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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2003 9:37 am    Post subject: Grip Length on Upcoming Albion Viking Swords         Reply with quote

I love the look of the new Albion Mark VIking swords. I think it must be time for me to finally add one of that type to my collection. I have a question for the Albion folks about the grip lengths. As I'm sure everyone on this forum knows, most, if not all Viking swords have very short grips. When you wield one, you typically have to somehow wrap your pinky finger around the pommel. There have been lots of arguments about the right way to hold these swords. Many modern makers have gotten around this problem by adding an inch or two to the grip length, which makes the sword more comfortable and easy to use, but ain't genuine.

So which way are you Albion people going to go with your new Viking swords? There are arguments in favor of both choices. Historical accuracy will be paramount for some customers. But if you make the grips short, some will find them frustrating swords to wield.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2003 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One interesting point concerning grip length can be found in Swords of the Viking Age by Ian Pierce.

Many of the photos in that book are done in a 1:1 scale, ie. real size. It's apparent from the photos that there was just as much variation in grip length as there was in any other aspect of sword production from this period. As a result, it's difficult to determine just what the "standard" grip length on a viking sword was. If there was indeed a standard to begin with.
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Jay Barron




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2003 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
One interesting point concerning grip length can be found in Swords of the Viking Age by Ian Pierce.

Many of the photos in that book are done in a 1:1 scale, ie. real size. It's apparent from the photos that there was just as much variation in grip length as there was in any other aspect of sword production from this period. As a result, it's difficult to determine just what the "standard" grip length on a viking sword was. If there was indeed a standard to begin with.


That brings up another question I have always wondered. How much input would a Viking have had on his swords? Would he have specified the grip length or would all the measurements been left up to the cutler and smith? Would most swords of the period be considered custom by our modern definition, or would they have been more like one off production pieces? Vikings often named their swords (and axes, spears, etc.), so I imagine they were prized posessions. But would a Viking even give a crap if he had a truly unique one of a kind sword? I know that those are the types of questions that probably can't be answered, but considering how much input a modern smith gives his or her customer it makes me curious.

Constant and true.
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Howard Waddell
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2003 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Grip Length on Upcoming Albion Viking Swords         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:


So which way are you Albion people going to go with your new Viking swords? There are arguments in favor of both choices. Historical accuracy will be paramount for some customers. But if you make the grips short, some will find them frustrating swords to wield.


Hi Guys!

Peter or Eric would be better able to answer this in detail -- but the grip length of each sword is calculated based on Peter's distribution formula, and that formula based on his observations of similar originals. In other words, not so much because of the exact grip length of a particular original, but what makes the sword "work" in the same way that a similar orignal would.

Just under 4" (or more precisely 10 cm according to Peter's research) seems to be the average maximum length, but even the longest of the grips on the originals seems to be around 4.25" -- not too short considering the average single hand Medieval sword grip length is around 4.25" to 4.5". We think that something just under the 4" mark will give us a grip both authentic to the originals and still comfortable for all but the largest-handed among us.

The proper gripping style does take some readjustment, but once you get used to it, it is very comfortable and just feels right with that style of sword.

Eric and Jason have been working on an illustrated "How to grip a Viking/Anglo-Saxon sword" piece to add to the site soon.

If Peter or Eric pop on they can feel free to expand, but that is my understanding.

Best,

Howy
Albion

Albion Swords Ltd
http://albion-swords.com
http://filmswords.com
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Eric McHugh
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2003 1:35 pm    Post subject: What Howy said...         Reply with quote

Howy summed it up well. In discussions with Peter, he explained that he tries to keep his Viking grips under 10 cm which is about 4" so we went with 4" for our Vikings.

As a Fiore student (albeit not a very serious student), I have to admit Viking swords are slightly difficult to grip. I think this is because we tend to incorporate later fighting techniques that where not used by the Vikings. Once you see these blades, it becomes clear that they were basically long butcher knives: wide and relatively thin in cross-section. Yes, you could thrust with them, but they are most effective with a slashing motion. So, when you grip the sword with the idea that you will be slashing, a tight grip is actually helpful.

