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Jesse Belsky
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 8:54 pm    Post subject: Peter Johnsson Sword Design Lectures Online         Reply with quote

Hi all,
If you are here on this forum then you probably know who Peter Johnsson is.....he gave a couple fascinating talks at a bladesmithing event in Alaska last week. There are videos online here: http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showt...ntry223115

In the first video he discusses sword construction and blade properties, and in the second he discusses his new theory on medieval sword design and aesthetics. This is fascinating stuff. Thanks so much to the Arctic Fire folks for hosting the event and sharing it with the world.

I just finished watching the video's of Peter's talks, but there are a number of other videos there from other outstanding craftspeople who's names you'll surely recognize from this forum. I'm looking forward to seeing what they had to say. What an awesome resource! Enjoy.

EDIT: Forgot to say thank you to Peter, for sharing his hard-earned sword making wisdom with us all. His intellectual curiosity and generosity of spirit are always inspirational.


Last edited by Jesse Belsky on Tue 03 Jul, 2012 6:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Zach Luna




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 11:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh. My. Word. Eek!

A thousand thanks.
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Cole B





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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome. Don't be intimidated by the 1+ hr length, they go by fast.
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 2:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jesse,

Thanks a lot for flagging this. Not only PJ, but also Don Fogg's,Powning, Pikula...on topics as varied as sword making, nielo, carving...I had the privilege to see most of these guys lecture in the flesh, always well worth it.

Awesome stuff.

J
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Mark T




PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: Peter Johnsson Sword Design Lectures Online         Reply with quote

Jesse Belsky wrote:
... and in the second he discusses his new theory on medieval sword design and aesthetics. This is fascinating stuff.


Wow. Folks, watch this almost 90 minute presentation. Now go and browse through every sword book you own. Then go and check out your personal collection. It's like having augmented reality for swords.

Oakeshott taught us how to categorise; Johnsson teaches us how to see in a whole new way.

We've had the theory of physical sword properties in terms of performance for a while (static, dynamic, and harmonic balance); this presentation gives us a theory of the asethetics that overlays it.

My personal guess is that Peter's right: this opens up a whole new vista of research into sword design, both in history and for the future.

Chief Librarian/Curator, Isaac Leibowitz Librarmoury

Schallern sind sehr sexy!
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's great! Thanks a lot!

Regards,

--
Vincent
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Blaz Berlec




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow!

I've been following Peter Johnsson's ideas on sword proportions, but this is well beyond that. Well presented, clearly linked to designing other medieval artwork (drawings, paintings, architecture)... It's good that he looks very critically at his findings ("If you look for a pattern, you tend to find it") and not going all "Dan Brown" on it, as he put it. Big Grin

Now all we need is a long long book on this theory. ("Hint, hint, nudge, nudge") There are many things to check - is the symbolism of the sword design ever related to the inscriptions and symbols on the sword itself? That would be a bit of a give-away Big Grin

I'm tempted to put my Albion Earl through such analysis, but I'm not sure if I'd like the result, if the sword was designed before Peter discovered this "key"!


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Michael Harley




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not to detract from Peter's very interesting work but in the name of clarity, a theory is a hypothesis that has: been published, been subjected to rigorous and protracted peer review, had findings replicated and confirmed by independent researchers in the field (the more the better) and suffered all the slings and arrows that can be thrown at it to such an extent that we can confidently use it as a basis for further research and hypothesis, for example, the theory of electro-magnetism or the theory of gravity. Until this time it is an hypothesis.

This may seem trivial but it is imperative to define terms at the outset of any discussion, especially as there exists the 'crime fiction' definition of a theory as an unsubstantiated idea, a 'hunch' or a 'gut feeling'. Let's not fall into the same trap as the creationists who say of evolution "it's only a theory".

Information is not knowledge, Knowledge is not wisdom, Wisdom is not truth - Frank Zappa
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That was amazing. Peter, bravo to you for coming up with and presenting this hypothesis. I can't wait to see how this affects future research!
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter published the ideas in his second lecture in an article for the 2012 Park Lane Arms Fair - "Righteousness is Quadrangular", a Hypothesis on Geometric Proportions of Medieval Swords
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 7:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've viewed almost all the videos and they are outstanding and very informative of theory and process.

One can wonder in a which came first " the chicken or the egg " when it comes to the design theories that Peter shows us: By this I mean that does the geometry lead to better swords or do good sword conform to the geometry ? ( Handling and aesthetic/symbolism ).

The relationship between proportions and mass distribution and geometric may be fundamental to " reality " as we perceive it.

The geometric and symbolic methods, Peter talks about, that where a universal design basis for Medieval architecture, art and philosophical thought are not only a philosophical approach to design but fundamental to the physical world and what the human brain perceives as harmonious.

