Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

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caedmon
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Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby caedmon » Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:48 pm

I was recently reminded of my idea of the cult of Narsil, and began to wonder if it made sense to carry/use a broken sword in anything other than a ceremonial context?

Could you build a usable short sword that looks like the 'Sword of the Host', or could you build a fighting style that incorporates a weapon like this?

soth.png
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p.s. For those not familiar with my Cult of Narsil idea, it's not canon. It's a hypothetical musing on something like a medieval devotion to saints/relics into later Dunedain life.
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Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Greg » Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:23 am

I daresay that Messer is what you're after, and I think it'd work rather nicely.

As for constructing the actual weapon, it would be most useful if it was built from the ground up to be used that way, rather than cut out of a pre-existing sword. Differences in hardness and materials from the core and center of a blade out to the tip would make a broken sword far more useless than a purpose-built blade. When I first began discussing cutting down the length of my Tinker Bastard blade to make the blade that eventually became the sword I just got back from Yeshua's Sword, there was an initial concern about the way it was heat-treated and the length of the fuller, as either or both could interfere with the function of shifting the point back into the meat of the blade by 6" or so. Thankfully, it has a rather short fuller, so there was plenty of spine to support the new profile, and the original heat treat, to my knowledge, hasn't caused any issues yet.
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby caedmon » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:01 am

I can see that a Messer would work well. I'm working on a baurnweir, and not sure I want to go so german on my kit. Will have to think about it.
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Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Greg » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:46 am

There are large sections of WMA dedicated to Messer work...even if you go a different route with the blade itself, that basic design will function the same.
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Elleth » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:15 am

Wouldn't the balance of a broken sword be quite a bit off - at least assuming the hilt is unchanged?
I know my coustille feels rather awkward, as the balance is so far rearward that's there's not much "feel" to the blade. I'm sure someone actually skilled in WMA would know the phenomenon and could describe it better.

That said - people have been shanking each other with far less likely implements for millennia, so I'm sure it's doable.
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Peter Remling » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:18 am

What type of sword are we saying Narsil was prior to it shattering ? Obviously it would differ from typical Euro designs but, using Oakeshott typography what do you believe the basic sword would have been ? This would help determine whether a broken Narsil could have been used at all. Cult of Narsil adherents would have their blades/replicas made similar to the original but probably with design changes to ensure the trust worthiness of their weapons.
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Greg » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:34 am

Elleth wrote:I'm sure someone actually skilled in WMA would know the phenomenon and could describe it better.


Gus Trim calls this "Over-steering", where excessive pommel weight encourages the tip to move too freely to point on-target, whereas too little weight in the back makes it rotate around the tip, thus too much handle movement and a reduced ability to move the tip, referred to as "Under-steering".

Unless, of course, I have it backwards... :mrgreen:
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Eric C » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:12 am

Greg wrote:
Elleth wrote:I'm sure someone actually skilled in WMA would know the phenomenon and could describe it better.


Gus Trim calls this "Over-steering", where the tip moves too freely to point on-target, whereas too little weight in the back makes it rotate around the tip, thus too much handle movement and a reduced ability to move the tip, referred to as "Under-steering".

Unless, of course, I have it backwards... :mrgreen:



Dang... Now I've GOT to start learning WMA before I can make an effective sword. :lol:
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby caedmon » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:48 pm

Peter Remling wrote:What type of sword are we saying Narsil was prior to it shattering ? Obviously it would differ from typical Euro designs but, using Oakeshott typography what do you believe the basic sword would have been ? This would help determine whether a broken Narsil could have been used at all. Cult of Narsil adherents would have their blades/replicas made similar to the original but probably with design changes to ensure the trust worthiness of their weapons.