In any event, we are trying satisfy the modern sword collector and at the same time maintain our commitment to historic accuracy. I think most people will find the grips to be comfortable.

Hope this helps.

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.


Last edited by Eric McHugh on Sat 23 Aug, 2003 6:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Amy Christensen-Waddell
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2003 1:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Grip Length on Upcoming Albion Viking Swords         Reply with quote

Howard Waddell wrote:

If Peter or Eric pop on they can feel free to expand, but that is my understanding.



If Peter pops on before Monday, that means he's surfing the web on his honeymoon... He'd be in so much hot water...

*chuckle*

Amy Waddell
President/CEO
Albion Swords Limited, LLC

I wrote to the FBI to see if they had a file on me. They wrote back, "we do now..."
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Scott Byler




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2003 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suppose it would seem funny to some folks, but I much prefer the shorter grip on the Viking type sword. Looks good and feels right once you are used to it. It seems a bit strange to go to a longer grip after that, at least on this type of sword, and to me...
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Ciaran Flanagan




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Aug, 2003 7:35 am    Post subject: viking grips         Reply with quote

Pictures of 3 Viking hilts in a row from the dublin museum showing variances in grip length.


Also Pictures of 2 production grips side by side. Both were re-wrapped. The Sword on the right, a paul chen practical viking, had to have the grip made thickened. This wrap was put over the origional leather whereas the A&AM viking on the left had the origional leather removed and replaces. The Practical viking also had the origional A&AM leather wrapped around the pommel end of the grip to stop my hand from sliding back to the pommell unnessisarily.

Just an illustration of differences..

Ciaran

Edited cos the Attachment doesnt display as a piccie for me :-)
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Aug, 2003 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Byler wrote:
I suppose it would seem funny to some folks, but I much prefer the shorter grip on the Viking type sword. Looks good and feels right once you are used to it. It seems a bit strange to go to a longer grip after that, at least on this type of sword, and to me...


Doesn't seem funny to me. Maybe I grip my medieval swords wrong(ly), but find that if anything I'd prefer the grip length a bit shorter on those too. With 4.5 inch grip and a brasil nut pommel, for example, I have less trouble with the pommel digging into my wrist if I allow my hand to slide back to the pommel end of the grip, but that leaves a gap at the front (I've got delicate girly hands perhaps). I'd think 100mm plenty long enough for a viking type, with the fairly large pommel/upper guard. I think maybe you were supposed to have your hand really jammed in there, between the guards, as suggested above.
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David McElrea




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PostPosted: Wed 05 May, 2004 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Howy wrote:
Quote:
Eric and Jason have been working on an illustrated "How to grip a Viking/Anglo-Saxon sword" piece to add to the site soon.


Just wondered if this is still in the plans.

Cheers,

David
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Robert Zamoida




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PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2004 8:35 pm    Post subject: Re: What Howy said...         Reply with quote

Eric McHugh wrote:
Howy summed it up well. In discussions with Peter, he explained that he tries to keep his Viking grips under 10 cm which is about 4" so we went with 4" for our Vikings.

As a Fiore student (albeit not a very serious student), I have to admit Viking swords are slightly difficult to grip. I think this is because we tend to incorporate later fighting techniques that where not used by the Vikings. Once you see these blades, it becomes clear that they were basically long butcher knives: wide and relatively thin in cross-section. Yes, you could thrust with them, but they are most effective with a slashing motion. So, when you grip the sword with the idea that you will be slashing, a tight grip is actually helpful.

In any event, we are trying satisfy the modern sword collector and at the same time maintain our commitment to historic accuracy. I think most people will find the grips to be comfortable.

Hope this helps.


Hey Eric,
By any chance do you study with Bob Charron?

