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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 5:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh,Igot ya. You wouldn't happen to know the title would you ? I love to try and find a copy .
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David McElrea




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Given the points that have been made in re: the irregular tempering (and even non-tempered) steel used in armour, is it possible that the illustrations found in Maciejowski are not as fanciful as has often been assumed? Is it possible that well tempered swords in (say) the 13th century could cleave a poorly tempered helm?

I ask, keeping in mind the wise words from Gus and others, purely out of historical interest.



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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 8:46 am    Post subject: Armor         Reply with quote

Hello David

The two major obstacles to what is pictured there in my mind are armor thickness and blade temper. Even with an untempered helmet the material is usually a bit thicker in the areas that would receive the most impact and thinner in other areas to save weight. The result is that many of the pictures depict the massive failure of the armor in its strongest point. If one is using unhardened 16 gauge cold rolled steel to test these issues the period helmet could often be two or three times that thick in the target area. Even with modern steels and static targets we see this same 16gauge steel standing up quite well to the sword blades almost certainly tempered to a higher hardness than the average 13th C sword. The swords of the period could well have been tempered to the upper 40's Rc some into the low 50's even. But if you look through the forums dealing with Rc hardness and such matters you will find that there is more to a blade then just this descriptive number and that the ability of the period smith to achieve certain things that we are assuming are across the board can lead us astray.

The individual nature of each batch of refined steel/iron from the period and the empirical processing as apposed to scientifically defined processing means that the general material used for both armor and swords was probably closer to each other in most cases than than the high carbon alloyed steel heat treated blade of today and a piece of soft cold rolled 16gauge. The results of the tests that I have seen have not indicated much ability to cleave these helms as is depicted.

Allen I will go look it up the title is escaping me at the moment.


Regards
Craig
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Craig , I appreciate it .

David , there are featured in Armour from the Battle Visby several examples of maille coiffes that have been cut through
( with the skull still in situa , they're pretty cool shots ) .
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh I should add that the coiffes were made from iron wire .
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Whether a sword could cut into a period helmet would depend mainly on the material thickness, and the geometry of the target where the strike is. Three and four years ago, I used to do an awful lot of test cutting and test bashing on various steel objects. Using one of my more rigid singlehanders {the classic "Slovenian"} I could strike the top of a steel barrel with a rolled top edge, and cut thru the top of the rolled portion thru the top of the barrel, some 4 inches deep. The thickness of the steel was .078 inch {roughly 2mm}. Striking the same barrel around the side of the barrel, what I would do would be to bend the barrel in around the "strike", and move the barrel. Even weighting the barrel down so it couldn't move, my strikes left deep gouges and dents without cutting thru the barrel {though sometimes knocking it down}.

A 16 guage helmet with a well rounded surface, is very unlikely to be penetrated by a sword cut. Even 18 guage isn't likely to be penetrated. Deeply dented maybe, maybe even cracked, but not penetrated to a fatal degree. And for the cracking of said helmet it would take a tremendous blow, a metal fatigued helmet, and some real luck.

A helmet like the one pictured though, that is much thinner {say .02 or .03 inch, or .5 to .75mm}, might just be able to be cut like the picture. However, no one today makes a helmet out of foil. 18 guage is about as thin as I know of, and most helmets geometry isn't really conducive for defeating with a sword cut.

As Craig alluded, even more important in a sword blade's properties than heat treating, is blade geometry. If the geometry is done right per any given "type", all you need is roughly 45 to 48rc to make a very effective sword blade.

swords are fun
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 1:43 pm    Post subject: Book         Reply with quote

Here you go Allan.

"WILLIAMS (A.) THE KNIGHT AND THE BLAST FURNACE: A HISTORY OF THE METALLURGY OF ARMOUR IN THE MIDDLE AGES & THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD. 1020pp., 900 plates. 2003. By the expert in the field - a detailed study based upon analysis of hundreds of armours, assessing their probable effectiveness in battle. This is a very important study and a significant primary reference for research into armour. Sadly the European publisher has priced it at a price beyond many purses."

Current price is 150.00 above decription says it all.

Craig
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Craig . YEHAA!
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Shane Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The period illuminations have always fascinated me. They show swords doing the most helm-rending things,yet in actual testing of modern replica's,the most I have ever seen accomplished by a sword on a helm is a very deep crease with a minor cut in the depth of the fold. My Atrim XIIIa heavy and my DT 5143 have delivered such blows in my hands. While some disagree with the testing methods used by me on occasion,these tests do help us contrast actual performance of weapons in context of the period illustrations.Consider that the medieval battlefields were awash with varying degrees of armours and that a rimmed shield strike would probably be harder on a blade than an 18 gauge domed helm. A few lessons learned include;

1. A gambeson is pretty darn good protection against a cut.
2. Butted maille is apparently good protection against nothing as the butted maille I have personally tested against simply ripped open on impact allowing my blade to pass.Some swords will show minor nicks in their edge from this sort of thing.
3. Riveted maille is very good protection against a cut.Indeed,I have never seen more than a link or two pop on impact when the maille is properly supported by a gambeson.I have seen two light single-handers break on maille.
4. Plate is proof against every sword cut I have seen inflicted or inflicted myself. A crease is probable, but little more. I have seen about 4 swords fail catastrophically on this type of target out of about perhaps a couple dozen I have seen tested thus and tested thus for myself.Heck,my Deltin single-hand copenhagen and a MRL single hander or two have survived this test with no damage either in my hands or in my presence. The test rig does indeed have lateral movement designed in as I perform these tests.
5.18 gauge plate can be defeated from the halfsword in the thrust with a good,stoutly tapered blade such as the DT 2143. I have done so on more than one occasion.
6.There are blades out there that perform well against heavy targets and light targets AND handle well besides.
7.Some blades are simply too light for this sort of test even if you made them of kryptonite.

Shane Smith
ARMA~ Virginia Beach
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David McElrea




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 6:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for your responses! Most educational.

Is it possible (although it seems extremely unlikely to me) that leather helms were more common than we might have thought? It seems nonsense even as I look back at what I have just written-- if someone could afford full maille surely they could afford a steel helm!

I suppose I am just wanting to give the illuminators/illustrators the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps this was nothing more than the medieval equivalent of Hollywood's love of seeing swords cleave through marble pillars, trees, and so on (i.e. it seems that everyone's experiences with test-cutting not to mention the physical laws inherent to our universe more than suggest that the feats illustrated in these manuscripts are simply not possible).

Does that last paragraph sum up where we are in our discussion?

David
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 9:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think perhaps there are some modern factors that may to some degree however small it may be alter modern cutting results( which is not to say that cleaving through helms was any more common place during the period ) . The steels
used in modern construction of armour are even if mild steel is used of uniform quality which means uniform
construction ,not a guarantee (sp) at that time . Additionaly manufactures today almost as a matter of course construct
thier wears in uniformly thicker gauges to take into account the much more rigorous use that todays re-enactor
may put armour through ( fight practice every tuesday and a weekend long event every other weekend or some similar schedual) and the lower level of skill of the user as compared with the proffesional soldier of the period wwwhich means many more hits per outing . The net result it seems to me is a product that must by nature be some what more
robust than period pieces becuase modern armour is made for a different kind of use . Thus it would also seem that the
same modern made armour would skew results at least slightly from results generated if one were to cut test on
period armour .
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2004 9:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shane Smith wrote:
The period illuminations have always fascinated me. They show swords doing the most helm-rending things,yet in actual testing of modern replica's,the most I have ever seen accomplished by a sword on a helm is a very deep crease with a minor cut in the depth of the fold. My Atrim XIIIa heavy and my DT 5143 have delivered such blows in my hands. While some disagree with the testing methods used by me on occasion,these tests do help us contrast actual performance of weapons in context of the period illustrations.Consider that the medieval battlefields were awash with varying degrees of armours and that a rimmed shield strike would probably be harder on a blade than an 18 gauge domed helm. A few lessons learned include;

1. A gambeson is pretty darn good protection against a cut.
2. Butted maille is apparently good protection against nothing as the butted maille I have personally tested against simply ripped open on impact allowing my blade to pass.Some swords will show minor nicks in their edge from this sort of thing.
3. Riveted maille is very good protection against a cut.Indeed,I have never seen more than a link or two pop on impact when the maille is properly supported by a gambeson.I have seen two light single-handers break on maille.
4. Plate is proof against every sword cut I have seen inflicted or inflicted myself. A crease is probable, but little more. I have seen about 4 swords fail catastrophically on this type of target out of about perhaps a couple dozen I have seen tested thus and tested thus for myself.Heck,my Deltin single-hand copenhagen and a MRL single hander or two have survived this test with no damage either in my hands or in my presence. The test rig does indeed have lateral movement designed in as I perform these tests.
5.18 gauge plate can be defeated from the halfsword in the thrust with a good,stoutly tapered blade such as the DT 2143. I have done so on more than one occasion.
6.There are blades out there that perform well against heavy targets and light targets AND handle well besides.
7.Some blades are simply too light for this sort of test even if you made them of kryptonite.


HI Shane

I think that's the best post on this subject I've seen you write.....

I want to share a story with you, and some observations, in the interest of safety........

Over four years ago, a sword I made got to a new student of the Chicago Swordplay Guild. The sword was warped when the customer took it to a CSG training session....... It was straight here, straight at Albion, but warped somewhere between shipping and the customer taking it to that training session. So I replaced it, and the warped sword came home to poppa. I straightened it, and left it on a cart. Three weeks later, I picked it up off that cart, because we were having a cutfest, and that was going to be used cutting...... it had warped back where it was before...... I straightened several times, and it warped right back after a few weeks. Never lost the ability to pass a "flex test" either.

Since it was totally unsaleable, I used it for a test bed. I used it to test the durability of handle materials when it came time to move from bubinga, due to not being able to get it anymore. I tested this by slamming the sword vertically onto a steel drum, one with a reinforced hoop on the top. Impossible to cut, so we're talking flagrant sword abuse.

As I'm sure you know by now, slamming a sword into something stupid like that is addictive. I started doing this daily, as a part of my stress reduction plan......*g*

After doing this daily for five months, one beautiful October Sunday morning, I went outside sword in hand to do my ussual starget slamming warm up exercises....... The sixth time I hit the barrel, the last 10 inches of the tipward part of the blade dsapeared. I flinched, holding head down, because my first thought was the tip had gone straight up and I kinda trusted my hat and jacket to prevent it from penetrating me....... what seemed a long time later I heard this "ka-tink.....ka-tink..... but I certainly didn't see anything......

After I realized the outside tip area wasn't going to come down, I took a look at how it broke. Then I went in the direction that the sword was pointing when the tip portion disapeared. Walked to the end of the parking lot, some 80 feet from where the barrel sat. Looked into and thru and around the hedges at the border of our parking lot, and the neighbors. Sighed, and went into the neighbor's parking lot, and followed the direction towards the building..... I found the blade some distance away. Bringing it back to the shop, I paced off an approximate 175 feet.

Quite a missile.........

Now I'm going to talk about your Del Tins. The DT5143 in particular, since I've handled a round dozen in the last six years, and reviewed one six years ago in the early days of SFI. My opinion then was it was one of the top 5 swords Del Tin made. My opinion hasn't changed.

Remember in an above post I mentioned that it was mass, and where mass was at on a sword that would determine its usefulness in helmet slamming? Well, your DT5143 was made to survive reenactment, so it has a lot of mass at the cop, This is accomplished by having very little profile taper {like most XIIIa's} and no distal taper at all from the cross to the cop.

I'm sure you've read the various threads lately that deal with distal taper, and how the very best antiques had distal taper. Like some modern made swords whose builders are doing there damnest to recreate swords that will handle and operate like the better antiques would when new....... Its very unfair to compare a modern made sword made around the requirements of reenactment, vs a sword made to come as close as possible to the blade geometry, handling, and performance of the better antiques.......

But...... what I really want to talk about here, has more to do with metal fatigue. The reason that my sword broke {the one I broke on the barrel}, was the constant pounding damaged the internal structure of the sword. This damage is cumulative, it won't heal. And eventually a sword that has taken all it can will give. Its my opinion that John's favorite sword, the one broken cutting bamboo in that video actually died because of metal fatigue, not any flaw of the blade, nor any real problem with John's technique. Metal Fatigue. I think its very possible that that's what accounted for that Raven too.....

The reason I bring this up, is I really would hate to see you, or any of your study group, or anyone watching get hurt or worse from a missile. Metal fatique does not give any obvious sign that its about to cause the sword to break catastrophically. Your swords might be able to deal with the helmet slamming another 10 years, or conversely, one of them might fail the next time you do it.

I'm not trying to stop you from doing that. Contrariwise, I love the constant conversations and disagreements it sparks. I just would like to suggest that you use "range safety" measures at all times once the hard stuff is going to be smacked. After talking to you in the past, I'm sure you in Virginia Beach are safe, but there was a couple of photos of the upstate NY event were some bareheaded clown is about to smack the helmet, and you can see guys standing around, just waiting for a missile to bury itself in their gut.........

