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What is a Sword?

Understanding what makes a blade a sword

Twin Bladed SwordsHave you been wondering 'what is a sword?' A sword is largely defined as a bladed weapon, fundamentally consisting of a handle and a blade. In most cases the blade tends to be made of some type of metal and at least one side is grinded and filed into an extremely sharp edge, with an equally sharp pointed tip which is used for thrusting.

The handle (aka the hilt) can be made of several types of materials. The most common material used is wood often covered in leather, metal wiring or fish skin.

A little sword history

Medieval SwordA very remarkable thing is that throughout cultures the parts which make up a sword are wholly consistent. However, basic use and intent of swordsmanship is generally inconsistent. Swords have been used since around the Bronze Ages, during which time the construction of metal blades with length became possible for the first time. These swords were made mostly of solid copper or bronze - they were hard but brittle at the same time. With the discovery of forging iron, iron in swords became extremely important. Blacksmiths learned soon that with the right amount of carbon in the coal inside the iron a metal alloy, steel, could be forged.

Parts of a sword

  • The Blade - This part of the sword is used for cutting. In the case of single edged sword the non-cutting side (dull side) is towards the back. Some blades might also have fullers or grooves, reason being is to lighten the weight of the blade while maintaining its strength.
  • The Hilt - This is also known as the handle of the sword. It consists of the grip, the pommel and the guard. Most swords will also have a sword knot, or what is called a tassel.
  • The Scabbard - This is the case in which your sword is stored when it is not being used.
  • The Ricasso - This is the rather short part of the blade which is located between the base section of the guard and the grip. It is not sharpened, as such it allows the finger to wrap around the guard giving far better control. In the case of some larger swords like ones of German manufacturing, the Ricasso is generally leather-covered and can be gripped with one hand thus making it easier to wield the sword in close-quarters combat.
  • The Shoulder - This is the shorter part of the blade which is located between the beginning of the sharpened section of the blade and the hilt. The mark of the maker is generally located on the shoulder.
  • The Tang - This is the section of the blade that extends from the uppermost part of the blade and right through the hilt as well as the grip. Swords are more often than not held in one piece by a nut which is screwed to the tang right above the pommel.
  • The Center of Percussion (CoP) - This is fondly referred to as the 'Sweet Spot', and is that section of the blade which delivers the blow with the greatest strength while delivering the least amount of vibration.

Swords are simply beautiful works of art with stories across the ages attached to each type and model. We hope you have found this information valuable and now have a better understanding of the intricacies of each sword.

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