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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




Location: Columbus ohio
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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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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Kite wrote:
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



Hi David,

I can´t say that the target I suggested is *exactly* like a poor human body, only that it approximates more closely than most other test cutting materials used. (apart from the obvious pork chops...)
The glue in duct tape does not hinder so much as the layer is very thin. It is different with a solid gelatinous material without a lubricating fluid (like ballistic gelatin).
You need some tape to bind the news paper down. Duct tape is one option, but you could perhaps use some other adhesive tape that is thinner and less tough if you like. Experiment and see what works best.
The real issue is to find a good plastic pipe to mimic living bone. That is the hard part.
You can then vary the donmension of the pipe and the amount of paper to vary different target areas.
Fresh vine or some other semi hard fast growing plant could work very well. Especially if it has a hollow or porous centre, as suggested above. Only be sure to use freshly cut vegetable matter for this application. It makes for a great difference.

The main idea is to get close to what could be thought as realistic. It is sometimes a good idea to use a realistic target instead of soda bottles, just to hav something to correlate to. No need to get too gory with these cutting practises (unless you absolutley want to, but then make sure no one with easily offended feelings is watching!). The idea is only to get a proper perspective on cutting performance and the dedication and finesse needed for various cuts described in the fencing manuals. What is needed for a cut to be effective?How much movement and force? What speed? What is possible with different types of swords? What is the pros and cons with various designs through the ages. Much can be learned through this.

Unfortunately I do not know of an American equivalent of this plastic pipe, but we are working on it at Albion to look it up. I brouight with me a length during the latest visit.
I will keep looking and post the reslt on this forum when I find the material.

Fusiotherm is available in Sweden, so I guess you could get it in all of Europe?
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the pipe is probably polypropylene, from the description.
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Steve Fabert





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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
I think the pipe is probably polypropylene, from the description.


Apparently Fusiotherm is a layered composite material.

http://www.kuysen.com/piping/

I'm not aware of a similar product for sale in the USA, but maybe there are some plumbers or builders among us who are.
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Fabert wrote:
Geoff Wood wrote:
I think the pipe is probably polypropylene, from the description.


Apparently Fusiotherm is a layered composite material.

http://www.kuysen.com/piping/

I'm not aware of a similar product for sale in the USA, but maybe there are some plumbers or builders among us who are.


Aaah, well found! I confess I was just guessing based on the properties described. We used to cut polypropylene syringe barrels that behaved somewhat similarly.
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Fabert wrote:
Geoff Wood wrote:
I think the pipe is probably polypropylene, from the description.


Apparently Fusiotherm is a layered composite material.

http://www.kuysen.com/piping/

I'm not aware of a similar product for sale in the USA, but maybe there are some plumbers or builders among us who are.


it is still poly-propyline based.

Quote:
In the beginning of the eighties aquatherm, in cooperation with its raw material producer, launched a weldable Potable water-pipe system made from polypropylene which introduced the German company into the world market.


Alexi
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Justice wrote:
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*.


Hey Aaron!

Good point!
Cutting a mobile target that puts serious effort into not being hit is of course something else than severing rolled up newspapers Big Grin

As you bring up the conept of COP I thought I´d add some thoughts on that matter here in this thred as well (I hope I am not hijacking the topic...).
Please note, this is my take on it. I am sure not all will agree with these observations.

The COP is usually identified with the placing of the node of no vibration of the blade.
To me the nodes on no vibration offer a way to manipualte the stiffness of the sword during a cut. In popular understanding this has to do with the concept of "harmonic balance". As time has gone by, this term has been stretched to cover so many different aspects of a swords performance, it has almost lost its meaning. When vibration nodes are in focus I personally prefer to talk about node placing, as this is a more precise description.
It seems that a common notion is that the placing of the blade node is of great importance for the cutting performance of the sword. I am not so sure about that. I do not think the blade node and the COP are the same thing. They may coincide, but this is just coincidence resulting from other aspects of the design of the sword.
I´d say it is more important to note where and how the vibration nodes are placed in the grip, or hilt area.

Try this out:
Grasp the grip of the sword and hold it point upwards. Tap with the heel of your hand untill you find the node of the blade. You will notice how the whole blade becomes stiff and vibrates less as you tap in the spot where the node is. From a wobbly flexible blade it suddenly becomes more like a stiff plank.
This offer us a clue to why the nodes play a role in the design of swords.
The node is a place of stiffness where you can manipulate the rest of the sword without causing vibrations. Hence it seems to me that the nodes in the grip, that you will always grasp, are more important than the nodes in the blade. I say node*s* since there are vibrations of higher pitch with nodes placed on each side of the primary nodes in the blade and grip. These are not always aparent, but can be used to some effect in stiffening especially flexible or long blades.
When cutting with a sword during an "agressive encounter with an enemy" you will not only use the part of the blade where the node is, you will cut with a longer section both inside and outside the blade node. *But* you will always grasp the the hilt in much the same place, and by doing this you impart highest possible stiffness in the blade druing a cut, if the placing of the nodes in the grip are optimal.
Again, one must be aware that this is not a rule that has precedence over other aspects of the function of the sword. I have seen (original)swords that have their grip node placed *in front* of the guard. A strange and confucing thing to us modern aficinados, but it sems to work on certain types of sword. One of my most agressively cutting swords had the "grip" node placed 10 mmin front of the guard. This is clearly not according to the rules of how things should work. My guess is that the secondary nodes are put to good use in these instances. More research is needed here.

COP has more to do with pivot points, and this is something else completely from vibration nodes.
The no-shock effect that good swords are associated with is less an effect of the placing of the vibration nodes than the correspondence between pivot points in the grip area and the blade. (both these work together to some extent, but the vibration nodes are primarily an aspect of stiffness and only have a secondary effect on shock dampening)

Placing of pivot points also have a big effect in the intuitive feel of the sword and what part of the edge/blade you get a direct dynamic feedback on through the hilt as you move the sword.
-A feeling of "floating in the air" and "extention of my arm", is a result of effective use of the pivot points.
-Does the blade pivot close to the vibration node as you move the hilt back and forth from guard to guard, or does the point seem to hover still in the air without moving from side to side even as you shift guard? You will see both these situations and everything in between on different types of swords. This is something you adjust according to the intended function of the sword.
These are very important charactersitics for the feel of a sword. Much more important than where the balance point happens to be placed. (although this will of course have some effect as well).

Of course Point of Balance, Placing of Nodes and Pivot Points all correspond with each other.
If you want to shift one aspect without moving the others too much you need to work with the shape/dimension of the blade or lenght of the hilt.

So, my take is this:
Just as the placing of the balance point used to be a main concern some years ago, now there is a focus on where the nodes are placed. Both these aspects will tell you something of how a sword feels and performs, and are important in their own right, but they do not tell the whole story. The key to the dynamic balance, or intuitive feel of a sword lies in the placing of the pivot points. These also has a lot to do with how a sword delivers a cut. Pivot points, Node points and balance point are all spearate entities, but do have an effect on each other.

If you want a sword that is more forgiving in what section of the edge you can use for best cuting reults, you want a sword where the corresponding pivot points from the grip are placed far apart in the blade.
This is difficult to do in a slim and flexible blade with little variation in the distal taper. This is one aspect that non-linear distal taper hepls in more ways than one.

By corresponding pivot points I mean this:
imagine the part of the grip you hold that is closest to the guard, or most forward to the point. If you grasp this place sideways (edge to edge) between your thumb and index finger in a loose grip and "wiggle" the sword back and forth you will notice there is a section of the blade that hangs still without wiggling. This is a bit similar to finding the spot of no vibration in the blade, only that you do not slap the pommel. Instead you move the grip back and forth in a loose grip so that the part you hold can pivot between you fingers. (this is a quick and dirty way of doing this, but it works)
You will find that the corresponding pivot point in the blade from the piovot point in the front part of the grip is placed somewhere between the vibration node and the point. Depending on how far towards the point in the blade this pivot is placed the sword will offer more or less precision in its point controll.
If you now grasp the grip where the heel of your hand typically is when you wield the sword and repeat the wiggle test, you will find there is another pivot point in the blade closer to the hilt that correspond to this place futher back in the grip.

You have now established where the extreme grip pivot points in the grip have corresponding pivot points in the blade. Typically there will be a longer distance between the pivot points in the blade than the distance between the pivot points in the grip.
This will tell you roughly where you will make the most efficient cuts. But do not take this too far as there are other factors having an impact on this as well.

Quite a mouthfull, this! Blush
These are some of the ideas I´ve been working with in the development of the NextGen swords. I keep revisiting these aspects every time I document a new sword, so ideas are adjusted as time goes by. That´s the nature of this game, I´m afraid... Worried Wink


Last edited by Peter Johnsson on Wed 27 Oct, 2004 5:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Fabert wrote:
Geoff Wood wrote:
I think the pipe is probably polypropylene, from the description.


Apparently Fusiotherm is a layered composite material.

http://www.kuysen.com/piping/

I'm not aware of a similar product for sale in the USA, but maybe there are some plumbers or builders among us who are.




Thanks for loking this up!
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Alina Boyden





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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow. I'd like to thank PJ for weighing in on this. Getting from cutting plastic 2 litre bottles to the harmonics of medieval swords is precisely why I post here. I'd also like to thank you guys for the cutting medium suggestions. Now I finally have a use for the Daily Nexus. (Free university newspaper)
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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. I hope for your own sake you are a faster typer than I am. I would have spent the best part of an hour writing a post that long. And it wouldnt be half as interesting if I did. Big Grin
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 6:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Einar Drønnesund wrote:
Peter, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. I hope for your own sake you are a faster typer than I am. I would have spent the best part of an hour writing a post that long. And it wouldnt be half as interesting if I did. Big Grin


Oh, I spend way too much time writing...
It is embarrasing.

And it is not just the writing. I have spent most of the last six years to discuss, try out and put together that what filled the post above.

I should be in my smithy doing some honest work instead!
Blush Eek!
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 6:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:


Try this out:
Grasp the grip of the sword and hold it point upwards. Tap with the heel of your hand untill you find the node of the blade. You will notice how the whole blade becomes stiff and vibrates less as you tap in the spot where the node is. From a wobbly flexible blade it suddenly becomes more like a stiff plank.


It works!?!?!? Using my AT "Lady Carmen" which is VERY flexible/wobbly, if I smack the blade at the blade node (while holding the grip) the blade is stiff as a plank but if I hit the blade above or below the node it vibrates Eek! The same is true for my NG Baron (except that it is much stiffer to start with)

Apparently Peter is on to something...Who would have guessed? Wink

Alexi

P.S. Thanks for the detailed post, Peter. I am sure glad that you type so much, as it cleared a lot of misunderstanding and confusion that I had regarding the COP and nodes (I have read million times that it is the same thing).
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a good discussion, folks, and I'd like to especially thank Peter Johnsson for additions. This topic has enough value to warrant making it a spotlight topic.
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Alina Boyden





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PostPosted: Wed 27 Oct, 2004 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
This is a good discussion, folks, and I'd like to especially thank Peter Johnsson for additions. This topic has enough value to warrant making it a spotlight topic.


Yay! My stupid question pays off!
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