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Nathan A.




Location: Near Seattle, WA
Joined: 11 Feb 2017

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 29 Mar, 2017 11:42 am    Post subject: Saber Questions         Reply with quote

Since this is my first post, hello to everyone.

Last year I attended a workshop with Richard Marsden, which got me interested in Polish Saber and sabers in general. Eventually I may try to make one, or at least some approximation of one.

I have questions about the cross guard. Generally, the guard extends in two fingers out forward, parallel to the blade, and also back over the grip. I know this is the case in other sabers types as well. Is there a functional reason for this? It seems like a really basic question, but I haven't found an answer yet.

Also, any leads on technical information regarding guard construction and mounting would be much appreciated. Particularly I want to get some understanding of how the guards were fabricated historically.

Thanks.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,494

PostPosted: Thu 30 Mar, 2017 8:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Saber Questions         Reply with quote

Nathan A. wrote:
I have questions about the cross guard. Generally, the guard extends in two fingers out forward, parallel to the blade, and also back over the grip. I know this is the case in other sabers types as well. Is there a functional reason for this?


The "fingers" that extend over the blade (i.e., langets) are functional. They help hold the blade securely in the scabbard without rattling, without needed the scabbard mouth to be tight about the blade.

The "fingers" that extend over the grip ("anti-langets"?) are sometimes functional. They help hold the guard securely. If you look at shamshir hilts, you'll often see wire binding over these "fingers". Kaskara guards are also similarly bound to the grip. On some sabres with this kind of guard, the guard doesn't actually touch the blade - the blade is fixed to the grip, and then the guard sits over the grip, and is secured by wrapping over these "fingers" (which are also usually inset into the grip surface).

Sometimes, these fingers over the grip are probably just decorative, since the guard is securely attached to the blade and can't move (and the grip is securely attached, too).

"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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Nathan A.




Location: Near Seattle, WA
Joined: 11 Feb 2017

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri 31 Mar, 2017 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the information. I find it interesting that some guards were not mounted in contact with the blade. I had just assumed that they were held between the grip core and the shoulders of the blade, like on a longsword. Would a floated guard be more likely on a karabela than on a hussar type, I wonder?

Itís funny--I have a book that probably has the answer, but I canít read it though, since it is in Polish!
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,494

PostPosted: Fri 31 Mar, 2017 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only European examples I've seen have been in contact with the blade, pressed between the grip core and shoulders of the blade. Western European mameluke guards, so quite modern.

Asian ones are often "floating". An example:

From https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/antique-karabela-shamshir-crossguard-132381463
Note that on these swords, the blade is usually glued into the hilt with resin or similar. Any space between the main body of the guard and the blade past the end of the grip will be filled with that resin. Heat the resin, and it softens, so it's very easy to re-hilt blades. This is likely a major reason for the floating guards - you make the grip and guard as one unit, and swap blades when you want. Enough space between guard and blade so that you can fit almost any blade you're likely to want without having to modify the guard is useful.

Don't know about Eastern European ones.

"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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