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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Aug, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: Sword Design Help         Reply with quote

I have an old backsword blade and associated (and damaged) guard I'd like to do something with. I got tired of my last mounting, in an English style of the mid-17th c., and wondered if I could back it up to ca. 1500-1525. Looking at some German and Italian weapons of the period gave me some hilt ideas which I roughed out in clay.

What you see below is meant to model an octagonal wooden grip with pommel plate. The guard consists of two side rings and short, recurved quillons . I haven't done much to the quillons here--just hacked 'em off and recurved them enough to test the concept. They'd be more splayed and rounded at their ends and very thin. I could easily cut off the inside side ring. If I proceed, I might finish the grip with a cord-impressed black wrap. The pommel, delineated by a line in the clay in my rough model, would be a .25" thick octagonal plate, bent slightly and surmounted by a peen block or nut.

Some of my inspiration images are here as well, but I've never seen anything exactly like it. That's why I'd like your help. Have any of you seen an historical weapon of similar design? Is it at least plausible for the period and culture?

I can't decide whether or not to proceed with a project that's only historical-ish. I'd love some feedback on the design or suggestions for other, more historically documentable uses for the blade or guard (keeping in mind that welding or shaping large blocks of steel are out of the question for me--files and Dremel are my main options).

Any info or advice is welcome. All opinions are welcome, from intense disgust to rapture. Laughing Out Loud



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Fri 15 Aug, 2008 1:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Fri 15 Aug, 2008 1:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A single side ring makes it a bit less Katzbalger-ish. Maybe looks less in conflict with traditional Katzbalger design?


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Aug, 2008 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like where you're going with this, Sean. Simple, yet very historical - kind of a common man's side arm. Cool
Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Aug, 2008 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Gregg wrote:
I like where you're going with this, Sean. Simple, yet very historical - kind of a common man's side arm. Cool


That's it exactly. A relatively short infantry sword somewhere above a munition arm but not fine enough for an infantry officer. I think I have the period and culture right, and there's a great deal of variety in infantry arms of the period. Even so, I'd feel better if I could find something a bit closer to this design.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Aug, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmm.... Looks pretty cool. I really like where you're going with this. I couldn't find anything exactly like it but these are close(ish). There's 2 links to the albums and 2 which I posted from my files. Hope they help.

http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/displayimage....mp;pos=182

http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/displayimage....&pos=9



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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Aug, 2008 11:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the images, Tim. Yes, those large, messer-like swords offer some precedent, as do those Italian infantry swords. I may proceed with the project. Actually, I spent a small amount of time on the guard and pommel this weekend, just to see if I could get past those obstacles. The first thing I noticed was that I had carelessly recurved the quillons the wrong way! Cry I thought that might kill the project because I didn't think these could withstand their third cold reshaping. They survived, and I even got as far as shaping the terminals. I now have the pommel blank as well. I probably won't decide about the inboard side ring until I have the grip and can do a rough assembly. I'll have something to show, eventually. Can't say how long it will survive, though!
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Aug, 2008 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know anything about this piece (posted earlier in response to another of my many questions,) but if I had to guess I'd guess that everything above the guard is a reconstruction or associated. Still, the pommel plate is interesting, if authentic.


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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D. Austin
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Aug, 2008 8:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Sword Design Help         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I can't decide whether or not to proceed with a project that's only historical-ish. I'd love some feedback on the design or suggestions for other, more historically documentable uses for the blade or guard (keeping in mind that welding or shaping large blocks of steel are out of the question for me--files and Dremel are my main options).

Any info or advice is welcome. All opinions are welcome, from intense disgust to rapture. Laughing Out Loud


Just an opinion, sorry, I don't have any pictures to add, but yes, go for it. I'd probably opt for only one side ring but you're right to wait until the rough assembly before deciding. The wooden hilt you've described should look great on that blade.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 6:11 am    Post subject: Re: Sword Design Help         Reply with quote

D. Austin wrote:
Just an opinion, sorry, I don't have any pictures to add, but yes, go for it. I'd probably opt for only one side ring but you're right to wait until the rough assembly before deciding. The wooden hilt you've described should look great on that blade.


Thanks! I think you're right about the side ring. With both rings it looks like it wants to be a Katzbalger but can't quite make it.

