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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:13 pm 
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Surely this thread will be a delight to Hugh's heart.

having said that, i will freely admit that I would rather be shot than: a. give up one of my blades or b. get cup up by one.

There are three new sources of Katana that are worthy of note as, as did Hanwei 15 years ago, they are making a decent, although not totally traditional product for reasonable prices.

They are Shinwa, Mushashi and an E bay Seller YingSwords as well as the Hanwei items (not are reasonable in price).

The Gladius purchased was a purchase borne of desperatation.

The so called "Gladius of Maximus" is toooo big. Perhaps an 8 foot roman might have handled it. Therefore, as the resin work was not bad and the guard appeared to be Brass inserted, I am undertaking to reshape the blase into a Spatha of about 35" in length. I will post a pic of the work in progress later.

Myslef and my 'swordmaster' ron (he hates the label but his skills are good) have spent days reshaping various blades and hand polishing them with 600 then 1700 grit mirror shine wet sandpaper, by hand of course.

I will post the ersatz spatha and Gladiuii we deemed worth saving later.

Mushashi's "last Samurai" katana, very reasonably pricer at under $100, and I actually appreciated the lack of an etched 'false hamon' since we do not have to polish it out. Rather have a clean blade than a faked temperline.


The Saya is not lacquered but the Same is rayskin.

The Mushashi blades, machine made at a chinese forge, seem OK. they are not traditionally made, but should satisfy the impecunious colllector.

Only purchse those marked 'fully functional' and fitted with a Rayskin Same.

Shinwa blades are similar. Some have temper line on machined blades showing good polish and if interest persists, I will post some photos.

The furniture on the katana of both manufactuters is generally unremarkable and the "Brass Tsuba" Shinwa Sword (not pictured) became instantly unavailable.

The Mushashi "Sea Dragon" katana has a very nice Brass tsuba but lacks rayskin Same for example.


Sorry, flickr is not cooperating on psoting the photos of same and I will try again. In the meantime if anyone wants photos and info, just ask.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2334/163 ... 5c.jpg?v=0

Just posted link, I will have to find another way to post pics I think. Last is Paul Chen Gladius.

Image


Too Cool the Last Samurai Sword Posted. Nice reaonable and attractive, very light Cutting.

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Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:54 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:31 pm 
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This may be my next one. Looking down the road for a little heavier Iaito, and the saya is beautiful. I can order the length I want and perhaps a different color for the tsuka wrap.
http://www.tozandoshop.com/PhotoGallery ... NT%5FJUBEI

F.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:07 pm 
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Well, when I have the time, I'll post on my Patrick Barta Roman Riding Sword, his no. 102, bought when he asked but $250.00 for it. He now asks 400Euros and it is still a very good price for what you get, just not quite the bargain that it was 6 years ago. I also have a gladius hispaniensis that I designed and that Eric Stevenson hilted and made the scabbard for. The blade is by Gus Atrim. Then, I have the cinquedea coming. If the Japanese can classify the tanto as a sword, then that cinquedea is also a sword and I'll try to do a review of it in that light.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:41 am 
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I'm guessing the riding sword is shorter to allow draw and be swung about while on horse back. Especially if a straight weapon.

Did the Romans have stirrups? This of course greatly increases stability while riding and fighting.

F.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:48 pm 
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A riding sword is one carried on the hip and it is generally shorter and lighter than the warsword that was carried slung from the saddle.

It is generally thought that stirrups appeared in Europe in about the 6th Century CE although there have been finds of what might have been wooden stirrups in Scythian/Sarmatian graves in the Western Ukraine dating, IIRC, to the 1st or 2nd Centuries BCE. But, even if they were stirrups, they certainly did not penetrate to the Romans or to the Parthians/Persians until rather later. I would tend to accept the 6th Century figure.

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 Post subject: A Thread to Follow
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:06 pm 
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Nice sword Fred, is it a practice Iato of a live blade?

Regarding stirrups; most writers and historians have always credited (apparently incorrectly) the Goths for introducing stirrups to mounted warfare in the West.

