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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 215

PostPosted: Tue 12 May, 2020 11:10 am    Post subject: Anyone sell a good cutlass blade blank?         Reply with quote

Hello again,

For a while I've been looking into assembling a cutlass appropriate to c. 1700. I've got a few designs in mind for which a hilt could be easily bought or made. It's harder to find a blade unless I want to disassemble a complete sword and wind up with more spare parts on hand, or try to acquire a custom one (not a path I prefer unless there's nothing decent on the readymade market).

So far I've only found one from Medieval Fight Club; the specs look good, but Timo mentioned in 2013 that their blades lacked distal taper, plus its fuller would be a little unusual for the period (looks to be modeled after a French 1833/U.S. 1860 type). Is there any else out there?
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Sherratt Pemberton




Location: New Zealand
Joined: 02 Aug 2017

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue 12 May, 2020 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Albion has a Jody Samson Cutlass bare blade that could be an option. No idea on the time period its based on or weight and weight distribution.

The other cutlass blank they have listed looks more like a sabre then a cutlass. Again unfortunately no information on the weight or weight distribution
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 371

PostPosted: Tue 12 May, 2020 6:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Dan,

I have much the same problem, although usually I'm looking for blades for early-seventeenth-century hangers. (They have some overlap with the c. 1700 cutlass blade that you want.) Usually I buy a complete sword (a cheap one, I fear) that has a suitable blade, and resign myself to having the unused hilt sit around. Very rarely I might have, or invent out of frustration, a project for which I can use one of these orphans.

But! I know that Del Tin will sell some of its blades unmounted. Whether that's true for all of their blades, and if so whether they have one that suits your needs, are other questions. If they will and they do, they'll have to ship from Italy, which may make this possibility more trouble than it's worth.

Also, I've heard that Windlass has a custom-sword service. If I understand correctly--which I grant I may not--it consists mostly of mounting their stock parts in combinations not available in their standard catalogue items, plus some small amount of handwork. If they do that, they may be willing to sell you an unmounted blade. The major disadvantage is that I believe (again, I could be wrong about this) that people using this service have to place their orders through the company's headquarters in India, and the weapons get shipped directly to the customers from there. I don't know whether that would still be true if they're just selling you a blade or two, but it's a point to keep in mind. I imagine you know that Windlass used to send some blades to Museum Replicas to be mounted in the Georgia shop, but now that Windlass owns MRL I don't know whether that's still true. It may be worth asking MRL to check their deadstock to see whether they have a suitable unmounted blade. I know, however, that they now try to keep their deadstock pared back, which wasn't true in the past.

As Windlass has a custom service, you may also want to check whether the other South Asian manufacturers--Deepeeka, Devil's Edge, and so forth--offer similar services, and to see whether you could get your blade from one of them. Likewise Hanwei, although I think they're less likely to be able to accommodate you.

Finally, Sherratt's suggestion is a good one, and I remember the cutlass blade that Albion offered. But I can no longer find the bare blades on Albion's site, and I don't know whether they still sell them to the public. No doubt somebody else here has a better idea than I do. I remember the Jody Samson cutlass blade, too, but I think that while it's beautiful it's a product of Jody's artistic sense and isn't closely based on any historical example.

I hope that this proves at least somewhat helpful, although I suspect that you probably already know and have already considered everything I've said here. I hope you do find something, because I'm eager to see what you'll make of it.

Best,

Mark Millman
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Steven Janus




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 12 Mar 2008

Posts: 187

PostPosted: Wed 13 May, 2020 5:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

https://castillearmory.com/

Castille Armory has a Cutlass blade for their fencing Cutlass. Though I don't see it listed under their bare blades section, I'm sure they could sell it to you separately. I've bought rapier and side swords from them before, they are amazing. Their blades are distal and profile tapered.

Newbie Sword collector
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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 215

PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2020 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi, sorry it's been a busy last few days.

Should've specified that I'm looking for a sharp or sharpenable blade rather than a fencing blunt.

I had forgotten about the Jody Samson blank. It looks like it could make a good 17th-century cutlass, depending on the specs. I'll contact them. The regular cutlass blade... would definitely need to be cut down by about six inches.

Contacting Windlass/AC also sounds like a good idea.

Thanks very much for all your suggestions!
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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 215

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 6:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay so, Medieval Fight Club confirmed their cutlass blank isn't distally tapered, Albion was only able to tell me they start with 1/4 inch stock, Atlanta Cutlery says they can't provide bare blades and Windlass never got back to me. I could get one from Kings Forge, but they're up in the BKS and Darkwood price range and that's a little more than I'm ready to spend on this project just yet.

One other thought: I've heard that cutlasses and hangers of this period were blade-heavy. Given a blade with the specs that that Medieval Fight Club lists, if I use a sufficiently heavy hilt and pommel, would that be enough to give the sword an appropriate balance for its type in spite of the lack of distal taper, or would the weight requirement to do that be so great that the whole sword would become very heavy (say, close to or over 3 pounds) by the time a good balance is achieved?

If that doesn't seem like it'd work, I'll move this to the back burner for now.
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 371

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Dan,

I think it's pretty likely that Albion's blade has an appropriate thickness taper, although you would have to take that a bit on faith.

I don't know whether it's among the possibilities available to you, but a number of members here--Sean Flynt and Matthew Amt in particular come to mind--have been able to shape blades using angle grinders, belt sanders, disc sanders, and the like. If you have access to any of these tools, you may be able to improve a mediocre blade or even greatly improve a poorly shaped one. I suspect that your skills, even if you have relatively little experience with these particular tools, are probably up to the task.

You say that you've heard that the weapons you're trying to recreate tend to be blade-heavy, but then you discuss using heavy fittings to bring the balance point back toward the hand. But if the extant examples are blade-heavy, wouldn't you want to avoid doing that? I guess I'm not sure what your goal is. Do you want to accurately reproduce an average period weapon or a high-quality one; or do you want to create a weapon that handles well by exacting modern standards while looking like a period piece?

Best,

Mark
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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 215

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adding distal taper is certainly a good idea. I've got an angle grinder and have shaped a few (mild steel) blades with it, though they've always wound up with slight grind marks and rippled surfaces.

I assume the claim that Golden Age of Piracy cutlasses were blade-heavy just means relative to other swords, not that they handled like sledgehammers. That doesn't tell us much, but taking a few others like Windlass' old Dutch cutlass and this one from ODF as examples, and bearing in mind that the MFC blade is shorter than either, let's say a reasonable balance and total weight would be no more than five inches from the guard at no more than two and a half pounds. I'll have to e-mail them again and ask what the blade's unmounted balance point is.

BTW, the design I currently have in mind is based on the sabres de borde and their derivatives shown about halfway down here. The heart-shaped or half-heart guard had a long lifespan with military swords.
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 371

PostPosted: Wed 27 May, 2020 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Dan,

Five inches at up to two-and-a-half pounds sounds pretty reasonable, but without details I had visions of a goal like two inches at less than two pounds, which seems both difficult to achieve and probably undesirable (although I know people who wouldn't surprise me by insisting on stats like those). But I'm not sure that, say, a seven-inch point of balance would be either unrealistic or necessarily an impediment to moderately decent handling, depending of course on the overall weight and the moment of rotational inertia. But basically, I'd think that brass mountings of average weight for their type would be sufficiently heavy to shift the balance point to at least a usable distance, and that you shouldn't need to seek out particularly heavy furniture--which is what I inferred, although it seems not to be what you meant to imply.

I've always liked those half-heart eighteenth-century guards.

Best,

Mark
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