Smallsword options?

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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Keith P. Myers » 24 Nov 2012 20:48

Yea, looks the same Dave! The only difference seems to be that Triplette included a leather pad behind the shell. How are you liking it? Ours are holding up well so far and I have no complaints.

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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Thearos » 22 Feb 2014 16:13

Apologies for the thread necromancy.

How do you take apart a Barnett smallsword, or a Depeeka, in order to fit a Leon Paul epee blade on to the guard and hilt ?

Do you need to enlarge the hole in the guard ?

What do you do with the pommel ?
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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Dave B » 22 Feb 2014 22:45

On the Barnet, the guard, knucklebow and pommel are a single casting.

There is a tube nut on the back of the pommel, you unscrew it and the blade falls out, leaving the rest more or less together

I found that the tang was a little thinner on the Leon Paul, so I used a copper washer between the shoulder and the guard to stop it turning, and a leather washer on the grip to take out the rattle.

Very easy, but if you get stuck I'll take one of mine to bits and take some pictures.
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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Thearos » 23 Feb 2014 00:22

Thanks !

Will the tube nut fit on the thread on the tang on the LP epee blade ?
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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Joolz » 23 Feb 2014 13:24

I've done a number of conversions of the Barnett Short Sword - the hole for the tang is indeed too wide for a Leon Paul blade to fit firmly. I normally cut two small brass 'fillets' to go either side of the blade, then sandwich them between brass washers (with square holes to fit the tang) top and bottom, and epoxy them together. This makes a very solid and strong hole for the LP tang to go through, but is possibly a bit over-engineered for most folks....

It's been a while since I did one of these, but I think the pommel nut insert is M6 (same as LP thread), as I don't recall having to re-tap or replace it.....

I've been making up a load of smallswords from ZWA parts that I eventually got from Sport 7 in France (like the one shown in the post above) - when you put these together, you will find that the head of the rivets on the shell guard get in the way of the quillion block, you will need to grind a shallow depression in the block at either side, to accommodate these rivet heads, or you will have a wobbly shell (!).....a small design flaw.

Sport 7 also distribute the ZWA fully-assembled true smallsword with the pas d'anes, but they are having a hell of a time getting stock, and even ZWA in the States has taken to shipping their 'bitsa' version instead of supplying the pas d'anes version - another reason why I'm wary of dealing with them direct (at least Sport 7 give you the choice...).

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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Thearos » 23 Feb 2014 23:37

Perhaps of interest-- an American early C18th smallsword, taken apart:

https://www.fortticonderoga.org/blog/?p=134
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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby MEversbergII » 24 Feb 2014 06:14

As I've lately gotten interested in trying out smallsword, I'm glad this thread got necro'd! I do have a question, however: Earlier there was mention of some ZWA offerings doing for "early" smallsword. We all know swords change over time for various reasons, but how are "early" smallswords different from "later" ones? What exactly constitutes "early"? How and why did their construction differ? Did the changes in blade come along with shifts in theory behind their use?

Currently I'm working my way (bit by bit) through Hope's work (via Milo Thurston's rather nice book) and all I've had for exposure before that is whatever system "The Militiaman's Manual" constitutes. "French", I guess.

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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Phil C » 24 Feb 2014 11:33

MEversbergII wrote: but how are "early" smallswords different from "later" ones?

Slightly longer blades (around 35" or so) but essentially they look like very large smallswords or very stripped down rapiers, generally. Finger loops gradually disappeared with changes in grip and the need to finger the blade, cuphilts shallowed to the point they became simple lenticular or bilobal shells, eventually turning into the fashionable "sailguard" hilt which is a simple extension of the hilt into the knucklebow.

What exactly constitutes "early"?

1660-1700 roughly- that weird transitional period where rapiers were getting stripped down and Italy was waning and France rising when it came to fencing theory dominance through the royal court as a result of royal intermarriage, wars, politics and religion &c.

How and why did their construction differ?

Rapier theory was shifting to give far greater reliance on the parry-riposte as the ideal for safety ( search for Leoni's precis of "Baroque Rapier" elsewhere on t'web), moving away from an ideal of the single time attack/defence meaning that lighter, faster swords gained dominance along with fashion meaning more swords were being worn (especially as France was expanding its ideas of what constituted "Nobility" by adding "Nobility of Letters" to the ranks alongside "Nobility of birth" thus expanding the royal court and undermining the traditional roles of the aristocracy with a professional army leaving them little to do except plot intrigue, look pretty and show off by fencing, riding and dancing).

Did the changes in blade come along with shifts in theory behind their use?

Kind of covered above- it then becomes shorter and thinner so becomes faster and faster to the point that they get so short (about 30-32") that disengages and use of the fingers alone to move the point becomes not only possible but the sensible thing to do and classic smallsword play comes about.

It should also be borne in mind that it is tactics that mainly separate early, classic and late smallsword play;
Early (eg Liancourt) still has the rapier tactic of starting out of measure, closing, seeing what they do then reacting or getting out, doing it again with a second intention and hitting them then getting out again asap.

Classic smallsword (eg Angelo) engages in measure then stays in measure with blades in contact all the while, circling and disengaging each other until someone makes a mistake and gets hit but with a limited number of techniques.

Late smallsword (eg McArthur) has a much more diverse range of guards and techniques as it became more and more "academic" and less and less relevant to the practical use of the duel, which had been out of favour for decades by then and is much closer to foilplay with an emphasis on longer and more complex phrases to show off skill.

Then you go through the foil period until the 1880s when epee play comes back into to fashion and Jacob and La Marche basically reinvent everything that Hope was saying nearly 200 years before (and RBSD and MMA guys are still arguing about today...).
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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Thearos » 24 Feb 2014 11:36

V. helpful, thanks !

Where would you place Hope, not in terms of date-- which is obviously early, but in terms of the nature of his fencing ?
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Re: Smallsword options?

Postby Phil C » 24 Feb 2014 11:48

Hope is "classic" in what he shows will be expected of you in the salle and in private lessons with the master which is why it is "common method" by his own admission.

His New Method was nothing unusual or unknown technique-wise from other texts but his emphasis on using it against ambushes is.
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