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 Post subject: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:42 am 
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Whats the difference between a knife and a sword? Is there one? Is sword a knife?

If I am making something, what do I have to do to it to make sure it qualifies as a knife?

Disclaimer: no questionable activities going on here, this is just for a design idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:33 am 
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The distinction between a long knife and a short sword is fuzzy. A quick search doesn't show any particularly useful answers, either.

Is this a question of what to call something that you've already designed? Or are you trying to decide how long something should be?


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:45 pm 
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There is no correct answer to this... however I do have a 'rule of thumb' I go by...

Blade lengths:
Knife*: From really short up to half distance from one's elbow to finger tips in length.
Shortsword: Between half the length from finger tips to elbow and the full length of finger tips to elbow.
Broadsword: Between the full length of elbow to finger tips and up to twice this length.
Longsword: Longer than a Broadsword, but shorter than you are.
Greatsword: From 3/4 your height to longer than you are tall. No real end point in sight, but some extreme lengths are just crazy.


* Note, Dagger and Knife are virtually interchangeable; as are Longsword, Broadsword, and Shortsword...


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:42 pm 
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Nemoricus wrote:
Is this a question of what to call something that you've already designed? Or are you trying to decide how long something should be?


I'm trying to make a collection of different knives for a thing I am writing and I want to make sure no one goes "Oh, #7 there is technically a Welsh Butter Shovel" or something.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:05 pm 
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Malapterus wrote:
I'm trying to make a collection of different knives for a thing I am writing and I want to make sure no one goes "Oh, #7 there is technically a Welsh Butter Shovel" or something.

Unless you do some real deep research I guarantee someone is gonna confuse blade #7 with a Welsh Butter Shovel.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:26 pm 
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As the author you get to state it's a knife, and turn anyone who disagrees into a newt with scabies.


My personal rule is that a blade under six inches is a knife, and a blade over 18 inches is a sword . . . in between gets a little vague, though generally a knife will have significant utility as a tool.

Knife vs dagger: a dagger is a type of double-edged knife having a point especially suited for stabbing. Alternatively, it may be very slander and edgeless with only a point, though that's more usually a stiletto.

--FreeFlier


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:47 pm 
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FreeFlier wrote:
... it may be very slander and edgeless...

I didn't realize daggers spoke ill of other's reputations without managing to be mean about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:08 am 
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There was, at one point, a distinction between swords and knives made that based it on the handle, leading to three foot long ten pound 'knives' created to get around these restrictions.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 am 
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Kendrakirai wrote:
There was, at one point, a distinction between swords and knives made that based it on the handle, leading to three foot long ten pound 'knives' created to get around these restrictions.

Sounds like something a certain jurisdiction's legislators come up with while knowing basically nothing about either knives or swords.

A common problem with legislators throughout the world.

--FreeFlier


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:59 pm 
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FreeFlier wrote:
Kendrakirai wrote:
There was, at one point, a distinction between swords and knives made that based it on the handle, leading to three foot long ten pound 'knives' created to get around these restrictions.

Sounds like something a certain jurisdiction's legislators come up with while knowing basically nothing about either knives or swords.

A common problem with legislators throughout the world.

--FreeFlier


It was in western or central Europe or something, like, 600 years ago I think. I forget, exactly.

I should look it up.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:25 pm 
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Generally anything with a blade under 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length is classified as a knife. Beyond that, I think the only real distinction between the two is the purpose of the blade. A knife is made to be a cutting tool with a variety of uses. Meanwhile, a sword is designed specifically to be used as a weapon.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:51 pm 
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Aratan wrote:
Generally anything with a blade under 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length is classified as a knife. Beyond that, I think the only real distinction between the two is the purpose of the blade. A knife is made to be a cutting tool with a variety of uses. Meanwhile, a sword is designed specifically to be used as a weapon.

And the machete, parang and bolo blur the lines.

