Comparing a type XXI to a XIV
Last night I was flipping through Oakeshott's Records of the Medieval Sword for some inspiration and two swords caught my eye and I started looking at them more closely. The first was the XIV.6 on page 121, also here under the spot light for type XIV (referring to XIV.3) and the second was the XXI.1 on page 216, also here under the spot light for type XXI (referring to XXI.1)

Keeping in mind I am mainly looking at the blade and not so much the hilts, the two blades seem very similar, both are almost 33 inches in length. The only difference that jumps out at me is that the XXI has much more profile taper and much more acute, which makes it more suitable for thrusting. The XIV is more broad at the tip, and has more width to the cutting edge, possibly double that of the XXI, which makes it much better for slicing. Which makes sense since the type XIV are and evolution for the Viking blades.

These two blades which are separated by nearly 200 years, and are on opposite sides of Europe, yet it seems like you took the specific XIV and ground the double fullers to a larger radius and tweaked the profile from tip to about half way down the blade you would get the XXI.

My question, is it possible that a XIV could have been reground to inspire the XXI blade so that it was better suited for the changes in warfare? Also I am curious as to what anyone else thinks about these two blades, and what input could be offered. It is also totally possible that they have no relation and it just happened that way, all though I don't know.

Also does anyone have any specs. on these two blades such as width, distill taper?
Since there is no feedback in terms of a regrind, or how these two relate to one another, doesn't anyone know if my line of thinking regarding the blades is accurate? I am thinking about trying to make these two blades to feel how the slight difference in profile and two different distal tapers/thicknesses effect the blades. Would I be right to assume that the Type XXI has a center of rotation very close to the tip and the XIV should have one about 1/3, give or take, of the way down from the tip?

Any feed back would be great since I am only going off of what I've read in Oakeshott and have learned from talking with various people.
Probably most of us are just like you, waiting for the big names to chime in. ;)

Anyway, on a more serious note, I don't think I know much about the details of the processes involved in re-hilting old blades to make them look "new," but as far as my meager knowledge goes I've never heard of the blade being actually reground into a different shape except to salvage a horribly damaged blade (such as turning a broken sword blade into a dagger or katzbalger). So, if the XIV remained in sufficiently good shape to be put back to use during the XXI's golden age, it's more likely to have been remounted with its blade preserved as it was rather than reforged/reground into a new blade shape. And, in any case, I suspect the difference between an XIV and an XXII lay not just in terms of profile, but also in distal taper (and, as you've mentioned, balance), so transforming one blade into the other might have cost more than forging a new blade altogether--if it was possible at all to make such a massive transformation without ruining the blade.

Here's hoping that a real swordsmith and/or antiquarian would come up and correct me....
I'm not a big name, but maybe I can add something. First, here are the two swords being referred to:

Type XIV:

[ Linked Image ]

Type XXI:

[ Linked Image ]

I don't think people were turning XIV's into XXI's. As you mentioned the profile taper is different, especially at the tip.

But more importantly, many Type XXI's have their fullers separated by a well-defined midrib, as on the example above. That midrib adds stiffness and makes it a more effective thruster. You can't easily add that to a XIV. A Type XIV will typically (not always) have a lenticular section that is not overly thick. To create a midrib for a Type XXI, you'd have to grind away even more material, probably weakening the blade.

So while there are some similarities, I don't think people were simply rehilting old blades with a little grinding (at least in this case).
Regarding the fullering, maybe this diagram of cross-sections would help (from the myArmoury feature):

[ Linked Image ]

The Type XIV being most similar to the "narrow-fullered" image (for sake of discussion) and the Type XXI following the "double-fullered" image. To grind out the XXI to match the XIV - assuming the fullers don't go all the way down the blade - and making a "newer" style blade "old" - could be possible but unlikely. Grinding enough out of the single fuller on the XIV to make the medial ridge of the XXI. . . you would be getting dangerously lean on steel in the middle of the blade where the ridge is normally left by design for rigidity - not so much a wise combination.
Dear Mr. Janusz,

Note that the Type XIV discussed here is a double-fullered one, and Mr. Pikula's hypothesis refers to the potential for altering a double-fullered blade. Grinding one fuller into two isn't an issue. Mr. Arnow's point about the construction of the mid-rib, with which you in part concur, is, however, very well made.


Mark Millman
Sorry for any confusion. . . I was just running off of the typical forms of each type.

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