Think safety

Auld Dawg

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Shawn Mulock




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2004 1:51 am    Post subject: I have a question.         Reply with quote

I feel this may be a bit off topic, but still related. In regards to harming the armour, as opposed to the wearer. If, as mentioned earlier, the armour can withstand the blow, how about the person wearing it? For example in one video on the ARMA website, they show a fellow using a bastard sword one handed against a piece of maille over gambeson over a cut of meat. While the gambezon and the maille were almost perfectly intact, the flesh hidden underneath was shredded quite nicely. What would your opinion be of a similar type of concept of "damage" being transferred through the proofness whilst leaving the harness relatively unbreeched, intact, but dented or cracked, with no passage of the sword through, but still causing harm to the wearer?
"It is not what you have, but what you have done".
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Shane Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2004 5:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Shawn,

I have seen many tests such as the one you mention which was performed by Hank Reinhardt. The result is always much the same unless one makes use of a good,heavy gambeson and even then, the force of the blow will still be delivered through the maille and to the wearer by degree's and will perhaps still be damaging.Plate on the other hand offers a darn-near dead stop of the blow when you have a good gambeson underneath "unless" the integrity of the plate is compromised by a dent(You will feel the blow but it will generally be non-harming in my opinion and experience unless the guy runs you through or takes a heavy polearm to you). That said,I believe that if a head were inside some of the creased helms I've seen,the skull would be cracked beneath although I must admit that no-one has performed a test such as that as far as I know.

I now have an idea for research.Someone has to do seemingly "stupid" things in the name of further education sometimes(If no-one actually tries it,how will you know with any degree of certainty?). Perhaps I will perform this skull-cracking helm experiment while in my harness in deference to safety(Always looking for a good reason to armour up!) Big Grin I'm thinking a cantaloupe in a barbute would do nicely.

Also,as Gus mentions above,it IS important to control the test cutting area no matter what medium is being tested on.Even lighter targets can damage some blades if poorly struck,and while I've never seen a broken sword on such targets,I don't discount the possibility. I would add that at every cutting session,I believe that there should be a physical barrier or suitable distance (or both) between participants and observers.Here in VAB or even at my own home,we/I are always within the confines of a chain-link fence to keep the neighbors and their pets away(pets can be more of problem than you think,they ALWAYS want to come over when they see people seemingly "playing" in the yard). I have seen two outcomes when swords break 1. The blade flies forward a considerable distance beyond the target as Gus suggests 2.the blade bounces off the target and into you Blush Exclamation .Both are dangerous and I urge my fellow Swordsmen NOT to do these things unless they are fully aware and accepting of the dangers involved.At least wear safety glasses.When I'm cutting ,I wear them as a fairly fast rule.It's cheap insurance and while this ain't knitting class,a thinking man should take time to minimize the dangers as much as possible.Others will disagree and I will only add "It's your life" and say no more.If a man doesn't esteem his own safety that's his business.

Shane Smith
ARMA~ Virginia Beach
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2004 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Remember in an above post I mentioned that it was mass, and where mass was at on a sword that would determine its usefulness in helmet slamming? Well, your DT5143 was made to survive reenactment, so it has a lot of mass at the cop, This is accomplished by having very little profile taper {like most XIIIa's} and no distal taper at all from the cross to the cop.


Hi Gus,

As a novice, I would like to learn as much from the posts as possible, so I politely ask for some clarification.
Does "reenactment" refer to: 1. More use of the weapon that it would have seen in centuries ago, or 2. inappropriate use of the weapon, or both?

The other question regards the distal tapper on XIIa and XIIIa type swords. Can any generalization be made about how they tapper , or are the tapper properties as versatile as the surviving antiques?

From what Gus said in the previous post , sounds like Del Tin altered the properties of 5134 to better fit the modern user as opposed to carefully recreate an antique design. Peter alluded to a similar trend in his post (I hope I am not putting words in his mouth)

Cheers,

Alexi
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2004 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To answer for Gus,

"Re-enactment" swords are designed to take more use, and abuse, than any historical antique was designed to survive. Re-enactors often bash swords directly into swords, or directly into armor, as these moves (Hollywood style) are dramatic and good for entertaining the masses. I should mention that there are serious, knowledgeable people who know much better than this; but these are not the dominant element.

