The Swords of HI

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Oct 25, 2004
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DannyinJapan said:
Dave, I just noticed that you said you were whacking on a steel drum!
Dont do that!
Japanese armor is made of very thin (less than 1mm) IRON, not steel.
I dont want you to destroy your swords, they give us so much entertainment.....

Euro armor was thicker. IIRC, around 1mm on the limbs, 2mm on the chest, and 3mm on the head, give or take.

Either way, the kind of steel used for containers is very mild and shouldn't pose a problem if I'm doing my part and making a clean cut. I may not make it through, but I shouldn't beat up the edge too much. There is also some preliminary work involved before I start swinging at metal. I've never started a review by chopping up a car. ;) That comes later.

Part of this may be more a measure of my own (mis)conceptions and beliefs than anything else; I currently think that in at least some areas of the world, edged weapons were built that could withstand occasional (if not routine) use against metallic armor without failure, yet could cut flesh. Literature only goes so far. Some products (not the least of which are being made by HI) have allowed me to experimentally prove this to my own satisfaction.

I will only rarely recommend that someone swing an edged weapon at a metallic target (and only to prove a point) but I've done it a few times and what I've seen jives with what I've come to believe, as compared with my admittedly limited level of knowledge.

Can you dig it? :cool:

I should probably reiterate that I don't believe that tests against metallic objects are a good idea, or even particularly valid for the majority of users. It's just one of those things that I like to see firsthand. I consider such things to be beyond the scope of any warranty that's ever applied to my possessions and if there were to be a problem with it, I would assume all financial responsibilities for whatever went wrong.

To be completely honest, I don't do these kinds of things anymore. Past tests have proven everything to my satisfaction. If I get a new piece and I just have to know, I may test it, but if there are any problems they won't be seen here. It's simply not relevant to the intended use of the tool and thus, should not be held against it if it doesn't work out.

It is worth mentioning that I have not sent a critical email to HI in a long time. (And the one time that I did, it was for someone else whom I'd purchased the khukuri for and the replacement was excellent in all regards.) I do not recommend this sort of testing. It might be interesting to know how a chainsaw cuts mild steel, but is it relevant to a chainsaw's performance?
 
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And introducing the new "Tibenja" (name not official)
4-26-06-1.JPG
 
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Sorry to beat an old horse sort of speak, but here is an article that describe that edge to edge parry was strictly a Hollywood movie invention. The articles states that there are hundred of European Blades in museums that hardly show any nicks on the edge, and if edge to edge parry was the case then they would be more damaged.

http://www.thearma.org/essays/parry.htm
 
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Messages
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Sorry to beat an old horse sort of speak, but here is an article that describe that edge to edge parry was strictly a Hollywood movie invention. The articles states that there are hundred of European Blades in museums that hardly show any nicks on the edge, and if edge to edge parry was the case then they would be more damaged.

http://www.thearma.org/essays/parry.htm

While I have the utmost respect for John Clements, I'm not completely in agreement with his assessment of this...or perhaps, I am. He spends several pages talking about what a bad idea edge parrying is and stating that it never happened, then he mentions offhandedly that in an emergency you'd do what you have to, possibly using the edge in the process. He even provides us with a historical example of it.

I agree that it was done in emergencies. I disagree that it never happened, or that it's a Hollywood invention. This is like saying because soldiers are taught to keep their weapons clean and dry, every time a rifleman is rained on he immediately stops what he's doing, breaks down his weapon, and cleans and dries it before proceeding. Sure he does. You do the correct thing when you can; when you can't, you do what you have to until you can.

About the statement that few existing weapons show evidence of edge parrying...

First of all, he's admitting that there are some examples that do show evidence of this with this statement; thus, we can no longer make a blanket claim that it never happened. We have examples that show evidence of edge contact. We know that it was inappropriate, but we also know that it happened anyway.

Furthermore -- and this opinion may raise a few hackles -- weapons were (and are) consumables. They do not last forever, even when used properly. This is important. If a weapon has a finite lifespan under use, with more use resulting in a shorter lifespan, which sword from 1300 will survive to 2000: the one that was used a lot, or the one that was hardly used at all, if ever? And if it wasn't used much, why wasn't it?

We must be extremely careful with assuming too much based on what survives today. The fact that they survive today implies that they didn't see much action; basing our opinions of "using" swords on ones that probably weren't used much can lead us to incorrect conclusions if we're not careful.

Put another way, consider the Roman pilum. Common wisdom holds that these were used in very large numbers and were probably the most important weapon the Roman soldier had access to, but we have nearly no remaining examples. Why not? It could be because we're wrong about their employment. A more likely answer is because they were used and they were consumable and thus, they tended not to survive. In fact, we have far more Roman swords laying around today than pilae, implying several things that may not agree with conventional thought, but that's a story for another thread.

I also disagree with the following statement:

After spending considerable time cutting with sharp cut & thrust swords, it can be assuredly understood that an edged blade needs to be kept as keen as possible for it to remain effective in chopping or slashing.

"...as keen as possible..." may mean different things to different people; to me, it means an edge that will push cut through leather quite easily. When I go balls-out during sharpening I'm left with a blade that I simply can't halfsword, even with leather work gloves on. This is incidentally the reason that I don't polish my blades...I don't like being anywhere near that edge. Incidental contact exposes bone. My own testing with edges this sharp vs. edges that are nearly fully formed but not sharp by the average knife user's standards reveals very little actual difference on the target, although the duller edge will be far more durable in use. The difference in edge durability is considerable when harder targets, such as knotty wood or light metal, are struck. Additionally some western sword profiles simply will not get that sharp, regardless of how refined the edge is -- the grind is simply too obtuse. These tended to be designs optimized for use against armor, implying that designs with better cutting characteristics (and sharper edges) weren't appropriate.

I am, however, using modern techniques and equipment during sharpening. If I were to do this with a natural hone, "...as keen as possible..." would be quite a bit less sharp than I'm used to and would probably be more appropriate for this sort of use. I'm not sure if this is what he means but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
 
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Not to be picky Andy, but that is not the HI gununting, this is
11-13-06g%20007.jpg


Yours is more of an Indonesian klewang.
 
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Whoops! You're right, it was just labeled as "Indonesian model" without a classification, but I do now remember somebody saying (with authority) that it was a klewang.

Andy
 

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Furthermore -- and this opinion may raise a few hackles -- weapons were (and are) consumables. They do not last forever, even when used properly. This is important. If a weapon has a finite lifespan under use, with more use resulting in a shorter lifespan, which sword from 1300 will survive to 2000: the one that was used a lot, or the one that was hardly used at all, if ever? And if it wasn't used much, why wasn't it?

little do we know, the Tibenja is actually a recreation of one of the historical Tibetan swords that WAS used extensively, and hense was shortened significately by sharpening :D

i wish i had the money to custom order one of those.... i love short swords with 2 handed handles like that....
 

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attachment.php


20" siru,
20" chitlangi
25" sirupate
falcata
pre-gaurd udha
two tone handled tibetan
bhutan
standard katana

attachment.php


katana
two tone handled tibetan
gaurded udha (non HI gaurd)
bhutan

attachment.php


9/16" thick bhutan sword

attachment.php


9/16" thick bhutan sword on top, then standard bhutan, then .220" satin busse satin jack
 
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disregard the msg i sent you josh... lol
your second post answered my questions :D

BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL PICS!!! thanks for sharing :thumbup: ;)
 

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9/16" thick HI blades are pretty slim pickings, upon retrospect i feel bad for even having asked for it in the first place. it must have been a huuuge pain for the kami's to make.

needless to say, i'm pretty sure its still a one of a kind :D
 

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9/16" thick bhutan = 2lbs 13oz (45oz)

aaaaah... i forgot, i hadnt yet gotten my 30" ang khola back when that picture was taken... that thing is 5lbs 4oz (84oz)....
 

Svashtar

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While I have the utmost respect for John Clements, I'm not completely in agreement with his assessment of this...or perhaps, I am. He spends several pages talking about what a bad idea edge parrying is and stating that it never happened, then he mentions offhandedly that in an emergency you'd do what you have to, possibly using the edge in the process. He even provides us with a historical example of it.

I agree that it was done in emergencies. I disagree that it never happened, or that it's a Hollywood invention. This is like saying because soldiers are taught to keep their weapons clean and dry, every time a rifleman is rained on he immediately stops what he's doing, breaks down his weapon, and cleans and dries it before proceeding. Sure he does. You do the correct thing when you can; when you can't, you do what you have to until you can.

About the statement that few existing weapons show evidence of edge parrying...

First of all, he's admitting that there are some examples that do show evidence of this with this statement; thus, we can no longer make a blanket claim that it never happened. We have examples that show evidence of edge contact. We know that it was inappropriate, but we also know that it happened anyway.

Furthermore -- and this opinion may raise a few hackles -- weapons were (and are) consumables. They do not last forever, even when used properly. This is important. If a weapon has a finite lifespan under use, with more use resulting in a shorter lifespan, which sword from 1300 will survive to 2000: the one that was used a lot, or the one that was hardly used at all, if ever? And if it wasn't used much, why wasn't it?

We must be extremely careful with assuming too much based on what survives today. The fact that they survive today implies that they didn't see much action; basing our opinions of "using" swords on ones that probably weren't used much can lead us to incorrect conclusions if we're not careful.

Put another way, consider the Roman pilum. Common wisdom holds that these were used in very large numbers and were probably the most important weapon the Roman soldier had access to, but we have nearly no remaining examples. Why not? It could be because we're wrong about their employment. A more likely answer is because they were used and they were consumable and thus, they tended not to survive. In fact, we have far more Roman swords laying around today than pilae, implying several things that may not agree with conventional thought, but that's a story for another thread.

I also disagree with the following statement:



"...as keen as possible..." may mean different things to different people; to me, it means an edge that will push cut through leather quite easily. When I go balls-out during sharpening I'm left with a blade that I simply can't halfsword, even with leather work gloves on. This is incidentally the reason that I don't polish my blades...I don't like being anywhere near that edge. Incidental contact exposes bone. My own testing with edges this sharp vs. edges that are nearly fully formed but not sharp by the average knife user's standards reveals very little actual difference on the target, although the duller edge will be far more durable in use. The difference in edge durability is considerable when harder targets, such as knotty wood or light metal, are struck. Additionally some western sword profiles simply will not get that sharp, regardless of how refined the edge is -- the grind is simply too obtuse. These tended to be designs optimized for use against armor, implying that designs with better cutting characteristics (and sharper edges) weren't appropriate.

I am, however, using modern techniques and equipment during sharpening. If I were to do this with a natural hone, "...as keen as possible..." would be quite a bit less sharp than I'm used to and would probably be more appropriate for this sort of use. I'm not sure if this is what he means but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.


Dave, in my opinion this is one of the best, most well thought out posts you have ever done. :thumbup: A real pleasure to read. Thanks for your excellent insights.

Norm
 
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9/16" thick HI blades are pretty slim pickings, upon retrospect i feel bad for even having asked for it in the first place. it must have been a huuuge pain for the kami's to make.

needless to say, i'm pretty sure its still a one of a kind :D

NICE Bhutan sword.:thumbup: That and the Tibetan swords are two of my favorite HI products. I have found that Sher makes a much more substantial Bhutan Sword than Bura. I have a Sher Bhutan that comes in at 40 ounces and fills my hand much better than the standard Bura version that is usually around 35 ounces. Thanks for posting the pictures.
Lloyd
 
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