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Alina Boyden





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 5:17 pm    Post subject: Good cutters         Reply with quote

I've always heard that Atrims are superb cutters. I don't have one; my main sword for practice is an Albion Acre XII. However, I've been having a hard time when it comes to cutting with my Acre. It will cut through milk jugs just fine, but interestingly enough won't cut through 2-liter plastic bottles. My initial thought was that I was just doing something wrong whilst using it but at this point I'm not so sure. The Acre will cut through other targets fairly well like cardboard tubes, etc. But I find it to be a bit of an under-performer in cutting. (It has a devil of a thrust though.) Is it just that it can't "bite" into plastic? Am I doing something wrong? If anybody has any thoughts I'd be happy to hear from you.
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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 5:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Good cutters         Reply with quote

Alina Boyden wrote:
I've always heard that Atrims are superb cutters. I don't have one; my main sword for practice is an Albion Acre XII. However, I've been having a hard time when it comes to cutting with my Acre. It will cut through milk jugs just fine, but interestingly enough won't cut through 2-liter plastic bottles. My initial thought was that I was just doing something wrong whilst using it but at this point I'm not so sure. The Acre will cut through other targets fairly well like cardboard tubes, etc. But I find it to be a bit of an under-performer in cutting. (It has a devil of a thrust though.) Is it just that it can't "bite" into plastic? Am I doing something wrong? If anybody has any thoughts I'd be happy to hear from you.


Have you had better performance using other swords?
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Alina Boyden





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Good cutters         Reply with quote

Einar Drønnesund wrote:
Alina Boyden wrote:
I've always heard that Atrims are superb cutters. I don't have one; my main sword for practice is an Albion Acre XII. However, I've been having a hard time when it comes to cutting with my Acre. It will cut through milk jugs just fine, but interestingly enough won't cut through 2-liter plastic bottles. My initial thought was that I was just doing something wrong whilst using it but at this point I'm not so sure. The Acre will cut through other targets fairly well like cardboard tubes, etc. But I find it to be a bit of an under-performer in cutting. (It has a devil of a thrust though.) Is it just that it can't "bite" into plastic? Am I doing something wrong? If anybody has any thoughts I'd be happy to hear from you.


Have you had better performance using other swords?


Yeah that's the weird thing. Even my little bro's cheap valiant swords I've been able to cut better with. My dull damascus steel dao cuts better as well. I also have a semi-sharp antique cavalry sabre that works well. So I was really confused as to my difficulties with the Acre.
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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 6:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not familiar with the Acre. Is it a heavy sword? if its too heavy for you, maybe youre not able to get it up to the speed it needs to go to cut properly. Then again, maybe its just not that great a cutter. I have never handled one, so I dont know.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Good cutters         Reply with quote

Alina Boyden wrote:
Yeah that's the weird thing. Even my little bro's cheap valiant swords I've been able to cut better with. My dull damascus steel dao cuts better as well. I also have a semi-sharp antique cavalry sabre that works well. So I was really confused as to my difficulties with the Acre.


The Acre should have a lot of blade presence with that COB. It may be that it's not as easy to get a sword balanced like that up to speed. It also could be that it's sensitive to edge alignment.

Happy

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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

first off let me say that yes, atrims are quite excellent cutters - many have praised Gus for making exceptional blades for test cutting.

that said, the original post reminded me of a recent conversation. it was mentioned that the acre cuts milk jugs and carboard tubes. i would guess (correct me if i am wrong) that these targets offer more resistance and or have greater mass than the two-liter bottle. my point is that swords function and perform according to their design - some swords are designed as strong cutting swords, others as thrusting swords, and others still as a difficult compromise between the two. further, some cutting swords are designed to cut hard targets while others - just as much "cutting swords" - are designed to cut softer targets. i offer as example the difference between my AT1425 and the AT1513 previously in my possession; both swords are strong cutters, the 1425 a heavy "sword and shield" kind of sword and the 1513 a very light in comparison but extraordinary tip cutter - a finesse sword in every sense of the word.

long story short - part of makes collecting swords fun (not to mention the quick realization by most of us collectors that we cannot simply have "one sword") is that each sword - by design - is unique. each one does certain things certain ways and all examples have their strengths and weaknesses. not saying that the acre won't do it, but one's study and understanding of martial technique and the sword will only be enhanced by using the right tool for the right job. trying to make a technique conform to a sword rather than choosing a sword for a particular technique can hamper one's understanding of both the sword and the technique if one is not careful in analysis and study.

just $.02 from men far more experienced and wiser than myself.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its a type XII according to the website. First gen.