Rob Zamoida
"When your life is on the line, you want to make use of all your tools. No warrior should be willing to die with his swords at his sides, without having made use of his tools."
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Stephen Wittsell




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PostPosted: Mon 31 May, 2004 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Folks,
This is my first post on the forum so first let me introduce myself. While I've had a great interest in things sharp and
pointy for most of my life it has not ,until recently, become a passion. Why now you mighy ask? Well I recently joined
the Albion team as their new cutler and for the first time in my working life I feel like this is what I was meant to be doing.
Now part of my job , among other things, is to put the final fit and finish to the swords after assembly. As such I've
handled most all of our products. Well I'm a big guy, 6' 5" - 280 lbs and I have big hands. I've been more into hand & 1/2's
and bigger, mostly because they seem to better fit my stature, so to speak. I have to say that I have gone ass over teakettle
for the vikings. I must be a slasher at heart! The grip length seemed tight for about two minutes until I started to swing
it. Then I understood the reason for the shorter grip. What started out feeling tight evolved into a feeling of secure as
the blade swung through the slashing motions. Lock your hand into one of these grips and the only way you're going to loose it is to loose the adjoining limb, which is a distinct possibility where vikings were concerned.

Steve

There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable application of high explosives.
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Einar Drønnesund




PostPosted: Sat 05 Jun, 2004 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If viking age swords tend to have shorter grips than medieval swords, could it be becaue medieval swords where designed to be used with a gauntlet of some kind? I dont think vikings had smaller hands than medieval warriors, since the average height of bodies in weapon-graves in Norway is around 173 cm, which is as tall or taller than medieval averages.
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jun, 2004 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Einar Drønnesund wrote:
If viking age swords tend to have shorter grips than medieval swords, could it be becaue medieval swords where designed to be used with a gauntlet of some kind? I dont think vikings had smaller hands than medieval warriors, since the average height of bodies in weapon-graves in Norway is around 173 cm, which is as tall or taller than medieval averages.


I've heard this theory a lot, but I don't agree. There are so many pictures of warriors of the middle ages from all over the regional and time spectrums that are not wearing anything more than a simple glove. There is also the fact that there are so many examples of hand protection that only cover the forearm to the wrist (demi-guantlets) (which would suggest that many decided free hand motion was more important than full hand protection).
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Jun, 2004 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
One interesting point concerning grip length can be found in Swords of the Viking Age by Ian Pierce.

Many of the photos in that book are done in a 1:1 scale, ie. real size. It's apparent from the photos that there was just as much variation in grip length as there was in any other aspect of sword production from this period. As a result, it's difficult to determine just what the "standard" grip length on a viking sword was. If there was indeed a standard to begin with.




I just put together some data from Peirce's work on Viking Swords for a similar discussion on this topic.


[Out of curiosity I took all of the grip lengths given in Ian Peirce's "Swords of the Viking Age" and crunched some numbers.
The average of all the grip lengths was 9.14 centimeters.

I am 6'2" tall and this (9.1 cm) is almost exactly the width of my palm. If the average size of Viking Age Europeans was 5'9" I think that the grip lengths recorded in Peirce would not be too small (on average). The larger grips would be for larger men and the smaller grips for the more fierce among them:-)


While I was at it, I found averages for the swords in each of the time divisions assigned by Peirce. Here is the results:

8th century (3 swords) avg. 9.87 cm
Early 9th (1 sword) avg. 10.5 cm
9th century (11 swords)avg. 9.1 cm
Late 9th (5 swords) avg. 9.3 cm
Early 10th (8 swords) avg. 9.21 cm
10th century(14 swords) avg. 9.13 cm
Late 10th (3 swords) avg. 9.1 cm
Early 11th (8 swords) avg. 9.1 cm
11th century(3 swords) avg. 8.4 cm
Late 11th (1 sword) avg. 8.4 cm
Early 12th (1 sword) avg. 8 cm

From Peirce's data, there seems to be a difference in the grip length between the 8th and 9th centuries. Lengths remain relatively stable through the 9th and 10th centuries and then seem to decrease in the 11th century. The decrease in the 11th century could be explained by the larger number of swords which have downward curving lower guards and upward curving upper guards (& base of pommel).

These are trends from the data in Peirce... It would be interesting to get a larger sample...

When I heard of a sword with a 3 inch grip I thought for sure any adult person would have to have some particular grip to use it... then I saw this picture of a Viking sword by Vince Evans in its owners hand... It has a 3 inch grip!]

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=791&start=44


Here is the link to the whole discussion:

http://netsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/002209.html


ks

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Lit in Eden’s flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
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