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Swords and the rabble's curse


(c) 2004 Kansas State Collegian

I ran into Benaiah Anderson1, an acquaintance of mine, in the lobby of Nichols Hall2 this afternoon, and ended up getting to inspect two of the swords (similar to the ones wielded by Young Siward and Macbeth above) from the upcoming run of Macbeth.

Also, I got a beginner's tutorial in theatrical swordmaking. Fun. Now I know my quillions from my tang (um, well, I kind of had an idea before, and not my tang per se, aw heck, you know what I mean). Seriously, have seen swords out of their hilts before, but this one had a threaded tang and a LEXAN®3 core grip. Also, it was about 3.5 pounds (barely 1.5 kg) - so much for the crapdoodle on alt.tv.highlander about General Katana and his 22-pound blade! "People will believe a lot of misinformation they read online," said Benaiah. Ohhh, man, ain't that the truth.4

All the blades started from 2-inch wide bars, tapered and thinned by stock removal using a steel saw (and probably flat-end mills). Macduff's sword in particular had thick shoulders and a thin center.

A short lesson, but maaaaaan, was it fun to swing those things around. :-D




In other news, we have a new administrative assistant!
She's joining us from our Grants and Contracts office, and is an altogether great person to work with. She's also unbelievably overqualified for her job, but amazingly she took the offer.
I'm really looking forward to this, and I'm sure the other CIS faculty members are, too.

1 Benaiah is a senior in theatre who teaches theatrical fencing and has been studying sword-making for several years, at least since we started talking about the SW prequel trilogy and Jackson's LoTR films c. early 2001. He's also active in the local SCA chapter. As you can see from this article and this one, he's the fight choreographer for this production.
2 Besides my students, darana and phawkwood might know this, but the rest of you might not: the Computing and Information Sciences (CIS) Department shares Nichols with Speech Communications, Theatre and Dance (SCTD). It gets funny when their flamenco dancing brings our grad students and secretaries out in a huff, or when our robot mazes wall their faculty into their offices. (Wlokay, funny for one of the parties at a time, but whatcha gonna do? ;-))
3 Edit, 16:15 CDT Sat 24 Apr 2004: As deire pointed out, LEXAN® (the latest synthetic material from LuthorCorp?) is relatively new stuff. It's a polycarbonate resin (thermoplastic). Oh, and this 2004 article (recapitulating this old article from Food Additives and Contaminants, an NCBI PubMed journal) is why all you pirates should still hold the blade between your teeth, yarr:
"Trendy Nalgene water bottles made of Lexan polycarbonate resin can leach the potent hormone disruptor bisphenol-A, shown to have adverse effects on prostate development and tumors, breast tissue development, and sperm counts."

4 Of course, you should believe anything I write, for I am all that is good and pure.

--
Banazîr

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
masteralida
Apr. 23rd, 2004 09:39 pm (UTC)
oooh - 22 lb blade! Sounds.... HEAVY ;)

So, every time Semagic tells me my friends list has updated, this entry gets a little longer.. by tomorrow morning, will it be pages and pages long?

:-D
banazir
Apr. 23rd, 2004 10:00 pm (UTC)
Really, REALLY light blades
oooh - 22 lb blade! Sounds.... HEAVY ;)
Yeah, especially for us elegant and civilized Jedi with our inertialess blades!

So, every time Semagic tells me my friends list has updated, this entry gets a little longer.. by tomorrow morning, will it be pages and pages long?
LOL!
Does it do that when I edit?
:hsulb:

--
Banazir
masteralida
Apr. 24th, 2004 04:59 am (UTC)
Re: Really, REALLY light blades
OMG! It grew jpeg overnight! ;)

Does it do that when I edit?

Nah, but when I scroll to read the new friends entries, you're still there :)
banazir
Apr. 24th, 2004 09:04 am (UTC)
Re: Really, REALLY light blades
OMG! It grew jpeg overnight! ;)
OK, OK!
Fine!
I'm banazir, and I'm a compulsive editor.

Funny thing happened on the way to the next entry:
I was looking for a photo of Benaiah Anderson and came across an article about him in the university paper, featuring a couple of those swords. Macbeth's actually looks a little like Macduff's (narrower shoulders, from what I can tell), and Young Siward's is very much like Angus's.

I'm not sure I'd want to buy one of those. They are definitely strong enough to fight with, but up close they look pretty rough and industrial-grade. Now, as darana and this Ring of Steel article say, your standard wall decroation is not going to have the same specs as your "real" weapon for stage or SCA, but still - if I'm going to wield IRL, I'd like to learn to make it myself.

