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Gordon Clark




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Nov, 2003 4:37 am    Post subject: Another sword geometry question         Reply with quote

The post on hollow grinding made me remember that I have been wondering about something else.
What is a reinforced point? Does the end section of the swords actually get thicker (distally) as you move toward the point?
Quite often in Records this is mentioned as a sword feature, but I don't recall seeing it advertised in a reproduction.
Do you guys know of any?

Gordon
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Blaz Berlec




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Nov, 2003 6:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
What is a reinforced point? Does the end section of the swords actually get thicker (distally) as you move toward the point?
Quite often in Records this is mentioned as a sword feature, but I don't recall seeing it advertised in a reproduction.
Do you guys know of any?


End section doesn't get "thicker", but it doesn't get as thin as in previous cutting types. If you have "Records" by Oakeshott, you can compare for instance XIIa and XVIa types - they're quite similar, but XIIa is primarily a cutter and therefore has flat lenticular or hexagonal tip section whereas XVIa type usually has stiff diamond cross section that doesn’t thin out so much towards the tip – and this reinforces it and makes it more suitable for thrusting. On the other hand it cuts a bit worse.

Well, it’s all explained in the book Happy

Blaz


Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
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Gordon Clark




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Nov, 2003 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well - that is not how I understood what he (Oakeshott) was saying.
Look at the XVIII with the fishtail pomel from the Wallace Collection (A.466) - its XVIII.8 maybe, don't have Records here.
I believe that description specifically mentions a 'reinforced point', and there are several other places (XVI's, XX's also, I think and others).

I thought that it meant something more specific than a diamond cross section.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Nov, 2003 3:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Another sword geometry question         Reply with quote

Gordon Clark wrote:
The post on hollow grinding made me remember that I have been wondering about something else.
What is a reinforced point? Does the end section of the swords actually get thicker (distally) as you move toward the point?
Quite often in Records this is mentioned as a sword feature, but I don't recall seeing it advertised in a reproduction.
Do you guys know of any?

Gordon


Yes,
the point actually gets thicker on blades with reinforced points. Not by much though. Just enough to make the last angle of the point blunter and thus structurally stronger(as it slopes down from the midrib to the very point).
It can be in the order of the thickness just before the reinforcement being about 2.3 mm going up to 3 mm (or 3.3 mm perhaps) some 15 to 25 mm before the point.

This is a feature found on blades that typically ends with a stout diamond cross section. Before the very end section they can be of hollowground, hexagonal (with or without fuller) or lenticular section with a fuller (like on some XVI swords).

On daggers or short thrusting weapons this reinforcement can be much more substantial. On ballock daggers the cross section can go from triangular with a ridge thickness of 5-6 mm to a diamond or square point that is 12 mm thick.
I guess it could be rather severe on some swords as well, but usually it does not take much to make a difference.

Sometimes blades are described as having a reinforced point without this thickening. That is an example of the usual confusion of terms in this field. What it traditionally means is that the thickness does increase. In modern cutlery indusrty (fighing knives, survival knives and so on...) "reinforced point" has become as meaningful an expression as "battle ready"...

If the midrib does not taper down too thin a reinforcement might not be necessary. It all depends, as usual... Big Grin

One of the tricky things in grinding a blade with an acute point is saving enough thickness at the very point. (Look for this when next examining a sword!) On a typical pointy longsword of say, type XVIIIa, the last few cm of the blade the width should diminish more rapidly than the thickness. This means the last 5 cm or so of the point will see a very drastic change of edge angle. This is not the easiest thing to do, often resulting in grinding that makes blades that are way too thin at the point.

On blades with wide point sections, like type XIII swords , the point *should* be very thin. It can be as thin as 1.2 mm down to 0.8 mm on some examples. These are originals in pristine condition. Not rusty or over-polished.
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Gordon Clark




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Nov, 2003 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Peter,

So for swords that do end in a diamond cross section - can you give me a general idea about what proportion of swords had such a point? Thanks!


Gordon
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Nov, 2003 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Clark wrote:
Thanks Peter,

So for swords that do end in a diamond cross section - can you give me a general idea about what proportion of swords had such a point? Thanks!


Gordon


Sorry, I can´t
You see it sometimes, but it is not so very common.
I know of a handfull I´ve seen. Most do not have this feature, but rely of on keeping the midrib thick enough so you do not need exta reinforcement. On daggers it is much more common. On some types it might be like 20%. (A wild guess!)
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Sat 29 Nov, 2003 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On blades with wide point sections, like type XIII swords , the point *should* be very thin. It can be as thin as 1.2 mm down to 0.8 mm on some examples. These are originals in pristine condition. Not rusty or over-polished.

Mr Johnsson
So, would that allow for better tip cutting with these swords (e.g. in a cavalry role)? Conversely, if the point is narrow, would tip cutting be more difficult/less efficient (would a type X or XIII be a better tip cutter than a type XV or XVI, in the hypothetical [maybe improbable] case of all other things being equal)?
Geoff
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Nov, 2003 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
On blades with wide point sections, like type XIII swords , the point *should* be very thin. It can be as thin as 1.2 mm down to 0.8 mm on some examples. These are originals in pristine condition. Not rusty or over-polished.

Mr Johnsson
So, would that allow for better tip cutting with these swords (e.g. in a cavalry role)? Conversely, if the point is narrow, would tip cutting be more difficult/less efficient (would a type X or XIII be a better tip cutter than a type XV or XVI, in the hypothetical [maybe improbable] case of all other things being equal)?
Geoff



Yes,
That is absolutely the case.
If a stiff narrow pointed sword is made to be a good tip cutter it would result in a strange compromize. You´d have to make the point thin and that would defeat its purpose. Both thin *and* narrow = weak. A thick square sectioned point would still be able to lacerate flesh without difficulty (like a tearing claw), but the narrow thrusting point is not made with slashing in mind. This is not taking rapiers into the discssion, that is a whole different matter. I am talking about those very narrow, awl shaped points typically found on "thrusty" 14th and 15th C. swords: type XV and XVII and some XVI and XVIII.

It is the opposite with the broad point found on cutting swords: it can easily penetrate unprotected targets in a thrust, but will, due to its thin section and the fact that it is the end of a blade that is usually rather flexible, rather yield than penetrate when thrust against padding or armour. These points are good for slashing, but is a logical result of the rest of the blade rather than an end in itself. Slashing with the point is always an option, but I feel it is seldom a primary tactic.
I am no swordsman though....

A X, XI, XIII will typically be better tip cutters than XV, XVI or XVII blades. Type XVIII blades come in variations. Some will have more thrust dedicated points, some will be more all purpose. You can generally tell from the outline of the blade: those with narrow points will have to be thick to be structurally sound, and those with broader point sections will normally be a bit thinner not to become too point heavy. It is only logical. From this comes a natural difference in function and use.


(...and guys, plese just call me Peter Happy )
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Blaz Berlec




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PostPosted: Sun 30 Nov, 2003 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, I stand corrected. Live and learn, they say. And Peter, you should definetly write that book. It would answer most of our questions on this forum - questions you are already so kindly answering! And together with your excellent sketches and maybe some photos and diagrams... Oh, daydreaming again...

Blaz


Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
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