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Thread: Cult of the Small-Sword

  1. #701
    Hell no, I'm gonna FIGHT with it! I'm not sure what I'll have done with it because it hasnt arrived yet from Merry Old England. It does have a rough and ready look to it. It was also cheap.(Relatively) Here is a more detailed pic of the nasty solder. Didnt anyone hear of a leather washer? Oh well, at least I know it will hold up when I pursue my new carreer as a footpad.
    Does it qualify as a colichmarde blade?
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    Last edited by morgan butler; 04-01-2009 at 01:11 PM.
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  2. #702
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    It looks as if it was once blackened by the look of that shell.

    No, I don't think you could call it a colichemarde blade.

    A footpad. Why not a highwayman? Then you could arm yourself with the ultimate weapon--a jousting lance or maybe even a mini, pocket sized catapult!
    Tom Donoho

  3. #703
    Everyone knows Mr T, that the smallsword is THE ULTIMATE WEAPON!
    Do you think that it was origianally blackened or was it white steel finish?
    P.S. I may be getting another sword tomorrow. Then I'm closing the collecting shop....for real!
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  4. #704
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    Colichaemarde?

    Morgan, I think you are correct about your blade not being a colichemarde. I have the habit of referring to all wide-to-narrow hollow ground blades as colichemardes, whether or not they have the sudden narrowing at mid-blade.

    Tom, do you have any thoughts on whether these blades were still manufactured by the end of the 18thC or were they recycled from earlier swords or blade stocks? I think blade recycling was probably a very smart and common practice.

    Does anyone know how complicated it was to fabricate the classic colichemarde blades? They seem to be a complicated affair to manufacture well.

  5. #705
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    Morgan:

    Blackened hilts were made by applying a black finish such as japanning.

    Rocky:

    I think it could happen with existing blades or manufactured. But the fact is that the colichemarde was mounted well into the 18th century.

    Hey, Morgan:

    BTW: I have access to horses and a mule. I think I will harness the mule and take up a new career as a highwayman-footpad. A highwayman when the mule cooperates and a footpad when it doesn't and I need to dismount! MY weapon of choice will be a blunderbuss fitted with a long snap out colichemarde blade!
    Tom Donoho

  6. #706
    Tom: You are Far Out!

    Rocky: I used to have an M1796 Heavy Cavalry dress sword that had what I think now was, an heirloom blade on it. Sigh.

    I have a question. What would be the moral implications of touching up the hilt so that it was all black?

    And also a quick blurb: I have a thread going called "18th century Western Sword Admiration Society" (or some such) If you wouldst like to post pics and discuss other 18th century swords other than (yet including) smallswords, check it out. Its cool, its not fattening, and exhaustive test have shown that it improves your I.Q and sex
    drive! (it could be fattening)
    Last edited by morgan butler; 04-01-2009 at 02:30 PM.
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  7. #707
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    sword touchup?

    Morgan,
    The only time I think it is a real travesty to try and spruce up a sword is when the item is obviously totally original or when it is so rare and/or special as to merit preservation as is.

    I had a rapier with bent quillons and lacking the grip wire. I found I talented guy who imroved the sorry state of the quillons and gave me a sharp looking twisted wire grip, making the sword much more attractive and enjoyable to me.

    I don't think your sword is particularly rare, it already bears the scars of prior "improvements," and you bought it to enjoy it. I don't think I would touch up the finish on my swords, but if you do it I wouldn't condemn you for it.

    Others might, though, so stand by.

  8. #708
    I kind of agree, there is a kind of "Antique Roadshow Dogma" these days. I like a sword to be bright and at least have a steel gray shine to it. I have an 1818 N. Starr Cav Sabre that was totally brown/black with patina. It brought me no joy at all. It didnt look like a real sword but some kind of resin or wood object shaped like a sword. I finally got hold of some good museum grade rust remover from england (I cant think of the name right now.) and polished it up. It still looks damn old but now it looks like a damned old sword. I think that cleaning up an old sword is historically correct, after all, thats what people did with them back then as well. I cleaned and straighened my 1740's French Infantry Officer sword (my current favorite), straightened the blade and restored the jagged broken tip and am much happier with it.
    Where was I going with this, I forget.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  9. #709
    Oh, quick and obvious question:

    What would be a good substance to re-touch up the guard?
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  10. #710
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    The general rule for all antiques is under rather than over clean and restore.