These were all hand-ground, and tapered and thinned by stock removal.
And gee, I just thought of another thing to put in an edit... snh snh snh...

--
Banazir
(i just like staying at the top of your friends list)



Nah, but when I scroll to read the new friends entries, you're still there :)
oxbastetxo
Apr. 23rd, 2004 10:32 pm (UTC)
BIG swords...
Seriously, have seen swords out of their hilts before, but this one had a threaded tang and a Lexan core grip. Also, it was about 3.5 pounds (barely 1.5 kg) - so much for the crapdoodle on alt.tv.highlander about General Katana and his 22-pound blade! "People will believe a lot of misinformation they read online," said Benaiah. Ohhh, man, ain't that the truth.3

Dang! I remember George Buza's sword that he used in The Adventures of Sinbad weighed 15 lbs if I remember correctly. Actually, it was a scimitar. Beautiful blade, but heavy. If you remember, George was a HUGE man and that blade was almost too much for him. That's why in second season you see him with the big gauntlet on his one wrist. There was a wrist brace hidden in that. I almost bought a scimitar once. It had the most beautiful balance. It was close to 10 lbs, but felt like nothing because the balance was so good. I had really thought about getting it, but the man who sold them died. He was just in his late 30s and had a brain aneurysm. I miss talking to him. He was a very cool guy.

:-) Yes, one of my rather odd hobbies is sword and dagger collecting and your description there has me drooling. ;-)

Smile!
banazir
Apr. 24th, 2004 01:52 am (UTC)
Re: BIG swords...
Dang! I remember George Buza's sword that he used in The Adventures of Sinbad weighed 15 lbs if I remember correctly.

Hm, I'm skeptical: the Arabian scimitar here is only 2.87 pounds, and it's modeled after Hamza el-Kahir's in Highlander: Scimitar. At the least, if it really did weigh 15 pounds, it was anacronistic, as (according to Benaiah) "medieval swordsmen would not use a sword if it weighed much over four pounds". Now, that was in reference to long swords and broadswords.

I'm sure cavalry scimitars could have been a little heavier, but I don't see why they would ever need to be any where near 15 pounds. The inertia and momentum alone would make it rather hard to wield.

Actually, it was a scimitar. Beautiful blade, but heavy. If you remember, George was a HUGE man and that blade was almost too much for him. That's why in second season you see him with the big gauntlet on his one wrist. There was a wrist brace hidden in that.

It's gradually coming back - I saw a few eps of Sinbad</i> but don't recall too much about it, as with Xena and most of Hercules (only watched a few eps of those, too).

I almost bought a scimitar once. It had the most beautiful balance.

Oh, yes: sword dancers make use of that balance.
Benaiah showed me how to balance a sword on the tips of my fingers or the edge of my hand and wrist. For a long sword (the ones we were inspecting were about 36-38") it's about 4 inches from the quillions.

It was close to 10 lbs, but felt like nothing because the balance was so good.

Have you seen The 13th Warrior?
"When you die, can I give that [scimitar] to my daughter?" means very different things in different contexts, yernow!

I had really thought about getting it, but the man who sold them died. He was just in his late 30s and had a brain aneurysm. I miss talking to him. He was a very cool guy.

Ah, that's sad.

:-) Yes, one of my rather odd hobbies is sword and dagger collecting and your description there has me drooling. ;-)

Yeah, that was a nice molded lexan hilt, and the blades are all 2-inch wide bars cut with a steel saw to taper them from the shoulders down and flat-end milled to thin the center.

--
Banazir
deire
Apr. 24th, 2004 05:32 am (UTC)
What incredibly cool office buddies!

I might be mistaken, but I believe the lexan (and therefore lighter material) is somewhat new. Phawkwood and Darana would know better than I, though.

Impromptu sword fighting workshops. Now I'm jealous!
banazir
Apr. 24th, 2004 11:58 am (UTC)
Come and see for yourelf!
What incredibly cool office buddies!
No kidding!
If you come to Nichols on any given afternoon, you'll find me coming out of my afternoon lecture to wibble about how to use a cloak (or lantern) in Renaissance Italian-style sabre combat, Elvish armor, double-bent Uruk-Hai falchions, and the necessity of steel-folding in Japanese katana manufacture with them.


Reused from Armes Médiévales: Les épées officielles du film Le Seigneur des Anneaux



Reused from BBSpot: Uruk-Hai Unhappy with Portrayal in Films</u>


BTW, while looking up the Uruk swords, I found this article on heat treatment (something Benaiah's supplier does with his own hand-ground steel blades). He's an engineer. See, that's a good reason to have an engineering education.
jereeza is only in it for the icons; I'm only in it for the swords.

