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Posted By Thomas L. Buck

Last month I was interviewed by a production company working for the History Channel.  They are doing a comparative study on 13th & 14th Century Japanese and European arms and armor. After my interview, they used a blade to do a cutting test on a mock-up of european armor. 

Here are a few 'action' photos of that cutting test (notice the film crew in the background).  The Japanese sword easily went through a 1/16th inch thick sheet of steel, a quarter inch thick layer of leather, both backed by a square of heavy chain mail.... 

cutting test

 

cutting test

cutting test

cutting test

 

This is a photo of the sword. About two thirds of the blade was in good polish, but the third toward the tip had a lot of scratches and some pitting.  They chose this sword because the blade had several aspects that helped it match what the producers were looking for, these included the Handachi mounts and the fumbari. 

cutting test

 

Before the test, I rewrapped and lacquered the mounts, and after it was sent away for a polish. It should be back sometime in July or August 2009. 

Although a few of us were a little more than nervous about using a real Japanese sword, this was a very controlled situation, and, not surprisingly, after the test there was no apparent damage done to the blade.  

They did a simular mock-up of Japanese armor against a period sword from England with less than spectacular results; the european blade only put a crease and a few dimples in the 'Japanese' 1/16th inch steel plate. 

 

 

 
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Thomas L. Bu...
Duluth, MN

 
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