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Thread: Tulwar ID

  1. #1
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    Tulwar ID

    Good morning everybody, what a great forum for getting a newb excited about all the varieties of swords out there.. the pictures and knowledge you all are sharing really is fascinating!

    So i've just acquired my first Tulwar done some google and had it confirmed as genuine. A couple of things continue to stump me and I was hoping to get it clarified here. It measures tip to tip straight line 34 1/2" and 29 1/2" blade tip to knucklebow.

    As you can see in the pictures my Tulwar has 3 rivets and the seem in the hilt is quite visible, yet in all my searches I have not come across any similar. I am aware that in western history solid hilts predate rivets, so I am wondering if it's the same for Tulwar's and if so why there aren't more pictures of them?

    The other thing that I am curious about is the fact that when bent the blade little to no 'spring' so a bend is quite easy to make.. though in my searches I have read newer blades can be a stronger steel due to improved metal structures.

    Thanks for any clarification you can offer!
    Ken
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  2. #2
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    I forgot about one other thing that is sort of interesting to me at least, there seems to be what i would assume is an accidental extra stamp in the detail of one side of the blade which at least tells me that it was hand stamped..
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  3. #3
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    Hi Ken!

    The rivet technique to sandwiching the hilt is not rare amongst the more utilitarian tulwars--I have seen this in books and handled a couple of them. There is also a technique where a pin is passed through hilt and blade at the center of the cross-guard--likely a measure of extra security used with the adhesive that is used in tulwars to set the blade into the hilt.
    Tom Donoho

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    Hi Tom,
    Yes I did see plenty of pictures with the pin through the center, and it all makes more sense now thanks! Interesting that this blade should fall into my hands though, first off the hilt couldn't be a better fit in my palm if it were made for me and second, most of the restoration work i do is on primitive Canadian furniture.. the very utilitarian stuff.
    Seeing as this is the first sword I have ever held and yes i did swing it a few times, can you tell me from your experience handling a couple of them how they compare to the others you've handled.
    I am happy to say that this tulwar is in pretty good shape, resin and rivets are tight though I don;t think i'd want to test it in battle anywhere:P

    Thanks Tom!

  5. #5
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    I have several of these, I would guess this one is from Pakistan or Afghanistan with Afghanistan being the more likely source. It looks like it is in good shape. a light coat of 'light' mineral oil, the generic stuff from any drug store will do wonders for preservation. Do not let any get inside the hilt, and espeshaly do not let any penetrating oil like WD40 or Liquid Wrench get in side the hilt. I learned the hard way and it will devolve the natural 'glue' that holds blade to hilt

  6. #6
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    Ken,

    Heed David's words about that adhesive.

    I find most tulwar hilts to be cramped--but still they could be servicable. I understand there is a distinctive way in which they are gripped by Indian warriors and that the hilt design is a benefit in this. Like any sword or sabre, quality varies. I treat all my swords with respect as they are antiques and they are still capable of inflicting injury.

    You could acquire tulwars here and there and build up a nice collection--they are still to be had for reasonable $--although fine quality ones can fetch high prices--and many are old enough (100 or more years) to qualify as antiques.

    Enjoy!
    Tom Donoho

  7. #7
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    The hilt seems...

    Quote Originally Posted by T. Donoho View Post
    Ken,

    Heed David's words about that adhesive.

    I find most tulwar hilts to be cramped--but still they could be servicable. I understand there is a distinctive way in which they are gripped by Indian warriors and that the hilt design is a benefit in this. Like any sword or sabre, quality varies. I treat all my swords with respect as they are antiques and they are still capable of inflicting injury.

    You could acquire tulwars here and there and build up a nice collection--they are still to be had for reasonable $--although fine quality ones can fetch high prices--and many are old enough (100 or more years) to qualify as antiques.

    Enjoy!
    ...to be intentionally designed to prevent wrist movement, especially pronation. I've been told this ensured the blade would always strike at an appropriate angle for cutting.

  8. #8
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    Hello Ken, have you read Sword Fighters of British India by Kinsley? An inexpensive paperback that has period writings in the use of swords including tulwars.

  9. #9
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    Most Afghans (Pashtons, Hazara, Tajiks, Turkomen and Uzbeks) are much smaller than me. maybe one in ten are my size, 5'9" tall. I do have big hands and am not exactly 'average size' i spend a lot of time in the gym, armor and sparing.

