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Thread: Tips For The Sword Collector

  1. #76
    One more tip for those researching named/ID'd swords: try entering the person's name in a Google Books search. You may be pleasantly surprised to find the person is mentioned in multiple texts in addition to (or instead of) Army Lists.

    Jonathan

  2. #77
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    Not Just For Horace Greely Anymore

    Just in case no one is looking at books online, this one is quite fascinating while an extremely humorous read. I may get lost in this one title for a few years but I'll be back.

    Horace Greely on the topic of swords (and other stuff)

    Cheers

    Hotspur; what does nails and Dedham has to do with it?

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    Just in case no one is looking at books online, this one is quite fascinating while an extremely humorous read. I may get lost in this one title for a few years but I'll be back.

    Horace Greely on the topic of swords (and other stuff)

    Cheers

    Hotspur; what does nails and Dedham has to do with it?
    Under which heading?

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by WBranner View Post
    Under which heading?
    Just plug the search into a favorite subject, like swords.

    I was drawn to the flame while studying the Ames family history and Fisher Ames issues an oration to Congress back in the old days about nails from abroad. Nathan P. Ames was the son of Nathan Ames, grandson of John Ames. NP had a shop fire in Chelmsford and went to Dedham and made nails for a spell. Upon his return to Chelmsford, quit the location and went to build Chicopee. Just something else I'm looking at that brought me to that title.

    Anyway, great book. Just search it for swords and the story about a sword shop comes up regarding Soligen blades in scabbards waiting for a customer to order their likes.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; there are a passel of Ames families right back to William, of the colony's industrial growth from the start

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    Just plug the search into a favorite subject, like swords.

    I was drawn to the flame while studying the Ames family history and Fisher Ames issues an oration to Congress back in the old days about nails from abroad. Nathan P. Ames was the son of Nathan Ames, grandson of John Ames. NP had a shop fire in Chelmsford and went to Dedham and made nails for a spell. Upon his return to Chelmsford, quit the location and went to build Chicopee. Just something else I'm looking at that brought me to that title.

    Anyway, great book. Just search it for swords and the story about a sword shop comes up regarding Soligen blades in scabbards waiting for a customer to order their likes.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; there are a passel of Ames families right back to William, of the colony's industrial growth from the start
    Under "Narrow Textiles" of all things ...

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by WBranner View Post
    Under "Narrow Textiles" of all things ...
    Ah... but these things are the road to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The account of the steam engineer's putting oil in the boilers made me guffaw (up the chapter). A real plus to the Google pages is that those that are whole texts can be saved as jpgs via the html version. I could have just posted the page as an image here but I was busy reading other things.


    Cheers

    Hotspur; There are several other related titles of federal era commerce and industry that relate well to arms, hence the searches.

  7. #82
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    Don't mind me, I get distracted easily. Here is another somewhat related antique and military tip. Another one I will probably get lost in for a day and not exactly pursue my original intent.

    Mayflower and Her Log, Complete, by Azel Ames

    Of several other visits in research today, this has garnered some more attention.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; also available as downloads but I'd just as soon let the web host stuff my drive eats up

  8. #83
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    Neat Book via Google and others

    http://books.google.com/books?id=tZALAAAAIAAJ

    Historical register of officers of the Continental Army during the war of the revolution, April 1775, to December, 1783
    By Francis Bernard Heitman
    Published by Rare Book Shop Pub. Co., 1914
    685 pages

    Cheers

    Hotspur; pestering my family's past

  9. #84
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    History of the Thirty-eighth regiment Indiana

    Another interesting book online that might draw one to the exploits of one Isaac Brinkworth. Noted here on this board now regarding an interesting presentation sword. Yes, another eagle head pommel but more to it than what might first be apparent.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=kVBROeQ9wDsC

    Currently on the market and maybe worth a browse is the sword itself but the 38th seems to have been well chronicled and historical anecdotes well kept.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; the sword looks to be possibly older than the story by the seller. An older sword, later engraved

  10. #85
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  11. #86
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    Yet another interesting historical and sword related book was recently added to my Google bookshelf/library.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=CWUUAAAAYAAJ

    History of the Military company of the Massachusetts, now called the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts

    1637-1888

    Vol 1

    Oliver Ayer Roberts

    Published in 1895

    Cheers

    Hotspur; There are other titles by him

  12. #87
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  13. #88
    If you use your computer as a virtual library and catalog of your collection, I recommend regularly backing up your files. Any number of things can cause your files to become forever lost. I think in my case it was a matter of leaving my "Swords" folder open and having a 22-month old child bang on the keyboard, deleting the files. Then I took over and absentmindedly emptied the recycle bin without checking the contents. Then a few weeks later (today, in fact) I discovered that ALL of my sword related files were gone and in attempting to recover the found they were too corrupt to use again. Hundreds of hours of work is gone for good. I have some files on my USB drive, but it has been at least 3 or 4 months since I updated this device.

    So for your own sanity, take care of your files and check the contents of the recycle bin before you empty it!

  14. #89
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    Another interesting read regarding industrial growth and economics in Birmingham and others. For me, at least, such pages offer an awful lot of information that can be found regarding our hobby.

    http://www.british-history.ac.uk/rep...x?compid=22964

    I'm hardly finished with that one but quite topical for many would be this part

    Among the cutlers and swordmakers, the most important figures emerge in a dispute which began in 1789. Thomas Gill, (fn. 81) anxious to persuade the government that Birmingham swords were better than their reputation, arranged trials (fn. 82) which showed his own product in a better light than those of his rivals, both British and foreign. At meetings of the Birmingham Commercial Committee, to which many leading swordmakers belonged, he was accused of unfair practices. (fn. 83) Samuel Garbett, as chairman, was alleged to be biased towards Gill and the committee suffered as a result. Graver charges were brought against Gill in 1792. A Dr. Maxwell had visited Birmingham swordmakers and tried to negotiate for 20,000 daggers, destined, it was claimed, for French Jacobins. Gill apparently agreed to carry out the order but denied any knowledge of its destination. (fn. 84) Later he sent a specimen to the Treasury and this may have been the one which figured in an episode in the House of Commons when Burke threw a dagger on the floor in one of his dramatic passages. (fn. 85) Gill, in defence, claimed that Maxwell had also called on other manufacturers called Dawes, Harvey, and Wooley, (fn. 86) and that Dawes had urged him soon afterwards to agree on a price to be charged by whichever of them got the order. This provides an early example of restrictive practices amongst masters.

    Gill's swords had a great reputation for toughness. (fn. 87) He was a versatile entrepreneur turning later to rifle-making, patenting an early method of mechanical barrel-rifling, (fn. 88) and appearing also as a muslin spinner.


    Cheers

    Hotspur; of course, another page sidetracked and bookmarked while looking for something else entirely
    Last edited by Glen C.; 12-30-2009 at 08:52 PM.

  15. #90
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    And then made about $30,000 at its next sale!

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    sorry, can you give more info about the "T proof slug"

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by maarten janssens View Post
    sorry, can you give more info about the "T proof slug"
    You are probably referring to the "T." proof slug. There are several variations. Mostly you see them on a baskethilt with Victorian cyphers and leather grips. They are usually being passed off as a Thurkle sword.

    Anyway, if you come across a sword with a "T." proof slug, be aware that they are reproductions.

  18. #93
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    A thoughtful and comprehensive article looking at the history of

    The Ames Manufacturing Company - Civil War and the New England Mill Town

    http://newenglandtravels.blogspot.co...civil-war.html

    Cheers

    Hotspur; a nice cup of coffee Sunday morning read

  19. #94
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    Dictionary of American biography, including men of the time

    Drake 1874

    http://books.google.com/books?id=gFpKAAAAYAAJ

    Cheers

    Hotspur; I need more than a cup of coffee for that one

  20. #95
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    Mind boggling address regarding manuscript sources of American history

    http://books.google.com/books?id=vA0PAAAAYAAJ

    I was momentarily caught up in a single passage of work by Justin Winsor and was prompted to do some time in looking into his work. I am never going to catch up on all that can be found via just his works.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; so much to read that I have now lost my place in the first book I opened today

  21. #96
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    The Chinese are making fakes of European bayonets and sabres now. These fakes often look quite nice in online photos. Of course, weight nor temper nor fit are likely to be such as on originals; I haven't bought these, but you see them on ebay; they are from China so you know what is up from that; they did the Japanese stuff out; now they are coming for the collectors of European arms. I hate to advise them how to fake better. How about getting the temper right, guys?

    If you love swords don't dismiss good modern swords. The idea of sword obsolescence is a fashion, more than a meaningful reality. Remember when armor was out; my, my it's everywhere now. While flesh cuts the sword cannot be obsolete. It can be out of fashion, out of law, out of military usage, but never obsolete.

    Know why you own a sword.
    Is it a market collectible?
    A study piece?
    A spiritual companion?
    A personal statement?
    A weapon?
    If its value to you is as a weapon, seriously consider sharpening it. Seriously consider may mean researching sharpening methods. Or even professional help.
    Not altering antiques is a recent cultural phenomenon, and one of limitted cultural and geographic breadth. (eg the market in woodworking tools is driven by users who always sharpen and usually repair, while in ancestor-worshipping Africa and Asia it can be disrespectful to an antique sword to fail to replace its damaged handle)
    restore?
    conserve?
    or repair?
    Things to consider. I've reached the point of seeing different pieces in different lights. All of my swords are weapons (oops; many are actually tools; I collect work blades quite a lot), but some are fulfilling different roles in my life. Currently in front of me I have a Moro pira (or a fighting bangkung with a dropped yelman? Was the fighting bangkung a slave-warrior's weapon?) whose handle was made of such a beautifully burled wood that it has now cracked in (literally) at least 7 different directions (depending on how you count cracks). It is held together by a single strip of coherent wood less than 1/4 inch wide, and by the sword's tang, which is usually pretty solid on Southern PI pieces (rectangular section, wedge shape, and 2 1/2 to 3 1/4 inch long). Overall the feel is quite solid, and the wood is quite beautiful and original. I'm thinking of soaking a slow-cure epoxy down into the cracks. OR Should I drive off the handle (the pitch is visibly split from the blade on one side) which will probably come into 2 or more pieces, and epoxy it all back around the tang? Should I wrap over the beautiful wood grain with an epoxied-down flat leather lace that will simulate rattan skin while aiding the strength, but cover the grain and perhaps offend purists? Is there an icon for that painting "the Scream?" Aaaahhhh! What shal I do?! Should I wait until my failed stewardship allows the handle to fall apart and try to catch-as-catch-can fix it then? Dilemnas.
    Things are made simpler in an imaginary world; "If this were my only sword" At one time I treated them all like that. Happy the sword that met me then; when I considered their welfare. Now I consider my own more closely; the market requests preservation, conservation, restoration; I have found it does not reject repair as strongly as it often seems to claim it will (ie as strongly as experts say), but repair is a thing to present carefully whether selling a piece or just showing it to people. Martial artists like repair. And sharpness.

    Ooh; good tip; talk to martial artists. Read martial arts books. Read blacksmithing books.

    When examining Japanese swords;
    Always treat the sword as a person, worthy of respect.
    the blade is the sword.
    the rest is dress.
    the sword owns its dress.
    Don't touch the blade with your skin or breath. Don't drip on it.
    Unsheath a blade for examination with the cutting edge toward you. Some prefer the angle of light thus. But do it so it can cut you if it wants to.
    If the blade is not yours do not draw its tip fully from the scabbard unless specifically invited to do so.

    These are traditional Japanese rules (mind you they aren't the only traditional Japanese rules; the expectation that Japanese culture is monolithic is over-expected in USA). they can be applied to nonJapanese swords and to nonsword objects.

    Never point a kris (keris) at a person who is not your enemy. (it's a curse)

    Most old traditional adhesive is pitch. In Europe some cutlers' pitch is blonde/offwhite. If you heat an adhesive and smell pine trees, it's pitch.

    Those French yataghan bayonets are the best of their kind; light as a feather; stiff as a board!
    Unfortuneately, the Chinese fakers are faking them now there's not an icon that weeps. They even fake the script inscriptions on the spine. Ouch!

    Vinegar and alcohol. Alcolhol and vinegar. Although remember in school when They told us water is the universal solvent. That Master; teaching us things! Water is gentle and good. Rubbing alcohol is usually 70% Most stores have a 90+% one available though (for some reason proprietary differences in this higher percentage are rife). It is a significantly better solvent.

    Epoxy is poisonous and powerful. Use it carefully and well. Grease and wax are the enemy of epoxy. Clean them with alcohol first. Follow manufacturer's directions. For real.

    Professional epoxy stain is black charcoal dust. But I like to use cigarette ash smooshed into just the surface to kill the shiny shine it hardens to.

    Vinegar is a pretty good degreaser, too, but it does leave a residue, unlike the alcohol.
    Soap must be removed as if it were grease. Grease containing corrosives. Careful with soap.

    A wax is an oil that is solid at room temperature. Wax is good. Gun oil is good.

    Be carefull with heat. Anything over 400F is affecting temper. Any heat that causes a coloured oxide to appear is affecting temper.
    Last edited by tom hyle; 08-04-2010 at 06:04 AM. Reason: spacing. Then I added; mine is not the organized mind

  22. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by tom hyle View Post
    If you love swords don't dismiss good modern swords. The idea of sword obsolescence is a fashion, more than a meaningful reality. Remember when armor was out; my, my it's everywhere now. While flesh cuts the sword cannot be obsolete. It can be out of fashion, out of law, out of military usage, but never obsolete.

    .
    You have seemingly misunderstood the raison d'etre of this forum Tom

  23. #98
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    Old furniture is free for the taking in the modern city.
    Cut it up for practice.
    Watch out for nails and bolts.
    Wicker is especially nice.
    Plants that you or someone else wants cut are also good practice material.
    I used to practice pricision with machete and scythe by cutting as close as possible to rocks and cliffs.
    Ah, youth! How steady was that hand!

    Antiques are cheaper than quality modern pieces.
    Dead men collect no wage.
    Modern buyers of arts often complain that modern craftsmen don't want to/don't know how to do the fine traditional handwork.
    Modern craftsmen often complain that no one is willing to pay for the quality or the quantity of work that went into producing the fine traditional handwork.
    Some do still buy it and some do still sell it. And the new swords and the new chairs are both thousands of dollars. And worth it.
    When you compare the amount of hours of hand work on a $300 antique sword and a $300 dollar new sword, you will see what I mean, perhaps.

    The antique market does not care about twists, bends, or temper.

  24. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Critchley View Post
    You have seemingly misunderstood the raison d'etre of this forum Tom
    NOt at all. It in no way serves the study or respect of old swords to maintain ignorance of new swords.
    Giving various names, reasons, and defences to ignorance in no way changes it to knowledge.
    Many new swords are quite traditional. This is a variable thing, and neither gets steadily better nor worse. For instance, Windlass Steelcrafts has chosen to largely abandon distal taper because the American market won't support it at their price range. But meanwhile at the next price range up ($600 swords) traditionality and using quality are improving.
    Interest in and knowledge of traditional (pre-smallsword) European sword use is growing rapidly; exploding one might say. This is almost entirely because of martial artists armed with modern swords. In fact, the smallsword-armed overculture had tried to destroy this knowledge almost as asiduously as it tried to destroy native African and American stone architecture, then claiming they had never existed. Quite the way to make one's arguments, eh?
    Those new swords that are traditional can serve as valuable study tools for folks who lack access to old swords, don't know how to or want to repair them, or whatever. their makers and buyers often contain a well of ancient knowlege. Those that aren't traditional often serve as demonstrations of the reasons for traditional features.
    Last edited by tom hyle; 08-04-2010 at 05:44 AM.

  25. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by tom hyle View Post
    Old furniture is free for the taking in the modern city.

    I shall inform Christies right away

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