I have more difficulty getting edge alignment right single hand than I do using both. Really a matter of what I train in. To do good single hand cuts requires a bit more concentration on my part. That said, I've cut with a variety of single hand swords and if I want to show off I've learned to grab something Viking, X, or XI. Might be that your Acre being a XII and a first gen is just a little less "cutty" than some of the next gen stuff and likes more resistant targets. Less resistant targets have a tendency to amplify errors in edge alignment and such since they will give.

If I was doing the cutting, I would asume pilot error (on my part) first. I'd try to pay special attention to my edge alignment since at this point I still make a lot of mistakes at practice/play. I'd also adjust distance, angle, perhaps even try using two hands; all to make sure it was not due to a user problem.

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Last edited by Joe Fults on Tue 26 Oct, 2004 8:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 8:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simple answer: Vikings didn't cut 2-litre plastic bottles.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd say that the problem is that the sword wasn't designed to cut plastic bottles. The folks at Albion will be the first ones to admit that the Next Generation swords are far superior to most of the First Gen. models. Still, if you're going to try and evaluate a sword's cutting abilities (and your own), you should really use a cutting medium that at least makes an attempt to approximate a real world target. Plastic bottles certainly don't do that.

Please don't take this as a defense of the product, or as a criticism of your ability. It's just that if you're doing something wrong cutting up Dr. Pepper won't tell you what that something is. You don't learn to drive a car by flying an airplane.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Alina Boyden





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I'd say that the problem is that the sword wasn't designed to cut plastic bottles. The folks at Albion will be the first ones to admit that the Next Generation swords are far superior to most of the First Gen. models. Still, if you're going to try and evaluate a sword's cutting abilities (and your own), you should really use a cutting medium that at least makes an attempt to approximate a real world target. Plastic bottles certainly don't do that.

Please don't take this as a defense of the product, or as a criticism of your ability. It's just that if you're doing something wrong cutting up Dr. Pepper won't tell you what that something is. You don't learn to drive a car by flying an airplane.


That's a very good point as well. It cuts other media sufficiently. Maybe if I'm really that concerned I should buy a slab of beef or pork and see what cutting flesh/bone is actually like. I'm just not so sure I want to grab bystanders off the street, "Now stand VERY still..."


Incidentally, what do you guys consider to be good targets to test cut in a manner that reasonably reproduces what these swords were meant to do?
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 9:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alina Boyden wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
I'd say that the problem is that the sword wasn't designed to cut plastic bottles. The folks at Albion will be the first ones to admit that the Next Generation swords are far superior to most of the First Gen. models. Still, if you're going to try and evaluate a sword's cutting abilities (and your own), you should really use a cutting medium that at least makes an attempt to approximate a real world target. Plastic bottles certainly don't do that.

Please don't take this as a defense of the product, or as a criticism of your ability. It's just that if you're doing something wrong cutting up Dr. Pepper won't tell you what that something is. You don't learn to drive a car by flying an airplane.


That's a very good point as well. It cuts other media sufficiently. Maybe if I'm really that concerned I should buy a slab of beef or pork and see what cutting flesh/bone is actually like. I'm just not so sure I want to grab bystanders off the street, "Now stand VERY still..."


Incidentally, what do you guys consider to be good targets to test cut in a manner that reasonably reproduces what these swords were meant to do?


The meat products you've mentioned might not be bad. Expensive and messy, but not bad Laughing Out Loud

I've honestly decided that tatami mats are the best overall medium (maybe those old japanese fellas were on to something after all). This seems to provide the best compromise, in terms of density of material and resistance to cutting. Different levels of resistance can be had by varying the diameter of the roll, and by how long it's soaked in water. This medium is still more a gauge of the users ability than it is of the sword itself, but it's better than most other choices.

The only advantage that plastic bottles and jugs have is that they're cheap and readily available. Well, they're fun too Big Grin Tatami isn't cheap nor is it always readily available, but I do think it's the best compromise.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Alina Boyden





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2004 10:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:


The meat products you've mentioned might not be bad. Expensive and messy, but not bad Laughing Out Loud

I've honestly decided that tatami mats are the best overall medium (maybe those old japanese fellas were on to something after all). This seems to provide the best compromise, in terms of density of material and resistance to cutting. Different levels of resistance can be had by varying the diameter of the roll, and by how long it's soaked in water. This medium is still more a gauge of the users ability than it is of the sword itself, but it's better than most other choices.

The only advantage that plastic bottles and jugs have is that they're cheap and readily available. Well, they're fun too Big Grin Tatami isn't cheap nor is it always readily available, but I do think it's the best compromise.