A re-enactment sword is designed to survive hard use several times a day, sometimes for weeks at a time, which a historic sword would not be expected to undergo. In addition, re-enactment swords generally have no edges, for safety's sake - another nonhistorical element.
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2004 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reallty         Reply with quote

Hello Alexi

I would like to support Felix's comments. The use of weapons by the knigtly class in the middle ages is a very under studied area. How many swords did the average "knight" have? What constitutes a "knight"? What constituted a training sword? what was expected from a sword in the list or combat? All the above in any particular region? or state? What was an acceptable failure rate in armor or weapon? Are the items in the museums today good examples of well made pieces or those that were so poorly made that they were regulated to the back of the list and therefor survived?

It is dangerous to leap beyond these questions at this point in your journey as it may lead to a "confirmation of what you believe" as apposed to the truth of what was. It is a step that all scholars who desire to be "open to the truth" must ask at every stage. This is an area that many experts will tell you the "truth" but if you look at critically the evidence is still being gathered and to assume something only weakens ones ability to understand that evidence in the future.

Now some who read this may feel this is a coop out. Well if my humble self can give a bit of direction to your search, it would be that if one assumes something is absolutely one way it only leaves the possibility of being disproved as apposed to refining the answer by degrees. Yes it is a bit less than hard truths but it is closer to the historical reality than any one man swinging a sword on any given day. Happy

Best
Craig


Last edited by Craig Johnson on Tue 10 Feb, 2004 7:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2004 10:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexi Goranov wrote:
Quote:
Remember in an above post I mentioned that it was mass, and where mass was at on a sword that would determine its usefulness in helmet slamming? Well, your DT5143 was made to survive reenactment, so it has a lot of mass at the cop, This is accomplished by having very little profile taper {like most XIIIa's} and no distal taper at all from the cross to the cop.


Hi Gus,

As a novice, I would like to learn as much from the posts as possible, so I politely ask for some clarification.
Does "reenactment" refer to: 1. More use of the weapon that it would have seen in centuries ago, or 2. inappropriate use of the weapon, or both?

The other question regards the distal tapper on XIIa and XIIIa type swords. Can any generalization be made about how they tapper , or are the tapper properties as versatile as the surviving antiques?

From what Gus said in the previous post , sounds like Del Tin altered the properties of 5134 to better fit the modern user as opposed to carefully recreate an antique design. Peter alluded to a similar trend in his post (I hope I am not putting words in his mouth)

Hi Alexi

To add to what both Craig and Felix said, and to try and answer your question from another angle...

There are all out reenactment swords that must be able to deal with a lot of abuse, edge to edge full power shots, hard shots to plate armor etc..... just what Felix mentioned. Generally speaking these swords are nearly twice as heavy as similar shaped in profile authentic swords........

Then we have "compromise" swords, that generally are designed to deal with the "rigors of reenactment", but are meant to be much closer historically. Swords, that if sharpened could work as a sword. They are generally just 10% to 20% overweight in average, and a maker that makes several models, ala Del Tin, will likely have some models in what we consider the historical range......swords like the DT5143.

Then we have swords that are meant to be as authentic as possible with the current state of knowledge. Several of the high end kustom swordsmiths have been doing this for years, but the production stuff has only really been doing things like distal taper from the cross, for about the last 4.5 years........ The current manufacturers that do this are AT, Albion, Arms and Armor, and to a lessor degree Armart.

How do XIII's and XIIa's taper? Good question..... There doesn't appear to be any real tendency. And if there was, I don't have enough of a sample in the specs I have to give a good answer. But it would appear, that you could have either a convex distal taper, a concave distal taper, or a linear distal taper. Or a very complex distal taper that would combine these lelements...... I'm not trying to make things difficult here, but there is a lot of variety. I cannot tell you if it depends on chance, or whether a manufacturer had a very good reason for doing things.... though I personally believe the latter.

To get away from the biggies for a couple of seconds, and go to something that is real well known, and can be easily verified. There are two Xa's of similar mass, somewhat different blade lengths, and drastically different distal tapers. One of them is A.459 in I believe the Wallace collection {Xa.1 "Records}, it starts thickness wise roughly .38 inches thick at the cross, and does a concave distal taper, which with the way its done allows a cog of roughly 4.5 inches from the cross. A wickedly quick and really rigid sword.

Then there's the St Maurice Sword of Turin. Blade's a little longer, thickness starts roughly .18 inch thick, you have close to a linear distal taper, and the cog is out there roughly 9 inches.

There's more to it than that, that's a gross oversimplication, but it gives the idea that there is no way to really give a "tendency" of how these things distal taper. The only tendency is that the distal taper starts at the cross.........

Hope this helps a bit.......

swords are fun
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