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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan, 2006 9:46 am    Post subject: Evidence of gauntlet wear/abrasion?         Reply with quote

Hey folks,
I recently got my first pair of gauntlets. It quickly became obvious that there would be contact between gauntlets and guard and pommel. Is there evidence of gauntlets scuffing up sword guards or pommels on surviving antiques? Conversely, is there wear and tear caused by sword parts on surviving gauntlets?

Modern practitioners, what are your experiences with modern gauntlets and swords?

Happy

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Re: Evidence of gauntlet wear/abrasion?         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Modern practitioners, what are your experiences with modern gauntlets and swords?


I have found that the edge between the thumb and forefinger will rub and scar the leather wrap, and scratch underside the guard a little bit. This has never bothered me with my practice swords, though I don't really handle my nicer ones too much while wearing the gauntlets for this reason.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jan, 2006 3:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Evidence of gauntlet wear/abrasion?         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I have found that the edge between the thumb and forefinger will rub and scar the leather wrap, and scratch underside the guard a little bit. This has never bothered me with my practice swords, though I don't really handle my nicer ones too much while wearing the gauntlets for this reason.


Bill,
Thanks for the info. That's what I figured, too. I'm curious, though, if people who have studied original armour and swords in museums have seen evidence of one wearing the other. Seems to me that it'd be natural, but I don't think I've ever heard mention of it.

Happy

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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jan, 2006 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a couple of thoughts.

I would think that a "handshake grip" would help to hold the edge of the metacarpal away from the leather a bit. Of course, you would need a longer grip, but then hand-and-a-half swords kind of coincide with increased use of guantlets. This doesn't make a lot of sense, becasue if that were the real reason for the extended grip, why would the blades also be longer?

Also, I've found that even cheap leather will stay on a grip fairly well, until one spot gets loose. Then the whole leather wrap just seems to fall off in a matter of days. Maybe gauntlets are a major reason why most of the antique swords we see have restored grips.

Just the wild musings of one who has no experience with gauntlets; perhaps I should just go back to bed. Laughing Out Loud

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company


Last edited by Greyson Brown on Wed 11 Jan, 2006 1:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jan, 2006 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Evidence of gauntlet wear/abrasion?         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I'm curious, though, if people who have studied original armour and swords in museums have seen evidence of one wearing the other. Seems to me that it'd be natural, but I don't think I've ever heard mention of it.


I started wondering the same thing myself after I started wearing hourglass-styled gauntlets more often. It'd be a hard thing to find, I imagine, since so many people didn't wear gauntlets, or wore demi-gauntlets, not to mention the unfortunate degradation of the leather for so many surviving swords, and also the fact that Greyson brings up about replaced grips. Still, I'd be interested to find out if anyone has observed this.

On a related note, I don't believe that all gauntlets have this issue, but the hourglass style in particular seems to.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jan, 2006 4:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Evidence of gauntlet wear/abrasion?         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I started wondering the same thing myself after I started wearing hourglass-styled gauntlets more often. It'd be a hard thing to find, I imagine, since so many people didn't wear gauntlets, or wore demi-gauntlets, not to mention the unfortunate degradation of the leather for so many surviving swords, and also the fact that Greyson brings up about replaced grips. Still, I'd be interested to find out if anyone has observed this.

On a related note, I don't believe that all gauntlets have this issue, but the hourglass style in particular seems to.


I'd think some wear would have shown up on the underside of guards and and pommels, enough to make it worth mentioning in some book or other.

Bill, in regards to your hourglass gaunts, which part of the gaunt is causing the abrasion? Is it the index finger lame, thumb lame or the part of the metacarpal plate that covers the base of the thumb?

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jan, 2006 9:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Evidence of gauntlet wear/abrasion?         Reply with quote

The part of the metacarpal plate between the base of the thumb and the index finger.
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Michael P Smith





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With my new hourglass gaunts, I find that there is constant contact between the area of the thumb and forefinger and the guard and a little between the forefinger and gaurd. A LITTLE contact with the pommel.

FWIW, the gaurd seems to show no wear so far. There is a "bright" spot on the brass decoration that made contact, so I suspect that after prolonged use, the gaunt will show a bit of wear there.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2006 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's an interesting question. I wonder how often a given sword would actually have been used with gauntlets, though. Somebody might use the weapon in combat for how long and how often? Maybe that doesn't even matter, because if the weapon suffered any damage, that would be repaired before the next combat event, wouldn't it? Abrasions on the cross or pommel could be polished out. Grip leather or the whole grip could be replaced. So lots of swords we see in museums may have suffered this kind of damage throughout their working lives but were retired after their last refurbishing. And, of course, those wonderful Victorian collectors may have erased some evidence of this kind of damage. Archaeology might hold some answers, because broken, lost and discarded swords from battlefields wouldn't have been cleaned up again. Unfortunately, I would guess that these kinds of minor scars would be obliterated by rust.

There could be an interesting experimental archaeology project in all this--documenting what kind of marks the gauntlets leave and where they leave them, how length/frequency of use affects the permanence of the marks, how easily they're removed, etc.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Don Stanko




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2006 6:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Chad,
I have to say, your question got me curious so I looked at the swords I currently own. With medieval swords I would think gauntlet use would have been more common but with my surviving examples of medieval swords I see no abnormal wear of any kind. Of course I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. It would be nice for a modern re-enactor to scan them, maybe their eye could see something. I then looked at a Katzbalger I have, a little later than medieval but gauntlets may still have been worn. I didn't notice anything there either. And I didn't see any signs on a 16th century broadsword, 16th century semi-swepthilt or an early 17th century crabclaw broadsword (which still has the original leather grip which shows only superficial abrasion wear). Sorry I didn't have anything positive to report...
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