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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Oct, 2020 3:53 pm    Post subject: Most effective Oakeshott cutting blade? X or XIII?         Reply with quote

I've read the X and XIII types were dedicated cutting blades, more or less. Is one more effective than the other, in terms of single handed swords?
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Houston P.




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Oct, 2020 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Spenser,
I would say that even within individual blade types there is still quite a bit of variation between individual swords, so this is going to be very general. It would also depend what you are cutting. Thinner swords generally cut better, but are more likely to be damaged by hard targets, for example. Both of these types seem to be predominately designed for lightly armored opponents, so they do essentially the same thing. They did exist side by side, after all. I would say that the XIII blades I have seen tend to be a bit more broad, so I imagine they would have slightly more cutting power, and this has been true of the ones I have handled, but I haven’t really noticed a substantial difference between them. I haven’t been able to cut with a type XIII, but the type Xs that I have cut with cut extremely well.
Hope this helps.

...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬)
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Oct, 2020 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, they are both optimized for cutting, although any sword with a sharp tip will stab as well, just as most swords specialized for thrusting can cut as well.

The difference is in more subtle levels of specialization. Supposing that you have an X and XIII(b) that are otherwise identical (length, width, thickness, and lenticular cross section) the difference is that the XIII has more mass on the blade. The long wide fuller on the X removes a lot of mass. This is optimal for quick slashes against lighter targets. The short narrow fuller on the XIII removes less mass. This is optimal for cutting heavier targets.

Now lets stop assuming that all else is equal. Further specializations (wider blades on some XIIIb swords, longer blades and handles on XIIIa) provide further innovations to increase impact and cutting power. Some XIII blades were surprisingly thin toward the tip; not as robust but ideal for slicing, like a great long kitchen knife.

It helps to consider this in historical context:

Considering that X variants were predominant from the dark ages until high medieval times, whereas XIII variants emerged in the 13th century, the assumption is that XIII was an innovation to face heavier armor. The heavier weight-to-thickness ratio would at least provide more blunt force trauma against an armoured opponent, while remaining devastating against the unfortunates who could not afford good armour. Later XIIIs merged into types with hexagonal cross section, presumably to preserve most of the cutting ability but give tougher chisel-like edges against armour.

Its interesting that the development of the XIII type was closely followed and paralleled by more stiff pointy types like XV, suggesting to divergent strategies against tougher armor: either beat your opponent down with a heavy cutter vs. poke them in armor gaps. For a while in late medieval times the pointy types seem to have taken precedence, but cutters remained popular in places where armor was less common and came back in force as armour went out of use, for example in British broadswords.

(Most of that is accepted wisdom, some my own opinions).
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 31 Oct, 2020 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Effective cutting is a bit complicated...

I have to say that, although my own Type X is, in fact, a great cutter, it's not that easy to cut with it.
It is quite flexible and therefore quite particular about hitting at the CoP. It also needs really good edge alignment.

If I compare my Type X to e.g. a cutlass, then the cutlass is definately easier to cut with.

But yeah, the Type X comes in a lot of different varieties, all have an impact on cutting properties.
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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Sat 31 Oct, 2020 11:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for your excellent responses. Having not handled these swords before, it's difficult to be sure I'm fully understanding what I've read. Would you folks say that because the variation between the individual type X blades or the type XIII blades can come into play, that overall, there isn't that much difference in the cutting performance between these two types?

I was also thinking about how you've pointed out that the difference in fuller could be one of the major factors in difference, and I do wonder if some of the La Tene swords could have performed similarly to the XIII types? I've attached an image of the type of La Tene sword I am thinking about in this comparison - near parallel sides, no fuller, rounded tip.

Thank you



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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Nov, 2020 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe this is more suited for the off-topic section, but the way I see it, the cutting ability of a sword depends on a couple of things:

Mechanical properties
- Weight
- Speed with which the blade hits the target
- Distance between the hand and the centre of percussion (CoP)

Penetration capability:
- Angle of the edge (the part that initially touches the target and penetrates)
- Angle of the blade (thickness / width) (the part that has to go all the way through the target)

In an imperfect world, we also need to consider:
- Flexibility, which will influence how effective cuts outside the CoP are. If you hit always exactly at the CoP, then it doesn't matter, but too much flexibility will punish heavy hits to e.g. the tip area.
- Edge alignment, although that also has a lot to do with hilt / grip design.

Finally we need to consider draw cuts, where the edge is drawn over the target rather than just pushing straight through it. Draw cuts are easier and more natural to achieve with curved blades.

