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Keith Larman
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 7:55 am    Post subject: Is this a Bastard Sword?         Reply with quote

James Williams of Bugei Trading (and Ancient Edge, Tactical edge, hissatsu.com, etc.) sent me the following photos recently. I've been doing some photography of his Japanese swords for him for their new catalog and he's been playing with new prototypes of a new western style sword he and Paul Chen designed for his Ancient Edge line. Anyway, he sent me photos of this new sword that he's been pretty excited about because it cuts mats so well (James doesn't just swing his swords, he has to cut stuff).

Anyway, this *is* a bastard sword, right?

31" blade, 7" handle, brass and brown leather, wood core, leather wrapped.



and



Trying to expand my knowledge... From the specs it just seems to huge to me. I need to see it in person and hold it because I would think it would be a heavy piece. Obviously, I"m showing my ignorance here, but I thought I'd share the pics since James said he didn't mind.

Keith Larman
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The detail on the cross and the shape of the blade make it look like the Type XIV from the Met (called the Morisoni or something); the sword Del tin based the 2140 on.

The pommel is really different, of course. Any chance they'd make it closer to Met sword, Keith?

Happy

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Keith,
Well, I would consider it one, yes. A grip long enough for two hands, and based on the size it sounds like it can be used in one. But the funny thing is that medieval minds didn't classify things the same way modern minds do. The terms longsword, hand and a half, bastard sword, and sometimes even war sword and great sword, can often mean the same thing or can mean very different things. There isn't really a clear cut answer. An example is my A&A German Bastard Sword. It's got a wasted hilt, much like many bastard swords do. But it's way too heavy to be comfortably used singled handed. Yet A&A calls it a bastard sword. Sorry if that doesn't help much. Wink Those medievals: Always thinking about the purpose instead of the classification! Bah!
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Keith Larman
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 8:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks. Ironically, your answer is also something I tell people all the time about Japanese swords. I always get questions with people asking "is this *really* a wakizashi vs. a tanto" or somesuch thing. They don't realize that at the time the Japanese just called them swords. Long ones, shorter ones, etc. And really it had more to do with how they were used rather than absolutes in length, style, etc. Same with the tips. People get all hot and bothered about chu kissaki vs o-kissaki vs. extended chu vs... blah, blah, blah. More to the point is knowing what a particular smith liked to do and was popular in terms of the tip shape. Classifying it is for guys looking back and trying to put it in some framework. They didn't worry about that stuff-- they just wanted something that cut and did what it was supposed to do. The classifications were in large part come up with at some point later on in history to make it easier to classify stuff. But really its all arbitrary and exceptions are everywhere.

But of course, the point of the classifications is so guys like me who don't know diddly about the western stuff can start putting stuff in different boxes in my head to get some idea of the similarities and differences. But it is always important to realize that the boxes I use to classify aren't the reality -- the swords are the real things.

Thanks!

Keith Larman
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Keith Larman
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
The detail on the cross and the shape of the blade make it look like the Type XIV from the Met (called the Morisoni or something); the sword Del tin based the 2140 on.

The pommel is really different, of course. Any chance they'd make it closer to Met sword, Keith?


Geez, you're asking the wrong guy here. I'm just passing along photos since James was so giggly about how it cut and I wasn't sure how to classify the thing. I'm just happy that me calling it a Bastard Sword didn't result in hoots and ridicule. Laughing Out Loud

I need to call James today anyway so I'll suggest he look over here at the thread. Heck, I don't know if its a final prototype, brand new thing, etc. Knowing James my guess is that his primary motivation is making something inspired by history, but to weight his design decisions on how well what they can make will cut stuff up. But hey, who knows.

Me just Japanese sword guy...

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James Williams
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gentlemen,

This is the final production version of this sword My goal was to have historical authenticity coupled with how I like to use a sword. The variations with this type of sword in that time period are vast and we only have a small number of what existed at that time to draw from. The ball pommel allows use of both hands without making the handle any longer. The wheel pommel does not allow this at the same handle length. The balance point is 3.5" in front of the guard. This makes for a very balanced and fast blade easily used with one hand. I have cut extensively with this sword and it is very effective. Those of you who know me from Bugei know that I am all about function. I want a sword that I could fight with effectively and design them to that end. I will be testing this sword on chain mail as soon as I get some in and we will make some cutting video available on the internet as soon as we can.

