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Sam Arwas




Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2017 1:35 am    Post subject: Is there a functional reason for fuller running on to tang?         Reply with quote

Why is it that most antique medieval swords have the fuller extending part of the way down the tang? Is there any functional difference between that and having the fuller start after the shoulders of the blade?
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2017 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm glad you're asking, because I have often wondered the same..... Question ...... McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Michael Parker




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2017 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I took would like to know the answer. Actually, since the Albion Maestro line swords have fullers that start to fade out as they reach the crossguard, my assumption was that fullering down to the tang creates a weak point there. Perhaps it wasn't such a big deal on fighting swords that weren't used in anger very often, but for practice swords that are put through constant abuse, you'd want it to be somewhat overbuilt. Still, a fuller that doesn't go all the way through just isn't as aesthetically pleasing.
"This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries."
-Sir Walter Raleigh, upon being allowed to see the ax that would behead him, 29 October 1618
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Sam Arwas




Location: Australia
Joined: 02 Dec 2015

Posts: 81

PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Parker wrote:
I took would like to know the answer. Actually, since the Albion Maestro line swords have fullers that start to fade out as they reach the crossguard, my assumption was that fullering down to the tang creates a weak point there. Perhaps it wasn't such a big deal on fighting swords that weren't used in anger very often, but for practice swords that are put through constant abuse, you'd want it to be somewhat overbuilt. Still, a fuller that doesn't go all the way through just isn't as aesthetically pleasing.
But if your sword breaks in an actual life-or-death combat situation it creates a much bigger problem than in a training scenario.

Fully agreed on the aesthetics part though, I think most people agree that the fuller running under the guard looks much nicer.
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Tom King




Location: florida
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Nov, 2017 10:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most modern reproductions with fullers that end before the crossguards have them milled in
ball end mills have round tips

generally a central fuller tapers into the full width of the tang just past the crossguard vs the abrupt .25" chamfer of a half in ball end mill which would remove a lot of material. Mainly though it is another "good enough"ism of low end reproductions
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 11 Nov, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, everyone.....It looks nice, agreed, but the question remains. And they didn't have high-speed ball end mills 'back then'----so why? WTF?! .....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Nov, 2017 2:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would actually guess that this could very well be a thing about lack of mills, expensive iron/steel and swords of period...

Fullers would mostly be formed by smithing, shaping of material, so it probably would be easier and 'cleaner' to continue it all the way down.

It would also shave precious metal and weigh from the part of the sword were it wasn't really needed. Striking part was way above.

When metal, and all the metal works including swords becomes way cheaper and common, with grinding and etc. very common, swords with fullers that aren't running even down to the cross are becoming common.

That's when thicks ricassos etc. for parrying etc. become common too.

All of those are sadly just my ramblings, of course. :/
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Geoffroy Gautier





Joined: 18 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Nov, 2017 3:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Being a collector of 18th and 19th century saber, that fuller running down the tang on medieval sword is really a striking feature. On sabers, the blade is often quite thick at the tang (8 to 10mm), and the fuller/hollow side always stop before. On the other hand, medieval swords tend to be thinner, and when there is a fuller, it almost always runs down the tang. One could argue that medieval swords also tend to have wider tangs, but to make a rectangular tang 5mm thick as stiff (on the flat-to-flat axis) as a 7mm tang requires to make it 2.7 times wider (second moment of area formulae).

So having thin tangs, made even weaker by a fuller, to me is a clear sign that... it made no difference. And the only way it could have made no difference is that the blade itself, not the blade/tang junction, was the weakest link. I.e. medieval swords were intrinsically designed around a blade material which softness or brittleness were so high that the mechanical stress didn't even transfer to the blade/tang junction, and it failed mostly at the point of impact (just like Stefan Roth's katana in Welt der Wunder's test).

Either that, or the vast majority of medieval swordmakers were clueless of proper design practices that are otherwise observed on tanged tools and have been for centuries, for example on billhooks and sickles, drawknives, stock/clogmakers knives, tanged cleavers, etc, even a weird kind of cooper's tool, a sort of billhook, often fullered, that is called a "cauchoir" or "cochoir", the fuller always stops before the ferrule. Cause you just don't weaken a tang, ever, especially if it's just to shave a few grams or for looks. If you do, it's from a long experience of making sure it makes no actual difference, so back to my point about the low mechanical characteristics of the blades themselves.
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