Oh, and I'm told that the flat-pommel Katzbalger I posted above is 100 percent repro rather than repro above the cross as I thought it might be.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2008 6:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's what I have so far. As you can see, the tang is still unpeened although everything is nice and tight. Final assembly this weekend, with JB Weld and peen. The peen will be flush with the top of the nut/washer/block and sanded smooth. I think this turned out pretty well for an imaginary German/Italian sword of ca. 1525. At least there's no pesky original around to mock my attempt.Laughing Out Loud I think this would look good with a scabbard and by-knife.


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2008 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean, that rocks! It really turned out like you were talking about, and yes, It'd really go good with a by-knife in it's scabbard. Let's see that take form! Cool
Christopher Gregg

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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2008 7:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very impressive Sean! I think you did a great job! I'd love to see a full length shot if I could. Just curious, how comfortable is the faceted grip?
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2008 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well done, Sean! You really have a talent for these types of projects. And here's another vote for the scabbard and by-knife!
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2008 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks! I'll get some better shots, including full-length and back, as soon as it's done.

The grip is very comfortable and secure, but I think a grip of this section and profile might be easier to get wrong than some other types. More than any other I've made, section, profile and length seem to be very obviously linked. If one of those aspects is wrong, the whole thing feels wrong. In particular, I had to figure out the interconnectedness of length and taper. If it expands or flares too dramatically too low on the grip it can feel very awkward. The clay model was very helpful but I had to fine-tune the wooden version to find the right relationships. Judging only from my experience here, the hand should fit comfortably on the part of the grip just below the most dramatic flaring of the profile. Slight concavity of the narrow sides of the grip is very helpful.

Facets are a challenge, and mine certainly aren't perfect. Holding the rectangular-section grip before faceting, it's hard to imagine that it could turn out properly. Even after the facets are cut, there's work to be done in making the profile slightly concave and softening the edges of the facets. All of that makes a noticeable difference in the hand. On top of that (literally) is the leather wrap, which can add just enough to make things feel better or worse. Better in this case.

As far as I know my grip is merely inspired by different historical ideas and not representative of any documented example. But, if nothing else, I now see more of the ergonomic logic behind the design of some original grips, especially Katzbalger grips. Due to some careless passes with a Surform tool my first attempt at this grip turned out more like the almost pyramidal grip in one of the antique images I posted earlier. It was almost finished at that point, but the patient could not be saved. It did, however, give me the opportunity to feel what that short and sharply tapered grip might feel like. I didn't care for it, so I'd have to experiment a bit to figure out why that seems to have been used in the case of the aforementioned antique.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2008 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the way, this sword began life as a Windlass "Scottish Backsword" and, after many minor grip changes and one aborted project, became a proto-mortuary sword. It loses length with every project. By 2010 it'll probably be a Scottish dirk! Laughing Out Loud
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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D. Austin
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2008 6:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice work Sean. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the scabbard and by knife.

I find that one of the most important factors in making such a piece look "right" is proportions. A badly proportioned grip or guard can make an otherwise fine sword look a tad silly but you've made this one look authentic, even if it is an "imaginary" sword.

Darren.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2008 6:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Austin wrote:
Nice work Sean. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the scabbard and by knife.

I find that one of the most important factors in making such a piece look "right" is proportions. A badly proportioned grip or guard can make an otherwise fine sword look a tad silly.

Darren.


I think that's true, and it's one of the reasons I don't like most "fantasy" arms and armour. In most cases those don't seem to have any regard for ergonomics or even just common sense, so they always look "wrong" from my perspective. To be fair, those kinds of things usually aren't intended to reflect any practical purpose--they're works of pure imagination, so it's o.k. to have, say, a grip studded with shark teeth. In fact, I think that kind of thing is preferable to a piece that claims an historical pedigree but disregards historical proportion, materials, construction and finish.

Having failed to find an historical example that matched my skills and materials I decided to create something unique but still functional and respectful of the aesthetic of 16th century German arms. More in the spirit of what Peter Johnsson did with this sword...

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...highlight=

...as opposed to the exacting recreations he normally does for Albion and his other clients.

Being forced to improvise, I embraced improvisation. Big Grin

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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