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#111215 - 12/13/04 05:14 PM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by sammyrai:
I agree with all of the western sword views except the idea of the viking sword making. Viking swords were among the worst ever forged. The blacksmiths used a technique called piece forging or patch forging. Basically, the smith would start where the handle would be and piece together the sword from there, building it from hilt to tip. X-rays or other such devices have shown this in almost all of the museum pieces. With this type of forging, the sword had many stess points that were relatively (it was still a sword) easy to break.[/QUOTE]

That is utter nonsense exactly the opposite they used pattern welded techniques that the middle was soft Iron while the edges were hardned steel and the x rays proved it and also proved they were among the best swords made at that time.

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#111216 - 12/14/04 06:15 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well, there's quite a few misconceptions here.

European smiths were able to produce swords that were just as good as Japanese ones.

Asian swords (from Japan, Continental Asia, Philippines, etc) are usually made by differential hardening of the blade and back. The cutting edge is made super-hard, while the back is left fairly soft. The super-hard edge will hold its edge for a long time, and is extremely sharp. However, in order not to shatter in combat, the back must be left soft, in order to take up shock. It should also be noted that, while strong, the edge (being very hard) is still prone to chipping.

Originally, European smiths used a comparable method, called pattern-welding, where different grades of iron and steel were forged together in one piece, combining strength and flexiblility. The edges were of course hard. The swords made by the Vikings, and by the many famous Frankish smiths of the Rhineland, were of this type. The best ones were worth a small fortune in their day.

After about 900AD, European smiths introduced a totally new method of construction, where swords were made from a single, piece of steel, given a stiff "spring" temper throughout the blade. The carbon content in these blades was generally higher. This became the standard Medieval and Renaissance method of blademaking.

These swords will still take a keen edge, but because the edge is softer (tougher), they need to be sharpened more frequently than ones that are differentially heat-treated. They will not hold an edge as long. However, they are also generally more durable. Japanese blades, for example, cannot be bent too far out-of-line, or else they will stay bent. European blades, on the other hand, can be bent several inches out-of-line, and flex back perfectly straight.

As for single-edged vs double-edged, there are several reasons involved, regarding both. Generally speaking, single-edged blades can be made somewhat sharper, due to the more acute bevel of the blade. That is why double-edged swords meant for delivering disabling cuts are rather broad-bladed, and thus they can cut really well too. Double-edged, cross-hilted "knightly" swords, and later basket-hilted broadswords, have amazing cutting capacity, in fact. They can sever heads and limbs, just like katanas can. Their design will produce more "drag" in making cuts, but the tradeoff is that they are generally handier for thrusting, due to the straight blade and centered point.

One can also execute falsos (false-edge cuts) with double-edged blades. Many European schools featured these techniques. It is said that the Frenchman Jarnac, who fought a judicial duel with Chastaigneraie in 1547, used a falso to the hamstring of his opponent. He learned this cut (which became celebrated as the so-called "coup de Jarnac") from an Italian soldier of fortune named Captain Caizo, who had been teaching fencing at the French court. Caizo, in turn, is thought to have learned this technique from the great Bolognese fencing master, Achille Marozzo.

About curved blades--they aid in the execution of the draw-cut, which is very effective. In addition, a curved blade can be used for hooking-type thrusts, which can reach around an opponent's guard or parry. In Eastern Europe (Hungary, Poland, etc), where the saber was a national weapon, this approach was favored, and developed to a high degree.

It is also interesting to note that European sabers are often sharpened for 6 or 7 inches on the false edge, so they have some double-edged cutting capacity, in a predominantly single-edged design.

Peace,

A_M_P

[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 12-14-2004).]

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#111217 - 12/14/04 06:25 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by sammyrai:
I agree with all of the western sword views except the idea of the viking sword making. Viking swords were among the worst ever forged. The blacksmiths used a technique called piece forging or patch forging. Basically, the smith would start where the handle would be and piece together the sword from there, building it from hilt to tip. X-rays or other such devices have shown this in almost all of the museum pieces. With this type of forging, the sword had many stess points that were relatively (it was still a sword) easy to break.[/QUOTE]

Sammy,

As Thunar already noted, what you posted above is nonsense, and the reverse is true.

I have personally had the honor of handling a late Frankish pattern-welded sword, and it was quite an eye-opening experience. Most modern replicas of such a blade would be ill-balanced and clumsy, but this thing weighed perhaps 1.5lbs, certainly no more than 2lbs flat. It was extremely responsive in the hand. The owner bent it in what seemed almost like a semi-circle (as my friend and I cringed in horror), and it flexed back, perfectly straight. Despite this extreme flexability, the temper of the blade was very stiff.

Peace,

A_M_P



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 12-14-2004).]

