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Michael F.




Location: Vermont
Joined: 27 Mar 2005
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Sun 03 Apr, 2005 2:25 pm    Post subject: Cutting targets- Saplings?         Reply with quote

Hi everyone, I have just started cutting routines with my valiant armoury war sword (it stinks). I have heard all sorts of cutting target ideas; tatami mats, newspaper, pool noodles, german pipe, meat, bottles, ect. I was wondering in the woods with my sword and came across a huge batch of sumacs, now, I have a really high respect for nature, and love walking in the middle of nowhere, but I couldn't resist Big Grin . I made about 15 cuts, most of which were pretty nice. I was wondering if soft young saplings are alright to cut. I've heard constantly in every sword safety section, "never ever hit a tree with your sword", now, before i knew that (stupid me), or anything else about good swords, I started hacking into a 4'' thick tree with my really cheap $42 fantasy sword. After a month or so, the centimeter thick tang broke.

Is it ok for your sword to cut soft saplings like sumacs?

I might start growing them just for cutting practice. Big Grin.

Feel free to share your thought....I have a 40' by 20' area in my woods full of saplings with my name on it. Big Grin

-Michael F.

"Tis but a scratch.....A scratch? your arm's off!"-- Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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G. Scott H.




Location: Arizona, USA
Joined: 22 Feb 2005

Posts: 410

PostPosted: Sun 03 Apr, 2005 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael, as a fellow newbie to the world of swords, I'm certainly no expert, but I have read enough in the last few months to form what I believe to be a fairly sound opinion. Swords were designed as anti-personnel devices. Consider that no part of the human body is as hard as a thick tree branch. Even live bone tissue is fairly soft in relation to a branch. Bone is hollow; whereas, tree branches are solid and very fibrous. Even if you lived 600 years ago, and were fighting against somebody in maille, that maille would be padded by the soft human tissue underneath. You may in fact be able to get away with hacking at branches ocassionaly with a very heavy-duty sword (such as an albion or Atrim), but I certainly don't think there's anything to recommend them as everyday targets.
I would personally suggest that you stick with the other targets you mentioned. They are far more suitable for cutting practice.

Just my two cents,

Scott Happy

P.S. Having been born and raised in the Phoenix area, my experience with trees is fairly limited Laughing Out Loud , so I don't know how soft a sumac sapling is. I can only say that as a general rule, hacking at trees with a sword is frowned upon. Happy
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Alina Boyden





Joined: 19 Apr 2004

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Posts: 383

PostPosted: Sun 03 Apr, 2005 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

G. Scott H. wrote:
Michael, as a fellow newbie to the world of swords, I'm certainly no expert, but I have read enough in the last few months to form what I believe to be a fairly sound opinion. Swords were designed as anti-personnel devices. Consider that no part of the human body is as hard as a thick tree branch. Even live bone tissue is fairly soft in relation to a branch. Bone is hollow; whereas, tree branches are solid and very fibrous. Even if you lived 600 years ago, and were fighting against somebody in maille, that maille would be padded by the soft human tissue underneath. You may in fact be able to get away with hacking at branches ocassionaly with a very heavy-duty sword (such as an albion or Atrim), but I certainly don't think there's anything to recommend them as everyday targets.
I would personally suggest that you stick with the other targets you mentioned. They are far more suitable for cutting practice.

Just my two cents,

Scott Happy

P.S. Having been born and raised in the Phoenix area, my experience with trees is fairly limited Laughing Out Loud , so I don't know how soft a sumac sapling is. I can only say that as a general rule, hacking at trees with a sword is frowned upon. Happy


I agree with your post Scott except I need to mention that bones aren't hollow. They are in fact filled with spongy tissue. But you're right, wood doesn't accurately simulate the hardness of bone.
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G. Scott H.




Location: Arizona, USA
Joined: 22 Feb 2005

Posts: 410

PostPosted: Sun 03 Apr, 2005 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I agree with your post Scott except I need to mention that bones aren't hollow. They are in fact filled with spongy tissue. But you're right, wood doesn't accurately simulate the hardness of bone.


Alina, you're right. I should have said that bones are not solid, hard material all the way through. Happy
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,417

PostPosted: Sun 03 Apr, 2005 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not an expert by a long short, but I think small enough sapling and a decent sword, then you're in for no harm. Just make sure to clean up your blade when you are done.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Apr, 2005 9:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A sword is not an axe, as your first experience should show you.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Aaron Schnatterly




Location: New Glarus, WI
Joined: 16 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Apr, 2005 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've had to resharpen a machete after cutting a bunch of saplings. It's made for hacking saplings, and it still took a beating.

I'm thinking I'll pass...

My $0.02 worth.