--FreeFlier


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:08 am 
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I'm not a sword expert but here is my take on swords, knives and edged tools.

Basically it is the blade that distinguishes a knife from a sword, or a cutting tool like a machete from a weapon.

Sword blades are usually thick and heavy, compared to other blades. They must be. You will be using it to cut or perforate someone who very likely will be using strong materials (ranging from boiled leather to steel plate) to prevent that and who will be hitting your sword blade in order to avoid being cut. So the blade must withstand heavy abuse and not break when parried. Sword blades are very springy, unlike cooking knives that have stiffer blades.

Average weight of a sword is between 2.5 to 5 lbs.

Daggers, which are knife-like weapons, also have thick blades due to the same function. They are expected to be able to hack and cut through strong materials.

Machetes and other cutting tools have thin blades. You are not supposed to use them to cut through armor but through some relatively tough plants. The blades if hit on the side, like in a parry, can break at the hilt. Kitchen knives also are thin and brittle if hit the wrong way.

Axes and hammers are dual purpose tools/weapons.

BY general rule a knife will have a very short blade when compared to a sword.

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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:25 am 
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Zeus67 wrote:
Basically it is the blade that distinguishes a knife from a sword, or a cutting tool like a machete from a weapon.

I need to stop you right here. A machete is a weapon. It's also a heavy blade made to chop through tree limbs and dense brush. The other word for machete is cutlass. Older machetes (not these cheap sheet metal Walmart knockoffs) were more like the Philippine bolo, thicker at the end to make chopping easier (it handles more like a hatchet than a dagger).

I also take it you've never handled a proper butcher knife? Those are made to chop through bone and several martial arts teach using blades of similar design.

Every tool is weapon and every weapon is a tool. It's all in what use you are putting it too.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:00 am 
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OKAY it looks like I was wrong about it being a law thing, it looks like it was more of a TRADE GUILD thing.

http://petermorwood.tumblr.com/post/167 ... -but-still


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:05 am 
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Kendrakirai wrote:
OKAY it looks like I was wrong about it being a law thing, it looks like it was more of a TRADE GUILD thing.

http://petermorwood.tumblr.com/post/167 ... -but-still

. . . which distinction is blurred because the guild rules were frequently enforced by law . . .

--FreeFlier


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:16 pm 
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evileeyore wrote:
Zeus67 wrote:
Basically it is the blade that distinguishes a knife from a sword, or a cutting tool like a machete from a weapon.

I need to stop you right here. A machete is a weapon. It's also a heavy blade made to chop through tree limbs and dense brush. The other word for machete is cutlass. Older machetes (not these cheap sheet metal Walmart knockoffs) were more like the Philippine bolo, thicker at the end to make chopping easier (it handles more like a hatchet than a dagger).

I also take it you've never handled a proper butcher knife? Those are made to chop through bone and several martial arts teach using blades of similar design.

Every tool is weapon and every weapon is a tool. It's all in what use you are putting it too.


I have several machetes at home. Their blades are big but not thick. They have enough mass to cut through heavy vegetation but not wooden trees or big tree branches. And if you try to parry with them odds are that the blade will break at the hilt. In fact if you hit a particularly heavy branch/trunk the wrong way the machete blade will break.

I also was shown a "fighting machete", i.e. a machete that was made to fight. The blade was a lot smaller and thinner but at the same time at least twice as thick, so the mass was the same only it was distributed differently. It also had a hand guard.

So, I have never owned a true sword but have seen blades designed to fight with and own and use machetes. Small to big ones. The blades are different.

Yes, you can use any blade as a weapon. But only an expert would use a kitchen knife as a dagger, otherwise you will be left with nothing but the hilt. A butcher's bone cutter is actually a small hatchet and while thick and strong it is too small to be of any advantage to an enemy using a dagger.

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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:35 pm 
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In Japan during the Meiji Restoration in the 1870's, samurai were banned from carrying swords, which were defined as blades which used three rivets in the hilt instead of only two. To this day, knives in Japan have two rivets.

