Making and Knowing
A minimal edition of BnF Ms Fr 640 in English Translation

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The different parts of a sword are the handle, [and] the sheath of the sword. What comes next is the heel. The rest is the blade. The sides are the edge and the point. Certain blades, acute in point, have only one side filed in the middle & along the whole length, and are easy to break. Other blades are called of three molds or three grips, which have one good rise in the middle, but this elevation is flat as if it were acute in point but flattened. These ones are most certain. Others are called fluted, which are notched from the middle, & when it is along the whole length, they are just as easy to break as those acute in point and are more troublesome to burnish because the burnishing stick can’t get in. But they make one specially that is narrow. Making up the hilt of the sword are the pommel, the branches of the hilt and the cross—guard, which is this iron strip that closes off the guard [and] that is at the end of the heel to stop thrusts from sliding down the hilt. The rings are these two branches in half round that start from the eye of the guard and go all the way to the branch of the cross—guard. The branch that crosses the hilt is called the body and this escutcheon, by which the sword enters the sheath and to which all the branches return, and which holds them, is called the eye of the guard. Following is the wood of the grip which one glues or more fittingly [uses] some mingled wax which is made of wax and pitch, for rosin would be too hard. He heats it lightly, then rubs the wood of the grip so that the tang takes hold, or the threads, otherwise, when a thread frays off, the whole thing will break all at once. With iron thread or dog skin, one also uses glue. The trimming set on the wood, which is made of silk or thread, is called the cord, which is made from two or three threads twined on the spinning wheel, or 4 if the silk is thin. A cord a little bigger holds better. The rivements, which are also made of silk at both ends of the grip, are called the buttons. Some grips are made of silk, seal skin, iron thread reheated with gold and fine and false silver thread & velvet [thread]. Iron thread is of less price and is most durable. Next is that of silk, if one does not have the convenience of being close to the sea in order to recover some dog skin, which is quite convenient. The good skin costs fifty or lx s{ous} and makes 4 or five dozen grips. This one gives a good grip and a sure hand. To put it to work, if it is too hard, soak it for one or two hours in slightly lukewarm aqua fortis. Because if it were too hot, it would boil and spoil the skin. It is sewn with black thread.

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Figure Figure

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The gold handles are made with some yellow thin cloth set below or other kind of chalk—yellowed fabric. And this cloth is set on with glue or aforesaid gum. This is in order to make the thread hold better on it. These latter are made of cordons like the silk ones and between two cordons are put one or two threads to enhance it. The silver one is identically made. And there is as much difficulty as for the silk one, not because silk is difficult to twisted, but it needs to be twisted twice. A fine gold handle is worth 28 or 20 cents. The best sword point is of sage foliage. This long stick on which the sword is laid down and attached in order to furbish is called the chameau. It is commonly made from rowan which is hard and even. The stick underneath which is folded bow—like is called the arch. The stick above is called stick of the fustée. And this square piece, used on the sword to burnish it, is called the fustée. There are two horns, one is called the oil hornet and the other the emery hornet. There is an iron tool with the shape of a halberd point, square and made of very even and well limed steel called the grateau which helps to soften lime strokes on swords hilts and to sharpen blades once they are softened which is better than with stone or other tools which leave some scratches. To make the swords cut better, the edge from the point is also sharpened. Those who create sword hilts are different craftsmen than furbishers. The fustée is a three—finger—thick, square wood tool, made of boxwood which fit in the middle of the fustée stick to furbish. The fresil stick is made of willow wood which is to […] weapon with some clinker which is the iron scale falling from the blacksmiths’ forge.

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Figure Figure le banc des fourreaux

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Figure Figure

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a b D le baston a felinder c le flin ou pierre de fouldre

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The furbisher buys his blades by the dozen which are not finished, [but ready] to be pulled from [their] sheaths since he does this himself in order to add them well at the pommels and guards. Spanish swords are esteemed to be better for they are of better steel and iron but they are not as well—forged as Vienna swords, in Dauphiné. The Spanish ones are not as well sharpened from the forge since they sharpen them with their feet and this is what makes them wavy. Vienna blades cost commonly Xviii or 19 lb. The first thing the furbisher does to his new blades is to draw them out from the sheath, which he does himself or has it done by locksmiths or blacksmiths to whom he gives some liart for their charcoal. Afterwards they pass it over a grindstone to cut it down. Then they lay it down on the chameau, and with some powdered emery, fine and soft as flour, and soaked with oil to make it take, they polish the sword with the stick used to take off the tracks left by the grindstone and then they clean the blade well with the emery. And they add a drop or two of oil spread with the finger to give it luster. Once the oil is applied, they polish it again on the chameau with the “felin” which is a thunderstone mounted on the middle of a stick like the “fustée.” And this stick is called the “felindel” stick. Once they used the “felin,” they polish it again with some chalk and the oil [already] on the sword. After they follow this and going over it again, they polish it with dry chalk. Finally when they are finished with mounting [of the pommel and guard], they give it a sharp edge with a file. They then dry it and sharpen it and furbish it again with some dry chalk. At the end when they are completed and mounted, they give it [the blade] a sharp edge with a grater. They are polished on a false mounting with the guards which are present in order to find out if they work well together. And employing a blade of the sort of which all the sizes should be made in the hand, one conjectures whether it will be as strong when mounted. One puts the blade in a vice between two pieces of wood, then with a file, they enlarge [it] if needed for attaching the guard. Then to clench it, one positions the place to be riveted and the pommel on a piece of wood. And with a hammer, one beats on the top to make it very level and to secure the pommel. Then with the hammer, one finishes the rivet when the hammer is well secured and does not shake. The wood is placed so as not to put gashes in the pommel. Afterwards one makes a place for the rivet with a file or chisel. And some make the rivet [or attachment] in a diamond—shape but this is not as good as a round [topped one] because one cuts oneself on the corner of the rivet.

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The end can be bought already made, a dozen of small ones costs six sols but the big ones 2 carolii.The end is fixed either with nails which are fixed on the sides of the cutting edge, but this only spoils the sword and rots the scabbard for the water goes into it via the juncture of the nail. The best way is to apply some resin or glue but the resin is better. And the best is when the end is tightly set and so hot when set that powdered resin on the end melts, in that way it doesn’t fall and can’t be undone unless it is put in fire. Hilts are of different types: Ornate Guttered which is with round mouldings Pearled Scarfed when the bands are crosswise Onioned which is with a flat head In the King’s manner, fully covered The furbishers buy them by dozens, the dozen of full ones costs 10 lb. the worked one, 30 sols or [more] depending on its nature. The first thing that the apprentice does is to furbish as said. And then to adorn the sword and make a scabbard which is the summum of the art. They buy scabbards’ wood pieces which are wholly made of beech wood, a hundred for 15 or 20 or 30 sols, depending on how far they are made. Theses wood pieces are thus called estelles, and have to be very clean and without any knots and are one finger thick. Then the furbisher puts them on a small bench, called a scabbard bench and with a small iron tool similar to the joiners’ bench, they maintain it firmly. Then with a plane, which is like a two—handled knife, they work the wood piece from the top, then use the joyner’s plane to flatten it more. Afterwards, the inside is scoured with a