Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Just How Strong Do You Have To Be To Use A Longsword or Claymore?


Contrary to popular belief, the longsword was an extremely efficient weapon if crafted and used correctly. But just how much strength would a swordsman need to successfully use such a sword? This all depends on two very important factors.

The first being the blacksmith's experience level. A longsword is a double-edged, two handed weapon weighing upwards of five pounds. Crafting such a sword took a certain amount expertise and craftsmanship to assure the balance was as close to perfect as possible. If this was done effectively whilst the sword was being made, the amount of strength needed to handle the sword would be dramatically decreased. A fantastic example of this, is the claymore. The claymore is a form of longsword deriving from 13th century Scotland. Although this weapon was over 55 inches in average length, it was said to have exceptional balance and durability. This blade was used by the Highland Scots for over 250 years. But, just how strong were these soldiers in order to be able to wield the such a longsword?

Well, another factor which goes into the strength needed to wield a claymore was technique. The longsword needed to be held with two hands. There were no exceptions to this rule, as wielding the blade with one hand was practically impossible. Just simply holding a balanced longsword was not necessarily a difficult task to perform. However, swinging a longsword took some skill and strength.

But how much strength exactly? If the right technique was used, even some weaker soldiers could swing a longsword hard enough to pierce certain armors. But If a swordsman wanted to do serious damage to opponents they would have to train for years. The longsword was highly regarded as a symbol of strength and power. One of the largest longswords on record was called the 'fuilteach-mhuirt'. It weighed just over 22 pounds whilst being over 88 inches long. This sword could not have been easily wielded by an average person. The person in which the 'fuilteach-mhuirt' belonged to was likely over 200 pounds and extremely strong. The owner was said to be a member of Clan Maxwell. Clan Maxwell was an Armigerous clan residing in the lowlands of Scotland.


Overall, the longsword was, and will always be, an extremely powerful sword. It was widely feared in most battles for its devastating strikes. If an experienced blacksmith created the blade to be finely balanced, it could be very easily controlled. It didn't take an extreme amount of strength to just simply use the sword. But to use it at its full potential the wielder would have to train for years and be extremely strong. Especially if the blade was bigger and heavier than the average blade.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Secret Weapon of The Ninja, The Shuriken



The life of a ninja was one of training and discipline. They were trained to use an assortment of weapons to their full capacity. Some of these weapons allowed for stealth. A popular stealth weapon used by a ninja was the shuriken, or the ninja star. Many people wrongly think this weapon was meant to stick into an opponent. The shuriken was actually meant to slice into the skin, often delivering poison to the blood stream. There are two main types of shuriken, the Hira shuriken and the Bo shuriken, also known as the plate type and the stick type. These two main types make up the 40 or 50 known types. Charcoal was caked on the surface of these weapons to make them less noticeable.

The Bo shuriken isn't what you typically think of when you think of a ninja star. They are like a steel spike that in 5 to 8 inches long, and ranges in weight from 1.2 to 5.4 ounces. They're usually four-sided, but can be round or octagonal. They are confused with the kunai, which is a similar shaped item but is used for stabbing but is sometimes thrown. Often the Bo shuriken was made from every day items and would derive it's name from the item it was made such as kugi-gata (nail form), hari-gata (needle form) and tantō-gata (knife form). There were also those named for items they resembled such as hoko-gata (spear form), matsuba-gata (pine-needle form). Still others have names that simply describe their functions such as kankyuto (piercing tool form), kunai-gata (utility tool form), or teppan (plate metal) and biao (pin). There are many instances of this type of implement being used throughout Japanese history. This weapon was thrown in many ways, but all require the blade leaving the hand through the fingers in a smooth, controlled flight. 

The Hira shuriken, also known as shaken, is what people commonly think of when they think of the ninja throwing star. These shuriken were made from thin, flat pieces of metal that came from a variety of sources including hishi-gane (coins), kugi-nuki (carpentry tools), spools and senban (nail removers). These shuriken generally have a hole in the center of the small blades which are sharpened on the ends. The holes allowed for easy transport as the shuriken could be strung on a belt. The holes also provided aerodynamic and weighting effects when the item was thrown. The shapes of Hira shuriken could be used to identify which ryu or school it was associated with as different school prefered different shapes. Now the ninja star is ually identified by how many points it has. 

There are two other type of shuriken that had names, the Testsumari and Higuruma-Ken. The Testsumari was a bally type shuriken, and the Higuruma-Ken had gun powder set in the center and had a fuse. Both were too bulky to be portable while maintaining stealth. In old Japan learning to throw the ninja star was a master course for ninja to study called Shuriken-jutsu. It is a skill that can still be studied today.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Careful How You Clean Your Sword!


