Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > How would you respond? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
B. Stark
Industry Professional



Location: ORYGUN
Joined: 25 Jan 2004
Reading list: 11 books

Posts: 393

PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 8:51 pm    Post subject: How would you respond?         Reply with quote

I found this post on another forum. I was somewhat taken by suprise by it. I didn't think many folks still were purporting this kind of nonsense who had spent much time collecting swords...any and all commentary would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

The Quote

"I can directly trace a lot of your ideas from BS floating around on the The Swordforum.com where makers like Angus Trim and Michael Peirce hyped the hell ouf of "distal taper" on some historical swords , in an effort to make buyers who wanted to appear "in the know" lust after their own wares.

There is just a problem with this whole theory of Distal Taper. Most of what has been stated about it on that particular forum has more to do with sales hype than historical reality.
In fact, if you go look at any 20 swords in good shape in museums, you might find 2 at the most that even appear to feature "Distal Taper" (Where blade thickness thins down towards the tip).

I've seen dozens of historical swords in museums over the years and even handled a few, and have yet to see any historical sword that displays the same amount of "Distal Taper" as is displayed by the Gus Trim peice I have in my own collection, which is an older Albion Sword of Acre made before Howy and Gus had their falling out.
There is also the fact that out of many, many treatises on swords, and sword use by master swordsmen nobody ever mentioned anything about distal taper. Ever.
If it was so important, don't you think that it would be something commented on at least a little?
Distal taper is just modern sales hype aimed at the gullible.

As for the weights of historical swords being different than modern replicas, go look at some historicals and you will understand why.
The hilts have rotted of, the edges are often chipped out, and even those which were heavily used which avoided getting the "sawtooth" look (like so many actual swords carried into battle) have lost a lot of blade mass simply because they were SHARPENED DOWN over the decades from lots of use from the original stock.
Most likely the main reason that some (not all, not even half, maybe 20 percent at best) historical swords feature distal taper has more to do with construction methods and economy more than anything else.
If you pound the metal out flatter when a blade is being forged, you will use less raw material. In the pre-Industrial age, raw metal was very valuable.
Most old swords in Museums I have seen were about 1/8 to 3/16 thick. I have seen one sword (A japanese Naval cutlass) that was 1/4 thick. I have never seen any sword made before a decade ago that started out a quarter of an inch thick at the base of the blade and tapered down to 1/8 thick. Historical swords that are lgith tend to be 1/8 thick from tip to shoulder. Standard swords tend to be 3/16 thick stem to stern.
Even Peter Johnnsson admitted that not every sword he has studied and examined feature Distal Tapering to me publicly, commenting that some did and some didn't and that nobody had really made a statistical survey on the matter. PJ does some work with Albion and is considered the high god of the lightweight historical replica crowd.
Real historical swords of light weight tended to just be thinner in the blade area anyway, like the "Moonbrand" sword owned by Ewart Oakschott. It is only 1/8 thick anyway at the thickest part of the blade.
When Del Tin made a copy of it, of course it was heavier than the original, becuase the copy was 3/16 thick. The original was one third thinner through the whole length of the blade.

For the money, for a using blade, you can't beat Del Tin. I say this as a sword USER as well as a collector and buyer.


The only del tins that have rod extensions welded on them are some of the two handers and one single hander, the Scottish broadsword. The typical DT sword has a full width full length tang, especially the viking types. I have been abusing an old DT viking for years now by doing things with it it was never intended to do, such as sheering through tree limbs thicker than a big man's forearm.


I have swords by Arms and Armor (The Schloss Erbach) and even Jim Hrousalis, as well as Atrim/Albion and Kris Cutlery among others.
My personal preference is the Del Tin for a using sword. Swords that have radical distal tapering in order to appeal to a fan base of people with little actual experience in using swords for cutting won't hold up to it in the long run.
I wouldn;'t use the Schloss Erbach to cut anything as it has so much radical taper that the final third of the blade is so thin it handles like a damn rapier. Other than that, its a nice sword.
I have used my Atrim to cut with, but I make sure that its only contacting the centre of the blade well before the tapering goes hog wild. (It's not as sharp as my Del Tin 5156 either).
Jim Hrousalis sword has no distal or profile taper at all, and its a hell of a cutter.

Go back and read Sir Richard Burton's "Book of the Sword" and you will see that Burton comments that the weakest part of the actual blade itself (not the tang or shoulder, but the blade area ) is the final third towards the tip. Thinning this part down significantly as some modern makers do, would only make that area even weaker.

If you took a typical Del Tin sword, sharpened it down, over and over and over, and exposed the handles to enough wear and tear to rot them off, then exposed the blade itself to something that would corrode it heavily, it would weigh roughly the same as the historical model it was copied from.
Have you seen the originals, by the way? Some have sections missing from the blades the size of a silver dollar...Multiple sections gone, by the way, not just one or two.

And the last I heard some Albion owners were pretty distressed when their pricey wares sustained some edge damage from minor things, like hitting the corner of a desk.
And of course, I heard that for some time now, Atrim has been prefacing that some of his wares are meant for flesh only cutting for soft targets, not for tests including mild steel or aluminum trash cans and the likes."

"Wyrd bi∂ ful aręd"

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?

Patrick Henry
View user's profile Send private message
Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Go ahead and mention the source where you found this post, please. It's important to credit the people that you quote. You don't need to be afraid of mentioning other forums. It's just a conversation and there is nothing wrong with that. I mostly don't care what people discuss, so long as they are professional about it and there isn't likely to have a huge fallout for me, personally.

Anyway, this is nothing new. You can find other topics such as This one that talk about similar things. In fact, you'll find something very similar on myArmoury.com as well. The bottom line is that conversations like this are somewhat outdated in the on-line community. I'm curious if the quoted text you've included is a recent discussion or an older one.

.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Alexi Goranov
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: San Francisco, CA
Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Reading list: 72 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,191

PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I want to know how many period swords that person has measured and examined "hands on"?

If someone were to show me that of 100 randomly sampled swords less than 15 have distal tapper in the outer 2/3 and I may believe that "the distal tapper" hype is just hype.

I have measured 3 period sword and all had non linear distal taper. My own experience is that this is not a hype, but that is just me.

Instead of arguing with that person, I would encourage people to go examine period swords, or read accounts of careful measurements of such (such articles are featured here), and make up their minds on the issue of what is hype and what is not.

I can understand your frustration though.

Alexi
View user's profile Send private message
Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,146

PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 10:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Alexi. Honestly, I tend not to even respond when I see things like that anymore because those types of posts tend to be in the minority. Nonetheless, if you choose to respond, you may want to mention a couple things, such as:

1) The A&A Schloss Erbach is based on an actual surviving sword. I had the chance to handle the original, and the A&A is remarkably faithful in handling.

2) The "weak" of the blade has nothing to do with structural integrity, as any sword user should know. It is the part of the blade that has the least amount of leverage in parrying because it is so far away from the hands (the center of the circle created by the cut), and therefore weak against another sword.

3) Ask the same question Alexi did: How many originals has he personally handled, and not just seen from behind a glass?

I recall a gentleman making these same arguments in the same tone and language several years ago on SFI and Netsword. Most people didn't take him seriously back then, so I doubt most people would now. Wonder if it's the same guy.

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


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
B. Stark
Industry Professional



Location: ORYGUN
Joined: 25 Jan 2004
Reading list: 11 books

Posts: 393

PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 10:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It was within the last week, on a Conan/REH fan forum discussing modern reproduction and custom swords. The name of the poster is a psuedonym/online alias. I think this fellow just feels bad that his DT's are being outclassed. Could I be right? What I find interesting is he hasn't posted here has he(whomever this lunatic is)? I never went much into Netsword. Perhaps it is the same troll from days of yore? I mean, the idea of "some kind" of distal taper is necessary for a sword to function properly. I've handled swords that have none(not originals mind you, repros) and you can tell! Just by how they feel. I've handled swords by just about every major maker as well as some custom stuff. A couple of antique katana, sabers, shasqua, shamshir, baskethilts(oldest=1750), cavalry palache(late 1600's). Sadly I have yet to handle and examine a 13th, 14th, 15th century original, I probably never will. Some have more obvious taper than others. Some would be almost undetectable to the human eye except at the last 6-10" of the blade.

I guess I'm just amazed(negatively).

"Wyrd bi∂ ful aręd"

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?