  10. #10
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    Thanks so much David, I did a lot of searching and was not at all able to narrow down where this blade could have originated or when. Fortunately I work with a respected antique dealer/historian so I have already had plenty of experience with natural glues and resins like pine sap which can be found on lots of older furniture. Sorry, you had to experience it the hard way!

    This may be considered a huge NO-NO but I cleaned the blade the hard way with a lot of elbow grease using a paste made of food grade Diatomaceous earth and water which cleaned it quite well without going overboard. After cleaning I used a product my brother uses when he polishes and restores old faded paint on cars, this product is also used on metal to protect.. i'd like to hear some opinions on this to, the product is Rolite.
    Needless to say I stayed away from touching the resin at all.

    EDIT: 5'8" here, slim yet quite solid 125lbs LOL... I did measure my hilt at 3 1/4", I think that is 'medium' size for these blades?
    Last edited by Ken R.; 08-09-2011 at 11:29 AM.

  11. #11
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    Thanks Tom and Al, this is one of the things I find so interesting about this blade.. very restrictive indeed! I have watched a few videos and tried to get the flow and movement but I have not got to what i would call a comfortable stage.. as I say the feel of the blade itself is perfect but I am obviously missing something when it comes to it's actual use.
    Being my first blade, I doubt it will ever leave but yes I have already got my eye out for more haha... Occasionally blades pass through my bosses hands, most of the stuff he acquires is destined for serious collectors but from now on I will pass them by this forum just incase anybody here is interested(most are likely to be out of my price range!)

    Cheers

  12. #12
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    Thank you Will, I'll find me a copy as soon as I can!

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    Hello Ken, have you read Sword Fighters of British India by Kinsley? An inexpensive paperback that has period writings in the use of swords including tulwars.

  13. #13
    There's even more info in the complete (4-volumes-in-1) series, entitled "Blades of Empire".

  14. #14
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    Thank you, I found it online in pdf format for less than $10.. i'll get somebody with a credit card to purchase.

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    Ken,

    It is always wise to ascertain what you want to do with the sword--preserve (my preference), stabalize or restore it. I recommend under rather than overdoing it with antique swords. I rely on gentle cleaning of metal parts with warm soapy water and a stiff non-wire brush (tooth-brushes work well) and a thorough dry off with a nice cloth. Blades and metal parts can receive a nice wipe of linseed oil--works well, a little goes a long way and lasts for years--also it will enhance some bluing and gilt work if faded--and it is easily removed with hot soapy water--it will offer protection to japanning, too.
    Tom Donoho

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by T. Donoho View Post
    Ken,

    It is always wise to ascertain what you want to do with the sword--preserve (my preference), stabalize or restore it. I recommend under rather than overdoing it with antique swords. I rely on gentle cleaning of metal parts with warm soapy water and a stiff non-wire brush (tooth-brushes work well) and a thorough dry off with a nice cloth. Blades and metal parts can receive a nice wipe of linseed oil--works well, a little goes a long way and lasts for years--also it will enhance some bluing and gilt work if faded--and it is easily removed with hot soapy water--it will offer protection to japanning, too.
    Amen!
    Linseed oil yellows a bit as it dries, but not badly, plain old cooking oil like Pam (i use this on my non stainless chainmail ) works wonders

  17. #17
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    David,

    I could see the benefit of using Pam on chain mail--a nice even coating.
    Tom Donoho

  18. #18
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    It actuality dries in an nice even coat like a soft varnish unlike WD40, its environmentally friendly and your not likely to burst in to flames when the peasants come at you with torches

    It will dry on a blade as well and it cuts down on maintenance, i live in North Carolina in a small city. Humility and pollution are bad for steel

  19. #19
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    I love hearing about other peoples approaches, what products and methods for cleaning/protecting, as we often have to change our strategy depending on the piece being worked on or even where it destined(condition,private or museum collection..). I am somewhere in the middle of preserving and stabilizing.. restoration is reserved for stuff that just wont survive without major work.. some examples of my boss' approach and mine can be seen on his site peterbakerantiques.com. But I admit I like experimenting to:P(with caution of course!).
    I've never tried Pam but I can see how it would be very useful, great idea! In the past would they have dipped chain mail in oil?
    Thanks for sharing guys!

  20. #20
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    "...your not likely to burst in to flames when the peasants come at you with torches."

    Very funny!

    I imagine that one charged with care of the master's arms and armor must have had his work cut out for him.

    Ken,

    Caring for our collections is part of the interest and fun of collecting, too.
    Tom Donoho

  21. #21
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    indeed, it shows in a lot of stuff I have seen here

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