If one has ever owned a real hand-made sword from Sword N Armory, the basic care and maintenance of it can seem daunting and overwhelming. It can't just be sprayed with Windex and wiped down with a rag. If someone ends up touching the sword with their bare fingers, it’ll need to be cleaned as quickly as possible. Human skin tends to be very acidic and could cause high carbon steel blades to end up rusting quite quickly. However, looking after and maintaining a sword isn't really that hard or scary. Just know the basic principles and apply those principles with common sense.

Oiling the Sword
Swords are made from high carbon steel and the problem with that is this material is prone to ruse if it is exposed to any type of moisture for long periods of time. Living in a humid environment can be detrimental for swords. To keep the sword spotless as well as completely blemish free, make sure that it is only oiled around once every month in dryer climates and as often as once a week during humid months or in a humid climate. Also, include oiling as the cleanup process after any training is done.

Cleaning Stuff Off the Sword
The chances are that most people will use the sword occasionally, and end up getting stuff on it that won't easily come off. If water while wiping won't remove what is stuck, WD-40 with a lint-free cloth will typically work just fine. Once finished, make sure that the sword is dried completely and then oiled to help keep it looking its best.

Storing for Longer Periods of Time
If the plan is to store the sword for a while and don't want to regularly oil it, make sure that it is stored in a cool and a dry location. The best way to go when storing the sword is to coat it with Vaseline and then wrap it in rags. Tie the rags around the sword and then store it in the cool, dry location that has been found.

Real swords have a lot of maintenance required to keep them looking their best. Don't let the maintenance be a scary thing, though. Once in a groove, the cleaning as well as the maintenance can be a quick and easy task! Make sure, if storing the sword, that it is done so properly, to ensure when taking it out of storage, it isn't rusted!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Set of 3 Stainless Steel Anime Ninja Kunai with Sheath


Like so many ancient weapons, the Kunai began as a farming implement. Before the Kunai was a weapon of the ninja it was a gardening trowel. It was not a knife but instead more like a crow bar or chisel. The availability of the Kunai allowed it to be easily attained by peasants and used as a weapon when required. The ring on the end allowed the Kunai to be attached to a stick and used as a spear, or attached to a rope and swung. The size of the Kunai also allowed it be used as a stabbing implement. The association of the Kunai with the ninja gave led to the belief that the Kunai was used primarily as a throwing weapon, similar to a shuriken.

Set of 3 Stainless Steel Anime Ninja Kunai with Sheath.

Features and Attributes of the Kunai:
-The blade of the Kunai have been constructed from 440 Stainless Steel with a black finish.
-The blade of the Kunai come with a slightly sharpened edge and very sharp tip.
-The handle of the Kunai have been wrapped in red nylon.
-The Kunai ends with the traditional ring design.
-A black sheath is included with the Kunai.
-The sheath has been made from black nylon and features a belt loop.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Scottish Highlander Gunn Crested Medieval Clansword Wire Wrapped Velvet Handle


This is the 43" Scottish Highlander Gunn Crested Medieval Clansword Wire Wrapped Velvet Handle w/Plaque. The crest displays the family motto "AUT PAX AUT BELLUM" (Either Peace or War) featuring a Dexter-hand wielding a sword motif.

The clans from the Scottish highlands are well represented here with the various family names: Wallace, Cameron, Stuart of Bute, Stewart, Douglas, MacGregor, Campbell, Gunn, MacPherson, MacDougall, Thistle, Scott, MacDonald, Wallace(alternate). 
In the center of the guard is the Family Crest of the Clan of your choice with their respective motto. Choose your clan!

Features: 
- All metal parts of the sword are stainless steel.
- This sword comes with a wooden plaque for easy wall mounting.
- The hilt of the sword is wrapped in brown suede with steel wire.
- The cruciform guard has detailed scroll work.
- The pommel of the handle is solid steel and balances the sword.
- The sword has a partial tang extending approx two-thirds of the way into the hilt.

*Caution, the blade has been somewhat sharpened - this item is intended for decorative purposes. Not suitable for LARP!

The Highlander Clansword Collection has 14 different family crests available. You can find them all by name by using our store search feature. Collect them all!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

3 Ways To Identify Your Sword's Blade Is Becoming Dull



The following article will discuss some of the important indications that the edge of the sword is losing its efficacy and becoming dull. There are a plenty of questionable methods of testing the edge of the blade, many propagated by pop culture.