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#111218 - 12/14/04 06:32 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by MAGon:
Frank: BTW, what's a backsword?[/QUOTE]

MAG,

"Backsword" is a European term for a cut-and-thrust sword with a single cutting edge (though some have sharpened false edges)--hence, it has a "back".

Peace,

A_M_P

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#111219 - 12/14/04 10:27 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Jamoni:
I think that double edged swords primarily get their shape from their roots as stabbing weapons. This stems from bronze-age construction, where cutting weapons bent or broke easily, so your best bet was a short, thick stabbing weapon. Look at how curved weapons are used: very little thrusting is done, most techniques are cuts. With double edged straight blades, it is a mixture of cut and thrust. Weapons like rapiers and stilettos rely almost exclusively on the point. Cause and effect.[/QUOTE]


This brings up an interesting point - look at certain japanese artisan's tools, for example, the saw and the wood shaver. These are designed to saw and shave on the pulling motion, whereas the western version of these instruments work in the opposite fashion - on the pushing motion.

Could it be that the difference between western and eastern (japanese) swords is simply an extension of this cultural difference into the military realm of 'tools'? It does seem that the western blades would tend to work better on a pushing motion, the japanese blades on a pulling motion.

And what would be the reason for this cultural difference?

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#111220 - 12/15/04 06:56 PM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Jamoni:
I think that double edged swords primarily get their shape from their roots as stabbing weapons. This stems from bronze-age construction, where cutting weapons bent or broke easily, so your best bet was a short, thick stabbing weapon. Look at how curved weapons are used: very little thrusting is done, most techniques are cuts. With double edged straight blades, it is a mixture of cut and thrust. Weapons like rapiers and stilettos rely almost exclusively on the point. Cause and effect.[/QUOTE]

I disagree.

The problem with your thesis above is the fact that, even after iron was introduced, and swords effective for cutting came into use (i.e., the kopis, machaira, falcata, etc), straight double-edged blades remained in use too, and they were not pure thrusting weapons. For example, take the classic, straight, double-edged Roman short sword--the so-called gladius Hispaniensis. Casually described as a "thrusting sword" by most people, the gladius is in fact a cut-AND-thrust weapon. Yes, it is acutely pointed and obviously well-suited to thrusting attacks, but its blade also swells at the COP (center of percussion), and is very broad, which betrays a weapon optimized for cutting as well. Period accounts likewise attest to the gladius being used for cutting--it shocked the Macedonians, who noted that it could sever limbs and heads. Skulls recovered from British hillforts taken by the legions likewise reveal damage from cutting blows.

Peace,

A_M_P

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#111221 - 12/24/04 07:48 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


First of all. I think it should be noted that swords have never been a primary battlefield weapon, that role would go to the spear.

Secondly, honestly. Is there really that much difference in European and Asian weaponry?

Admittedly I do have somewhat less respect for weapons introduced during the medieval period in europe. But the achievements of classical europe on the other hand are rivals to anything of asian make.

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#111222 - 12/24/04 08:26 PM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Subedei:
First of all. I think it should be noted that swords have never been a primary battlefield weapon, that role would go to the spear.[/QUOTE]

Actually, there were indeed times when the sword was a "primary battlefield weapon".

The most obvious example would be the Roman legionaries' use of the gladius. Roman heavy infantrymen were swordsmen.

The rodeleros (sword-and-target men) of the late 15th/early 16th century Spanish army are another good example of troops were were armed with swords as their "primary battlefield weapon".

The broadsword-armed Jacobite Highlanders of the 17th and 18th centuries also come to mind.

[QUOTE]Secondly, honestly. Is there really that much difference in European and Asian weaponry?[/QUOTE]

That's a pretty general question...

[QUOTE]Admittedly I do have somewhat less respect for weapons introduced during the medieval period in europe.[/QUOTE]

Why? Countless fine weapons were made in Europe during the Middle Ages.

[QUOTE]But the achievements of classical europe on the other hand are rivals to anything of asian make.[/QUOTE]

The same would apply to the Middle Ages and Renaissance.



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 12-24-2004).]

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#111223 - 12/25/04 07:12 PM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Are you honestly trying to argue that medieval era Europe equalled Rome technologically?

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#111224 - 12/26/04 04:24 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I don't want to sound like I'm favoring a perticular side on this arguement, I love the eastern as much as the western style of blades, but I would have to go with the eastern style being more effective. Both variants are equally sharp, previously argued, but the eastern style blades are much lighter. Allowing a lot more dexterity and grace in your cuts and slices. Now if you want to come in swinging a broadsword when then can simply draw the sword from its sheath and cut you down, be my guest. Simply put the eastern blades win because of the lightness of the blade.

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