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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 1:50 am    Post subject: My landsknecht sword from E.B. Erickson, 2008         Reply with quote

Last year, I commissioned a sword from E.B. Erickson. I asked him to make a later-period landsknecht katzbalger-type sword. I wanted it to be of the complex-hilted variety as found in the very late 15th century and well into the 16th century.

ElJay and I looked at several antique examples that would serve as inspiration for a direction on the commissioned piece. Of all the pieces we looked at, we found two samples that would lend to the final design:


Click photos for full-sized versions

Left: Tower of London (Or Leeds), IX.898, German, circa 1540-50
Right: Dresden Historisches Museum, German, 16th century

As you can see, these hilts are rather complex both in terms of construction geometry and decorative details. They will look rather "odd" to many sword enthusiasts and it's that reaction that generally draws me to these types. I tend to like the unusual varieties of objects history has left us as well as those items that have not been reproduced very often by modern makers. I also want to try to bring much needed attention to these treasures and to the collections that house them!

Here is the sword that was delivered to me just today as created by E.B. Erickson:


Click photos for full-sized versions

I'm absolutely thrilled with ElJay's work! It's so detailed that I have found myself picking this thing up many times over the course of the day just to find new things to catch my attention. The wire-wrapped hilt and turk's head knots are amongst the finest I've ever seen reproduced. The sword captures a character difficult to explain but one that seems right at home along side antiques. I'm happy to add it to my growing Collection of EBE Swords.

ElJay's creation is 36.625" long with a 31" long, 1.75" wide blade. The blade is a highly-modified Del Tin creation. The center of percussion is at about 21" from the hilt. It weighs around 2.6 pounds and handles wonderfully.

Below are more photos from this evening's quick and dirty photo-shoot. There are no overall shots, as I didn't have the space to take them yet. I'll have to do a real shoot of the sword and show the blade with its triple fullers and spatulate tip characteristic of this type of sword.









Click any photo for a full-sized version
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D. Austin
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 2:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a seriously nice piece Nathan. You must be beaming.

One thing I really like about it, apart from all the detail of course, is that it is unique. It's inspired by period pieces, as most period pieces were themselves, but it possesses a quality that no production sword or exact replica can. I love this type of work, where an artist creates something which would have been completely at home in it's context (the 16th century in this case) without aiming to replicate one specific example.

Thanks for sharing.
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Chris Goerner




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 4:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was wondering when we would start to see postings of this year's harvest of ElJay's work popping up. He never ceases to amaze me!

Congratulations, Nathan, on an absolutely stunning sword. I like what you and ElJay came up with in design. It is both representative of its genre and at the same time unique. That combination always makes for the best reproductions IMHO.

I'm sure I am not the only one who will be interested in the overall shots when you have time to take some. Did you have ElJay make a scabbard for it as well?

Chris

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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 5:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So that's the other prize for the fund-raising drive, right? Laughing Out Loud



On a more serious note, that is an amazing piece; I love the intricacy and details of the hilt. Can't wait to see the full-length shots if and when you take them. Big Grin

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 6:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't...I...just...I...uhhnnnhh

O.K....you win. That's the top. There's no more "up" for you or Eljay, I'm afraid.

This is the most beautiful reproduction Katzbalger I've ever seen. I can't imagine that there's anything better anywhere. The Arma Bohemia repro is very fine, but I think yours beats all.

Is there a "covetous" emoticon?

-Sean

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Allen Andrews




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Amazing. I am running out of words for his work. I too am looking forward to seeing some full lenght photos.
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations Nathan! The details and overall package are beautiful. We are lucky to have E.B. around, he brings some wonderful talent to our hobby for sure.
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Jessica Finley
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Absolutely magnificent. I don't post often, but this is one of my favorite sword forms, and I dont' know that I've ever seen it done so gracefully before.

I am wicked jealous!

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am downright astonished at how beautiful that sword is. I've always admired Eljay's work, but this is a completely new level of amazingness, even for him!
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J.G. Grubbs




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What a great piece, Nathan! I'm envious to say the least. I've got to find a way to comission a piece from Mr. Erickson one day...thats simply beautiful!
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Ben Sweet




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now that's a beauty, Congrats Nathan!
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a really nice one, Nathan. You must have one of the best complex hilt sword collections around - maybe not really high quantity, but the highest quality.

Can you get your finger through that single finger ring? I'm not sure, but it looks like the way to it may be blocked.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really beautiful work, looking forward to seeing other pics showing the whole blade and the point as well as maybe some handling impressions.
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Darrin Hughes




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a superb looking hilt. Has the metalwork in the guard been twisted and shaped by hand, rather than cast and welded? Because if that has all been forged and shaped by hand, along with the detail in the grip and on the pommel, then I think the word masterpiece may not be too far wide of the mark. I know that pictures can be deceptive, but if that is as good as it looks, then it really is great work.
I'm guessing it could be a while before we get any more pictures, as it's not easy to operate a camera when you won't put the sword down Happy
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I am sure ElJay appreciates the kind words.


