Swords, no sorcery, part 4

When last we visited our hero, he was impatiently waiting for his latest eBay purchase to arrive. He had believed it was going to be nothing more than another SLO, good for nothing more than hanging on a wall. Let’s join our story, already in progress.

Yes, so if you recall from my USPS post “The saga of the wayward package,” this final sword took two weeks to arrive from the time I actually won the bid and paid for it. In eBay time, two weeks seems like an eternity, at least from my experience (and it doesn’t help to have ADHD). Most purchases I’ve won arrive within a week.

And this one was particularly frustrating because it seemed the Post Office was conspiring against me.

Finally, it did arrive and I tore open the package with reserved zeal. I was excited, but guarded. I knew not to get my hopes up that I had won an actual real antique US Cavalry sword.

So when I pulled the sabre out I was pleasantly surprised. It had heft. It was solid. It was long. The blade alone was longer than all my other wall hangers (excluding the foils). It wasn’t sharpened and I can’t tell the difference between stainless and carbon steel, but this blade had some rust spots and corrosion.

The hilt was nice and tight. The knuckle-bow (hand guard) and the backstrap (a metal piece running the length of the grip) were solid brass and the grip itself is made of leather (or a really nice imitation of it) wrapped in brass wire.

The entire sword seems of good quality to my amateurish, know-nothing eye. But seems is a dangerous thing if you’re swinging a large sharp metal blade around (ok, this isn’t sharp but it does have a point).

US Cavalry sword

The sword had a small brass nut in the pommel, holding it all together. So I unscrewed it and took the sword apart. Again, to my untrained eye, the tang seems solid. It isn’t a welded on rat tail.

Tang, not the drink the astronauts loved

So maybe I lucked out and actually bought a real sword for cheap? If so, then this will become my project sword. I’ll clean up the blade, attempt to sharpen it, and maybe by the time nice weather arrives, I can go out and do some test cutting. (First, I’ll have to build a cutting stand.)

Yes, I’m not going to just assume anything. I’ve got more research to do. Take more pictures and see if someone with more knowledge can tell me something about it. I have looked online and there are some carbon steel sabers for sale for around $50. That seems awfully cheap for a “battle ready” sword considering most other sword styles of that quality go for $100 to $300. Are sabers an exception? Maybe they aren’t as popular among collectors as Europeon medieval swords or Japanese katanas and that reflects in the price.

I don’t know. And I’ll check it out before I do anything silly.

But in the meantime, I’m now excited to own what is the closest thing I have to a real sword.

I can’t wait for my tax refund to arrive because I have my eye on a few battle ready swords from real quality manufacturers.

But that’s a other post for another day.

-30-

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9 thoughts on “Swords, no sorcery, part 4

  1. I know this sword!I have one myself! I personally don’t trust the tang really, but it might not wobble wince the tang starts out being flat then becomes round. I know that I personally cut off the rod tang on mine and intend to eventually give it a full tang mounting, though that will shorten the blade. However, I know that that blade is carbon steel, just not sure of the quality of it. I say that so long as you are very careful, go right ahead and sharpen it and try it out! I wouldn’t call it completely battle ready, but it’s a pretty decent one! Good luck on suture purchases!

  2. Mmm,, swords. Since I’ve gotta call him anyway, I should ask my dad if he still has his cavalry sabers from his reenacting days. I know one was a reproduction that he wore as part of his uniform, but I swear he told me he had an authentic one.

    The bonus with the repro was that he could actually let me touch that one without worrying about taking me to the emergency room OR ruining the item.

    • Well, repros don’t necessarily equate to “safe” depending. For reenacting, it probably wouldn’t be sharpened, especially if they took whacks at each other like they do at RenFaires and other dueling reenactments. But depending on the quality of the steel, most repros can and are sharpened. I’ve got my eye on a few Viking era swords and intend to have them professionally sharpened from the retailer.

      But then, a real cavalry sword doesn’t mean it was sharpened either. I read that during one of the later era wars, they thought it was in bad taste to sharpen your saber. Having this cheap repro, I can see why. It’s heavy as hell and a good whack with it even unsharpened could do some damage. I’ll have to see if I can find that story. One commander ordered his men to sharpen their swords and everyone thought that was so gauche. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • From what my father said in my many homebound lectures o n the subject, the saber was not used as a slicing weapon, but as a bone crusher. That’s most likely why it wasn’t highly sharpened. Bring it down on the shoulder of some infantry from your height on a horse, and I can see the bone just destroyed.

        I know repros can be sharpened, but I think his weren’t. And, I stand by my ER message because I am the person who managed to cut herself with an athame that wasn’t sharpened.. Talent, I have. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        My dad reenacted for a regiment called the Lancers, and they actually were a cavalry unit that also fought with an actual lance. He, based upon photos and research he did, created a blueprint to reproduce the lances to exact military standards, and currently owns a few the regiment sent to a company to make. PS. They’re heavy as hell to hold, and every time I carried it, I imagined myself in a joust as your grip on it is quite similar.

      • Yes, it evolved into a bone crushing weapon. I guess they figured someone with a broken skull or collar bone might be more incapacitated compared to someone with a gushing wound. *shrugs* Also, I think with a sharp weapon, there’s a chance of it lodging in the body then all sorts of bad things could happen to the rider — a broken wrist as the horse keeps moving and the sword doesn’t or getting pulled from the horse or just becoming disarmed.

        Whatever. I’m still in the process of sharpening mine.

  3. Gah! Have to start a new comment thread? No fair! Anywho, spoke to my father this afternoon, and asked him. Turns out I greatly underestimated his collection. He has LOTS and LOTS of sabers, the majority of which are authentic. The only real comment he made was that if it’s authentic, sharpening will drop the value, as would any major polishing, etc. But, if you don’t care about that, sharpen away. Maybe one day I’ll get some pictures of his…if he lets me near them, haha.

    • Yes, it’s like that with a lot of collectibles. Attempts to restore or alter are frowned upon. Mine is a repro, so sharpening and polishing won’t effect the value. I’m not sure what is so with an authentic one. My ADHD OCD would probably make me polish it. ๐Ÿ˜€

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