In Osprey's "Adrianople" this introduction is both credited to the Alans and/or the Avars around the time sugessted by Hugh, or perhaps even a bit later.

As noted before, although admitting stirrups are superior, the Roman "Four Post" saddle is credited with giving the Roman or Auxiliary Cavalryman with a 'good seat', but standing up 'in the stirrups" to reinforce the shock of a lance or a sword blow woulld not have been feasible.

From reading some requirements for late Roman Cavalrymen's evolutions, and seeing how demanding they were, the effectiveness of the Roman style saddle may have stunted development of the Stirrup.

It could, however, be argued that as of 1854 the best light cavarly in the world were the members of the Light Brigade and the Western Plains Native American tribes. The latter, i think, had no stirrups or even a creative four post saddle or, for that matter, shod hooves.

PS-Hugh I think it is safe to review any weapon, I do not think you are limited to swords.

I saw the Barta Saxon sword and was quite taken with it.



j

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:30 pm 
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John, regarding your comment on the Plains Indians as light cavalry, it has long been a puzzlement to me why there has always been this doctorine that you could not have effective cavalry without stirrups. When I found out about the Roman cavalry saddle, I was even more puzzled. It is my suspicion that the doctorine is European centered, based upon the cavalry and lancers of the Napoleonic period, all of which would appear to require stirrups to operate effectively.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:03 am 
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Practice sword John. Little heavier than mine. I have lots of $60-100 sharp swords.
Reality is the quality of those blades would snap if you really tried to cut anything anyways. This is why the Japanese used two different steels in their forging. Strength and flexibility in the core. Cheap blades don't have that. I don't know if the higher end Chen swords do or not. In spite of the two steels, a bad cutting action could still result in a broken blade from what I've read.
F.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:19 pm 
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John, first of all, you do NOT want stainless steel in a sword with which you intend to either cut or engage in fencing. Stainless requires special heat treating and tempering that no mass producer has yet taken the time and effort (read cost) to perfect when it comes to swords. The result is that the blades are all too likely to break and you will have a sharp, unguided missile flying around the area. It is VERY dangerous to all concerned. Whe you plan on doing anything with a sword other than hanging it on the wall or using it a s part of a costume, get one made from carbon steel and get one from a smith or a company with a decent reputation for its quality. Paul Chen's Hanwei Forge actually does have such a reputation for the durability of his products if not their complete historical accuracy and their detail finish. And you need not even hit something in order for the blade to break. I have heard of them breaking during the simple act of swinging them.

Another thing to avoid is the rat tail tang. This is a stub tang on the blade to which has been welded a length of threaded stock. The weld is unsupported in one of these cheap swords. The result of such a construction will be you holding the hilt in your hand while the blade is off on its own. Again, this is rather dangerous. BTW, there can be a welded tang that is supported and solid. Go to http://www.lutel.cz/ and click on the Union Jack, then on "FAQ", and then on "CONSTRUCTION SWORD, RAPIER, DAGGERS" at the bottom of the FAQ page. You will see how they do a welded tang. I have never heard of one of their tangs breaking.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:37 pm 
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An improper diagonal cut supposedly puts stress on a blade and can result in a break. A year into sword training and I am still not happy sith that cut when I perform it.

F.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:58 pm 
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Fred, there used to be a horrifying clip on SwordForums about a broken stainless sword. it led to a number of people commenting upon similar failures of their Sword-Like Objects (SLOs) made of stainless steel and to a bias against stainless steel. Properly heat treated and tempered, a quality stainless will perform as well as any other steels but junk stainless is junk steel of any variety. One must treat it properly if one expects it to do what one wants it to do.

If you want to have a cheap POS wall-hanger, then crappy stainless is probably your best choice as it requires little to no care. But steel for a sword user needs to be quality steel, whatever the make-up, and that demands proper heat treat and temper. And that is where it gets very difficult with most stainless steels, especially when used in blades as long as a sword. I have any number of folding knives of stainless, usually of rather high quality stainless that is expensive to buy, machine, treat, and finish. But I am willing to pay that for what I get in return, durability, rust resistance in humid conditions, and, in most cases, esceptional edge keeping. In this, I am talking about VG-10 or AGS-55 as a minimum and the premium steels such as ZDP-189, CPM-S30V, or the Austrian N690Co at the other end. And the heat treat and temper is critical to them, just less so than with a sword due to their lesser length.