This is a great question. Here's my latest musing:

narsil.png
narsil.png (34.86 KiB) Viewed 8485 times


Why like this? I personally love John Howe's work and really like his Narsil design, But even more than that, I am fascinated with his preliminary sketches:


Image

The reason? Because he did his homework. While I think standard weapons in middle earth should tend to have a medieval feel, but Narsil was a Dwarf sword of the First Age. It was 6,500 years old and made by a culture that was just starting to copy swords from the Elves. It should look archaic. Something like these Mycenaean swords:


Image

Image

Image

Now as for it's length. It was made by Dwarves, so I'd think it was short. But Nogrod was an early trading partner of the elves, so I guess it was intended for export rather than domestic use? It was the go-to weapon for the 8' Elendil the Tall, so even if it was a single hander for him, I'd assume it was long, at least 45". So for a normal man, it should be hand and a half at least and broken at least 20-22".
-Jack Horner

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Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby caedmon » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:22 am

Peter Remling wrote:What type of sword are we saying Narsil was prior to it shattering ? Obviously it would differ from typical Euro designs but, using Oakeshott typography what do you believe the basic sword would have been ? This would help determine whether a broken Narsil could have been used at all. Cult of Narsil adherents would have their blades/replicas made similar to the original but probably with design changes to ensure the trust worthiness of their weapons.


Sorry, I got so caught up in my explanation I didn't actually answer your question. It doesn't really fit with the Oakeshott typographies. I imagine the original form have been an enormous bronze-age style carps tongue rapier or leaf blade.
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Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Yavion » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:31 pm

After one of the last discussions we had regarding what type of blade Narsil/Anduril was I came to the conclusion that they were an Oakeshott type XIII.

The idea comes from a combination of when Greg pointed out a passage describing the blade as a "longsword" laying across Aragorn's lap, the early evolution of arms used, and the fact that it needed to be usable with a shield. A type XIII has a bade length usable one handed but a two handed grip.
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Ringulf » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:50 pm

caedmon wrote:
Peter Remling wrote:What type of sword are we saying Narsil was prior to it shattering ? Obviously it would differ from typical Euro designs but, using Oakeshott typography what do you believe the basic sword would have been ? This would help determine whether a broken Narsil could have been used at all. Cult of Narsil adherents would have their blades/replicas made similar to the original but probably with design changes to ensure the trust worthiness of their weapons.


This is a great question. Here's my latest musing:

narsil.png

Why like this? I personally love John Howe's work and really like his Narsil design, But even more than that, I am fascinated with his preliminary sketches:


Image

The reason? Because he did his homework. While I think standard weapons in middle earth should tend to have a medieval feel, but Narsil was a Dwarf sword of the First Age. It was 6,500 years old and made by a culture that was just starting to copy swords from the Elves. It should look archaic. Something like these Mycenaean sword.

Now as for it's length. It was made by Dwarves, so I'd think it was short. But Nogrod was an early trading partner of the elves, so I guess it was intended for export rather than domestic use? It was the go-to weapon for the 8' Elendil the Tall, so even if it was a single hander for him, I'd assume it was long, at least 45". So for a normal man, it should be hand and a half at least and broken at least 20-22".


Just following along the thought process of a Dwarven made sword. From my point of view the maker's intent toward the type of user is all important.
When Dwarves designed weapons for Dwarves, they made them to the characteristics that would benefit their particular body type. Dwarves normally compensate for their shorter stature with long hilted axes that are rather heavy toward the head so as to give maximum reach and impact in the tip of the arc, taking advantage of great upper-body strength. I see no reason to think that a Dwarven sword, if made for a Dwarf, would depart very far from that concept. That is why of the many things I did like about Weta's designs, their Dwarven swords like Deathless and Balin's two handed axe-like sword, were very well thought out in my opinion. Even Orcrist, (though made by the Elves) as imagined by Weta, seems to fit very nicely into the model as a long sword, heavy at the tip for good chopping, slicing and making use of strong arms while increasing reach. This is key to what I consider Narsul's roots to be, and determined by who it was intended for? I truly enjoy Caedmon's "Cult of Narsul" proposition, so much so that I wasted no time in creating one for Ringulf. The blade was made very much the same as Jack's, but I put a bone scaled hilt and have been waiting on finishing the pommel and making a proper wood and leather scabbard for it before presenting it to the group. :mrgreen: When Jack mentioned that it was a type used around the area of Evendim, I immediately thought how close Foreschel was and that this one might have qualities of one made from that region that may have made it's way to our Naugathrain in his wanderings! :wink:
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby Elleth » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:01 pm

