatherwork decorations: There's embossing on the handle, also present on the scabbard. Pretty sure this was done with a custom stamp, I doubt that pattern is in mass production anywhere.

The decorated pommel cap seems to be hammer out of sheet brass, filled with resin or alum. Kinda short compared to some historical ones, these usually extended slightly past your little finger.



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Concealed peen block under a brazed brass panel. (Suspected, based on his other swords.)



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The handle tapers outwards closer to the pommel in this dimension, making it very comfortable to hold. Seam isn't very noticeable, especially not to the touch.



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A better view of the leatherwork and brasswork. I suspect this copper alloy to be some soft of brass alloy with a bit of silicon in it.



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Full view. Sorry about the focus and lighting, didn't realise my cameras was stuck at 100ISO.

The balance of this, like most polish sabre and especially karabela, is super far out to facilitate devastating cuts. But despite that, it is very light. It's also very stiff, due to the lack of a fuller.

POB: 23cm
Total mass: 1190g
Sword mass: 801g

Total length: 90cm (both with and without scabbard. Talk about manufacturing tolerances!)
Blade length: 77cm



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The blade says "Honor et Patria" (latin) - Honor and Fatherland

The blade has no fullers, and very slight distal taper (3-2mm) however my original antique karabela circa 1700 is from 3 to 1mm, so this is not far from historic dimensions. (I'll post photos of this one eventually, because I know people will ask for that)



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Note the letter are chiseled in and decorated with diagonal chiseled lines. This was done with a carving tool, not a dremel or etchings.



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The obverse side - Victoria, or Victory.



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Inlaid brass decoration elements near the crossguard. Slightly reminiscent of ottoman blade decoration, also similar to goralskie (Polish highlander) motifs commonly seen on their pants.



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Pioro transition - the false edge begins here. And yes, it is sharpened. (Common gripe)



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Inlaid brass decorational element on the pioro transition of the blade. Note that the Pioro (false or back edge) is outlined. The front edge is outlined too, but the lighting wouldnt let me pick it up on camera.

Decorational lines on the spine, near the pioro. A classic yet often overlooked touch.



Full size image here

Edge damage. Very minor. The only sign apart from brass patination that this is a second hand piece. It'll disappear when I touch up the edge.


Last edited by Sebastian Szukalski on Thu 13 Oct, 2016 5:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
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William M




Location: Buckinghamshire , England
Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 257

PostPosted: Thu 06 Oct, 2016 2:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks good. Could you put up a picture of the entire sword with blade showing?
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Sebastian Szukalski





Joined: 10 Jun 2012

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Fri 07 Oct, 2016 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William M wrote:
Looks good. Could you put up a picture of the entire sword with blade showing?


I did. But in case you missed it, http://i.imgur.com/wGkymqH.jpg
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Lukasz Klimek




Location: Poland
Joined: 20 May 2012
Reading list: 30 books

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue 25 Oct, 2016 12:02 pm    Post subject: Szabla in the style of the Karabela by Marek Sarniak         Reply with quote

Hello Mr. Szukalski,
I've seen pictures pictures of that saber before. On eBay as far as I remember. Yes, it was made by Marek Sarniak. I recognize his style. Characteristic features of his sabers (other than inlays in blades) are embossing on the handles and scabbards.
I agree with your classification of this saber. It's polish-hungarian as a whole. Karabela's influence is visible in turkish-style crossguard. Almond shaped pommel is of hungarian origin. So is the grip. Such grips and pommels were typical of polish-hungarian type IIIa saber. Blade on other hand is "borrowed" from polish-hungarian type IIIb (so called cossack saber). Interesting hybrid.
Shape of inscriptions on the blade is historically inaccurate. And it's really odd when compared with other works of Mr. Sarniak. I suspect that those inscriptions were made by the previous owner. It would be best if You could remove them.
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