You've just given me a brilliant but utterly disgusting idea. Animal control picks up roadkill off the roads in California. I wonder if I could procure dead animals for free from them. On the other hand having to explain that I want a rotting deer carcass so I can cut it up with a sword is probably not the sanest thing I could think to say. Still, its a thought. Or I could just go buy tatami online...
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Brian M




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 12:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might get some very odd looks from the animal control people -- not to mention the stench would be hard to bear even in the name of science.

Brian M
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 2:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tatami mats are excellent targets.
A much less expensive, more easily available and quite realistic target is soaked and rolled up newspaper.

Take a stack of papers, cut away the back (the fold with possible staples) and put the pages in a tub filled with water. Let soak untill everyting is thoroughly soaked through. Soaking is very important : if the paper is still dry it will be almmost impossible to cut: think padded armour...
Take the soaked paper and roll up a target. You can use this much the same as a tatami-mat. It only offers fewer cuts per roll, but it is cheaper also...
Bind the paper roll down with a layer of tape.

I use a special type of plastic pipe (fusiotherm pipe, made in Germany. Used in plumbing instead of copper pipe) that is almost as hard as PVC, but much less brittle and more tough in breaking. This mimics living bone pretty well. The results I get look very much the same as the cut bones in the mass graves from the Battle of Visby: completely severed with a clean cut but sometimes the blade truns outwards after having gone halfway through the bone. In some cases the "bone" will shatter or be cleaved down the centre.
The "flesh" is not a pretty sight after a cut like that...
I also use duct tape to bind the soaked paper down. This could perhaps be thought to mimic skin.
With lighter blades (single handed "civilian" C&T types: late 15th C and 16th C types) you will typically get cuts dow to the "bone" but seldom complete "amputations". It is telling to see the difference in cuttig potential between different types of swords. All do "stopping" damage, but it is easier to get clean severing cuts with some types.
Big warswords usually require less of a swing to completely sever a target. With the Duke I have made severing cuts through targets of approximately calf size when swinging from the elbow only, startng with the sword held point upwards in front of me.
Shorter stiffer swords are also surpricingly effective. I have had very good results with a type XV (a bit surpricing that!) and short falchion designs (=falchion and messer blades).

By using this target you will cut something that is "realistic" in that it offer some substance as well as lubrication.
These two aspects are important and should not be underestimate.
It becomes clear just how much da,age one canrealistically expect from different cuts withdifferent swords. It puts performance ina perspective: is two inches deep enough or do you need to sever or amputate completely? How much effort does it take, and what does this tell you about the amount of dedication needed for an effective attack? Tis puts a very interesting perspective on various moves in the old manuals.
You will find that hand and a half swords are typically more forgiving and faster and easier to cut with. With a single hand sword you need more dedication and wider swings to make deep or complete severing cuts.

Some types of swords will cut *light* targets (like 0.5 litres bottles) with ease. To my experience these types are some lighter wide and fullered blades and later era cut & thrust blades and of course the lighter types of C&T 16th C style bastard swords (these are ideal for this type of target). A lighter blade will also perform better with light targets since you need to get it up to speed if you are not to topple the bottle. It is a good test for aim, speed and precision.
You can cut light targets with most any type of sword, but not all will cut as effortlessly and some require more technique to do the cut in an elegant way. To me cutting bottles is more for training technique than determining the potential of the sword.
Plastic bottles are readily available and is a good clue to your technique. However, if all swords and blade types were made to be optimized for this type of target, it would not make them true to their original intended function.
Type XII blades can be excellent for light targets, but it depens on the sword. Heavier types or blades with more blade prescence are not ideal for light targets but might still perform very well with more dense targets.
I do not know how the Acre performs as I have never cut with one. It is one of the first designs Randall Graham made for the Albion Mark Line, I think?
It can be your technique, it can be the way the edge is sharpened (more or less acute or obtuse, depending on what type of cutting it is geared at). I don´t know. Perhaps some one else on this forum has experience with this sword?
With the NG Knight it is possible to cut 0.3 litre aluminium cans filled with water and have the bottom half still standing filled to the brim, so cutting light targets is definitly within the scope if type XII swords.

A word of warning:
-Do *not* use PVC pipe to mimic bone. It is too brittle and does not cut well: it shatters or breaks. There is a small risk you might actually damage the edge in extreme cases.
-Do *not* use solid wood dowels either for the same reason, as solid wood will pinch the edge in a badly aligned cut. A sword edge is not shaped to cut wood very well.
If you want to use something that mimics living bone, choose something that is hard, but not too hard. Preferably it should be hollow and not too brittle. It should demand some focus and technique from you (just to keep the exercise interesting), but still cut well with a well placed cut.

