The most striking thing when I first saw these swords was the size of the pieces. they were much lighter construction than I expected and had an almost delicate quality to the detail. The tangs were quite thin and the rings far thinner in both thickness and width then is often done on replicas.
The single handed piece pictured below was especially interesting as the elements of the hilt were beautifully formed but done with far less material than pieces designed today. These were very obviously crafted to be fast and deadly weapons one could carry with little effort.
Hilt of single handed sword
Taking these elements from the originals and combining them into this version of an Irish sword worked quite well and the sword came out at just over two and half pounds. It is exceptionally agile and fast. The length of the blade is a bit shorter than many longsword replicas made today but fits in the middle of the size range of historical pieces.
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