Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: rapier sharpening

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    1,023

    rapier sharpening

    Hey guys - in a bit of a hurry. I have a couple of live steel blades I need to sharpen up for a cutting practice tomorrow night.

    A Taza rapier and a Hanwei Solingen rapier.

    Anyhow - any tips. I have a stone ready to go. Is there a particular direction I should draw the blade across the stone?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,597
    I thought the Hanwei Soligen rapier did come sharp....anyway, I wouldn't think it would be that different then hybrid polishing. Use the first few grits of sand paper to do most of the sharpening then use the higher grits to gradually polish out any scratches left by the lower grits.

    If anyone has better thoughts about rapier sharpening I would be happy to hear them as I have been thinking about getting the Soligen rapier as well.
    ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    La Verne, California, USA
    Posts
    13
    Generally speaking rapier blades were not sharpened since this type of sword was used almost exclusively for thrusting. Also the blade geometry does not lend itself to being sharpened since a true rapier blade is to thick in relation to its width to take any kind of effective edge. The narrowness of the blade pretty much limits it cutting ability. Simply put there is not enough mass to cut very well if at all.
    Why worry? Be a coward and be happy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,597
    I realize that the thinner and narrower rapier blades do not really lend themselves to slashing, but I think that historically they still had somewhat of an edge.
    ?

  5. #5

    Depends on the rapier right?

    Just a minor interjection. Some cut, some thrust - or so I thought. What really defines a rapier regarding the blade? Length? Taper? Cross-section?

    There's a couple videos on the ARMA site of John Clements cutting with an antique rapier (or at least, a complex hilted sword with a rather long blade) edit: as I recall he was cutting melons - which I can split using a baseball bat (not crush, split) and also using a rather broad bokken.

    Regarding sharpening: not sure how different it is for rapiers, but doing a thin, small secondary bevel by pushing back and forth over a reasonably medium-fine grit stone (Arkansas) then slowly going over it by hand to "blend" the bevel should work fine. Quite a few threads on the hows, whys, and what not.

    Reprofiling will probably require a good diamond-coated stone/rod. Using fine ceramic rods works well to polish up the edge. This I am not very confident on doing for most of my edged stuff - not and keep them pretty .
    Last edited by Alexander K Gee; 03-14-2006 at 02:20 AM.
    O, que sorpresa! Hay un gato en mis pantalones!
    Visit my not so awesome art here

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Wichita, KS
    Posts
    1,754
    An old thread - but perhaps worth looking at for the pictures:
    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...threadid=25447

    this rapier is essentially semi-sharp, at best. I can *not* slice 24lb printer paper with it by drawing a piece across the edge. At best it'll essentially tear in a straight frayed line - an almost cut, if you will.

    its not a wide blade, essentially 1/2" at the forte, and slightly less at the debole, and is about 1/4" thick at the forte, and 3/16" or so at the debole.. thus the cross section is a pretty steep diamond.

    I dare say many of the hanwei rapiers will cut much better if properly sharpened.

    As far as how to sharpen - depending on what you've got to work with as a starting edge, you may need to start with a large file to establish the actual sharp edge, and then polish that out from 200 grit on. Starting with a file holds especially true if you're attempting to change the bevel angle, or are dealing with a 1mm to 2mm rounded edge or something like that. Not that you couldn't do it with an Ark stone, but it could take a month of Sunday's to get it done.
    Christopher A. Holzman, Esq.
    Moniteur d' Armes
    "[T]he calm spirit is the only force that can defeat instinct, and render us masters of all our strengths" -Settimo Del Frate, 1876.

    Author of The Art of the Dueling Sabre
    ViaHup.com - Wiki di Scherma Italiana

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,597
    Chris, have you handled the new rapiers of Hanwei? If so could you give some insight about them (how stiff, weight, and in terms of quality)?

    I have heard mixed things about them, some saying they are to flexible and others saying they are stiffer then the older ones.
    ?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Wichita, KS
    Posts
    1,754
    Originally posted by Skyler R.
    Chris, have you handled the new rapiers of Hanwei? If so could you give some insight about them (how stiff, weight, and in terms of quality)?

    I have heard mixed things about them, some saying they are to flexible and others saying they are stiffer then the older ones.
    I haven't handled one yet. I really like the look of the Torino. I have heard these are a big improvement over the old ones, but beyond that, beats me. I'm honestly most interested in the practical cup hilt, though from what I can tell, the blade is a bit short for what I need at somewhere between 36" and 37" most likely, and I'd much rather have something about 40".

    I frankly do not like the old hanwei rapiers, particularly the pappenheimer, as the guard is just enormous, and the whole thing feels really heavy and slow. at 2lbs 13oz, my Armart is a much nicer feeling weapon, even being a bit hefty itself.

    I haven't handled a Taza either, so I don't know anything about it..

    The rapier that my school does is very much a later period system, and favours a lighter weapon, a la Grisetti (1803), so a lot of the rapiers out there are just not right for what we do, so I'm naturally somewhat biased (not that we spend a lot of time on rapier as it's really not something we emphasize)
    Christopher A. Holzman, Esq.
    Moniteur d' Armes
    "[T]he calm spirit is the only force that can defeat instinct, and render us masters of all our strengths" -Settimo Del Frate, 1876.

    Author of The Art of the Dueling Sabre
    ViaHup.com - Wiki di Scherma Italiana

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    1,023
    Originally posted by Chris Holzman
    An old thread - but perhaps worth looking at for the pictures:
    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...threadid=25447

    this rapier is essentially semi-sharp, at best. I can *not* slice 24lb printer paper with it by drawing a piece across the edge. At best it'll essentially tear in a straight frayed line - an almost cut, if you will.

    Nice thread Chris - that should silence at least a few people who say rapiers can't cut. My own experience is with cutting Tatami using a Taza rapier that Tinker sharpened up. I found that using a spanish style cut from the wrist - complete with proper stepping - I could consistently cut about an inch and a half deep into the tatami. Certainly enough to sever arteries in the neck, cut tendons in the arm or leg or slice up a face and head really good.

    Perhaps I will take a camera along.

    Alexander - as for the Clements video. Frankly Clements stance has always been that a rapier won't stance and having seen that suspect that it was staged specifically to prove it. He doesn't cut with the rapier - doesn't even try to. He sets the edge of the blade on the surface and then draws the blade. A real cut with a straight blade has a percussive element as well as a drawing element.

    But this thread has been sidetracked.... I was simply checking for tips on sharpening a blade. I have never sharpened a sword of any kind before.

    Jeff

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    1,023

    rapier review

    OK - the Taza I tried was pretty nice. It missed on being balanced to my own preferences, but it felt really nice none the less. What I didn't like was the high ridge on the Quillion block.

    Someone here asks about the new blades being stiffer than the old blades. I expect you are talking about the blunts known as practical rapier blades. This is a whole different catagory from the weapons we are talking about. The practical blades are designed as blunt training blades. To answer your question, I have found the newer ones to be just slightly heavier adn quite a bit less whippy. For the money I like them as practice blades.


    As for the new Hanwei rapiers Torino, solingen and Gustav. They are designed to have the blades interchangeable with the hanwei schlager blade (still waiting on an order for these) Anyhow, I currently have both the Torino and the Solingen. The blades are identical and come with a sharp point and a factory edge (meaning its set up to sharpen but isn't sharpened) The balde is narrow and light and it flexes very nicely along the last two thirds of the blade just like a real weapon should. THis is a very light and narrow blade however, I would probably class it as a late period transitional blade from the time rapiers were showing up transitioning to the small sword. The hilts and the wire wrapping are very nice. These are a bargain at the price they are asking in my opinion.

    Jeff

  11. #11
    Originally posted by Edward G.
    Generally speaking rapier blades were not sharpened since this type of sword was used almost exclusively for thrusting. Also the blade geometry does not lend itself to being sharpened since a true rapier blade is to thick in relation to its width to take any kind of effective edge. The narrowness of the blade pretty much limits it cutting ability. Simply put there is not enough mass to cut very well if at all.
    Actually, many rapier blades were sharpened. Also, a great many of them did cut, just not as well (and sometimes not nearly as well) as other types of blades optimized for the job. Either that, or such masters as Fabris, Capoferro, Alfieri, Pallavicini, Marcelli, Bondi di Mazo, etc., etc. didn't know their craft. All of these masters clearly describe and utilize the cut in their manuals--some of them use it a lot.

    Of course, this is moot if you've decided to use a definition of rapier that precludes any cutting ability. That is, if you define a rapier as being unable to cut, then I guess you're right. However, that would mean that Fabris (1606), Giganti (1606), Capoferro (161), Alfieri (1640), Pallavicini (1670), Marcelli (1686), and di Mazo (1696) are "Cut & Thrust" manuals rather than rapier manuals (which absolutely flies in the face of what the mainstream WMA community considers a rapier).

    Steve
    Last edited by Steven Reich; 03-14-2006 at 06:33 AM.
    Founder of NoVA-Assalto, an affiliate of the HEMA Alliance

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •