Why you can grab a sword

Here’s one of the handiest Quora answers I’ve ever seen, if you’re a writer.

There are two facts about swords and cutting that I find most people don’t know, after learning which they understand how a sword can be weapons-grade sharp and still be grabbable.

The first thing is that human flesh compresses much more readily than it stretches. It takes a lot of force to start a cut with an edge if you’re pushing it straight down into flesh (or if you’re pushing the flesh straight into the edge). It takes little force to start a cut if you’re dragging or pushing the edge across the flesh (or dragging or pushing the flesh across the edge). You know this from cutting raw meat for meal prep. You can push a knife straight through raw meat, but it takes more force to do so than slicing through it.

By all means, read the whole thing, particularly if you would like to have your character grab a sword without losing half his hand.

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2 thoughts on “Why you can grab a sword”

  1. OT: you’re likely already aware of this, but there’s a typo in Tirashana on p 373:
    “I will make you known to one other, if you wish”
    (one another)

    This is the only one I found in the whole book.

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