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Historical Inspiration This forum is dedicated to the discussion of historical knife design and its influence on modern custom knife work.

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  #1  
Old 08-14-2006, 02:46 PM
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Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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Cinguedea ~ Italian 16th Century Nobility Blade

I searched these forums for information/examples of a "Cinquedea" and find none. Just returned from a visit with ABS Mastersmith, Hanford Miller, who showed me this very complex and demanding blade he's working on.


Hanford explained that Cinquedea means '5 fingers' - implying that the blade is 5 fingers wide at the guard (five 16th century Italian male fingers that is). It was a weapon made at great expense, probably by teams of artisans with different skills, for the Italian nobility and cultural elite in the 1500's. It was carried in a dual-hangar scabbard (single cord, attached in two places on the scabbard and hung over the shoulder and under the opposite arm with the blade more or less at the man's back).

Hanford's friend and mentor, the late Bill Moran, made several of these but only one with the three rows of fullers. Hanford has patterned his after an original in the Wallace Collection in England. The great difficulty with this forged blade is that there are 6 separate planes running the length of the blade which is also distally tapered in two dimensions. Add to this that Hanford had to create the fullers you see in the picture to also taper in proportion to the blade - by hand, on both sides without over-thinning! In Moran's version the fullers are not tapered and appear sharply stepped and somewhat clunky.

The Cinquedea was, of course, derived from previous designs of unknown origin and never seemed to migrate out of Italy. Thus there are few examples and sparse information. I hope anyone who knows anything about the Cinquedea will add to this post. Hanford's blade will be complimented by a beautiful Ivory handle and ornate guard following the curve of the blade at its widest point. The big holes are for roundels, fully pierced so as to let light pass through. It is a commissioned piece and the price is yet to be determined but will likely be somewhere in the neighborhood of 'several full dress Bowies.' Blade length is 19 inches and width of the '5 finger' area is 3 5/8ths.

I don't yet know much about the Wallace Collection in England but apparently it's pretty spectacular.

Sorry for the poor quality foto but it's the best I could do 'on location' and without my studio set-up.


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Last edited by Buddy Thomason; 08-15-2006 at 01:33 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:39 PM
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Roger Gregory Roger Gregory is offline
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Buddy

The Wallace Collection was to the 18th and 19th Centuries what the Getty Museums are to the 20th and 21st Centuries

Huge collections of paintings, drawings, sculpture, furniture, porcelain, Western arms & armour and Oriental arms & armour. The arms & armour are the biggest part of the whole collection.

If you are ever in London, The Wallace Collection is a "must see".

My work for the English Tourist Board is suspended for the moment

Fabulous piece of work by Hanford Miller. I'd like to see the finished article!

Roger


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Old 08-14-2006, 10:08 PM
Drunkenduck Drunkenduck is offline
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WOW and double WOW!! I'd love to see a picture of that when it's finally finished. The forging of those fullers must have been something to see. Who ever is getting that blade is deffinantly going to get his money's worth.

Doug Lester
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Old 08-15-2006, 01:45 AM
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Other little details I remembered: Hanford said he's got about $1,500 worth of materials that will wind up in the handle - not including labor. He also mentioned that the balance point should wind up about 3 inches in front of the guard. Sounds odd to me but I'm not an expert on these things. I'll double check that later. He agreed to let me photograph the finished product which I will post here. That's nice because the Cinquedea is going into a private collection and very few will ever see it. You guys are confirming what I had suspected - that this is a pretty spectacular endeavor. Hanford is one of those fortunate bladesmiths who has a stable cadre of collectors, each good for about one special knife per year. Sounds like an enviable position to be in as a maker.


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Old 08-15-2006, 11:22 AM
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Pretty amazing fuller-work there!


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Old 08-16-2006, 10:58 PM
Drunkenduck Drunkenduck is offline
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$1.5K just for the handle material!! I can't wait to see those pictures. I think I'll frame it and hang it on the wall.

Doug Lester
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:13 PM
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I can't help myself.

Buddy, are there any pictures of this blade in its finished form? Probably a long shot 6 years later.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:46 PM
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Grant - Here's an old image of mine showing the completed blade and scabbard.

You can find more images of the cinqueda here:
http://www.fototime.com/inv/49A79C9A65C00B8
I wrote an article about it for BLADE Magazine which appeared (I think) in 2007. The article tells of Hanford's inspiration for this project (his long and close friendship with Bill Moran), his account of meeting the patron who got on board with him for this project and more. Thanks for your interest.


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Old 09-22-2012, 03:43 PM
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That was worth the wait.... lovely.


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Old 09-23-2012, 12:06 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Thanks for posting that. I always wanted to know how it came out.

Doug


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Old 10-14-2012, 07:53 PM
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Really, really nice.


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