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Peter Johnsson
Industry Professional



Location: Storvreta, Sweden
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

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Posts: 1,757

PostPosted: Sat 07 Apr, 2012 2:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
Scott Woodruff wrote:

Aleksie, 40 degrees is really obtuse for a knife, though I am sure there are some such. A lot of swords have a very acute edge bevel of less than 20 degrees or even less than 15, but with a convex grind leaving the final edge at more like 25-30. These are just general ballpark figures for cut-oriented swords, it would be nice if Peter or one of the other more knowledgeable forumnites would give us some specific examples. It seem that I remember reading something Michael Pearce said about edge geometry, I will see if I can dig it up.


40 degrees is not "really obtuse" at all, though of course more obtuse than I sharpen my knives (and I do sharpen them well). One of my self-made swords is 6 mm thick and about 20 mm wide near the point which makes sharpening angle right about 40 degrees. Maybe a bit more since the grind is not perfectly flat but a little convex. Believe me, this sword will cut off your hand or cut your leg right to the bone.

25-30 degrees sounds reasonable, but a sword could obviously have a much more obtuse edge end still be able to cut reasonably well. So I want to find out how were different swords sharpened. I would expect to see a considerable variation between different types of swords, between different swords of the same general type and purpose and even between different parts of the same blade.


This is just it. If I say a war sword is 20 degrees in the edge, you will find examples that are perhaps close to 40 degrees.
There are some of these really big 16th century two handers that are not much different from huge kitchen knives in the outer part of the blade. And then you have type XVII swords that have a perfectly flat edge bevel going straight into the cutting edge, with an edge angle that is double or more than what can be found on wider and thinner blades.
It is very difficult to draw conclusions from just looking at pictures and setting up some standard rules. At the same time, there is of course something like a normal edge.
I would venture to say that the normal edge of a european medieval sword, or a viking sword for that matter is very similar to the edge of a katana. And saying this I am aware there is great variation among katanas as well.

I have seen many swords with beautiful and light, flexible blades that were just about like double edged filet knives. I have seen a executioners sword that was completely unsharpened on both sides, except for the last 15 cm (6 inches) of the tip of one side, and that edge was fully hollow ground. The edge was unbelievably thin, like a skinning knife. -*Shivers*

There is a great variation. I would say the variation might be as great as there is variation in sword types, but on a much smaller scale. Think *variation in sharpness*, and not a gradual scale from sparring sword blunt to scalpel sharp.
Talking of blunt edges makes most people think of safe sparing swords, and therefore these ideas of sword being essentially steel clubs. There is blunt and there are degrees of honing and variation in edge angles.
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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Apr, 2012 8:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, I did not read any arrogance in your statement at all. I was trying to be empathetic. I really respect you and all the other amazingly knowledgeable and helpful people here at myArmoury. I really can not imagine you saying anything to which I could take offence. Thank you for expanding abit on edge geometry. I find all this variation comforting, as I am really fascinated by extremes when it comes to weapon design.

Aleksei, of course you are absolutely correct. The first knife I ever forged is also about 6mm thick and less than 20mm wide and it is literally razor-sharp. I was merely parroting the conventional wisdom that you can read on any of a hundred knife-making sites and books. 40 degrees would be most unusual for a kitchen knife though. I am just starting work on a Baltic wappenknivr (the kind with the fancy bronze-mounted sheaths) using stock that is over a cm thick and less than 2.5 cm wide. Basically, I want to see how far I can push things in the thick and narrow side of things and still have a wicked cutting edge. My other current project is a type X that tapers to about 1.5mm near the point and has super-acute edges. Talk about extremes, this sword weighs 720g and has a center of mass of 9"! Absolutely wicked, if I do say so myself.
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2012 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, I for one will look forward with great anticipation to that book.
"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 793

PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2012 7:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Federico Tyrawskyj wrote:

As for the smith I mentionned, I did send him more information based on this thread and some references from the Ian Pierce book. He was grateful and open minded, admitting his lack of knowledge. I would rather not identify him though, out of respect.

Federico


Nor do I see any reason to hang out a person for having had the same misconceptions so many share, especially after realising and amending it so graciously. I mean, I've said the same before I got to know better. So have many of us here. Life is all about learning and keeping an open mind to learn more, no matter how good you are at some things already, and not about always being right.

Aww... Maybe I've grown in the last few years after all.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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