-Aaron Schnatterly
_______________

Fortior Qui Se Vincit
(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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Alina Boyden





Joined: 19 Apr 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 03 Apr, 2005 10:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Schnatterly wrote:
I've had to resharpen a machete after cutting a bunch of saplings. It's made for hacking saplings, and it still took a beating.

I'm thinking I'll pass...

My $0.02 worth.


Yeah those plants can do a surprising amount of dulling to a blade - even one as axe like as a machete.

Though I was clearing brush with a machete one time and wasn't paying attention. I took off a big chunk of my leg with it, so it couldn't have been that dull.
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Michael F.




Location: Vermont
Joined: 27 Mar 2005
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2005 3:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks everyone, I'm never going to do that again! Suprisingly, The blade of my sword was not knicked or dulled, and it isnt as sharp as a proper sword should be. Now that I know this, I'll never hack into any tree, especially with those cheap valiant armoury swords. I was dumb enough to buy one, It is true that buying cheap things will cost more in the end! I'm going for an albion, and for now, I'll use the newspaper.

I tried to use the newspaper last night, I soaked it over night, I can make really good cuts with saplings, but not with newspaper.

If anyone could give me some pointers on how to cut properly, (or how long to soak the newspaper), that would be great.

Thanks!,
Michael F.

"Tis but a scratch.....A scratch? your arm's off!"-- Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
Joined: 04 Dec 2003

Posts: 288

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2005 4:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just split some firewood with my CS grosse messer. It made short work of all the logs (up to 6,5 inch diameter) but the pommel came loose. Maybe I'll buy an Albion knecht to chop wood with. Big Grin
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,417

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2005 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BTW not sure what you mean you were chopping, but Sumac is considered to be much like poison ivy in the US. Could make itching quite a hobby for you if you go cutting it again. Unless its a different plant you are referring to.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Joel Whitmore




Location: Simmesport, LA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 342

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2005 11:35 am    Post subject: I have cut saplings before.         Reply with quote

I used my Atrim Type XIIa to cut a whole batch of them. I don't encourage this and I think it largely depends on teh type of sapling you cut. Different woods have different characteristics. All of my cutting was done in the spring when wood tends to be a little softer. I don't know what kind of tree a sumac is ( I am in Louisiana) but I went after Box elders about 1" to 4" in diameter. After about 150 saplings I did manage to crack the handle on the Type XIIa. I didn't experience much scratching but the sword did dull a bit. Now once again, I don't recommend this for cutting practice, but I have to admit I have done it. I have some pics somewhere I'll see if I can find them. I did post quite a few on SFI ( a place I don't visit anymore) so I will see if I can find the thread.

Joel


P.S. My school has the SFI site blocked. Bummer.
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G. Scott H.




Location: Arizona, USA
Joined: 22 Feb 2005

Posts: 410

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2005 12:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael F. wrote:
Now that I know this, I'll never hack into any tree, especially with those cheap valiant armoury swords. I was dumb enough to buy one,


Take it easy on yourself, my friend. Happy You were not dumb to buy a Valiant, just uninformed. The same thing goes for chopping trees: they looked like good targets, so you went for it. That is why forums like this exist: to educate people about swords. Cool Happy

Take care,

Scott Happy

edit

P.S. My main concern about cutting with a Valiant is that their tangs terminate in a VERY skinny little threaded rod, onto which the pommel is threaded. Eek! This looks like a frighteningly weak spot to me. Just be careful! Happy
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Michael F.




Location: Vermont
Joined: 27 Mar 2005
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2005 6:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the notice about the tangs! Just after I read it I said to myself, "i'm not going to use my sword funtionally anymore". About an hour later, I picked it up, tapped it a little on the blade to find the CoP and the pommel just twisted off!!! I was so furious and mad at myself. apparently, it was on it's last legs, the whole hilt assembly is actually just this; slide of everything and superglue it together. My only sword! gone, gone. Cry. The partially good news it that I had the idea of glueing it back on. I know this was probably dumb, but I went out and found one of the strongest epoxies you can buy. I carefully glued it, and it's probably just as strong as it was before! the only way i'm going to use it now is just to walk around the house with, maybe swing it (just a little) and keep it on display. the glue said it holds up to 1500 lbs, so i think it'll hold a 2lbs pommel.

I should have known not to buy something cheap.

After this incident, my parents have finally accepted my decision to buy a sempach, (after i save up a little bit more).

I'm sure this time, that my next sword will actually have some care put into it. Happy

Thanks,
-Michael F.

