Courage and skill being often of little use without a good weapon, I think it necessary, before I lay down rules for using it, to show how to choose a good blade, and how it ought to be mounted.

The length of the blade ought to be proportional to the stature of the person who is to use it: the longest sword, from point to pommel, should reach perpendicularly from the ground to the navel, and the shortest, to the waste; being large in proportion to its length, and not extremely large, nor very small, as some people wear them; the over large blades being unwieldy, unless very hollow, which makes them weak, and the narrow ones being not sufficient to cover the body enough.

How To Choose Your Perfect Blade

in order to choose a good blade, three things are to be observed: first, that the blade have no flaw in it, especially across, it being more dangerous so than length-way. secondly, that it be well tempered, which you’ll know by bending it against a wall or other place; if it bend only towards the point, ’tis faulty, but if it bend in a semicircular manner, and the blade spring back to its straightness, ’tis a good sign; if it remains bent it is a fault, though not so great as if it did not bend at all; for a blade that bends being of a soft temper, seldom breaks; but a stiff one being hard tempered is easily broke. the third observation is to be made by breaking the point, and if the part broken be of a grey color, the steel is good; if it be white it’s not: or you may strike the blade with a key or other piece of iron, and if he gives a clear sound, there is no hidden fault in it. in bending a blade you must not force it, what i have said being sufficient to know it by, and besides by forcing it, it may be so weakened in some part as to break when it
comes to be used.

It would not be amiss for a man to see his sword mounted, because the cutlers, to save themselves the trouble of filing the inside of the hilts and pommel, to make the holes wider, often file the tongue of the blade too much, and fill up the vacancies with bits of wood, by which means the sword is not firm in the hand, and the tongue being thin and weak, is apt to break in parrying or on a dry beat, as has been unhappily experienced. care should also be taken that the end of the tongue be well riveted to the extremity of the pommel, lest the grip should fly off, which would be of very dangerous consequence.

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