I might be mistaken, but I believe the lexan (and therefore lighter material) is somewhat new. Phawkwood and Darana would know better than I, though.
Oh, my, yes - LEXAN® is a polycarbonate resin (thermoplastic), so leather overwrapping notwithstanding, t'would be very anachronistic for any authentic reenactment. (It looks OK from a distance, of course.) Benaiah explained when I asked that traditional grips were wood, and the tang tips were square rather than threaded, so the back ends had sheet metal peened over the tang to hold the grip in place.2

Impromptu sword fighting workshops.
Heh, I just wish my students had happened through while I was brandishing Macduff's weapon.
Handy stuff when they are secretly Sith apprentices... :g:

Now I'm jealous!
Well, remember - you, darana and phawkwood are welcome to visit any time! Just give me notice to make sure these fine folks are around.

And just wait'll I acksherly learn to make these things.
BTW, I told you I have been looking into bow woods, for Asian/Turkish composite bows, right? I'm about 5 years behind on that plan because I couldn't manage to germinate Osage orange seedlings on my own. Will have to get staves. Hm. Genghis Khan would not be impressed. :-P

1 Comments, phawkwood and darana?
2 Say, isn't it amazzling how I can explain that more clearly than CGA and machine learning algorithms? :-P

--
Banazir
Technician Hall, Kansas Weyr
thanatos_kalos
Apr. 24th, 2004 09:43 am (UTC)
3 Of course, you should believe anything I write, for I am all that is good and pure.

And if you'll buy that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you...
banazir
Apr. 24th, 2004 09:58 am (UTC)
xgrmpflmprxyzz sees you!
And if you'll buy that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you...
From your front porch I can see the Sea?

Congratulations, you have just stepped on the landmine that is banazir's Song Cascade of DOOM!
Blame tamf, I learned this from xgrmpflmprxyzz'ians.

thanatos_kalos: Oceanfront Property - George Strait
  banazir: Lonely Sea - The Beach Boys

--
Banazir
thanatos_kalos
Apr. 24th, 2004 10:52 am (UTC)
Re: xgrmpflmprxyzz sees you!
And if you'll buy that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you...
From your front porch I can see the Sea?


And if you'll buy that I'll throw the Golden Gate in free. ;)

Congratulations, you have just stepped on the landmine that is banazir's Song Cascade of DOOM!

that sounds like something from Invader ZIM... ;)

And I love country music. and classic rock. and some modern rock. and pretty much most forms of music. ;)
banazir
Apr. 24th, 2004 03:05 pm (UTC)
Re: xgrmpflmprxyzz sees you!
And if you'll buy that I'll throw the Golden Gate in free. ;)
Heh, I have a song list that might interest you... :-)

banazir's Song Cascade of DOOM!
that sounds like something from Invader ZIM... ;)
Well, it isn't really my cascade.
It rilly is tamf's - I've probabubbly posted no more than 10 songs (out of 25K) to it.

And I love country music. and classic rock. and some modern rock. and pretty much most forms of music. ;)
Same here, yay!

--
Banazir
gondhir
Apr. 24th, 2004 10:05 am (UTC)
Hehehehe. Reminds me of when I was just asked recently by someone in England about coastal towns in New Mexico...
banazir
Apr. 24th, 2004 11:50 am (UTC)
It's a G-man!
Hehehehe. Reminds me of when I was just asked recently by someone in England about coastal towns in New Mexico...
Go bax to Engerland, pansy icon boy!!
:-D
Seriously, was this one of istari_ala's friends?
Or just a passing stranger?

Kansas!
How about that Great Inland Waterway, eh?

--
Banazir
kaladhwen
Apr. 24th, 2004 05:40 pm (UTC)
4 Of course, you should believe anything I write, for I am all that is good and pure.

*choke*
banazir
Apr. 24th, 2004 08:23 pm (UTC)
Wot wot?
*choke*
Heyy, wot's that's s'poseta mean, Wee Gril?
I'm innosensed!
Ask anybuddy here!
deire? masteralida? phawkwood?
yodge'll vouch fro me, won't you, Yowie?

--
Banazir
masteralida
Apr. 25th, 2004 11:00 am (UTC)
Re: Wot wot?
Heyy, wot's that's s'poseta mean, Wee Gril?
I'm innosensed!
Ask anybuddy here!
deire? masteralida? phawkwood?
yodge'll vouch fro me, won't you, Yowie?


The silence is astounding ;)
banazir
Apr. 25th, 2004 11:47 am (UTC)
Auugh!
The silence is astounding ;)
I don't believe this!!

(The CHOKLIT didn't convince you?)

--
Banazir
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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