    I have a Rococo hilt with a blade that has rounded at the end with some rust--I left it alone as it reminded me that this sword stood in the corner somewhere or in a scabbard over time to acquire that point. It helps me to feel the history of it. But I also "display" my swords in a natural, lived-with manner--no racks for me, I have them here and there throughout the house--some simply hung up vertically, some just laying on old tables and some in an umbrella stand. I want to live with my antiques.

    If you do want to restore that hilt, Morgan, I suggest you do it by starting with that solder--see if you can improve upon that repair--then, if you wish, you could apply a thin coat of "japanning" to it for that mourning hilt effect--you can make this by adding equal parts of a water-based black paint and a good glue--when it is dried, give it a light rub with boiled linseed oil--this approximates a nice japanned look. And the upside is it is not a permanent alteration and can be removed. But left alone it will remain for years and years with no further attention required.
    Tom Donoho

  11. #711
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    Thanks for making sure a dead horse is really dead, Awesome!
    Yes, I sliced the carcass's belly open with my spadroon.

    Morgan, very nice sword, I concur with the others here that your sword probably dates to the last quarter of the 18th century, and is definitely not a colichemarde blade. Very nice engravings! It is nice to see yjay they have not been worn down by years of overcleaning, as is often the case.

    The one turk's head knot on the handle looks to be copper - very nice.

    Some blackening on smallswords was actually a "blueing" done with heat, others were Japanned with enamel or a type of paint as mentioned above. If the blackening appears to be original, I think this qualifies as a mourning sword, as they often had simple, undecorated guards such as yours.

    Thanks for that, Morgan. Let's hope it's dead--but some always need to have the last word it would seem.
    No, T. Donoho, I believe in defending my viewpoints and explaining them when others disagree. It's not a heated arguement, but a polite debate, which I see as a good thing. I personally see that last comment as beligerent and rude. I could also say to you that "some" decide to completely close their minds to alternative viewpoints and arrogantly dismiss the words of historical swordsmen who actually fought with the weapons mentioned.

    To everyone else, it's been a friendly, worthy, and educational debate.
    Last edited by Carl Massaro; 04-01-2009 at 11:50 PM.

  12. #712
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    Ok, here are the pics of my smallsword as I promised:









    This is the one that weighs about 14 ounces.

  13. #713
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    Quote Originally Posted by morgan butler View Post
    Thanks for making sure a dead horse is really dead, Awesome! But can someone tell me a little more as far as date and type about my seconds ago recently aqquired SMALLSWORD?
    I think it is time to move the discussion of point only vs cut and thrust to another thread (Because other people want to be heard on other subjects and your not even bothering to acknowledge them) or have those involved get together and fight it out once and for all. I'll videotape it!

    Morgan, who are you addressing, above?


    As for myself, I was simply responding to points brought up by Rocky, Victor, and T. Donoho. I don't see where the harm in that is (indeed, as several others have mentioned, it's been a great discussion), and I have certainly not prevented anyone else from being "heard on other subjects".

    In any event, I've done my best to state my case. Folks can either look at the hard facts, or ignore them.

    So by all means, carry on...


    Peace,

    David


    P.S. Hey Carl--nice smallsword!!!
    "Pray forget not to have your Broad-Sword, made according to my Pattern; for the Parliment has, and it will with your Postures in my wrestling-Book, cut the Small-Sword out of fashion" --Sir Thomas Parkyns, to Lord Thomas Manners, 1720


    "We begin with the Small-Sword, which we must allow to be the nearest Inlet to the relative Arts, and when we are upon the Back-Sword, their near Affinity will appear more clearly." --Captain John Godfrey, Treatise Upon the Useful Science of Defence, 1747

  14. #714
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    Quote:
    "No, T. Donoho, I believe in defending my viewpoints and explaining them when others disagree. It's not a heated arguement, but a polite debate, which I see as a good thing. I personally see that last comment as beligerent and rude. I could also say to you that "some" decide to completely close their minds to alternative viewpoints and arrogantly dismiss the words of historical swordsmen who actually fought with the weapons mentioned."

    Reply:

    I clearly stated my belief that there is no perfect sword. I would say that this is ample evidence that I have not closed my mind to alternative viewpoints and not arrogantly dismissed the words of "historical swordsmen." I have merely defended the viewpoints of others and explained them when others disagree. It would seem that some feel that they are entitled to that consideration and others (who get labeled as belligerent and rude) are not. So who, in fact, is being belligerent and rude as well as other things?

    As clear as day, this thread is known as the "Cult of the Small-Sword," not the "Cult of the Spadroon." It is (as clearly identified) a format for collectors of small-swords and those with an affinity for it. One is free to have a "Cult of the Spadroon" thread if one desires. Yet some visit here not in the spirit of the thread's clearly identified intention, rather, simply to troll along looking to nit-pick (the essence of which is demonstrated by the fact that rather than simply start a thread devoted to the spadroon as a place to extol its virtues, they continue to visit this thread--and when they become miffed resort to childish personal attacks or name calling as one has done. Hmmm.)

    As far as rudeness is concerned, I think that Morgan summed it up well by saying (with a bit of humor in an effort to redirect):

    "I think it is time to move the discussion of point only vs cut and thrust to another thread (Because other people want to be heard on other subjects and your not even bothering to acknowledge them) or have those involved get together and fight it out once and for all. I'll videotape it!"

    There are facts on both sides that can be looked at. Naturally so because, as noted, there is no one perfect sword. So consideration is due both viewpoints, not just one. And there is no reason for name-calling or personal attacks.

    Pray, let us move on as has been requested and acknowledged by others.

    I do so as David has done by saying and wishing,

    Peace.

    Tom
    Last edited by T. Donoho; 04-02-2009 at 06:20 AM.
    Tom Donoho

  15. #715
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    Regarding the above 14 oz. small-sword:

    Could the shell be a replacement (I tried to look it over to check on the general motifs to see if they gel with the rest of the hilt but couldn't quite manage it from the photos available)? It seems odd that double quillons would be used with a butterfly shell--and ones so long that they extend so far beyond the shells openings. Typically, such quillons are matched to an oval shell guard and then do not extend beyond the rim but rest their finials upon the shell to lend it additional support.

    Tom
    Tom Donoho

  16. #716
    [QUOTE=David Black Mastro;1067655]Morgan, who are you addressing, above?


    As for myself, I was simply responding to points brought up by Rocky, Victor, and T. Donoho. I don't see where the harm in that is (indeed, as several others have mentioned, it's been a great discussion), and I have certainly not prevented anyone else from being "heard on other subjects".

    In any event, I've done my best to state my case. Folks can either look at the hard facts, or ignore them.

    So by all means, carry on...




    David,

    "The hard facts"? The hard facts are that we are a bunch of 21st century recreational fencers and sword collecters. And none of it amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world. (To quote Casablanca)

    I just remember noticing that I had just posted pics of my new smallsword and no one even bothered to notice it, so embroiled were they in there feud. I even asked you to post some pics of what you consider civilian shearing/spadroon swords because I was interested (Plese see my thread 18th cen. western sword admiration society) I myself own 3 spadroons, 2 smallswords and 1 smallsword/hangar. I love them all. As I was saying to Tom D. while we were hanging out at the virtual internet tavern picking swordfights with people, what I love about western swords is their multiplicity I love that there are so many different swords, and for each one a different technique. Its beautiful. And each technique (maybe more than one) can call out to an individual inspiring them to deepen there relationship to the mysteries of the sword. But in the end there is no need to try to prove thru words that their chosen dicsipline is the best because really in the hands of a skilled individual they are all quite deadly. As they all should be.
    I think someone should start a thread about point vs edge because people are interested obviously.

    Carl: I LOVE THAT SMALLSWORD. It has that beautiful transitional rapier look that I love so much, only much lighter of course!

    Hey we could always talk about smallsword technique!

    But now for something totally different.....
    Someone earlier mentioned that most military officer straight swords werent used. But I think my 1740s french infantry officer sword was a battle sword. It has a "factory" (as in mass produced) no gold or gilt on the brass hilt, no engraving on the blade except for a fleur de li stamp on either side. Not to mention nicks and repeated sharpenings. I think this was/is a line officers weapon and used. Its probably my favorite right now. The steel is a little soft toward the end because of pitting.
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    Last edited by morgan butler; 04-02-2009 at 12:09 PM.
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  17. #717
    Here is another French officer sword that I was lucky enought not to get. Therefore saving me some money that should not be spent. Its really lovely though, and has nice etchings on the blade. Whew boy I bit the bullet on that one! Luckily I was outbid in the last 5 seconds by 5 bucks.
    It would have been a nice contrast and comparison with my other one though.
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    Last edited by morgan butler; 04-02-2009 at 01:19 PM.
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  18. #718
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    Quote Originally Posted by T. Donoho View Post
    Regarding the above 14 oz. small-sword:

    Could the shell be a replacement (I tried to look it over to check on the general motifs to see if they gel with the rest of the hilt but couldn't quite manage it from the photos available)? It seems odd that double quillons would be used with a butterfly shell--and ones so long that they extend so far beyond the shells openings. Typically, such quillons are matched to an oval shell guard and then do not extend beyond the rim but rest their finials upon the shell to lend it additional support.

    Tom
    You are correct in that this is not the most typical configuration - the much more common being single quillon style. But on balance I would say the sword is still "together"... of course it would be nice to see higher resolution pictures.

    Anyway, on subjects of smallswords, here is a somewhat obscure model.

    Plus his "lost brother"... together they make a very nice pair!
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    Last edited by victor khomenko; 04-02-2009 at 03:38 PM.

  19. #719
    Is that simple crossguard smallsword Napoleonic, Victor?
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  20. #720
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    No... later. I believe these were carried by papal guard from around 1850 and well into the 20th century.

  21. #721
    Interesting smallsword - I did not know that crusiform smallswords existed. I wonder if those were used in combat?

    If anyone has pictures of simple, crusiform or otherwise unusual smallswords please post them!

  22. #722
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    You can see several such swords in the picture.

    Generally speaking, epees glaives, or cruciform swords, were mostly used for ceremonial purpose, but many Spanish officer swords were of that configuration - you can see one in that picture - upper left.

    Of course it would be a very long stretch to call them fighting swords - most of their blades were only suitable for holding the scabbard.
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    Last edited by victor khomenko; 04-03-2009 at 07:13 AM.

  23. #723
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    Quote Originally Posted by victor khomenko View Post
    No... later. I believe these were carried by papal guard from around 1850 and well into the 20th century.
    Calamandrei, in his latest edition, calls this a "man-servant's sword" from the 2nd half of 19th century, after the disollution of the Papal States.

  24. #724
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    Hi guys!

    Interesting stuff you posted. I'd like to learn more about the swords of the papal states. I think any lighter sword used primarily for the thrust would be classified as a small-sword by many. Cross-hilted swords of the 18th and 19th centuries do show up with hollow ground blades on occasion--most likely dress swords but some of them would make effective self defense swords as well.

    Morgan,

    See my PM on the latest French small-sword you posted.
    Tom Donoho

  25. #725
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    All I have on that particular sword is the short section from the above mentioned book:
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