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Help With Identifying A Sword


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#1 ColoradoDave

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:06 AM

I've been husbanding this sword for years for a friend who is unlikely to ever return. If I sell it, I owe him half if he ever claims.

 

It looks Japanese. Feels like a solid, forged blade. Original polish under the patina. Oddly crooked if looked at length-wise. But I'm drawing blanks on the ID. Maybe not looking hard enough.

 

It has a good feel to it, though. Very solid and good balance. It is definitely a real sword.

 

Not wanting to go blazing in and try to take it apart, I notice the blade is attached to the handle more than anything. The rest of the pieces seem to be attached.

 

I see no markings whatsoever externally. Should I take it apart to see if there are any markings there ? How do I do that ?

 

DSC_7608.JPG

 

DSC_7609.JPG

 

 


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#2 Geraint

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:48 AM

Dear Dave.

 

In this case I would strongly recommend that you don't take it apart, unlike Japanese swords it was never meant to be dismounted.  Any attempt will reduce it's value to almost zero.

 

Apart from a general feeling are there any markings here that would suggest that it is Japanese, because I can't see anything I recognize?

 

All the best.


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#3 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:52 AM

Looks more like a European cavalry sabre, don't believe it is Japanese at all.
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#4 paulb

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 10:28 AM

Also go with a European cavalry sabre. it looks to be loosely based on the English 1796 pattern which was much copied (and modified) by various European states during the 1st quarter of the 19th century. I have never seen a Japanese blade in this style of mount.



#5 Geraint

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:08 AM

Too short for a sabre, probably best start searching around stirrup hilted hanger. 

 

All the best.


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#6 nagamaki - Franco

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:08 PM

No habaki, a clue?


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#7 TETSUGENDO

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 10:42 PM

Possible US make.


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#8 Jon MB

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 01:29 AM

I would have said that it looks to be some variant of an Austrian Grenadier NCO Hanger

 

However, an example below seems to have quite British style fittings to the scabbard

 

http://www.napoleoni...php?f=20&t=2481


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#9 TETSUGENDO

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 02:34 AM

Could be Jon, but it appears that this was a popular design that has various sources.  An end on shot of the pommel would probably be helpful, as would  someone well versed in this area.  Too bad the scabbard is missing.


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#10 ColoradoDave

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 02:58 AM

That last link looks a lot like it. The blade shape is right and I think on this one, both the hand protector and the finial are bent in towards the center.The curve of the finial takes an abruptly sharper bend at one spot and the handle has several spots where the curve is either flattened, or sharper indicating it was smashed inwards. If they were bent back outwards, they would look like the sword in the link. The butt end looks the same too with the peg and the roof-like overhang above the hand guard.

I searched carefully and there are no markings at all.

The only other things I noticed is that there is an old leather disk pressed in around the blade into the front of the hand guard where a brass habaki would be on a Japanese NCO sword. Like a gasket between the hand guard and the blade. I can see that the rear of the blade stops at that point for the distance to the bottom of the blood groove then that line continues into the handle.

This one looks like it too, but there is no leather disk : https://isellswords....angercutlass/  Mine is also exactly 27" long blade and 31 1/2 total; as well. I sent him an Email to try and find out more.

Thanks everyone for the expert assistance. I had been stumbling around this site learning more about a NCO sword I have and saw some of the Japanese Officers Swords and saw a semblance of this older sword  in them so thought I would ask. Apparently all short swords have the semblance of a finial, ringed grips, hand guard, etc.

 

Edit : Reply to Email : this type of sabre seems exclusively Canadian, as they are found nearly entirely here. Nobody knows what they are exactly, but they seem to be from the early 1800.

 

So, likely Circa War of 1812.

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#11 TETSUGENDO

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 04:38 AM

John,

 

Interesting.  I don't think the time of manufacture is at issue, just keep in mind that 1812 is a starting point as this design, in some cases, continued to be produced for many years thereafter. As to place of manufacture, I would want to exhaust a few more avenues of expert inquiry before being comfortable.  Best of luck.


StevenK


#12 Jon MB

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:50 AM

Canadian, eh?  There we go.


