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FINISHED - XVIIIb longsword


Lukas MG
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Hey everybody

Maybe you‘ve been following the WIP-thread about this sword. Now it has finally been finished and I thought I‘d start a new thread to show the final pictures as well as write a bit about the sword itself.

As with most of my blades, this sword isn‘t a replika of an existing original. Instead, it‘s my attempt at creating a longsword in the tradition of the German School of longsword fighting and represents everything I want in a sharp longsword.


The blade is inspired by the late 15th and early 16th century German longswords. A very famous example is the longsword in the Bayrisches Nationalmuseum in Munich, Germany. I‘ve recently seen it in person and it really is a remarkable sword. Undoubtably one of the very best existing originals and it‘s not surprising that it has often been replicated (for example by Albion).

The hilt configuration represents my personal taste and is not realIy influenced by the desire to represent a typical longsword from that time period. In fact, I doubt this exact hilt design ever existed.


So, I present:


P1070600.jpg


Stats:

Steel: 56Si7, heat treated to ca. 58Rc by the gents at http://www.Schmiedeglut.de

overall length: 132.5cm (52.1“)

blade length: 101cm (39.8“)

blade width at base: 4cm (1.57“)

weight: 1740g (3.8lb)

PoB: 11cm (4.3“)

CoP: 60cm (23.6“)

forward pivot point: 1cm (0.4“) behind the tip

hilt node: 7cm (2.75“) behind guard (about 4cm before the middle riser)


P1070606.jpg


As with my last piece, this sword was designed with the help of Peter Johnsson‘s work on geometric proportion and harmonic principles. Again, many thanks to him for both his invaluable research and his generosity in sharing what he finds.


The sword blade is rather massive and not nearly as delicate as it might look. While narrow, it is a full 8mm thick at the base and sports a convex distal taper to 4mm right before the tip. This makes for a rigid blade with quite some blade presence that (especially with the long grip) allows for very powerful and fast cuts. It‘s certainly not what I‘d consider a light target cutter, in fact I feel it will perform best against medium to hard targets like tatami mats with wooden cores. It has the mass necessary to stun an opponent through armor and the slender, stiff point can be worked into weak spots, maybe with halfsword techniques. While best suited for blossfechten, it would also be a good choice for armored combat.


Swords of similar shape are often depicted in period art along with saints in full armor so one shouldn‘t underestimate the role longswords played in armored combat. Peter Johnsson once called a XVIIIb he made „a slim but powerful sword of war in a gentleman‘s guise“. I think that is a very fitting description. People always imagine big XII or XIII swords when hearing the phrase „war sword“ but a stiff XVIIIb or c with good edges and a fine point would be a great choice for any soldier going to war in Europe in the 15th or early 16th century. Plate armor was at the height of its development but only rich noblemen could afford a full suit so most men-at-arms wore a mix of plate and other, cheaper defenses. Against plate a sword‘s edge is essentially useless but a thrusting point can do the job while preserving the edge for opponents wearing less or no armor. I believe that besides being very popular for duels and civilian use in general, longswords were employed quite frequently during military raids or skirmishes, if not full scale battles.


P1070595.jpg


A short look at the blade profile of XVIIIb swords will tell that they are designed to be deadly thrusters. That is undoubtably true for this sword as well, the sleek and stiff point effortlessly pierces soft targets. The pivot point at the tip aids by giving great point control and making it easy to stay on target when changing through guards.

Talking about it, the sword‘s tip might be worth a second look:


P1070579.jpg


Over the last few inches, the flat ground bevel gradually transitions into a very steep, strongly convex bevel. As it is the case over almost the entire edge (the base being blunt), there‘s no secondary bevel here, but a smooth appleseed edge that easily slices paper. Of course, right at the tip the angle is so steep that effective cutting is hardly possible. So while sacrificing performance on tip cuts, this design allows for deeply penetrating thrusts and the reinforced point is much more capable of surviving thrusts into hard targets than a wide cutting tip would be.

Due to the convex profile taper, the blade retains enough width for effective cutting in the upper half. While not a dedicated cutter, this sword cuts very well with proper technique so I have no doubt a good cut would be fatal against an unarmored opponent.