Patrick Henry


Last edited by B. Stark on Thu 04 May, 2006 10:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Eric Bergeron




Location: New Hampshire
Joined: 18 Aug 2003

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 10:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting read, I tend to agree about his Del Tin's being outclassed so he/she has to lash out at all the other makers, its been a while seeing stuff like this appear online but after seeing the source a conan type forum it doesn't surprise me, one thing i'm kinda baffled at is the mention of a Arms and Armor sword, especially the one that Bill brought up is a surviving example and A&A took measurements off that one and many more that Craig and his crew spend hours/months/years researching all this stuff, so its pretty funny this one person saying all this about non historical sales hype!
View user's profile Send private message
Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Please provide a link to the topic in question.
.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 479

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 4:19 am    Post subject: Re: How would you respond?         Reply with quote

B. Stark wrote:
"I can directly trace a lot of your ideas from BS floating around on the The Swordforum.com where makers like Angus Trim and Michael Peirce hyped the hell ouf of "distal taper" on some historical swords , in an effort to make buyers who wanted to appear "in the know" lust after their own wares."


B. Stark wrote:
"PJ [sic] does some work with Albion and is considered the high god of the lightweight historical replica crowd."


Statements like these make me think this person is just out to hype him or herself by attacking others. Because of these attacks, I tend to ignore people like this as self-proclaimed experts who have no idea of what they are talking about, even if they do know what they are talking about.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
View user's profile Send private message
Don Stanko




Location: ohio
Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Reading list: 478 books

Posts: 231

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Concerning the topic of distal taper, I am by no means an expert in the field but I have some experience with antique swords. Of the ones I've been able to examine at length, most have a distal taper. Some to a drastic degree. There are certain types that do not taper or taper very little, like the Estoc. I guess it would depend on what the sword was created to do. When it comes to swords I tend to shy away from absolutes, they just never work.

Don
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,441

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

He rambles and contradicts himself at different points in the post. This erodes the credibility of his position, regardless what the position is. At some places he implies that distal taper was rarely if ever found in the historicals he has experience with, denying its existence by attributing the few examples he's observed to sharpening and blade wear. Then he claims it was there, but only because of material limitations, not to improve performance. Finally he claims it was there, just not to the degree seen in reproductions, which to me seems to be a position admitting some performance role.

All that said, I am inclined to agree with his assessment that regardless of benefits, distal taper has been used to hype sales. However, its hardly the only term that has been over the years.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Johnson
Industry Professional



Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 16 pages
Reading list: 20 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,283

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 10:57 am    Post subject: Schloss and Moonbrand         Reply with quote

Hello All

Well, as he quotes two swords that currently under my care, the Schloss Erbach being in in the Oakeshott Collection and Moonbrand being on loan from Ewart's Daughter to The Institute for a while, I can respond directly to his comments of each and say that I would disagree with his assumptions. Moonbarnd truely is a cutting sword of very thin cross section but there is taper and the Schloss Erbach sword has taper as well.

I think the issue is more than just distal taper as the person seems to focus on. The whole blade needs to be consdiered as a synthesis of different attributes to get a handling result that the maker had as a goal. This is a very complex balance of elements and it is a bit short sided to focus on just one element. I would invite him to join the discussion of the topic here and if he likes I can do some measurments off the originals and we can discuss some of the attributes exhibited by the pieces and how they affect the blade in hand.

Also one needs to keep in mind that our understanding of how these items were used is incredibly more detailed than it was even a few years ago. When someone describes pieces as needing to have such and such for real battlefield use, an incredible amount of recent research would have to be done to make an informed statement like this and probably should be well contexted in a description of that study and research.

Best
Craig
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 7
Posts: 5,892

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm fond of repeating the best bit of PR advice I ever heard. Some of you may have heard it before. It boils down to this:
10 percent of people will always be with you, no matter what.
10 percent of people will always be against you, no matter what.
If you focus all your resources on either 10 percent, your organization is doomed.

The point as it relates to the current discussion is this: Although we can't just cede the field to misinformation, we have to recognize that some folks will not be convinced by any amount of evidence. We sometimes forget that the middle 80 percent who are genuinely interested in this subject will look farther, read authoritative sources and quickly realize that this person's view is ill-informed and his attitude is unhelpful, at best. He'll be marginalized unless credible, knowledgeable people are baited into debating him, keeping his schtick in the spotlight. In that case, his status is elevated and ours is lowered.