The scabbard is leather covered wood core and very nice. The wood core and the snug fit of the sword in the scabbard will make it difficult for moisture to get into the scabbard and affect the blade. This is made by my friend Paul Chen specifically for Ancient Edge and I am very pleased with the quality and attention to detail as well as the function. We will be selling this blade with scabbard for $295.

Regards,

James

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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Keith

I would tend to think of it as a medieval fantasy sword. And I don't mean anything bad by that really.

The blade style is XIVish, but XIV's are rather distinctive. They're single hand swords and most all of them have a type K or K-ish pommel. Funky way of saying that the pommels are wheel type.

The fantasy part comes in with the scent stopperish pommel and hand and a half grip, combined with a XIVish blade. A fantasy sword with a medieval theme.....Kinda Boromirish, if you're familiar with the Lord of the Ring movies.....

I can't tell you that something like that was impossible, but there's no archeological evidence for something like that, not in surviving antiques, nor existing period art...... unless there's something I'm unaware of {and that's possible}.

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Jeff Stewart




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd have to agree with Bill and add that it's a cute little bastard. Wink
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gus hit it right on. It's more of a historically inspired fantasy piece, for the reasons he mentions. That's not necessarily good or bad, simply a statement of how it will be perceived by those with experience. To the eyes of those who've studied period pieces, it looks slightly odd. Of course, those who've studied period pieces will also admit that there are many originals that are also "odd".

On a note about cutting maille, though: Something to keep in mind about the test is the difference between cutting butted maille, cutting modern rivetted maille, and cutting historically authentic maille. Many people have test cut on butted maile, easily shearing through it, and claiming that swords can easily defeat maille. Butted maille was never worn in Europe (which the exception of for quick repairs to small areas). Modern Indian imported rivetted maille is closer, but is still leagues below the quality of period maille, and so cutting it still doesn't really prove much. Then there's historically accurate maille, such as the kind Erik Schmid makes, and that's expensive enough that most people would be very hesitant to try to damage it. I don't want to sound like a naysayer here, I just want to make sure you are aware of the flaws of most maille cutting demos, so that you aren't portraying something false.

Otherwise, that sounds like an excellent price for a sword that comes with a scabbard, and if it's well made and performs well, than it sounds like a great deal.
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Keith Larman
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey, thanks, guys. All good stuff. Ya learn something new everyday.

And I know this will shock the die-hard fans, but I haven't seen any of the lord of the rings movies. Eek! Too busy makin' a livin and playing with my kid... I've got the first one on DVD someone gave me. Now to just find the half a day necessary to watch it.

Now, if you said it was like a sword used in Barney or the teletubbies, hey, I'd have a chance of having seen it. Razz Good lord I need to get out more...

Keith Larman
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Keith Larman
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually this did all raise a question in my head. Please remember I'm a total neophyte about this stuff. I understand the Japanese sword and how the attributes were used, taken advantage of, etc. in terms of application. But I look at those wheel pommels Gus was talking about and wonder what function they provided. Is there some different grip or use for that wheel? Its just something that I can't seem to figure out. All swords, even the Japanese ones (go figure) usually have very strong, utilitarian reasons for everything they do. They may dress things up a bit, use nicer bits of metal, but usually the shapes, tapers, angles, etc. are all there for damned good reasons. Which as a side note is why it can be a bit dangerous to try mixing and matching things -- I understand that fully. But I always wondered about those wheel things.

On a lighter note I do remember thinking that they must be handy for hanging the swords up on the wall in the workshop if you build them... Laughing Out Loud

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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Williams wrote:
Gentlemen,

This is the final production version of this sword My goal was to have historical authenticity coupled with how I like to use a sword. The variations with this type of sword in that time period are vast and we only have a small number of what existed at that time to draw from. The ball pommel allows use of both hands without making the handle any longer. The wheel pommel does not allow this at the same handle length. The balance point is 3.5" in front of the guard. This makes for a very balanced and fast blade easily used with one hand. I have cut extensively with this sword and it is very effective. Those of you who know me from Bugei know that I am all about function. I want a sword that I could fight with effectively and design them to that end. I will be testing this sword on chain mail as soon as I get some in and we will make some cutting video available on the internet as soon as we can.

The scabbard is leather covered wood core and very nice. The wood core and the snug fit of the sword in the scabbard will make it difficult for moisture to get into the scabbard and affect the blade. This is made by my friend Paul Chen specifically for Ancient Edge and I am very pleased with the quality and attention to detail as well as the function. We will be selling this blade with scabbard for $295.

