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Raymond R





Joined: 05 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 08 Oct, 2006 10:37 pm    Post subject: Feasibility of a leaf bladed longsword         Reply with quote

Many of us have seen the recent explosion of celtic and pseudo-celtic 'culture' in recent years. Many of us have also seen the Lord of the Rings... yet, we don't see surviving historical leaf shaped blades in longswords. Is there a particular reason for this? one would think the added weight and slight curve would enhance the cutting performance due to physics, yet these swords didn't seem to exist in the middle ages in europe (In asia, however, leaf blades were present, but only in short swords. also, look at ancient greece). Why don't these things exist, and if it probably is because they aren't practical, why?
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Matt Phillips




Location: England
Joined: 22 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 4:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Raymond,

"In asia, however, leaf blades were present, but only in short swords." I think this is exactly the point. In short swords, this was quite practical because with more weight towards the tip, and the shape of the blade, you could turn a shorter sword into a respectable cutter. However, as we have seen, people usually stuck with designs that worked best for them. And in this sense, it was not necessary to produce a leaf shaped blade on a long sword because it's balance and mass already produced good cutting ability.

Matt

"Mine honour is my life; both grow in one; take honour from me and my life is done." William Shakespear
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Scott Hanson




Location: La Crosse, WI
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another thing to consider is the level of armor you're facing, I think. The cultures with leaf-bladed swords (and forward curving, which I consider a more extreme example of the same approach) also generally had lighter armor than faced by a medieval longsword. While the weight towards the tip might produce stronger cuts, it would inhibit thrusting a bit, both agility of the point and the additional width preventing deeper penetration. I think the tip would generally penetrate deep enough, but the loss of point control would probably be considered pretty serious.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Location: Netherlands
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt Phillips wrote:
Raymond,
In short swords, this was quite practical because with more weight towards the tip, and the shape of the blade, you could turn a shorter sword into a respectable cutter.
Actually, the leafbladed swords don't have more mass towards the tip at all compared to non-leafbladed variants. Leafbladed swords generally have a significant taper, to prevent the blades from getting front heavy. If they did have more mass to the front, they'd get very unwieldy. One of the bronze reproductions I have exactly has too much mass near the front, and it's slow and makes it feel like it's going to tear your arm off. The ones I have that are proper reproductions are very quick and agile blades, with a COG quite near the hilt.

One of the reasons to apply a leaf shape is to get a curved cutting edge, which makes the blade cutt easier then a sword with a straight edge. The shorter the blade, the more significant the curve. If you stretch out the blade to long sword length, the curve is so shallow that the effect is completely negligable. If you look at the latest bronze swords, which got up to 70 cm in lenght (including hilt), the curve is already so shallow that it's nearly a straight edged sword (see example: http://1500bc.com/bronzeage/bronzes/Gundlingen_27_apr_2006_1.jpg). Later swords that got even longer solved this by only having a section of the blade curved, followed by a straight edged front section. Also looks nice, but it's not the classic leafbladed form anymore. Another reason for a leafshape, is to get a wider cut when thrusting, therefore creating a lot more damage. If you want that effect with a longsword, your going to have to thrust it quite deeply Happy The reason to make the blade more narrow towards the hilt, is because you need a good thickness to prevent the blade from bending out of plane. Longswords are generally made from well hardened steel, combined with their lenght and thinness make them flex, rather then bend permantly. So no need for that either.
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Harry Pretat




Location: New Jersey
Joined: 25 Aug 2006

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 4:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the difference between a leaf-bladed sword and a straight sword was THAT negligeble, it seems odd to me that no one would use them, as it is very visually appealing.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just an observation: A short leaf blade with a very highly curved front section sort of reminds me of the " S " shape of a Kukri
Falcata style blade but strait and double edged.

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