Hunh.. I'd not realized Narsil was so old! For some reason I'd had it in my head it was forged for Elendil - not that it was already an ancient artifact by the time it landed in his hands!
First Age? Wow...

Ultimately, I think we bump up again against the problem of how to conceive of Middle Earth and its timeline: an internally consistent timeline of its own, or a Dark Ages "ret-con" of pre-Bronze Age events?
If the latter, a Minoan-esque sword makes sense. If the former... things get harder.

Personally, I think (at least at present) - I prefer the fantastic timeline, where Numenoreans and Elves and Dwarves are all making finely crafted steel implements very early on, and the (admittedly canon) bronze blades are pre-Numenorean Edain or Dunlendish in origin. Therefore I see Narsil as not deeply different in form than any other sword of men in the late third age / real world c. AD 1150 Europe) - but of perhaps different aesthetics and with unparalleled materials, craftsmanship... and perhaps imbued with a bit of something that might be called magic or might be called destiny/blessing/purpose.

Perhaps another read through will change my mind though. :)
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby caedmon » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:24 pm

Elleth wrote:Ultimately, I think we bump up again against the problem of how to conceive of Middle Earth and its timeline: an internally consistent timeline of its own, or a Dark Ages "ret-con" of pre-Bronze Age events?
If the latter, a Minoan-esque sword makes sense. If the former... things get harder.


And this goes to the heart of whether the LOTR 'narrator' can be trusted to be telling 'fact', or is himself a later poet (like Homer) finally committing much older material to the page and filling in details with what he was familiar with. (Like the Beowulf scribe adding Christian detail, or medieval illuminators drawing Bibilal scenes with contemporary clothes & equipment.)

Actually the mythic neolithic idea also resonates for timelines, look to most ancient scripture. Timelines and king's reigns in many early stories are much much longer the the present lifespans.

On the other hand, assuming the narrator can be trusted, then you have to deal with some things that just don't work like today. Narsil may be old, but Galadriel and Treebeard are both older than it, and Elrond was born within a few decades(?) of it's forging. With people like that in power, and then with the ruling house of Numenor also living 500+ years (diminishing to approx. 200 years in the Third Age) makes for an extremely conservative culture.

Even though Elves seldom deign to deal with men, except with those of high/ancient lineage, having 6000 years be within the realm of living memory changes what could be normal.

Elleth wrote:Personally, I think (at least at present) - I prefer the fantastic timeline, where Numenoreans and Elves and Dwarves are all making finely crafted steel implements very early on, and the (admittedly canon) bronze blades are pre-Numenorean Edain or Dunlendish in origin. Therefore I see Narsil as not deeply different in form than any other sword of men in the late third age / real world c. AD 1150 Europe) - but of perhaps different aesthetics and with unparalleled materials, craftsmanship... and perhaps imbued with a bit of something that might be called magic or might be called destiny/blessing/purpose.



I think this is my tack. Right now I am drawing inspiration from bronze age weapons, but assuming they would be done with steel, and have proportions that are infeasible for bronze weapons.
-Jack Horner

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Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: Handling characteristics of a Broken Sword

Postby caedmon » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:31 pm

A few more swords that have contributed to my mental image of Narsil... All by Jake Powning, of course.



Hebrew Leafblade
Image


Farbauti- hypothetical Viking Bastard Sword
Image

Black Uljake - this should be Gurthang.

Image
-Jack Horner

----------------------------
Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017

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