Chris Goerner wrote:
Did you have ElJay make a scabbard for it as well?

ElJay will be creating a scabbard for it, too. I didn't ask him for one until the last minute so he will be delivering it at a later date.


Roger Hooper wrote:
Can you get your finger through that single finger ring? I'm not sure, but it looks like the way to it may be blocked.

Good catch! No, the finger ring is completely blocked. That's one of the interesting things about this type of sword and so many others. I've often wondered if it is a holdover from previous hilt developments, merely a support for the back guard, a result of aesthetics over functionality, or what.

In fact, one of the main reasons I had Erik Stevenson create my "Sinclair" hilted backsword many years ago was for this very reason: to get something in-hand that exhibits the same unusual feature of having an inaccessible finger-ring.

Looking at the antique inspirations for this katzbalger type of sword, I wasn't sure if the finger ring would be accessible or not. Having the modern-made sword in hand I now see that the side rings would have to be extremely large to allow access to that finger ring. Question answered. Happy

Talking with ElJay about this after the sword arrived, he sent this and gave permission for me to share:

E.B. Erickson wrote:
On the unusable finger ring: I have a theory about that. This feature is also seen on German rapiers that date near the end of the 1500s, which is odd, as these rapiers have all the typical hilt bars. You just can't use some of them! It's obvious that the ring serves as an attachment point for the bar protecting the thumb, but what else is going on? I think that in Germany there was a modified "Hammer grip" in which the thumb was extended and gripped the edge of the hilt where the blade butts against it.. This gives you a bit more control, a bit more leverage in a cut, and later the thumb ring was added here on the hilt to give a more secure hold. And since the swordsman wasn't using the finger ring, they decided to fill the opening with additional guards or plates (again those late 1500s rapiers) so you wouldn't get your opponent's point piercing or gashing your hand. Anyway, that's my hypothesis. It may be pure bunk!


An interesting discussion nonetheless!


Darrin Hughes wrote:
That is a superb looking hilt. Has the metalwork in the guard been twisted and shaped by hand, rather than cast and welded?

This project involved no casting, only forging, welding, carving, polishing, etc.

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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

echoing the sentiments of others......this is just another reason why Eljay is certainly a master of his craft.

Congrats Nathan...

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Tony Peterson




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A very nice weapon indeed. No wonder you are so pleased! Big Grin
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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
T

Roger Hooper wrote:
Can you get your finger through that single finger ring? I'm not sure, but it looks like the way to it may be blocked.

Good catch! No, the finger ring is completely blocked. That's one of the interesting things about this type of sword and so many others. I've often wondered if it is a holdover from previous hilt developments, merely a support for the back guard, a result of aesthetics over functionality, or what.


Looking at the pics it looks like the finger ring would be useable ! But I do say " looks " useable: With it in hand you seem to be saying that you can't because the smaller inner finger ring also looks too small for the index finger on the right hand to get to the finger ring. BUT: There is always a but. Razz Laughing Out Loud Have you tried with the left hand as there seems to be a single and larger ring on that side that might allow the left hand index finger to reach the finger ring ! If this is so, is the finger ring large enough for the tip of the finger ?

Now if this is possible left handed, it doesn't mean that this type of hilt was meant for left handed use, but it's puzzling and I'm curious if any of the above physically works. Idea Question

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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A very nice sword, indeed. Not my favorite type but as a representative of said type it does stand out. Happy

Any shots of the whole thing? I'd love to get a look at the rest of the blade.

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We have to make sure we're all on the same page with terminology. Hilt terminology is confusing to many readers, I'm sure. There is only one finger ring on a hilt, and it's the one that extends down the blade. The other rings are side rings (ports?) and whatnot.

The larger outer side ring is filled with a smaller outer side ring that prevents the finger from being able to comfortably reach the finger ring. I can get it in there, but it's painful and I can't really maneuver the sword that way.

Holding the hilt left-handed, which is never a good idea on an asymmetrical hilt, allows the finger to reach the finger ring but then everything else is backwards. it's absolutely not intended to be held left-handed, because as mentioned, the other guards are all backwards without protection for the front of the hilt or the thumb. The side guard (loop) is on the inside in this configuration and isn't very useful.

But the left hand does physically fit with a finger able to hit the finger ring, to answer your question. Happy

Also, the finger ring isn't really just for the tip of the finger, but to allow the finger to pass through all the way to mid-knuckle so that it can be wrapped around the cross-guard with the tip brought back up to the quillon block.


Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Looking at the pics it looks like the finger ring would be useable ! But I do say " looks " useable: With it in hand you seem to be saying that you can't because the smaller inner finger ring also looks too small for the index finger on the right hand to get to the finger ring. BUT: There is always a but. Razz Laughing Out Loud Have you tried with the left hand as there seems to be a single and larger ring on that side that might allow the left hand index finger to reach the finger ring ! If this is so, is the finger ring large enough for the tip of the finger ?

Now if this is possible left handed, it doesn't mean that this type of hilt was meant for left handed use, but it's puzzling and I'm curious if any of the above physically works. Idea Question



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