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A 14th century falchion

J.G. Elmslie

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Well, here goes. After a long, long time lurking, here's something I should finally put up to be given a mauling... a falchion made for sale at the Deutsches Klingenmuseum, Solingen “The Sword: Form and Thought” trade show later this month:

A 14th century reverse-edged falchion, based upon but not directly copying the two surviving examples of the type, found in the Legersmuseum, Delft, and the Musée de l'Armée, Paris, this falchion is part of ongoing research work into Medieval European single-edged weapons that I've been undertaking for the last few years.

This distinctive falchion type can be dated with a high degree of precision due to its short period of use. First appearing in manuscript illuminations and marginalia around the 1320's, they appear to have remained in use for only around 50 years, with the last depictions being found in the 1370's. They appear to have developed as a response to the increasing use of plate defence, and the need for a narrower thrusting tip than the previous generation of broad, cleaver-profiled falchions of the later 13th century, but were rapidly made obsolete by the rise of the Oakeshott type XV double-edged swords.


The blade is made of EN45 carbon steel, with a medial taper, rather than the conventional distal taper of most swords; measured in cross-section, the blade thickness narrows from 5.0mm down to just 2.0mm towards the widest point of the profile, before flaring outwards to form a 4.5mm thick reinforced tip and features an asymmetric fuller on one side only, a feature to be found on the example in the Legersmuseum, Delft. The blade is marked with a cross potent within a circle, inlaid with 24-carat gold wire.

The steel cross, of oakeshott's Style 7, is based on that of the surviving falchion in the Musée de l'Armée, while the type J pommel, hand-cast in bronze, is based on proportions of other, two-edged swords dated to the mid-14th century.

Through the use of an aggressive taper, the sword is significantly more agile than its appearance would suggest, the balance point is just 110mm from the cross, and its overall weight is just 1,132g, significantly reducing its polar moment of inertia, and making it a frighteningly fast weapon in the hand. While the
concave edge is the true edge, and sharpened for its entire length, the false edge is also sharpened to a little less than half the blade length, allowing its use in binds with the false edge, making it well-suited to its purpose in cutting against un-armoured targets with impunity.


Blade length: 726mm, Overall: 882mm. Blade width at widest point: 57mm.
Cross width: 186mm, Pommel: 47mm diameter.

Balance point 110mm from cross.

Weight: 1131g


Overall view:

A closer view of the hilt and blade inlay:

And a couple of small detail shots of the lines of pommel and tip.

I'm fairly satisfied with this one. There's only one problem. How the hell do you make a secure scabbard for a sword that's wider at the bottom than the top?!


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its an optical illusion! To me it looks like a clip point and the longer side of the fuller is the edge


oh - we just said the same things just differently you were referring to blade length i was thinking width between the fuller and the edge -

Edited by Gabriel James
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Slotted (3/4 open) scabbard maybe, where only the end is enclosed and has a strap holding it near the cross guard?



Of the four elements, air, earth, water, and fire

man stole only one from the gods. Fire. And
with it, man forged his will upon the world.

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It looks very good! Thanks for sharing it!


I will be attending the show in Solingen. I look forward to meeting you and (hopefully) handling this blade in person.






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Great work James.

-And I will also get to see it in a few days.
That shall be a wonderful day with attending friends of the blade and tenders of the spark.

As to scabard, there are some depictions of falchion scabbards with very wide tops (as wide as the widest point of the blade) and a short strap and buckle hitched over the guard to keep the hilt both from waggling sideways and the whole sword from sliding out.
Not a fast draw, but good for security.

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Again .....a great looking work.


When you came to Solingen you will see a surviving scabbard of a Malchus "Sword" in the Museum.

Then you can see how it was done in the past.

The scabbard is on display in the regular exibition.

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excellent sword. glad to see you posting. Keep up the good work. I am always happy to learn about falchions and messers (and bauernwehrs, too).


nice work. thanks again.


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