A target that will behave in much the same way as flesh: tough, a bit fibrous but slick as the edge has parted the material, will offer you an opportunity to understand the potential and character of various sword types.

Ballistic gelatin is too much like semi cured glue: it will cause the edge to drag. No lubrication.

Cardboard tubes offer resistance, but can be tough on the edge and will cause light scratching on the surface. Not a major concern, perhaps, but one hould be aware of this. Cardboard is not a favourite target for me.
I much prefer wet newspaper.

If you make a cutting stand with a pointed dowel pointing upwards it is easy to affix the rolled up paper on this, like a candle.

If you use a semi hard, tough plastic pipe as bone, let one end protrude beyond the roll of paper and tape this down to the dowel in the stand with duct tape.

Cut away with relish ;-)
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Jeff Gentry




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well like you said go to a butcher buy a hog leg and cutt on that i, think it would be pretty close, then grill it and eat it what the heck.

Jeff

“Princes and Lords learn to survive with this art, in earnest and in play. But if you are fearful, then you should not learn to fence. Because a despondent heart will always be defeated, regardless of all skill.”
- Fechtmeister Sigmund Ringeck, 1440
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David Kite




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome explanation Peter. Wow, thanks.

Couple of specific questions, though.

1.) Do you really think duct tape mimics skin that well? I've heard of it being used before, but given that the glue is very sticky I figured that a) it wouldn't be a very educational target, and b) that the glue would be a real pain to clean from the blade. Also, do you use only a single layer of tape, and is it tightly wound?

2.) Is fusiotherm pipe only available in Germany? Or do you know of anything equivalent to it if it isn't available elsewhere?

Thanks

David Kite
ARMA in IN
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Brent Rattan




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a similar issue/concern about cutting and good cutting mediums.

My answer was a 5 pound bag of Bil-Jac dog food. I came home from a summer vacation and found that my freezer, recently stocked with 100 pounds of Bil-Jac had gone out and the Bil-Jac potentially spoiled. (For those of you that do not know, Bil-Jac is a "real" meat product dog food that is stored frozen and must be consumed after it has thawed because it will spoil). I had recently purchased an Atrim 1421 and really wanted to see it cut something other than milk jugs and the like. I took the bags of Bil-Jac, made sure that the food inside was packed down tight and hard and felt solid, set them up on my cutting stand and went to cutting. I was completely surprised and very impressed by how well my new Atrim sliced them in twain with pretty easy two handed slices. Anyway, at $4.00 per bag, it is not something that I will repeat often, plus it was a mess to clean ip. But, man, it was fun and it really gave me allot of confidence in my Atrim, which has proved to be a wicked cutter on everything I have cut with it.

D B
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Joel Whitmore




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 11:33 am    Post subject: Good Cutting Ideas         Reply with quote

Peter gave you some great cutting ideas. I have heard that soaked newspapers are very good as well and cheap! If you get to a school library or office complex, they will sometimes save the newspapers for ya. One thing I have found that approximates bone pretty well is a thick green vine. No kidding! The only drawback is they have to be green (usually in the spring and early summer). The wood in the vines is porrus and the large ones have an actual center channel filled with water. Of course city people may be out of luck on this one. HEHE the dead carcas ides would not only be very stinky but probably unhealthy as well. As Peter pointed out, live bone is softer than most people think. Also, different swords are made for different types of cutting. A big, thick blade, such as those on a Type X blade may not be conducive to cutting the plastic bottles cleanly. I don't think there is anything wrong with the design of yoru sword here. The smaller bottles do not have the mass to stay in place from the force of the blow until the blade goes through it completely. The gallon jugs do. Cutting plastic bottles are a great way to preactice your edge alignment and speed. The first time I tried a bottle with my old Gus type XIIa, I hit a home run and knocked the bottle completely across the yard. With practice I managed to get cleaner cuts. Another thing to consider with a high-quality sword is where you cut with the blade. Blades with distal taper will be thinner twords the tip, so be sure you try to get the bottle with the center of percussion for a cleaner cut. One thing though...ain't cuttin' fun! Big Grin

Joel
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Aaron Justice




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick brings up a good point about cutting mediums and real life application. An Atrim of course is an excellent cutter, as are most swords with proper geometry and edges.

But what chance are you going to get to, "Well, let's see, stand still Sir," *places the edge on the guys neck to figure out distance* "Now, let's test the COP" *hits pommel and watches blade wiggle* "Okay, right there... now stand still..." *Decapitates opponent*.

How can there be a perfect sword when PEOPLE come in all shapes and sizes too?
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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alina, if you can find a cheap source for beach mats, they make an acceptable substitute for "real" tatami mats. Your price may vary, but I can find them for $2 a piece. Cool
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