For swords, I favor a quality carbon steel but I have found that the heat treat and the tempering process is rather more important than contents of the steel recipe. Paul Chen used to use old railroad track and it worked well except in the case of the early Godfred swords which were his first attempt at pattern welding. The heat treat on them was not good and several broke with use. He has apparently solved the problem as I have not heard of any breaking recently.

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 Post subject: SS
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:19 pm 
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Yes, I have the video of the gentleman injuring himself with a SS Katana. Scary in its degree of stupidity to assume 'space age' SS440 is g oing to produce a decent or 'superior sword"

As the man said in the horrifying video clip while banging the backstrap of a SS Katana on the table: "the nice thing about these ss Katanas is.......Oh. ow, Earl it got me. It got me good."

Earl responds "looks like we need a medic on the set NOW"

At the moment there are plently of 'correct' full tang carbon steel Katans from various makers.

One spot, however, on the blade is supposed to be reinforced to withstand the stresses of cutting and It is impossible to determine whether this is correct on otherwise sound appearing blades..

Generally, I specify only light citting for the Mushashi and Shinwa swords and do not purchase any (knowingly) that lack the rayskin same, at least the appearance of the true temper line at a minimum. SS in a katana, as you said, are completely unacceptable and I will not talk of them.

I have two or three katana that have been tested for cutting and I think my Paul Chen Blades would stand the test.

As for 'western swords'-egad what a mess!!! As you say generally not be used for for cutting and most are wallhangers. The Paul chen Gladius, which needs more polish and a keener edge, still seems strong enough.


The Indian blades are not to be trusted. The Pakistani blades a bit better and the Chinese blades rate an ok-depending. .

My "Long Chuan" T'ai Chi blade and the Paul Chen Gim that you commented on re: the apparent Woontz steel are sturdy enough, but i do not wish to "beat them up". It is sufficient for me to know that the blades are truly combat ready, properly done, and properly tested.

I have a "Woontz" type steel Katan of WWII origins. Unusual for the forging evidence not to be polishished out. It needs seppa, new Tsuka and Tsukimake at a minimum.

I will post a picture. The Saya is in good condition, it is not a machined sho gunto and the furniture is really nice. The prior owner in China made liberal use of 'gilt paint' tom in his mind, make the blade more saleble to us "Gwailou". I don't care about that when the price, including shipping, was less tham $100.00.

Typically what happens to these WWII swords is that the Tsukimake deteriorates and the rayskin and menuki are lost when the sword "decomps". This tendency is apparent on this sword.

So, the price was right but it is going to need work.

I would appreciate your input

As to the effctiveness on non stirrped cavalry, the Plain Indians made it clear that they did not need saddlery.

And many comments I have come across, as I said, with with respect to a Roman or Byzantine Cavalry the evolutions required make it clear that horsemen don't need saddles.

However, I must say that a Western sytle working saddle with a pommel and stirrups at least made it possible for me to stay on the damn horse.

I could not even manage an "English" style saddle.

I think the reason that stirrups took on was a simple one. They make, or can make, a poor horseman feel somewhat secure and look almost passable.

The utility and comfort aspect of the so called "western' saddle speak to other considerations.


J

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Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Pics
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:52 pm 
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I'll see if I can get some pics posted.

Nope, will try again later.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:14 pm 
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Image


Image


Image

Image


The first three images are of the WWII Katana-sorry the patterning of forging in the steel does not show better. Thanks to GEM Sensei for stepping in and straightening out the matter regarding the posting of the pictures.

The pictures show no seppa and a retouched but not bad Tsuba.

The fourth picture is of the Hamon temper line of Paul Chen's "Blue Oriole" Katana.

Both swords are very big.

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Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: GEM edited above post
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:15 pm 
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note... click "edit" on the above post John, to see what needed to be removed in the address.

nice pictures.

best,

george

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