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Hunter Goldberg





Joined: 24 Aug 2006

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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 2:33 pm    Post subject: Tang to blade transition on Medieval swords         Reply with quote

I have a bit of knife making experience, and am thinking about trying my hand at a medieval type sword one of these days.
However, there is one thing that has been puzzling me for weeks. How is the transition from the sword blade to the tang accomplished without a ricasso of some sort? Diagrams or drawings would help if anyone can post them.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 5:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Tang to blade transition on Medieval swords         Reply with quote

Hunter Goldberg wrote:
I have a bit of knife making experience, and am thinking about trying my hand at a medieval type sword one of these days.
However, there is one thing that has been puzzling me for weeks. How is the transition from the sword blade to the tang accomplished without a ricasso of some sort? Diagrams or drawings would help if anyone can post them.


Have a look at this article by Albion on their site it shows some hilt assemblies before the handle is put on and some types of transitions from tang to blade. Note: Not all swords are the same due to the use or non-use of fullers and some swords do have ricassos i.e. many many types of swords so a single answer won't do it. Look at the various articles here also.
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords-components.htm

Here: http://www.myArmoury.com/features.html

Specifically the Oakeshott' s typology if you are not already aware of it.

Hope this help a bit. Big Grin

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll echo Jean's response and add a specific link to our Anatomy of the Sword page.

Cheers.

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G Ezell
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Location: North Alabama
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 6:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My understanding is that the cross-section of the tang is a continuation of the cross-section of the blade (Think of a very flattened hexagon) . The tang tapers not just in width but also in thickness, with the end forged round or square where it passes through the pommel. In the case of a fuller, the fuller runs right into the tang, making for a very interesting situation when it comes to fitting the guard... Historically there was simply a gap between the fuller and the guard, but I suspect someone somewhere took to the challenge of a perfect fit, I just haven't seen it yet...
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 7:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Note: Where a fuller runs into the tang the fuller is generally narrower than the tang or else it would weaken the tang / shoulder of the blade transition. A fuller running into the tang might also fade out in thickness midway up the tang: I qualify what I say with " MAY " because what might be true as a generality won't be true for all swords or sword tangs.

A tang can also taper in width and thickness as it approaches the pommel but might stay full width and thickness if the weight was needed to bring the point of balance back nearer to the guard with a heavy blade.

As to design of a tang I prefer making it well designed than slavishly historical i.e. stronger than the minimum sometimes used in period. One thing I think is very important is the radiusing of the transition between tang and the shoulders of the blade to avoid a stress riser that would make it easier for the blade to snap at that junction.

This radiusing may or may not have been used in period ( Not sure: Might have varied from no radiusing to just a small amount or a larger radius. Even a small radius is much better than a cut square one and maybe sufficient. I just like having a larger margin for error. )

( EDITED: When I wrote " I prefer making it " I meant that this is the way I would design it: I don't make swords myself, although I do have custom designs made from time to time. )

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Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Sun 07 Jan, 2007 2:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2007 11:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The few originals I have seen have a slight distal taper and a rectangluar section, many were clearly hand hammered with no help of any instrument.
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Allen Andrews




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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jan, 2007 4:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since I have spent many happy moments drooling over the Albion Dane prototype blade, I thought I would include a link to that series of photos. It has a ricasso, so it's not exactly what you are looking for, but it does clearly show the fuller extending short distance into the tang.

http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...-blade.htm

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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jan, 2007 6:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blade to tang transition takes many forms in the medieval period. You can have rather very squared shoulders on a blade, or a more trapezoidal transition, sometimes with radiused transition, but more often with "not-as-radiused-a-transition-as-what-modern-bladesmiths-do" - from the ones I have studied over time.

Re. fullers : most of the time, the fuller runs onto the tang, for the first quarter to the first third of it.

The tang itself very often tapers both in width and in thickness towards the pommel.

I have seen excptions, though. A very deep-beveled - actually with flad bevels and a well-defined ridge - type XV sword, with square blade shoulders , transitioning straight into a diamond-section tang for the first half of it, then moving to a flat, tapering tang towards the pommel.


All these transitions - save the latter - were meant to be 'hidden' in a recess in the cross-guard (ie the cross guard does not come 'flat' on the shoulder of the blade, the latter is insereted - sometimes snugly, sometimes not - in a crack cut or hot-forged into the cross.

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