How Sharp Were Blades During the Middle Ages?

April 15, 2019

You’ve seen the movies. You’ve read the stories. Knights, kings and soldiers wielding swords are shown slicing through dragon scales and piercing armor. Others with less glamorous duties had to use tools to chop wood, build dwellings and prepare meals. Before they completed any of these tasks, did they need blade sharpening?

Exactly how sharp were the blades during the Middle Ages? Were medieval swords really sharp enough to accomplish the feats we see on the big screen? How long would it have taken to gather lumber for winter firewood? Here’s the scoop from an expert in blade sharpening in San Diego, CA.

Amor-Piercing Swords

Due to the advanced technology of today, it can be easy to assume the quality of blades in the Middle Ages was poor. However, the swords of that era were not dull. In fact, they had to be quite sharp to do their jobs well.

The swords were designed to be sharp enough to get through armor. Their specific design had to change as the development of armor changed. Depending on what one’s opponent was wearing, one may need a good thrusting sword or a sharp slicing sword.

For example, blades created in about 1350 were stiffer and triangular in shape with a hexagonal cross-section. This design gave the sword the ability to have impact on a heavy target while supporting its tip to minimize damage to the sword.

Slicing Swords

At one point, the sword became the weapon of choice for infantry and dueling. Because these situations called for slicing, the swords had to feature a very sharp edge. Reports of battles and techniques indicate the swords of the Middle Ages were quite sharp.


As combat techniques continued to develop, armor makers and sword makers raced to create the next design that would thwart the others’ attempts. This race urged the engineers of this time to continue striving for the best technology. As a result, the sword was often the height of technology and engineering during the Middle Ages.


How did sword-bearers of the Middle Ages keep their blades sharp without modern blade sharpening? Without the convenient services we have today, how were they able to achieve such sharp weaponry? The initial sharp edge was created with a grinding wheel by the maker of the sword. This grinding wheel was often used to re-sharpen dull blades. A sword owner could also use a whetstone and rub it against the blade to maintain it.

The Perfect Slice

Fortunately, blade sharpening in San Diego, CA today is quite simple and effective. If you need to get your tools back in sharp shape, contact the experts at Larson Sharpening, Inc. We are your go-to source for all sharpening and repair services for beauty professionals and barbers, pet groomers, veterinarians and the medical industry. With over 35 years of experience, Larson Sharpening, Inc. has the knowledge and skill to deliver the excellence in service you seek for your blade sharpening in San Diego, CA. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

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