SWORD BALANCE AND CONSTRUCTION
When I make a sword:
- I prefer long swords. Mine are about 40 inches from tip to tip.
- I strongly suggest that smaller and weaker fighters use long, reasonably light, tip-heavy swords. Better technique is require to use them, but the payback is longer reach, more power, and improved handling.
- I prefer basket hilts on swords for the protection they offer, and for the balance they give the weapon.
- I use nylon edging on my swords, since they don't last long at all if I don't. I use two layers, applied as follows:
- The bottom layer is one-inch tubular nylon webbing, glued to the wood, and taped over with spiral-wrapped strapping tape.
- I start this layer on the front of the sword about six to twelve inches in front of the hilt. I run it around the point, and down the back edge for nine to twelve inches.
- The outer layer is two-inch flat nylon webbing, taped over the first layer with spiral-wrapped strapping tape.
- This layer only covers the last 14 inches of the front edge.
- This moves the balance of the sword away from the hilt, to my preferred balance 6-9 inches in front of the hilt.
- It also gives the sword a "front-edge to back-edge" balance, which improves the "liveliness" of the sword. I also prefer swords with a slight back curve, since this enhances this front-to-back balance.
- Having the balance farther forward makes the sword harder to control until you learn how to use it, then it provides you with better rebounds, and greater hitting power.
- Hilt-balanced swords take away from both. Swords with large pommel weights behave strangely, since bounces go towards both weight concentrations; the blade and the hilt.
- I use athletic tape for the top taping. It's lighter than duct tape.
- Avoid retaping over the old tape. The rounder the sword, the worse it handles. The sword also gets heavier.
- Handles vary tremendously to conform to individual taste.
- Basically, cut your handles so that they are comfortable for your hand. Unshaped handles are rarely comfortable.
- Avoid decreasing the front-of-the-blade to the back-of-the-blade dimension. If it is decreased, the blade will tend to break at the hilt.
- I prefer my handles cut in a triangular cross section, with rounded corners. The topside is 3/4" to 1" wide, and the rounded front edge is 1/4" to 3/8" wide, depending on the size of the rattan. In this way, the backside fits between my thumb and palm, and the rounded front edge fits into the second joint of my fingers.