So if we consider the differences between Type X and XIII, assuming both blades are equally long, wide and thick, then the XIII has a shorter and narrower fuller, which makes the blade heavier (and therefore comparatively slower) but also stiffer. As such I would assume it'd do better in off-CoP cuts but at the expense of speed. Therefore it may be better suited for cavalry than for infantry and it would be worse in a duelling situation.

But the assumption that both blades are equally long, wide and thick is very simplistic. Most XIII's are quite a bit longer than most X's and also a bit narrower.
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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Nov, 2020 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you so much Paul! that clears things up for me a bit.

I guess it boils down to being a long time sword reader but not a long time sword user.

I've test cut a bit before and I love it, but I don't own a sword. I'm drawn to cutting swords because my purpose or goal is target cutting, and I would like a sword with a rounded tip as I have no intention of using it to stab anything and would like to minimize the chance of getting caught on a point.
So type X or XIII/XIIIb (I don't really enjoy using two handed swords) look to be the two main types I'm considering.

I'm also considering a roman spatha like blade, although perhaps the type X or XIII would be better suited to my needs.
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Nov, 2020 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Spenser T. wrote:
Thank you so much Paul! that clears things up for me a bit.

I guess it boils down to being a long time sword reader but not a long time sword user.

I've test cut a bit before and I love it, but I don't own a sword. I'm drawn to cutting swords because my purpose or goal is target cutting, and I would like a sword with a rounded tip as I have no intention of using it to stab anything and would like to minimize the chance of getting caught on a point.
So type X or XIII/XIIIb (I don't really enjoy using two handed swords) look to be the two main types I'm considering.

I'm also considering a roman spatha like blade, although perhaps the type X or XIII would be better suited to my needs.


If you want something that cuts well but is also dirt cheap, I recommend the Coldsteel Cutlass Machete. The steel isn't great, the handle kinda sucks, but for about $40 you can't go wrong, and you can also destroy the blade without destroying your wallet... It's the blade I cut most often with, because I just don't have to worry about any possible damage.

As targets I recommend pool noodles and plastic bottles / milk jugs. Neither are likely to damage your blade. The latter may, however, scratch your blade.

By the way, despite it's rounded point, and despite the fact that the movement doesn't feel really natural, my Type X is a pretty good stabber!
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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Nov, 2020 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the tips!

Have you tried cutting with roman era... antiquity sword types, like a spatha? if so is it comparable to the X?

Am I correct in assuming that type X or XIIIb are the types to consider?
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Houston P.




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Nov, 2020 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would say that the Roman swords are fairly similar, but I do find later swords to be a bit easier to cut with. I distinctly remember the spathae that I tried felt somewhat awkward at first, but that may just be because I am so used to later swords. I am curious as to why you are focused on type X and XIII blades specifically? Are you trying to find a good arming sword to get you started in cutting? I ask because type XIIs are also lovely cutters, as are type XIVs, and many type XVIIIs. If you just want a really good arming sword to get you started, there’s really no reason to limit yourself that much, aside from personal preference.
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬)
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Joe Maccarrone




Location: Burien, WA USA
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Nov, 2020 11:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Spenser T. wrote:
I would like a sword with a rounded tip as I have no intention of using it to stab anything

By the way, despite it's rounded point, and despite the fact that the movement doesn't feel really natural, my Type X is a pretty good stabber!


Yes -- bear in mind that type X or XIII swords with thin, sharp, rounded tips can thrust very well into relatively soft targets. This was proven to me years ago while cutting with Angus Trim at his shop. Gus had a large plastic barrel filled loosely with steel shavings, and such rounded points stabbed deep into the barrel like butter...They simply cut their way through.
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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Nov, 2020 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,

Thanks for the advice! and for sharing your experience with the spatha.

I am particularly interested in X and XIII because interested in the most specialized cutting designs, and because I'd like a sword with a rounded tip. I'd also like a sword that isn't too long. From what I've read, these types are the ones that meet my criteria, however, some other types may as well.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Nov, 2020 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Spenser T. wrote:
Hi,

Thanks for the advice! and for sharing your experience with the spatha.

I am particularly interested in X and XIII because I am interested in the most specialized cutting designs, and because I'd like a sword with a rounded tip. I'd also like a sword that isn't too long. From what I've read, these types are the ones that meet my criteria, however, some other types may as well.

You can find 2/3 or 3/4 scale versions of many of the types in Oakeshott's typology, the thinking is that they were probably convenient weapons for walking and riding. He talks about these small swords in The Sword in the Age of Chivalry.

How well a sword cuts also depends on how you want to cut and what you want to cut through. If there was one best cutting tool for all purposes, we would not have both cleavers and paring knives and both hatchets and sickles!

www.bookandsword.com
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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Nov, 2020 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Having taken into consideration the advice I got here (thanks to all of you) I began exploring what's out there.
Type XIIIb was what I decided I'd like, of course, there doesn't seem to be many on the market.
After hours drooling over Albion's catalogue, the swords that stand out to me are the hospitaller, the decurio, and the bayeux. In the much more realistic price range, the celtic longsword blade and the riding sword blade both look great.

Does anyone have experiences with these swords or similar ones?
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2020 7:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Spenser T. wrote:
Having taken into consideration the advice I got here (thanks to all of you) I began exploring what's out there.
Type XIIIb was what I decided I'd like, of course, there doesn't seem to be many on the market.
After hours drooling over Albion's catalogue, the swords that stand out to me are the hospitaller, the decurio, and the bayeux. In the much more realistic price range, the celtic longsword blade and the riding sword blade both look great.

Does anyone have experiences with these swords or similar ones?


I also like XIIIb swords. The bigger ones are just about as brutal cutters as you can hold with one hand. As you say, they are not that common in today's Market. These are the ones I know:

- Albion Tritonia: I have this one. Its big and heavy, but very well balanced for its size.
- Arms and Armor Grunwald Sword. I have not held this one, but its smaller and lighter. Also half the price. Should be good.
- Sometimes ATrim makes them. I saw a second-hand one for sale recently, forget if it was here or SBG.

Since I like them, I had a couple made custom by A&A. One has a Scottish Style hilt, which I still have. The other was based on some German-Hungarian swords and was even bigger than Tritonia. I sold that one.
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Spenser T.




Location: Vancouver, Canada
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2020 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Spenser T. wrote:
Having taken into consideration the advice I got here (thanks to all of you) I began exploring what's out there.
Type XIIIb was what I decided I'd like, of course, there doesn't seem to be many on the market.
After hours drooling over Albion's catalogue, the swords that stand out to me are the hospitaller, the decurio, and the bayeux. In the much more realistic price range, the celtic longsword blade and the riding sword blade both look great.

Does anyone have experiences with these swords or similar ones?


I also like XIIIb swords. The bigger ones are just about as brutal cutters as you can hold with one hand. As you say, they are not that common in today's Market. These are the ones I know:

- Albion Tritonia: I have this one. Its big and heavy, but very well balanced for its size.
- Arms and Armor Grunwald Sword. I have not held this one, but its smaller and lighter. Also half the price. Should be good.
- Sometimes ATrim makes them. I saw a second-hand one for sale recently, forget if it was here or SBG.

Since I like them, I had a couple made custom by A&A. One has a Scottish Style hilt, which I still have. The other was based on some German-Hungarian swords and was even bigger than Tritonia. I sold that one.


Thanks! I actually missed the Grunwald. Really don't like the hilt furniture on it but it's great to know it's an option.

Could you show me pictures of your XIIIb?
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Nov, 2020 6:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are my threads on the XIIIb customs, with pictures:

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=27639

myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=34059
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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Nov, 2020 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Here are my threads on the XIIIb customs, with pictures:

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=27639

myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=34059


Everything about that blade is pretty much perfect, fuller halfway up the blade, flat lenticular sectioning past that, just amazing. I love the plain, flat cross-guard. The pommel shape is beautiful, though I'm personally drawn to the plain round disc pommel.
It's over 3 and a half pounds though, I'm intrigued by the (perhaps it's rather romanticized?) idea of the light-weight sword. How do you find it despite the weight?

I wish there were more offerings for blades like that one on the market. Thank you for the link.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2020 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Spenser.

That 'Sexy Beast' certainly was a beast to handle (It's been sold for some time). I could just barely handled it when I got it, but I'm not sure I could do it now. I'm 57 and my joints aren't what they used to be.

PS - an Angus Trim XIIIb just arrived at KoH. Maybe just the thing for you.

(Although I find shipping and customs from KoH to Canada to be very high for some reason.)
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2020 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any thoughts in XVIIIc? I watched that video Skallagrim made reviewing albion's Principe and i was amazed by it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH250Hvkw5c

He says that`s the best sword for cutting he knows. And I think that's curious because I always thought the whole cutting vs. thrusting potential was pretty much a zero-sum thing.

But for some reason it wasn`t really popular, given the surviving pieces we have.

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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