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#13 Bazza

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:42 AM

Dave P,

 

Interesting.  The photo you attached clearly shows a brittle fracture structure in the steel shaft sitting within the brass handle.  I surmise there was a domed nut holding the handle on and when "someone" tried to undo it the threaded shaft snapped clean off.  The handle may be able to be removed, but I doubt there is any advantage in doing so as unlike a Japanese sword there will be no markings on the tang within the handle.

 

Best regards,

BaZZa.

 

post-4486-0-05106400-1524099923_thumb.jp



#14 Jon MB

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:52 AM

Hi Bazza, possibly, but look at another comparable example and the way it is peened, I think use of pommel nuts were rare during that period

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#15 ColoradoDave

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 05:35 PM

I inquired again about dis-assembly. The answer was to dremel the steel ' pin part ' down to get the handle and other pieces off the blade, then build the pin material back up at the rear of the blade to be able to once again protrude back through the hole in the pieces and get peened down to fasten the whole thing tight. I think the leather gasket on the front served as a sort of spring that gets compressed while peening to help maintain tightness. Right now, since the peened part is gone, it is totally loose as well as all the other parts.

 

I can't imagine a collector wanting it ' as is '. I may try restoring it somewhat to at least have a working sword and keeping it. Remove the handle and pieces, Straighten the Brass while heating, polish the blade, then removing 1/16" or so off the handle so the rear of the blade protrudes through enough to peen tight again, then re-wrap the handle.

 

I believe I can take it apart easily the way it is by lightly prying the brass up and over the stub of the pin without any further metal removal.


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#16 Jon MB

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 05:48 PM

Ah, Bazza was correct


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#17 ColoradoDave

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:17 PM

It came apart very easily. There was a piece of wood wedged inside to apparently keep it from falling apart due to the peen being gone. No markings still.

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#18 Jon MB

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:08 PM

For the record, re-adjusting grips and then re-peening a tang ( especially with any sort of aesthetically pleasing result) is skilled and difficult work, and should be avoided if at all possible when restoring sabres.


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#19 TETSUGENDO

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:25 PM

Dave,

 

As Jon intimated, collectors are not fond of amateur conservation work.  If the piece warrants it, professional repair should be a consideration.


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#20 ColoradoDave

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 02:34 AM

I'm afraid the story has a sad ending. When I removed the heaviest of rust from the blade it revealed a crack fracture. Something had struck the blade hard enough to radiate the crack about 3" in either direction up and down the blade from approx. the end of the blood groove to the back edge about 1/2" from the tip.

 

So, between the damage to the brass guard, the sword having been taken apart in the past, damaged and hobbled back together, and the crack in the blade, I can't think of any use for the sword. I'm glad I didn't sell it and could never count on it not to break completely if ever used.

 

I'll have to destroy it.

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#21 TETSUGENDO

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:26 AM

Sad outcome indeed.  On the brighter side, its still an authentic piece of history and good for display and the odd story telling session.  Hopefully next time your story will have a happier ending.


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#22 Stephen

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 09:45 AM


So you'll have to destroy it? Looks like you certainly did!
Left as found it was perfectly good wall hanger/conversation piece.
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#23 ColoradoDave

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 04:05 PM

It can still be put back together the way it was before, less only the heavy oxidation.

 

I thought it would be irresponsible, though, to keep it around, or even give away knowing it is dangerously defective. I keep imagining a kid smacking it against something and half the blade goes flying into his friend. Aren't Nihonto supposed to be destroyed if a fatal flaw is discovered ?

 

I apologize for taking up so much bandwidth for an off topic subject.


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#24 raymondsinger

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 04:10 PM

A smith may recycle the material and forge a new sword if a crack develops, however antique Japanese swords with hagire are definitely not destroyed when found. Strongly recommend reassembling and preserving your sword in spite of the flaw.


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#25 Bazza

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Posted 21 April 2018 - 01:28 PM

Agree with Ray.  The flaw is longitudinal and not transverse so I doubt very much that it would adversely affect the design function of the sword or present any danger of broken pieces flying off if mis-used.

 

BaZZa.






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