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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Nov, 2006 2:00 pm    Post subject: Pumpkin Carving         Reply with quote

As Joe noted in this thread, we had a get-together yesterday at La Casa Arnow. In attendance were Doug Gardner, Joe Fults, Edward "Ted" Hitchens, and me. We slaughtered 11 pumpkins/gourds plus pool noodles. A great time was had. Thanks to Ted and Joe for going on the quest for pumpkins.

On hand for cutting we had:

A&A Schloss Erbach
A&A Custom Halberd
Albion Sovereign
Albion Regent (3 of them)
Albion Earl
Albion Talhoffer
Chen Practical Plus Katana
Atrim/Fletcher Borderwatch
Badger Blade sword

The badger blade turned the 2 x 6 board the pumpkin was on into a 2 x 4. Of course, these were advertised at the Ohio Faire as being able to chop up concrete blocks....

I uploaded all the pics I took into a folder in the photo Albums.

Taking action shots with non-professional digital cameras is hard. You have to press the shutter before the person starts the swing to try to catch the impact. Worried

Below are some highlights:



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Ted1.jpg
Ted giving it hell.

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Creating pumpkin rings.

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Doug1.jpg
More pumpkin rings, this time from Doug.

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Doug making a pumpkin explode with Joe's halberd.

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Pumpkin shrapnel by me.

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My own pumpkin rings.

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Joe1.jpg
Joe 1/2 swording

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Joe2.jpg
Giving the pumpkin a haircut

Happy

ChadA

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Torsten F.H. Wilke




Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
Joined: 01 Jul 2006

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sun 05 Nov, 2006 4:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now that looks like incredible fun! Why does everyone always have to live so far away, lol?
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Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Nov, 2006 8:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, cutting pumpkins is great fun. My friend and I hacked up around a hundred of them last year. It's amazing how easily a sharp blade goes through. I have trouble with bottles, but I can murder pumpkins with a sword. Blunt objects, on the other hand, require much more force to damage the orange monsters. Punches and sometimes even staff blows bounce off. It shows the advantage of having an edge.

Of course, I don't think people are quite as resistant to blunt trauma...

P.S. Be careful with that halberd! Due to poor alignment, I bent my A&A English Bill on a pumpkin.
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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Nov, 2006 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I cut my first pumpkin today, and it was quite fun. Pumpkin rings is a good phrase for it Razz

There's something so much more satisfying about a pumpkin than a plastic bottle... Cool

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Doug Gardner




Location: Southwest Ohio
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Nov, 2006 9:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd like to send another public thankyou to Chad, for being such a good host as always! And to Joe and Ted for undertaking their noble quest to collect the miscreant gourds and transport them to the place of execution.

Chad, we'll be back in September to harvest next year's crop. You didn't actually believe that balderdash about a COMPOST PILE, did you? Laughing Out Loud

I enjoyed everything I tried on Saturday. Each was fun in its own way.

Borderwatch: This is still the best noodle cutter I've ever used. Even with no technique at all, I think I only failed one noodle cut. All of the others were clean slices. If the zombies wear pool noodle armour, I know what to grab! I've never cut anything else with it, though, so can't comment on how it does against other stuff. I suspect it'd be wonderful.
Earl: Beautiful design, and a great pumpkin cutter. I was able to cut either pumpkin chips or rings like I was Julia Child. I can't cut pool noodles any better with it than I can with my Regent, but I don't think it was ever really MEANT to cut pool noodles. I suppose if I had any skill at all, I'd probably have a different experience, too. Chad didn't seem to have too much trouble with the noodles.
Badger: If I can't find my axe, I'll ask Ted if I can borrow this to make kindling. It is probably just as effective as my double bitted Craftsman axe, and almost as refined! A lot more fun, though!
Chen Katana: This thing was a whole lot of fun. It is a lot shorter than the longswords I'm used to, but it did slice the pumpkins like they weren't even there. The furniture just seemed cheap, though. Well, I suppose it would be, when compared to the other attendees, wouldn't it?
Sovereign: This is still a great little sword. I'm just about convinced that I'm a 2 handed sword guy, though. At least for now. It may just take me a little longer to get over my trepidation about holding a sword with only one hand.
Talhoffer: Another sweet blade. I enjoyed this a lot. Not my style, but I can certainly see why folks would be drawn to it.
Halberd: Scary. Just scary. Clearly, I need some instruction in how to use this monster, but even without it, I'm sure I could take down Chad's house. I only cut with it a few times, though. We still had some pumpkins to cut, and I didn't want to destroy Chad's new cutting stand. It was only a 4x4 post, after all!
Regent: I still really like this sword. However, as you may have surmised already, I can't cut a pool noodle with it to save my life. It doesn't have any trouble at all with pumpkins, though.

As Ted, Joe, and Chad have already stated... that was fun.

Doug Gardner
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Edward Hitchens




Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 6:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never chopped up pumpkins before, but now I know they make great targets! When Joe and I were touring all of southern Ohio to find pumpkins, a few people asked us what we were going to do with them. "Use them as targets," we said. Naturally, they all thought we were going to shoot them. Razz

I've never had any luck against pool noodles; against these, I may as well be wielding a baseball bat. Confused

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward Hitchens wrote:
I've never had any luck against pool noodles; against these, I may as well be wielding a baseball bat. Confused


Pool noodles are more difficult to cut than most people think. They offer too little resistance and often bend. That's why I always use half noodles as targets. The full-length ones bend too easily.

Edge alignment and blade velocity seem to be more critical when cutting pool noodles than some other targets. If you're off, you'll just knock the noodle around. I also think some brands of foam pool noodles are easier to cut than others. The surface finish and foam density aren't the same from brand to brand.

So they are relatively cheap to buy and easy to use and clean up, but I find pumpkins to be a better cutting media. I've found that swords that do well against noodles might not fare well against pumpkins. Cutting something with more resistance shows what the blade can do much better. For example, my Sempach cuts noodles just fine. On pumpkins last year, it would cut into the pumpkin and stop halfway through. Its cross-section is optimized more for thrusting than cutting. The cross-section, bevels and blade mass toward the tip made the Sempach less effective at cutting harder targets (which is to be expected for the type).

Happy

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Chad about using pumpkins as a test cutting medium. I really like them. They are easy enough on the blades that you're not going to wear your edge away in a day, and while they're easy to cut, they also have enough resistance that you can understand when you make a bad cut, and understand why it was bad. You can also see very easily if your cut was straight or not. They have enough mass that when you hit one they have some resistance, but at the same time they still have some give when your blade is passing through them that if you don't have enough velocity you can mess your cut up. They're also pretty forgiving of beginners in the "satisfaction" department. That is, if a beginner is cutting, they at least get the feeling of successfully cutting, while even a more advanced cutter can still learn things about their own form from them. Pumpkins may not look as professional as tatami mats, but what the heck, they're more colorful. Happy

One thing you need to be careful about with pumpkins, though, is if you botch your cut. First off, the husk of a pumpkin is hard enough that if you hit it wrong, you can end up putting a lot more shock into your blade than most people expect out of a vegetable. And secondly, and more importantly, if you botch your cut but the sword does get lodged into the pumpkin, then the pumpkin falls over, larger pumpkins put a lot of weight onto a blade. Certainly enough that it may bend or even snap a blade.

But cool photos, Chad! I was just at a pumpkin cutting party this weekend. One of the members of my group has a friend who owns a pumpkin patch, and every year after Halloween they plough the remainder of the pumpkins into the ground for fertilizer. So we got permission to use the farm and cut all the pumpkins we wanted. The best part was that we didn't have to clean up a thing. Cool (Cleaning pumpking guts is gross!)

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


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Yes, cutting pumpkins is great fun. My friend and I hacked up around a hundred of them last year. It's amazing how easily a sharp blade goes through. I have trouble with bottles, but I can murder pumpkins with a sword. Blunt objects, on the other hand, require much more force to damage the orange monsters. Punches and sometimes even staff blows bounce off. It shows the advantage of having an edge.

Of course, I don't think people are quite as resistant to blunt trauma...