To put it more colloquially, in a fight between a dog and a skunk, the dog will always win, but he won't smell very good afterward.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Angus Trim




Location: Seattle area
Joined: 26 Aug 2003

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 870

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I'm fond of repeating the best bit of PR advice I ever heard. Some of you may have heard it before. It boils down to this:
10 percent of people will always be with you, no matter what.
10 percent of people will always be against you, no matter what.
If you focus all your resources on either 10 percent, your organization is doomed.

The point as it relates to the current discussion is this: Although we can't just cede the field to misinformation, we have to recognize that some folks will not be convinced by any amount of evidence. We sometimes forget that the middle 80 percent who are genuinely interested in this subject will look farther, read authoritative sources and quickly realize that this person's view is ill-informed and his attitude is unhelpful, at best. He'll be marginalized unless credible, knowledgeable people are baited into debating him, keeping his schtick in the spotlight. In that case, his status is elevated and ours is lowered.

To put it more colloquially, in a fight between a dog and a skunk, the dog will always win, but he won't smell very good afterward.


His words and tone is identical to an individual that posted on SFI for a while. Very entertaining, because he would start these kinds of conversations, and once evidence was layed out for him, he'd go off the deep end to attempt to hold his point.....

Distal taper exists. And even taken alone has a profound impact on handling, performance, and durability...... But as Craig said, its just a "part of the whole". A few years ago, many of us really talked up distal taper, harmonic balance, and dynamic balance, because there was such a difference between many of the reproductions of the time, and the better antiques. The fact that a few people, just seven, eight years ago started making swords that exhibited some of the same characteristics as said antiques........

As Craig said, today we've learned so much more, and at the same time, become kind of jaded because of how some of these online discussions have gone, you just don't see as much discussion anymore. Maybe a good discussion once a year? Maybe longer?

Even up to five years ago, as we made discoveries {Tinker, Peter Johnsson, Craig, or myself}, you'd quite often see discussion online. There's still discussion, Tink and I talk all time, as do Craig and I.... and the sharing of info is stil there, just not online anymore......

swords are fun
View user's profile Send private message
Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 4
Posts: 3,865

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 2:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:

His words and tone is identical to an individual that posted on SFI for a while. Very entertaining, because he would start these kinds of conversations, and once evidence was layed out for him, he'd go off the deep end to attempt to hold his point.....


I think that was the guy who wrote that because distal taper wasn't specifically mentioned in the Norse sagas, that was proof that it never existed. I was tempted to compose a verse telling of the fight between two warriors, one with a sword named the Mighty Clunker, and the other with one named Quick Tapering Terror. Guess who won?
View user's profile Send private message
Drake Abram





Joined: 31 Mar 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just present what evidence you can, although I'll say it is hard to speak in absolutes when there are so few examples left from the many that were made.

Good luck!
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Johnson
Industry Professional



Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 16 pages
Reading list: 20 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,283

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 5:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
in a fight between a dog and a skunk, the dog will always win, but he won't smell very good afterward.


Oh sure Sean, if you are going to start quoting universal truths, what the HEdouble hockey sticks are smiths going to debate around the forge Surprised

Sometimes the depth of such "colloquiall" statements floor me. A good lesson for all to learn.

Craig
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
B. Stark
Industry Professional



Location: ORYGUN
Joined: 25 Jan 2004
Reading list: 11 books

Posts: 393

PostPosted: Fri 05 May, 2006 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks all of you for your input. Since Nathan asked again, the link: http://www.conan.com/invboard/index.php?act=idx.
"Wyrd bi∂ ful aręd"

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?

Patrick Henry
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,441

PostPosted: Sat 06 May, 2006 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually looking at the thread, I would not bother responding. He's already being effectively refuted.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
View user's profile Send private message
Eric Bergeron




Location: New Hampshire
Joined: 18 Aug 2003

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Sat 06 May, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
Angus Trim wrote:

His words and tone is identical to an individual that posted on SFI for a while. Very entertaining, because he would start these kinds of conversations, and once evidence was layed out for him, he'd go off the deep end to attempt to hold his point.....


I think that was the guy who wrote that because distal taper wasn't specifically mentioned in the Norse sagas, that was proof that it never existed. I was tempted to compose a verse telling of the fight between two warriors, one with a sword named the Mighty Clunker, and the other with one named Quick Tapering Terror. Guess who won?


The guy holding the axe watching the fight Happy
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > How would you respond?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum