slices on raw meat 3MB
A true rapier with a thick hexagonal
cross-section blade is incapable of making any slicing
wounds by draw cut on the skin of the meat, and a few
edge blows delivered from the elbow are also of no effect.
We would have liked to have tried tip cuts at full speed
but did not want to risk it.
raw fresh pork shoulder 4MB
Even moderate force thrusts penetrate the
thickest flesh quite easily --and in fact, are easier
to enter with than to withdraw. Thrusts hitting against
the large bone also deflected away and kept going in.
Great sword on raw
fresh pork shoulder
With a two-hand longsword blade (by Zamorino),
even blows made from the elbow were devastating in effect,
gruesomely cleaving 6-8 inches deep and chipping as well
as shearing through the raw bone.
slices, and edge blows
with antique rapier 7MB
A demo of what a true rapier can and can't
do. This "star" shaped cross-section rapier
is incapable of either draw cuts or slicing wounds by
placing and sliding the blade. Slaps and whacks from the
wrist or elbow have no affect on the meat. Note also how
light and stiff the blade is and how agile it moves, totally
unlike a modern flexi-simulator version.
Bastard sword on maile
Hank Reinhardt (65 here) shows some of the
effects of cuts on flesh even through maile & padded
cloth armor. The armor was not penetrated but the target
below is traumatically pulverized from the blow. The sword
edge sustained minor trauma as well.
Cut on maile
Here the maile (just butted replica style)
was snapped open and the padded gambeson slightly torn but
not penetrated, yet the results on the meat were the edge
substantially tearing the flesh below.
While low targets on a solid base are not
at all the best way to test cut by far, it was useful for
demonstration purposes. Here the sheer mass and inertia
of the cut, even if not especially strong or quick here,
cut clean through 4 inches of meat and bone with a one handed
Das Gayzlen technique from a great-sword.
Free held chop
Ah...the things we do at ARMA events...here
to reflect a more realistic target's "give", John
Waller of the Historical European Combat Guild and the Royal
Armouries offers to hold out a tube with a block of raw
beef shoulder on it while Hank R. takes a swipe at it using
a sharp MRL bastard sword. Note the simple motion Hank makes
and action of the arm and weapon as it strikes. The wound's
effect is significant.
Hank makes a quick chop at a free standing
extra thick cardboard tube.
Note his relaxed form and the flow of the cut.
Norman sword on
We spent a few hours during summer
2002 playing around at chopping materials with two Dikon
Norman test blades for swordsmith Dan Maragni. We documented
the process and our observations. The swords were very
Norman sword on more wood
The blades were not quite as sharp
near their points as they had been due to hours of cutting
bamboo and cardboard days earlier. Still, the effects
on the wood were impressive given the simple cuts we were
making, hardly the strongest of blows. The wood often
split or shattered from the impacts halfway through the
7 - analysis of cuts
slices on gambeson 14.7MB
One of the most interesting things
once again was how well a simple cotton padded gambeson
protected against cuts, especially drawing slices. Here
a cloth-filled canvas punching bag served as our test
dummy, giving some reasonably firm resistance and motion.
Sand weighted down the bottom of it.
cloth cuts 7.8MB
The gambeson also has its sleeves stuffed
with balls of cloth for firmness and is partially covered
with Indian-made riveted maile armor. Here energetic draw
slices were unable to cut through the cloth. Note the
60 pound bag swinging from the blows.
Norman sword cutting 4.2MB
As always, edge-placement is key in
test cutting, as is proper body mechanics to ensure a
good cutting blow.
Cuts on the maile armor itself had
no effect, but we drew no conclusions from the results.
Most thrusts however penetrated the gambeson from most
every angle, but not the maile.
sword cuts on helm 17MB
A 16-gauge helm (filled with sheep
skin) resisted some fairly strong blows, but still dented,
and a very thin cut was actually visible. The blade sustained
no discernable edge trauma. (...Oh, and contrary to
my comment then, I do think now the guy would very much
have noticed the blow)
Norman on armet
An MRL armet helm is sacrificed to
evaluate the Dikon sword. The thinner metal at the crown
of the helm was actually cut to a depth of about 1 inch.
The edge of the blade had a minor nick as a result.
Norman sword cutting
on leathers 6MB
This first clip merely shows the thickness
and hardness of the two types of leathers we used. (we
started wearing masks here after a sword broke and flew
back at us)
on leather 9MB
A brief sample of cuts against leather.
The leather proved tougher to pierce than we had expected,
the "give" of the bag was definitely a factor
as was the angle of the edge and location of edge impacting.
Thrusts had no problem penetrating, even
though the point of the blade was quite round in shape.
But even a two-hand cut did not fully cut the harder leather.
Raven bastard sword cuts
The sharper tapering blade is able
to easily make cuts (mistakenly referred to as "slices"
in the clip) through the cloth, but mostly only in the
direction of the quilting and near the opening seams.
Actual draw cut slices however, even strenuous, were still
ineffective despite the sharpness of the blade.
Slicing I 5MB
Slicing II 2.4MB
on riveted maile
Some very forceful thrusts here (note
the bag being moved from the impacts), but they mostly
were stopped by the armor, with only the very acute tip
of the sword entering past. Interestingly, the rings tended
to twist and "wrap" around the blade.
on Maile 7MB
Several harder blows on the sleeves of
maile produced some damage, popping rings (despite the
sleeves not providing enough resistance for the test to
be more very realistic).
On one particular cut on the
maile shoulder, not even a full-arm blow, the Raven sword snapped clean
at the tang, and the blade bounced backward. It is not an unreasonable
expectation to presume a replica sword sold as supposedly being of
historical quality and capable of holding a sharp edge to not snap upon
the first significant test blow against a fairly soft target. (This
was a real shame since it was a fine blade I got brand new an dunused,
hilted it for the first time myself, and it cut really well earlier.
And I still prize my other Ravens which have held up remakeably.)
at the bag 1.5MB
In this short clip we made some hard full-passing
thrusts with the Dikon Norman sword at the punching bag
(into the cloth filled section). The point penetrated
fairly easily through the canvas entering from 3-6 inches
deep. Note here not only the force of the thrusts (moving
the 60 pound bag) but also the flex of the blade upon
impact, especially when the point did not immediately
blows on armet 7.8MB
After the first blow with the spike
actually caused it to be bent (!), the club end of the
warhammer was used next, and caved in the top of the helm
along the weld. It appears the metal of both items were
perhaps too soft.
R. smooth slice
Hank Reinhardt shows how easily he cuts an
especially thick cardboard tube with a sharp Raven bastard
sword. One smooth almost effortless swipe.
Casual Bamboo Test-Cutting Scenes & Sword Break - 1998
Sharp Del Tin snaps
Note: in order to support the weight of such a tall stalk bamboo of this size at its base will be far thicker internally
than it will be higher up on the trunk even at portions of the same
diameter. Further, when growing densely together bamboo will
often not receive much sunlight farther down the stalk and therefore
lower portions lacking chlorophyll will remain yellow rather than turn
bright green. However, this is still living bamboo and not to be confused with dead bamboo that later turns yellow or brown and very hard throughout. (Also,
at the end of this clip please realize JC was just being silly for the
camera with the broken blade. Don't take it seriously.)
Broken blade 2
(Disclaimer: any make or model of sword swung with
great force on a nearly solid object will break.)
on sappling with Albion's Talhoffer