Nevertheless, cutting a sheet of paper, shaving the hair off an arm and scraping your thumb across the edge of the blade with a sage expression are only part of the test. To properly understand what dulls the edge of a sword, you need to be aware of a few aspects of swordsmanship and sword care that can keep your blade sharp and ready for action.

While the following tips and pointers are specifically geared toward the Japanese Katana, they have also been found effective for a wide range of sword types from the Gladius to the Rapier. Knowing the design and purpose of your blade is important to wielding and caring for the sword.

ABRASION
If you're practicing cutting with a sharpened katana, you can expect that the abrasive materials you strike will have a serious impact on your sword's edge and eventually it'll deteriorate entirely. Even bound paper and tatami targets can dull the edge of your blade. This is where you can test how dull your blade is by scraping your thumb across the edge of your blade from side to side. You'll notice immediately that harder metals are less susceptible to losing their edge after practice cutting. 

ROLLED EDGES
As a novice swords-person practices their strike, they'll invariable turn the blade against their target. When the target has a hard or even medium density the blade can be rolled to the side. Again, this is more common in blades without proper differential hardening. A blade that has been sharpened to too fine an edge will also present this problem. To detect this problem, rub your thumb from the ridge-line to the edge. If you encounter a snag, you have a problem. The rolled edge must be set right before the blade can be sharpened.

FLATTENED EDGE
Those who strike at very hard targets will notice their blade becomes dull very quickly. This can be tough to find with a standard thumb test as the blade can still feel sharp. The best way to notice the flattened edge is with sunlight falling on your steel. When you look straight at the edge you'll see the portions that have been flattened away.

FINAL NOTES ON SWORD CARE
In the end, sharpening a dull sword is an art and science and takes much practice to perfect. Without a proper respect for the geometry of the blade the sword's effectiveness will be neutralized and only professional sword crafters can undo the damage.


Furthermore, every sword will be slightly ruined with each strike made against a target or in swordplay. If you'd like to keep your fine steel sword in good conditions, get yourself a good wooden bokken for swordplay practice. This is the best way to fine tune your skills and keep your blade ready for when you're attacked by dragons and ninjas.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Sword Making Process: Forging. Tempering. Folding


The art of making swords has experienced renewed interest in modern society. Whether it's due to gaming, or a general interest in the war arts of the past, how a sword is made peaks the interests of many people. This solitary and efficient weapon is a favorite of every society. It is revered, and requires a dedicated passion to old arts, as well as, new notions of construction. Making a sword requires knowledge of metallurgical properties, and a love of efficiency.

Throughout history, sword makers have been tasked with the job of supplying reliable tools of killing to armed soldiers, guardsmen, and to collectors in the modern era. Tradesman swords are the product of a virtually lost craft, and certain artistic passions. Modern artists who concentrate their craft on producing authentic swords use methods from yesteryear to create unbelievably accurate models of authentic weapons used throughout history. These modern sword craftsmen use three processes to refine their craft: forging, tempering, and folding.

FORGING
Forging a sword requires several important steps. The first is extraction of metals. In ancient days, sword makers were required to collect metals in amounts that could be used for practical purposes. This included separating iron from other minerals in great amounts. Once the metals were separated, they were heated and mixed. In a forge, the collected metals were heated to a point where they became liquid, and were poured into a mold. These were rough templates that mirrored the final form of a sword. The point of forging metals into a mold is mixing the metal elements together so they evenly produce a final piece.

TEMPERING
The next step is tempering. Once a forged piece of iron is formed, it is subject to many cycles of heating and cooling. These cycles bind the molecules of metal to make them stronger. With every cooling and heating cycle, the metal is tamped by hammer into a desired form. This process represents the bulk of the sword-making process and can be quite laborious. With every tempering cycle, a rough sword form becomes stronger. 

FOLDING

Folding is an advanced sword construction process that was used by armory technicians. Just like a baker folds dough to smooth bumps in a loaf of bread, swordsmiths used folding as a way to infuse strength into each sword. When a heated piece of iron is folded, its molecules bind together to create added strength properties. Folding can be performed with a singular piece of iron, or with differing metals. The result of folding is a tempered alloy that is exponentially stronger with an enhanced construction and honing potential. 

Forging, tempering, and folding are the three most important steps that a sword maker engages in to create a functional and long-lived sword. The forge creates the desired shape, size, and volume of a weapon. Tempering delivers the elemental curing for a sword's strength. Folding is the process of infusing a sword with properties that exceed the typical properties of its design. These stages of sword construction require patience and an instinct for metal working. Well-crafted sword using techniques in each stage will appear more authentic, retain sharpness better, and provide more appropriate hilts for stylish and attractive handle design.