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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Oct, 2020 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 455

PostPosted: Thu 15 Oct, 2020 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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

--ElJay
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 431

PostPosted: Thu 15 Oct, 2020 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear ElJay,

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

Best,

Mark Millman
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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Oct, 2020 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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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Mark Millman





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PostPosted: Fri 16 Oct, 2020 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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)?

Best,

Mark Millman
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
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Reading list: 39 books

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PostPosted: Fri 16 Oct, 2020 11:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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.
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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Oct, 2020 4:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"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.

--ElJay
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Oct, 2020 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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.
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Mark Millman





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PostPosted: Sat 17 Oct, 2020 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear ElJay,

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

Best,

Mark Millman
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Sun 18 Oct, 2020 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 03 Nov, 2020 10:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Two vloggers have recently measured the distal taper of swords and sabres in their collection:

Nathan Clough, "How Thin were Medieval Swords?" Arms & Armor Inc. channel, 28 September 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIIypm61WE4&feature=emb_title

Matt Easton, "Sword DISTAL TAPER: What you NEED TO KNOW with STATS of Antiques & Good Replicas." scholagladiatoria channel, 1 November 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CV2O0jkHK8

The measurements are buried in the videos not in a handy table, and they chose places to measure by eye rather than carefully measuring from a point of reference, but its still information on a subject which is hard for people other than collectors and museum staff to access.

One thing which I notice is that some 18th and 19th century broad single-edged swords and sabres for the European market have extreme distal taper (ending up 20-30% as thick near the point as at the cross) while earlier European broad flat blades (and 18th and 19th century European blades for the overseas market) often have more moderate distal taper, losing about half their thickness from cross to point.

Peter Johnsson commented on the second video:

Quote:
Thank you for this video Matt!

The topic of distal taper is central to the understanding of sword blades.
I think you provided a good outline and presented many valid points.

From a sword makerīs point of view I think it is useful to approach the principles of distal taper, rather than the dimensions.
When we look at wider, thinner blades, their taper will in absolute dimension/metrics of course be less than the taper found thicker blades. If you compare the proportion of distal taper from base to point, it can be very similar, however. The Lancaster and the Clontarf are not all that different if you compare the proportion, or percentage of the distal taper (there is a difference, but it is one of degrees rather than of principle).

Another really important point that you touch on, but I think can be stressed even mor is the relationship between the silhouette or outline form of a blade and its distal taper (more profile taper, moreand youneedand also have more mass per length unit and still remain responsive (in many cases a shorter blade must be made with more mass per length than a longer blade if it is to fulfil its potential).
-I think it is necessary to look at distal taper in context with other factors of blade design to really make sense. It is also important to study distal taper with care and precision, or the subtlety that is really the crucial element in this, will go unnoticed and reamin unknown.

It is true what you say that not all swords have distal taper, but the ones that do not form a very, very small minority.
It is also true that many swords seems not to have much of a distal taper (if they are fairly thin and wide, for example) but the distal taper they do have is still of absolutely crucial importance. Describing swords that at first glance seem to have little or not distal taper as "having no distal taper" is making a fundamental mistake.
-I am not accusing you of this, even though you say it in passing a few times as you were making a point of argument. I only felt motivated to stress this point.
Describing a blade as "not having much of a distal taper" since the distal taper is subtle and discreet, invites a bluntness of thinking. The conclusion that "this type of blade should not really have any distal taper" is close at hand. I meet customers and practitioners who take pride in their knowledge of historical swords saying this to me with pride of knowledge.
Another common misunderstanding is that distal taper makes a sword floppy and wobbly, while it is in fact the lack of a dynamic profile of distal taper that makes blades wobble.

I think it is useful to realise that sword blades almost always (98% ?) have distal taper and then look closely to see how it is expressed: is it really subtle? Is it dramatic and very obvious? is it even or highly varied? Is it linear (really very unusual in historical blades, if you care to take precise measurements) or does it vary over the length of the blade (this is the case in nearly all blades): and finally HOW does it vary, not only in absolute measurements, but in proportion in thickness to the base of the blade and over the length of the blade.

I think the importance of how the distal taper is applied over the length of the sword cannot be overstated. The "curve" and variation in gradual reduction of thickness of the blade is paramount to handling and performance. The difference between a blade that is wobbly and feels dead in the hand to one that is lively and stiff can be a matter of only a millimeter or often a few tenths of a millimeters in parts of the blade.

Again, thank you for your tireless work :-)

www.bookandsword.com
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