P1070587.jpg


Overall, the feel of this sword is that of a weapon. It feels very solid and absolutely dependable in hand. 1740g seems pretty hefty for a sword but actually falls on the lighter end of the spectrum for originals of this type and size. Here is a beautiful early 16th century piece that I took clues from during the making of this sword:



Many more pics of other interesting originals (plus data sheets) can be found here:



The guys at Zornhau do really great work with their measuring projects!! Very helpful and worth a round of applaus ;)


What actually surprised me was just how the feel and balance of this sword belies its weight. Had I to guess, I‘d put the sword at 1500g tops. It‘s a big boy and not weightless but far from a clunker and easily flows through longsword plays. „Agile and authorative“ is a good description for how this sword feels in hands. Of course it is meant to be used with two hands but the occasional one-handed technique can be performed without problems. While the sword moves swiftly and with little effort, it‘s still almost 4lb in motion so just by its mass this blade is a devastating weapon. Add to that sharp edges and whatever stands in its path should better get the hell out of the way ;). With the leverage of the long handle, the sword changes directions very easily and turns on a dime. The amount of power one can generate even with short movements is astounding.

I think I have succeded in creating a sword that would work very well for the German School of fencing.


I will later add a cutting video, don‘t have enough bottles right now ;)



EDIT: New cutting vid with better resolution (though no newspaper rolls this time):



th_P1011031.mp4



P1010005.jpg


I was actually surprised that I got some silent cuts on the tetra packs. This sword is really not optimized for light targets. As you saw when I cut the newspaper rolls, the sword is very unforgiving on bad technique. You really have to follow through properly. These narrow, thick blades aren't optimized for cutting but when you get it right, they cut perfectly fine. Even when I messed up, the blade left deep gashes in the rolls, plenty deep enough to put someone out of a fight (if that had have been an arm or throat). The good cuts went through the rolls without much resistance.

I don't have it on tape unfortunately (thought of it only after I had turned the camera off) but thrusts against the rolls were pretty impressive. Even with little effort, the tip went in several inches and a more powerful thrust went right through, splitting the wooden core.

In any case, I'm looking forward to a chance to put this one up against some mats!



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The sword‘s aesthetics are meant to reflect the „to-the-point“ design. Graceful but functional, no excessive embellishments. Overall I wanted the sword to look like the sidearm a nobleman or well-off man-at-arms would carry, not without style but a weapon through and through.

I had a bit of trouble picking the right guard. First I decided on downturned quillons and had the guard already forged out when I realized I wasn‘t happy with the design. I spend some time not being able to make up my mind when I remembered that I had a guard that used to be on a VA Kriegsschwert in my spare parts collection. I picked it up and immediately knew it would work wonderfully with some modifications. I had to do a lot of work on it but I really like the result and am glad that I went that way.


P1070594.jpg


For the pommel, I decided on a pear shape. A scent stopper or fishtail with clean lines and facets might have fit the guard better but no pommel feels as good in my hand as a simple pear does so that it is. The pommel was turned on a lathe by a good friend of mine, I then reground it a bit to exactly meet the weight requirements. Finally, the pommel was fitted to the tang, hot peened, the wooden handle scales epoxied on, bound with cord and wrapped with leather.


P1070601.jpg


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Eventually I will make a scabbard for this sword but for now, I need to catch a break from working in the shop and will concentrate on using swords, not making them ;)


I appreciate all comments and critique! Thanks for looking.


P1070591.jpg



P1070596.jpg

Edited by Lukas MG
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Wow, Lukas, this is a fine, fine sword. I see you went with the green leather :0)

Looks awesome!

 

I particularly like the guard, provides a lot of coverage, but still seems compact as well.

I also very much like that it is an inspired piece, rather than a reproduction.

 

A beautiful sword all around Lukas, congratulations ,

Randal

www.rhgraham.simpl.com

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This is top shelf! Awesome blade...

Pat yourself on the back man. You have done what many can not do.

 

-Gabriel

The fundamental cause of trouble is that the stupid are cocksure, while the intelligent are full of doubt. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher
follow me on Instagram @raggedravenforge

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Superb! I'd love to handle it!

To become old and wise... You first have to survive being young and foolish! ;) Ikisu.blogsot.com. Email; milesikisu@gmail.com mobile: +27784653651

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Great job! Really a good looking sword. Now I want to see you cut something with it. B)

“If you trust in yourself. . . believe in your dreams. . . and follow your star. . . you will still get beaten by the people who have spent their time working hard and learning things, the people who weren't so lazy.” ~ Terry Pratchett

 

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I've always loved this style of sword, to me it is the epitome of sword design... it just doesn't get any better. Excellent work man. I want one...:)

George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."
Buffon


view some of my work

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Hurray! What a great sword! Very nicely done, Lukas!

 

Dave

-----------------------------------------------

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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