P.S. Be careful with that halberd! Due to poor alignment, I bent my A&A English Bill on a pumpkin.


Bending is not an issue.

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

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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J. Bedell




Location: Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For those of you who had a grand old time cutting up pumpkins can I ask your impressions of the Badger Blade sword? How did it handle? How historically accurate is it when you see it in person? I looked at their website and at first glance the swords looked awkward for some reason, but they do have a certain appeal to them. I was just wondering what you thought of Badger Blade's weapons.

-James

The pen may be mighter, but the sword is much more fun.
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Nov, 2006 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Bedell wrote:
For those of you who had a grand old time cutting up pumpkins can I ask your impressions of the Badger Blade sword? How did it handle? How historically accurate is it when you see it in person? I looked at their website and at first glance the swords looked awkward for some reason, but they do have a certain appeal to them. I was just wondering what you thought of Badger Blade's weapons.

-James


Nothing wrong with it...but nothing particularly historical about it. Its overbuilt, simple, and intended to be very durable with only the most superficial nod to historical accuracy. Actually its probably safest to say historical accuracy is not a consideration in its design. They are made to take and resist the abuse the average faire patron is likely to subject a sword to while showing off to a bunch of buddies.

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

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Nov, 2006 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I bought my Badger sword about six years ago at the Ohio Renfest. Obviously, historical accuracy wasn't among my criteria at the time (or I wouldn't have bought it). I like its durability and its "utilitarian" appearance; heck, upon first glance at its finish it looks like something that survived from the fourteenth century!

I don't strike cement blocks with it like they do at the faire; tough as their swords are, that still constitutes abuse. Need to break up a chunk of cement or a large rock? Lowe's - sledgehammer - problem solved. But despite its design and workaholic appeal, it handles very nicely. It's your typical bastard sword; its grip is a long as my Schloss Erbach's grip, but its blade is barely 29 inches long.

It loosely reminds me of the Sleepy Hollow sword. While it won't win any beauty contests, it's still an eye-catcher.

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Jason Daub




Location: Peace River, Alberta
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Nov, 2006 10:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad & All,

It looks as if you all had a great time, and looking at your photos I wish I lived closer also, it's -16C and we have a foot of snow up here. I noted in your list that you had a A&A Schloss Erbach there, and I was wondering what your opinion of it was?

thanks, Jason
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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Nov, 2006 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Daub wrote:
I noted in your list that you had a A&A Schloss Erbach there, and I was wondering what your opinion of it was?


Lately where Chad's Baron has been, so too has my Schloss Erbach. They'll both give your forearms a workout! I bought my Schloss Erbach (pronounced sh-loss air-bock) in July of 2000 and is still the best handling Type XVIIIa I've ever handled. It doesn't have a razor edge, but a downward cut against a pumpkin allowed the blade to go through the orange target and cut into the wooden pillar. It has a diamond-cross section, but the blade is not hollow-ground. Therefore, pumpkins were cut totally in half with one horizontal swing -- something that I don't believe was achieved with either the Regent or the Earl (no offense, Chad & Joe! Big Grin ).

Note: Arms&Armor re-designed the Schloss Erbach in 2004 ( Question ) to make it look even more like the original. While I have held a new one, I've never been able to cut with it. Maybe just the hilt was re-done.

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Nov, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward Hitchens wrote:
Note: Arms&Armor re-designed the Schloss Erbach in 2004 ( Question ) to make it look even more like the original. While I have held a new one, I've never been able to cut with it. Maybe just the hilt was re-done.


I've held a new one, and I've also had the pleasure of handling the original antique that the sword is based on. I was amazed at how spot on A&A got their repro! They really do this piece justice.

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


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Nov, 2006 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward Hitchens wrote:
target and cut into the wooden pillar. It has a diamond-cross section, but the blade is not hollow-ground. Therefore, pumpkins were cut totally in half with one horizontal swing -- something that I don't believe was achieved with either the Regent or the Earl (no offense, Chad & Joe! Big Grin ).


I believe I got pumpkin-destroying cuts with the Earl. In fact, one of the pics above shows me cutting most of a pumpkin in two quite easily with the Earl. Happy

Happy

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