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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2003 2:38 pm    Post subject: Albion NG Viking fullers and tangs         Reply with quote

First I would like to apologize for my poor English. Not using it nearly enough to become fluid in it :( Thanks for the spell check! Now to the buisness...

I have a question about Albion's Next Generation Viking blades:

How is the transition from blade shape to tang shape made? This transition is clearly seen on Gaddhjalt blade, where the fuller is narrower than the tang.

But it seems the transition is a bit different on other Viking blades with fullers almost wider than the tang.

Fuller ends much more abruptly, or it would be seen on the tang even more. And it seems to me that the blades are inset into the cross quite deeply, otherwise the fuller would weaken the tang too much. Below is my guess of the fuller length and shape of the blade inside the cross of Gotland sword. Green lines represent shape of surviving swords (as far as I know), and the red lines the shape that I think Albion blades have. Can we have some info on that, or maybe even a photo of a blade without the cross?

I don't know, blade with fuller that runs under the cross looks hm, great IMHO, but the engineering part of me screams "This is the weakest part of the blade, isn't there anything that can be done to strengthen it?"...



 Attachment: 23.65 KB
GADDHJtang.jpg
Gaddhjalt blade, fuller is narrow and it runs quite deeply into tang

 Attachment: 42.04 KB
gotland2.jpg
Gotland sword, my guess of blade & fuller shape inside the cross.
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Jason Dingledine
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2003 4:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Blaz,

The trasition is a bit different than that, but that is very similar to what actually happens. One of the key things to remember with these fullers is that while they are wide, they are also relatively speaking shallow in the absolute depth, compared to swords with thicker blades, and narrower fullers.

Peter designed these blades to copy many of the features he has found on historic swords, and he has had the opportunity to study many of them with the hilt components missing.

Rest assured that the fullers do not under-cut the strength of th tangs at all.

Jason Dingledine
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Eric McHugh
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2003 5:18 pm    Post subject: Ditto...         Reply with quote

Hi Blaz,

Like Jason said, the fuller is not quite like you depicted. The end of the fuller is arc'd and inset into the guard but it is well short of eating into the tang. This is a very common feature on Viking swords. You will rarely, if ever, see the fuller running into the tang on a Viking sword. You start seeing it on Late Viking/Post-Viking age swords like the Gaddjhalt. Then, it becomes a common feature in medieval swords. On some of these medieval swords, sometimes the fuller cuts quite far along the tang. But again, this is a very rare thing on a Viking sword. In fact, when you see historic Viking swords, it is striking (at least to me) how few are damaged near the hilt. The tangs and guards (when they are together) are almost always intact. So, as far as strength goes, I would lean on the side of not over-engineering the tangs (no slam to engineers intended Big Grin ) and going with what we know works. All of these swords are based off of actual examples in Europe (not just a few but hundreds).

Add to all of this the fact that Viking blades are much thinner than people often realize. They are not the brutish crowbars often depicted in movies. Rather, they are well structured butcher knives with fullers (and sometime without fullers). This fits into the Vikings' brand of warfare. They were not about finesse; they were about slashing the enemy to bits...gruesome but true. They made swords this way for hundreds of years for a reason: the design works! These blades, which our blades are based off of, are quite suited for the intended task. As a result, you can be certain that our Viking swords are just as sound.

I hope this helped to assuage any fears you may have. Let me assure you that the blades are sound. By-the-way, thanks for the question; it shows you are paying attention to what we are doing. That is a compliment.

Best,

Eric

Find me on Facebook, or check out my blog. Contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net if you want to talk about a commission or discuss an available piece.
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
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PostPosted: Wed 05 Nov, 2003 7:47 am    Post subject: Re: Ditto...         Reply with quote

Eric McHugh wrote:
Hi Blaz,

Like Jason said, the fuller is not quite like you depicted. The end of the fuller is arc'd and inset into the guard but it is well short of eating into the tang.

...

Add to all of this the fact that Viking blades are much thinner than people often realize.

...

I hope this helped to assuage any fears you may have. Let me assure you that the blades are sound. By-the-way, thanks for the question; it shows you are paying attention to what we are doing. That is a compliment.

Best,

Eric


Thank you for your quick reply!

I hope this doesn’t disappoint you, but I’m currently not in a financial position to afford a sword from your company. I just bought a relatively ugly Czech reenactment blunt for a bit less than 100 $. Although I would gladly exchange five or six such swords for one of your beauties, alas, my resources are limited. For the time being.

And I’m also waiting for the new Albion Next Next (Next?) Generation swords, which will be even more closely matched to their medieval originals, and for the same buck… Wink

I would still love to see a close-up of your NG Viking sword’s disassembled hilt. I don’t understand how a fuller can end before the tang begins, unless it’s squarely cut, and you tell me that that’s not the case. The other option is that the blade continues halfway or even more through the cross – is that it?

About the thickness of the blades – I don’t know much about that, since there is very little info in literature, except for short descriptions (like “blade is really thin”). There are some Viking swords measured at Björn Hellqvist’s page, but all are much lighter swords (around 2 lbs) than your NG bunch, and are ~5 mm thick at cross. That doesn’t seem too thin to me, I’ve seen large greatswords of this thickness…

Oh, and about complimenting your swords – I think there is no parallel in sword making business to what you’re doing! I think the whole market is enriched and educated by your recreations – buyers, you as sellers, competition and even nosy bystanders like me!
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Wed 05 Nov, 2003 8:22 am    Post subject: Re: Ditto...         Reply with quote

Eric McHugh wrote:
Hi Blaz,

Like Jason said, the fuller is not quite like you depicted. The end of the fuller is arc'd and inset into the guard but it is well short of eating into the tang. This is a very common feature on Viking swords. You will rarely, if ever, see the fuller running into the tang on a Viking sword. You start seeing it on Late Viking/Post-Viking age swords like the Gaddjhalt. Then, it becomes a common feature in medieval swords. On some of these medieval swords, sometimes the fuller cuts quite far along the tang. But again, this is a very rare thing on a Viking sword. In fact, when you see historic Viking swords, it is striking (at least to me) how few are damaged near the hilt. The tangs and guards (when they are together) are almost always intact. So, as far as strength goes, I would lean on the side of not over-engineering the tangs (no slam to engineers intended Big Grin ) and going with what we know works. All of these swords are based off of actual examples in Europe (not just a few but hundreds).

Add to all of this the fact that Viking blades are much thinner than people often realize. They are not the brutish crowbars often depicted in movies. Rather, they are well structured butcher knives with fullers (and sometime without fullers). This fits into the Vikings' brand of warfare. They were not about finesse; they were about slashing the enemy to bits...gruesome but true. They made swords this way for hundreds of years for a reason: the design works! These blades, which our blades are based off of, are quite suited for the intended task. As a result, you can be certain that our Viking swords are just as sound.

I hope this helped to assuage any fears you may have. Let me assure you that the blades are sound. By-the-way, thanks for the question; it shows you are paying attention to what we are doing. That is a compliment.

Best,

Eric


I think that worrying about how strong or tough these tangs are, is kind of pointless. In my rather arrogant point of view, I don't think I have many peers in understanding things like how harmonics works in a working sword...... However, Peter is one of them.......

Over the last twenty years, tang breakage has been a concern in heavy use. Most often, when folks discuss this, they mention inadequate heat treat as a reason for the breakage..........

That can be a factor, but most often it really has to do with geometry or "harmonics". In a fair world, most of the stresses a tang would receive would be right at the shoulder of the blade, or right where the tang enters the pommel. Many tang failures happen here.............. But there are an astounding number of tangs that fail an inch or more away from the shoulder....... When this happens, its my belief that harmonics is more the reason for the breakage than anything else.......

If a sword is not harmonically balanced, the forces enter the tang in an "unbalanced fashion" {can't think of an appropriate technical term}, and will resonate at the most prominent handle node {once known as the secondary node}. In a sword that isn't harmonically balanced, this can cause untimely failure, right at this node........

In a truly well balanced sword, the hilt won't likely be the point of failure, unless we're talking about a really small tang for a large blade, and in this case I think it would be very difficult to harmonically balance it anyways, as the tang is integral to the balancing of the sword........

Can a fuller affect a sword's ability to handle abuse? Yes, but should be a non-factor in the tang area, if the sword is properly balanced.....

I think it was a fella named Kevin Cashen that said that a maker can view another maker's work thru photos, if there are enough, and enough detailed, to get a fair idea of how the work will deal with real life situations.. It's my considered opinion that the PJ designed new generation stuff will perform very well at the cutting stand, and deal with a reasonable amount of abuse. This includes dealing with the "ARMA proof test" of smacking a helmet on a pole a few times........

Its also my considered opinion that these swords are a tremendous bargain at $544 that likely won't be seen again any time soon. At $680 they're underpriced for the effort going into them, and I suspect that down the road they'll be closer to $750.

As an interested member of the community {rather than that hated trouble making Northwestern sword fabricator}, I feel that any interested collector should probably get their name on the "list" sooner rather than later.......

Auld Dawg

swords are fun
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Blaz Berlec




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
“I think that worrying about how strong or tough these tangs are, is kind of pointless.”


Well, we the unlucky ones don't have the privilege of inspecting these swords in person, so all I can do is ask, right? And I apologize for sounding like I have second thoughts about strength and accuracy of Albion swords – I was wondering at the same time how the original Viking swords were made! I believe these reproductions can be much more informative than small b/w blurry photos of rusted swords in a book.

About the tang breakage – I have seen lots of catastrophic sword failures, since nearly all reenactors here (in Slovenia) parry with static edge blocks (well, it’s good for the show, right?) Wink. Mostly those have been swords from local smiths or cheap Czech blunts (sub 100$), but I have seen one or two Del Tins to break. Some swords have failed at middle of blade (some badly tempered local swords, and interestingly, Del Tins), but most have snapped at the beginning of tang or its end. I think the reason is not bad heat treatment, but rather bad “engineering” or design – transitions from blade to tang were 90 degrees sharp edges, and tangs ended in threaded rods, that were welded onto already heat treated tangs. It’s kind of miracle what can such badly designed swords endure.

And, hum, I always thought that the “node” is the point where the reflecting waves “cancel each other out” (elementary school physics)! So any vibration or “resonation” should be minimal right at the node, and the stresses are at minimum there, right? It just doesn’t seem logical to me for a sword to fail right there…

I have no doubt that Albion swords are strong enough to endure any sensible situation – they’re much better designed than swords made even for heavy edge on edge bashing. Well, smiths in past knew very well what they were doing, and I can only compliment Albion staff for sticking closely to the proven designs.

And yes, I agree that Albion swords are relatively inexpensive for what they offer. Sadly, I live on the other side of relativity theory – I don’t earn 500$ in a whole month’s work, and there are bills to pay and food to eat. Not to mention the drinks. Well, there’s always “later”.

And an off-topic question to you, Angus. I’m wandering about the “weird looking” Slovenian AT0015 (or DD1402), which allegedly started as a CNC programming error. Can you write something about that? I read somewhere on SFI that someone from Slovenia helped you name it, since he told you that we have many similar swords in our National Museum. I’m curious, since I know most of the swords in museum, and I’m not aware of any “group” of swords – except for the two “Sempach” type swords… Can you post a picture and write something about them?ž

Thanx for reply,

Blaz



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mec_ki_je_bil_zlomljen.jpg
Broken "Slovenian" sword, notice the sharp transitions at the base of the blade.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blaz Berlec wrote:
And an off-topic question to you, Angus. I’m wandering about the “weird looking” Slovenian AT0015 (or DD1402), which allegedly started as a CNC programming error. Can you write something about that? I read somewhere on SFI that someone from Slovenia helped you name it, since he told you that we have many similar swords in our National Museum. I’m curious, since I know most of the swords in museum, and I’m not aware of any “group” of swords – except for the two “Sempach” type swords… Can you post a picture and write something about them?ž
Blaz

This would be a great question for another topic.. go ahead and make one for it so we can keep this one on-topic. It's always easier for readers to find info if it's not all mixed together. I think.

Perhaps you could also start another toipc about your National Museum. I'm very interested in that.. particularly photos!

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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 1:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
This would be a great question for another topic.. go ahead and make one for it so we can keep this one on-topic. It's always easier for readers to find info if it's not all mixed together. I think.

Perhaps you could also start another topic about your National Museum. I'm very interested in that.. particularly photos!


OK, I was thinking about posting it in a separated topic too. Consider it done Happy I’m going to put it here, under “Makers and Manufacturers talk” since Angus Trim is one of those, I guess. Happy

Oh, and about our National Museum – you can go there and look at Egyptian mummy, Japanese Samurai armor and similar stuff, but you’ll look in vain for any Slovenian swords and armor – they’re ALL locked in a store room in some half abandoned building. Oh, but you can see full 16. century plate armor – in basement in a wall niche by the toilet room!

All the info I have on the swords from our museum comes from an old exhibition catalogue (made back in 1977, I think) and almost unobtainable book by Tomaz Nabergoj, published in 2001, about the 33 high and late medieval swords, found in river Ljubljanica (that flows through our capital city Ljubljana). This book has lots and lots of info – at end of book are detailed drawings of each sword and most complete measurements that I have ever seen (really, the only thing missing are more measurements of blade thickness to determine distal taper). Oh, and this mag. Tomaz Nabergoj has made a 2 part TV documentary here on our national TV called “Gladius” (name of the documentary, not our TV), which was basically TV version of his book. Very interesting show, with beautifully made shots of knighting ceremonies and weapon blessings (in medieval Latin)…

So, no photos for now, but I could scan some drawings from the book, I guess. And, by the way, I’m currently negotiating to be able to visit that store room and look at some swords, maybe even photo them, and I promise I will post full report here! If…!
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