There are several reasons that a kitchen knife makes an awful sword: first, most kitchen knives (especially table knives) are so dull they barely cut butter. Two, if they are serrated edges, they are very difficult to sharpen. Three, most kitchen knives are stainless steel, which is significantly more brittle than "good" sword steel; I've seen differing opinions on the matter of what makes a "good" sword steel ranging from 1045 carbon steel, 1075 carbon steel, 1566 spring steel which has manganese in it or even just "go to a junkyard and get some car springs".

If you've ever had an old stainless knife literally break off in your hands trying to cut cold cheese (I've lost...like at least 6 knives this way. Cheese is so dangerous to knives, but it's so tasty...) you know what the problem is: if you apply a lot of torque to a brittle blade it will snap. The problem gets much worse as the length and mass of the blade increase, as the amount of torque it receives increases. One way to try to deal with this problem is to reduce the force applied at the fulcrum of the pivot, which you can do by using three rivets instead of two.

The less brittle the blade is, the more resilient to hitting things it is. Contrariwise, the more brittle the blade is, the longer it stays sharp. This is why katanas used differential forging, which produced the distinctive curve in the blade when one side contracted more than the other side during cooling; the fast-cooling area produced a more brittle sword edge, while the slow-cooling area produced a less brittle sword back which was more resilient and better able to absorb force.

So, there's a lot of factors as far as what makes a sword, but they basically boil down to this: If you can hit something with it, and it tends to cut things, and it doesn't break, it's a sword. If it breaks, it turns out, it was a knife.

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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:16 am 
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Aratan wrote:
Generally anything with a blade under 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length is classified as a knife. Beyond that, I think the only real distinction between the two is the purpose of the blade. A knife is made to be a cutting tool with a variety of uses. Meanwhile, a sword is designed specifically to be used as a weapon.


Meanwhile a standard chef's knife is average 8 inches in blade length, and is pretty much the first image to come to mind when you try to visualize a "knife". Dinner or steak knives might come to mind first, but usually its the IMAGE of a chef's knife. Unless maybe you are British and haven't ever seen a real knife because of retarded weapons laws.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:35 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:05 am 
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sotanaht wrote:
Unless maybe you are British and haven't ever seen a real knife because of retarded weapons laws.
Hey!

We haven't banned knife images, yet!


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:39 pm 
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sotanaht wrote:
Aratan wrote:
Generally anything with a blade under 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length is classified as a knife. Beyond that, I think the only real distinction between the two is the purpose of the blade. A knife is made to be a cutting tool with a variety of uses. Meanwhile, a sword is designed specifically to be used as a weapon.


Meanwhile a standard chef's knife is average 8 inches in blade length, and is pretty much the first image to come to mind when you try to visualize a "knife". Dinner or steak knives might come to mind first, but usually its the IMAGE of a chef's knife. Unless maybe you are British and haven't ever seen a real knife because of retarded weapons laws.


I have an 8" MAC knife in my kitchen, but that's not the image that comes to my head when I hear the word "knife." I visualize my 3.25" paring knife or my 2" pocket knife.

Regardless, as I said, a blade over 5.5" should be analyzed for its purpose. An 8" chef's knife is a tool meant to be used in a kitchen and not as a weapon, so it is a knife and not a sword.


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 Post subject: Re: Knives and swords
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:43 am 
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sotanaht wrote:
Meanwhile a standard chef's knife is average 8 inches in blade length, and is pretty much the first image to come to mind when you try to visualize a "knife".

Maybe I'm just odd, but the image that comes to my mind when I hear 'knife' is situational.

At work, it's either one of the bread or meat knives (whichever is closer to me at the restaurant I work in). Away from work: in a kitchen, a table knife or I ask if I'm next to a butcher block (since literally the entire block will come to mind). Away from an area where knives are just layin about, it's my pocket knife, a hawkbill folding knife.


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