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Hey Daniel,
Daniel Parry wrote:
Vibration nodes - Vincent, if you have a free weekend post Covid lock down when we are free again, you are very welcome to come and stay as my guest (seriously) and vibrate the nodes on my swords as much as you like and record them. I will be downstairs cooking dinner for everyone, un-corking the wine and putting logs on the fireplace ! I would not trust myself to give scientific data on that point.

It would be a pleasure to take you up on your offer eventually! Right now it seems the trend around here is rather to lock down again, unfortunately... But I'm sure better days will come!

Kindest regards,
I found the photos today! Tomorrow I'll scan them and get them posted in the evening.

Dear ElJay,

Cool. I look forward with eager anticipation to seeing them!


Mark Millman
Here we go. Cavalier hilt with raised shell motifs, some worn, some not. Traces of silvering in protected spaces on the guard.
The grip is one of my restorations.

You can also see a blade detail that I had forgotten about - this blade is not just isoceles in section - it's a slightly hollow ground isoceles.

I handed this sword to a foil fencer that was on the team with me (I was saber), and she worked it through some passages, got a big smile on her face, and said, "This sword is just crying to run someone through!". She was right. With the very stiff thrusting blade, and the fairly light weight, it does seem to want to do that.

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Dear ElJay,

Thank you very much for these photos, and for showing us this weapon.

In your previous comments, you suggested that the edge is unsharpened. Is that correct? If so, do you think that's the original state, or that the blade had been sharpened at one time but later got dulled (assuming that there's any evidence to distinguish the possibilities)?


Mark Millman
Thanks for those photos. That looks similar to the ones I have seen, perhaps 1640s or towards the end of the English rapier era when things were moving into transitional rapiers and then early smallswords.

How long is the blade ? And what is the weight ?

It's a lovely sword. And it also makes sense in a way as a triangular blade was a logical solution to having a relatively(depending on the thickness of the triangle) lightweight blade with strength. In a way it achieves what many narrow, stiff blades rapiers tried to achieve with other cross sections. It's a natural pre-cursor to the triangulated hollow ground smallsword blade in a way but using old technology.
"In your previous comments, you suggested that the edge is unsharpened. Is that correct? If so, do you think that's the original state, or that the blade had been sharpened at one time but later got dulled (assuming that there's any evidence to distinguish the possibilities)?"
I think that it was sharpened, but age has had its way with the blade. I would say that down near the point I recall it still being sharp, but I haven't actually held this sword for several years, so I may be misremembering that.

"How long is the blade ? And what is the weight ?"
Right about 34" long. As I recall, total weight is around 2 lbs (maybe a little less?).

There is a very old thread on SFI where this blade type is discussed. It may be lost to cyberspace, as I looked for the thread the other day and couldn't find it. I posted my sword, someone else showed one, and then, right after me claiming that I had never seen one of these blades longer than about 35", someone posted an auction site's photo of a dish hilt ca. 1640s with a 38" blade of isoceles section.

Thanks EJ. Those dimensions and weight are about in line with early English and Northern European transition rapiers heading towards early smallswords. You do get longer transitional rapiers but haven't seen one personally of this blade type, but as you say the law of arms and armour collecting is that as soon as you say that, someone pops up with one that breaks the rule !

I like the hit on yours - stylish example of the period type.
Dear ElJay,

Thank you very much for these additional details, which I greatly appreciate.


Mark Millman
A thought on the point about whether the blade was sharpened originally and had dulled or was not sharpened which is an interesting point. I haven't looked at this type enough times to tell from other examples.

I find in many cases if rapiers were sharp edged then they are often quite sharp still now, partly I guess because the blades often seem have fairly flat single bevel edges like Japanese cooking knives do now, which would be very sharp originally and maybe kept their edge well.

Where blades clearly had no edge it is fairly obvious by the profile of the blade. That said depending on the handling of the sword since use it could have had an edge that was dulled through cleaning etc.

My general impression is that rapiers up to 1640-1650, if they could have an edge they generally did at least for a third to half the blade length and often the whole length. The ones where they didn't was because the blade profile, usually long narrow blades with thicker cross sections to give stiffness, couldn't take one. This is just my impression and not statistically proven but I feel the default was if the profile can take an edge you might as well have one.

I would expect the triangular blade, if not too narrow, could take one and so would expect it to by that reasoning.

However, I do see from 1650 onwards transitional rapiers, early smallwords, some spanish cuphilts which could have taken an edge given the profile but clearly didn't. I wonder whether this was a development in fencing style towards the pure point fencing style. That said I have also seen transitional rapiers and early smallswords with flatter blades that were sharp. The triangular blade like this might have fallen into either camp ?

So I guess my impression is generally if you could have edge you did, then after 1650 or so there were more civilian/duelling swords which didn't because of style of use rather than confines of profile. ,
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