Today we take a look at two historical swords from The Oakeshott Institute Collection that show evidence of having been damaged and repaired in period. The edge damage has produced shapes and patterns that we find on modern swords that have been damaged and repaired using historical techniques, like those from a previous video "Resharpening Damaged Swords". While we can't be entirely certain that the geometries of these historical swords were produced through damage and resharpening, we think that the similarities between the results we had in resharpening modern swords does make this interpretation quite reasonable.
Swords that were used in battle were damaged and sometimes broke. Repairing the damage was part of the normal process of maintaining your weapon and grinding out notches and nicks was something that would have been very common. This process of grinding out notches produces a particular swooping edge geometry when the edge of the sword is filed down so that the greatest depth of the notch becomes the new edge.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985