"Tis but a scratch.....A scratch? your arm's off!"-- Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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Aaron Schnatterly




Location: New Glarus, WI
Joined: 16 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2005 7:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael F. wrote:
I carefully glued it, and it's probably just as strong as it was before! the only way i'm going to use it now is just to walk around the house with, maybe swing it (just a little) and keep it on display. the glue said it holds up to 1500 lbs, so i think it'll hold a 2lbs pommel.


Whoa... time out!

The glue is reported to be able to hold a STATIC 1500 lbs. This isn't a guarantee that it would even begin to hold up to the shearing or torsional forces developed in even light swinging or form work. It'll hold as a display piece well enough, I'm sure - just don't want to see something bad happen. I've had a sword break in reenactment use. It actually just stress-fractured along the shoulder, and nearly broke. Still scared the hell out of me. The epoxy fails, and the blade could launch like an arrow.

On the other hand... good choice on the next piece. The Sempach should be pretty sweet.

-Aaron Schnatterly
_______________

Fortior Qui Se Vincit
(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hang that "sword" on the wall and forget about it. Under no circumstances should you swing it around, even a "little". Sword's are not held together by epoxy for a good reason, it doesn't work.

Before you spend a considerable amount of money on a sword I would strongly suggest that you spend a bit of it on books. Buy a few of the books by Ewart Oakeshott, as well as a few books on swordsmanship (available from Chivalry Bookshelf and others). Also spend some time reading the articles in our features section.

Spend some time educating yourself because knowledge is power. Learn what a sword is and isn't, what it can and cannot do. Learn that it's not a toy, it's a weapon. Learn to treat it with the respect it deserves. Then go buy a sword. This process will help you avoid costly and potentially unhealthy mistakes.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Michael F.




Location: Vermont
Joined: 27 Mar 2005
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2005 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the help patrick. I was thinking about that myself. I am debating on saving up for a sempach, or buying the books and taking around $100 to buy them. I'll probably borrow one from the library. I was wondering if you could throw out some suggestions on any good arms & armour books it would be highly appreciated. I have total respect for swords, but the only one's i've had were really bad. Sad Sorry if I gave you the impression that I would try and use my sword funtionally again, it's hanging on display with it's sheath in my room. Happy.

I wish i could get the money for an albion.......stupid child labor Laws...


-Michael F.

"Tis but a scratch.....A scratch? your arm's off!"-- Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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Allen W





Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2005 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually a great many Indian Tulwars were held together only with epoxy and as far as cutting saplings goes it can be a very effective cutting exercise if you know what you are doing. That said never drive a sword into something without knowing that you can cut cleanly through it. A sword that becomes wedged is very easily damaged and the risk becomes greater as the blade becomes longer, narrower or thinner (a sempach would probably be a terrible candidate in spite of the quality of its construction). I usually only use very short swords like Qamas, kindjals and khyber knives on wooden targets because their relative rigidity prevents my twisting the blade if it sticks but a thin enough soft enough sapling should be safe for a longer cutting sword. Just experiment wit the smaller/stouter/cheaper stuff first to develope a comparative scale of what you can easily sever. Start slowly and work your way up through varying grades of resistance while perfecting your form(preferably on pool noodles or thin cardboard tubes first) and keeping in mind that you never want to discover what a good sword can't cut through.

Patrick is right about the literature. I would start with Oakeshott's Archeology of Weapons.
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B. Stark
Industry Professional



Location: ORYGUN
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2005 4:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cutting saplings isn't something I'd recommend as a normal practice, especially with a "good" sword let alone with a sword of questional durability. I personally have cut very green alder saplings though with a diameter of 1" or a little over. Never anything thicker than that. Primarliy I didn't want to risk torquing the blade and putting a set in it, secondly it would really prove nothing about the swords cutting ability you couldn't already learn from other mediums or saplings of small (1") diameter. I wouldn't recommend cutting late summer, fall or winter wood. Most of these were sharpened DT's. Springtimes best if you must, but probably shouldn't. Black Berry briars make an interesting challenge, and they can bight back!

Conscientiousness is the key as wells as critical judgement. I never damaged a sword cutting in the above manner. The only time that happened was against an alfalfa bale Blush . Long story, anyways that's my experience.

"Wyrd bi∂ ful aręd"

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?

Patrick Henry
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Douglas G.





Joined: 30 Mar 2004

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2005 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have gone after young Vine Maples in my back yard with a couple of different swords.
First with a Del Tin Dark Ages sword using single handed downward strokes that made
better progress then I ever got with a machete doing the same. The edge was slightly
dulled and a few passes with a stone saw that right. Then I tried my Regent with two
hands and at first was non plussed, then I found the sweet spot for Vine Maple on the
blade and made very short work of them, the blade no worse for the wear. Having said
that there is really no practicality to yard work with a sword, you still have the stubs and
roots to dig out.

Best,
Doug
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