Page 1 of 1

weight distribution question

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:15 am
by john chiam
Hello, just received a antique jian and being never owning one previously question of weight distribution had me wonder if is normal. my jian seems to be on the heavy side when holding horizontialy due to most weight is towards the front of the blade, and weight of blade by it self is approx. 2lb. and 27 3/4inch long should have feel lighter than I expected. thanks, J.

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:14 am
by Peter Dekker

Congratulations with your jian! Perhaps you can post some pictures?

Is the length you mention for the jian the overall length or the blade length?

2 lb is a bit on the heavy side of the spectrum but not at all too heavy for a jian. I actually prefer the sturdy, beefier blades on the heavier examples myself. Most antique jian I have seen so far fall between 1.5 and 2 lbs. This is in consistency with the findings of Scott Rodell who has examined a far larger pool of jian than I have.

Perceived weight in the hand also varies greatly according to how it was made and how the weight is distributed over the whole weapon. Thus a well balanced heavy jian might feel livlier than a somewhat lighter but less well balanced jian.

I have two antique jian that both weigh almost exactly 2lb, the lengths are:

Jian 1 (19th century)
Overall: 32 1/2 inch
Blade: 25 1/2 inch

Jian 2 (17th century)
Overall: 29 inch
Blade: 21 inch


Re: weight distribution question

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:25 am
by Scott M. Rodell
john chiam wrote:Hello, just received a antique jian ... My jian seems to be on the heavy side...
Your question kind of best the question, what were you using before? Perhaps this is your first real sword, not just your first antique sword? The vast majority of modern practice jian have little in common with the old real ones... glad to hear you now have a real jian, enjoy it!

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:35 pm
by john chiam
Hello all, to be more accurate. the jian weight 1.8lb and 27 inches is the length of blade itself measure to where the guard begin. from understanding of previous owner, it was a antique blade w/modern fixture, also the blade has been re-polished. I'm gonna try to post pics or links since I have not done it before......thanks BTW for all the info. J.

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:48 pm
by john chiam
I'm not sure how it works. but given it a shot here.....
/Users/johnchiam/Desktop/J's design stuff/025.JPG

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:49 pm
by john chiam
okay, didn't worked. can someone show me how to do it? thanks, J.

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:11 pm
by B.Ko
1.8 lbs is not heavy at all. If most jian are from 1.5-2 lbs. Yours is right near the middle. How is the Point of balance? Most are around 5-6" from the point where the handle meets the guard. This is also the right place to measure blade length as it negates differences in size of guard.

Most modern jian are around 2lbs and up. Your blade length is about 28" so that should be a little more lively than the typical 30" blades on modern jians. Personally I really like the 28" blades. Even if it's a bit heavier the shorter length exerts less torque on your wrist.


Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 10:17 pm
by Philip Tom
Ben raised an excellent question. What is the point of balance? That is just as if not more important than weight or length per se, in determining the handling of a jian. Could you please check your new sword and let us know at what point the blade must rest n a fulcrum (finger, etc.) so that it remains horizontal?

The distance should be measured forward from the line where the front of the grip meets the rear surface of the guard.

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 12:56 pm
by Tony Mosen
hi' i know the jian in question' i beleave from memory the pob is around 8'' the blade is very thick throughout the entire length and it does not have its origional fittings, but it plays very well' i liked it alott.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:10 am
by Philip Tom
A POB of 8 inches is a bit tip-heavy, but some people may prefer that. Some years ago I did a survey of 8 or 9 jian in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and found that practically all of them balanced at between 5 and 6 inches ahead of the grip. (This is the range that Ben Ko indicated in his post above). One large and magnificant silver-mounted specimen balanced at 9 in. and it felt like a crowbar by comparison.

In contrast, the Vietnamese "kiem" with their much more slender, thrusting blades balanced at about 3 in. or a little less. They have the feel of 18th cent. European smallswords.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:17 pm
by john chiam
Thanks Tony! He was right, roughly around 7.5~8.0 inches for the balance point. J.

Re: weight distribution question

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:24 pm
by Chris Lampe
It sounds like this jian is the one I used to own. I purchased the blade from Scott Rodell and had Philip Tom polish and mount it in reproduction (but historically accurate) fittings. The Point of Balance was about 7.5" in front of the guard and based on all that I've read it is a little more "blade heavy" than the average jian but I didn't find it to be a problem. Like Tony, I really liked the way the sword handled. Philip estimated it's age at "around the turn of the century". Congratulations on a fine sword. Take good care of it if you are still the owner!

Re: weight distribution question

Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:12 am
by Tony Mosen
Hi Chris''

No it is a different Jian, i still have the one you are thinking of.

The blade is thick and slender in width, i'm sure it would have had heavy Iron fittings in its battle ready days, its kitted out with Brass Dragon Spring fittings now so it is slightly tip heavy just like your old one.


Re: weight distribution question

Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:43 am
by Chris Lampe

I'm glad you still have that old jian! It was my first "high-end" sword project. Do you have any pictures of it in it's current state? I'd love to see what it looks like now.