An interesting exercise would be to take intuitive designs done without using the geometry/math, that most would agree are successful, and see how close they conform to the relationships of dimensions when one compares period swords and also when one uses the geometry to design a sword: Somehow I'm guessing that most aesthetically pleasing designs will conform closely to Peter's discovery.

Maybe what happens is that an artist will get there intuitively, but with these tools one can take a lot of the guesswork out of the design process and even those without artistic talent would be able to use the geometry ?

A bit like the golden ratio/rectangle being fundamental to pleasing proportions: One ignorant of the golden rectangle but with artistic ability will often respect those proportions without any knowledge of the math/geometry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio

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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OH MY.

I just watched the first of Peters Video's and I wish I had the time to go through them all RIGHT NOW, but it is Independence Day here in the United State's and I have an obligation to eat unhealthy amounts of red meat and blow things up.

BUT... I need to echo the MC when he says how casually Peter puts up those sketches of nodes and balance points. What initially drew my interest in swords were those very things. How complex a "simple bar of steel" behaves both when put into motion and when impacted. I cannot believe this video is just up for free, I would pay good money to have this on DVD.

Also having a video showing the waggle test, and the pommel impact test is fantastic. I have seen numerous posts on the SBG about what those two tests show, and how they are performed. This is also a GREAT example of why "we" pay what we do for these higher end weapons from the three A's (and several other respected smiths!)

When someone now asks me why it is worth it to purchase an 800.00 dollar sword, compared to a 260.00 dollar sword, I will plop them down in front of this video! It also shows what a bargain Albion's next Gen line really is when you consider the time and research that went into each piece.

OK, I'm off for the holiday but had to say thank you. I can not wait to watch the others on this page. What a treasure.

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew P. Adams wrote:
... but it is Independence Day here in the United State's and I have an obligation to eat unhealthy amounts of red meat and blow things up.

Nice Happy - this cracked me up.

Matthew P. Adams wrote:
...This is also a GREAT example of why "we" pay what we do for these higher end weapons from the three A's (and several other respected smiths!)

To disambiguate what you are saying, are your three A's: Albion, Arms & Armor & Atrim?

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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just finished the first of Peter's lectures. I must say that this is quite possibly the most amazing video I've ever seen. At this point I want nothing more than to make swords for the rest of my life.
Eric Gregersen
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sword that Peter used as a perfect example of this geometric system is Wallace Collection, A465, also known to us as Del Tin DT5144. I wonder how close a copy the Del Tin is of the original? It would be interesting for someone to do a new recreation of that sword.

One question concerned the relationship of pivot points and vibrational nodes to the qudrangular geometry of a sword. I think Peter's answer was that you could locate these points using this system, but there is no indication that Medieval swordmakers did that.. If I misintrepreted, please correct me.



 Attachment: 10.47 KB
dt5144old.jpg
A465
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Blaz Berlec




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anyone had a go at finding the proportion relations in a sword drawing? I'm having a go with this one:



http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3074

Some correlations are obvious - the width of the pommel (65mm) is three squares away from the pommel to crossbar distance (around 184 mm)... Haven't come beyond that, I'm fighting my rusty Autocad skills... But I will post the outcome, be it success or fail! Razz


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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@ T Arndt,

Yup, those three are the A's I was referring too, Albion, Arms and Armor, and Atrim. didn't mean to be unclear. And like I mention, there are certainly other smiths who pay attention to those mechanics, Tinker Pierce comes to mind.

And seriously, over the last 8 hours I've had two burgers, kielbasa, some chicken, a couple ribs, and steak. But don't worry, the one ear of corn surly balanced that out. Big Grin

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 4:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, you really need to write a book. Happy
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Quinn W.




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think most of us here have a good understanding of the intricacies that go into creating an efficient and functional piece. To see it all summed up so coherently, however, renewed that respect.

On a slightly unrelated note, I really liked the sword stand pictured at the 59 minute mark of Peter Johnson's second video.

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2012 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blaz Berlec wrote:
I'm tempted to put my Albion Earl through such analysis, but I'm not sure if I'd like the result, if the sword was designed before Peter discovered this "key"!
As pointed out by Michael Harley, until this hypothesis has seen some form of rigorous peer review and scrutiny it would be alittle premature to start thinking like this. We need a body of results showing how many originals fit these parameters, how many do not, what is the standard amount of deviation, or if indeed as Jean mentioned, all well proportioned swords will naturally fall into these ratios whether intentionally or not.

Until all these questions are looked at, I think its alittle early to be preparing to dismiss your favorite sword. I have a sneaking suspicion that either A. a large portion of originals do not fit these ratios, or B. All originals do, but because all well proportioned swords fall fairly close to these ratios whether through intention or just natural harmony of aesthetics. Just a gut feeling...

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