Regards,

James


Hi James

I must have been posting about the same time you were, as I missed this when I posted.

Knowing and having worked with a few fellas with katana backgrounds, and knowing what they're after, I have to say that your design screams katana background. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that, but it always shows.....

Just like I'm sure my Tai Chi background first showed in the first several sword designs I did........

I would also suggest, that your assumption about the wheel pommel is wrong. A person grounded in the right kind of western style longsword play, can run his/her hand over the wheel effectively, in fact many find that it aids in the sword's "tracking".

Personally, I like your design, and I wish you luck with it.

Of late, I've gotten real shy about talking to other sword designers, but should the opportunity arise, I would love to talk to you "offline"........

Auld Dawg

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James Byrnes




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 10:49 am    Post subject: 1st Dissenting Voice         Reply with quote

Keith,

I would NOT call that a bastard sword. While I agree one hundred percent that people would not have been AS worried about the classification of sword( short of a scribes or quartermasters) there are period references to epee de batarde, grete swerde's and grand epee d'allemange, so they did have some sort of classification based on sword type, hilt length and whatever other characteristics they deemed important.

Keeping in mind that there was a classification used even then, we as modern practioners/collecters have codified these terms so that we have a frame of reference when discussing swords( due in large part to the efforts of Mr. Oakeshott, RIP)
and by THAT definition, I would say this piece is NOT a bastard sword at all! It appears to be a nice, ahistoric long hilted single hander, inspired by the Sword of Boromir more then anything I have seen in extant examples. Is this a bad thing? In my opinion definitely NOT, it is a nice looking blade, and I think Gus termed it well calling it a historically inspired fantasy piece.

One final note, as brought up by Mr. Williams. Although I do not believe there is a historic precedent for this combination, I completely admit that their might be. At this point in the journey, however, I have yet to see a sword or iconagraphical evidence of its type and dimensions. I will say however, that I like it! Nice design Sir Big Grin

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Markus Haider




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:
Knowing and having worked with a few fellas with katana backgrounds, and knowing what they're after, I have to say that your design screams katana background. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that, but it always shows..... to talk to you "offline"........

Auld Dawg


Funny, the first thing I thought when I saw the pictures before I read the text was that it looks like a "Japanese" Western sword. Not a bad think in my opinion.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting sword.

Could this be considered a bastard sword ? Yes, in that it exhibits design elements that allow it to be used with either one or two hands. Many of the more accutely point swords of the XVIIIa family exhibit grip and blade lengths of these proportions. The sword which has been documented as belonging to Englands King Edward III is an example of this.

The pommel does stray from the historic norm in that wheel variants are usually found on swords of this type. I personally have never had a problem gripping a wheel pommel during use. I am referring to a properly designed and secured wheel pommel.

Judging from the photo alone, it's hard to make a real determination. That's probably why it should be sent in for a review James Wink Provided that the components are securely assembled (which I'm assuming is the case since James has cut with it) it should be a value at that price point.
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James Williams
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick,

I talked with Nathan yesterday at length. I am going to send the sword to both of you so that you can evaluate it. This sword does not cut like and I do not use it like a katana. The energy transfer and technique for cutting with this sword is quite different than Japanese. The influences on the design all come from western blades. One Italian, a couple from handling some of Albions fine work, and the rest from various period swords. The intent was a quick, strong cutting sword for primarily one hand use that could also be used two handed if necessary.

Bill,

Thanks for the information on the different types of mail. I will be sure to qualify any testing done to reflect the type of mail used when testing. I appreciate the feedback from everyone as I do not have as extensive a background in western swords as I do in Japanese. It is a fascinating topic and I admit a prejudice to certain periods and types of swords.

Regards,

James

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Jay Barron




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You know, the blade and crossguard really remind me of one of the type XIV swords in Oakeshott's "Records". It's probably the same one Chad mentioned that's at the Met.
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jay Barron wrote:
You know, the blade and crossguard really remind me of one of the type XIV swords in Oakeshott's "Records". It's probably the same one Chad mentioned that's at the Met.


Here's the "MetSword":



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aa32.75.225.R.jpg

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi James,

That's good news!

I look forward to handling this sword. It will be great to have solid swords in this price range.
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James Williams
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2003 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bjorn and Jay,

That particular sword was the single biggest influence on this sword.

Regards,

James

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