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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 6:27 pm    Post subject: wool for scabbard lining?         Reply with quote

hello chaps,

I am currently revamping a scabbard of mine and want to line it with wool for maximum blade protection.

I am intending to use an old scarf or jersey or blanket etc- that is, regular machine knitted 100% wool with chemical dye.

before i use this i just wanted to ask if anyone knows whether such wool (i"m thinking of the dye) is at all unhealthy for the steel?

I am asking because i remember someone saying how certain leather treatments can be badf for steel and want to make sure that dyed wool is not similarly uunhealthy.

any help very much appreciated,

cheers, adam s
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 7:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have not tried what you might be contemplating (possibly heavily dyed scrap wool.)

I am very satisfied with using heavy wool which was lightly dyed camel hair color or natural from on line purchases. This costs about $15 to $25 for one yard (get 1.5 or 2 yards if you have very long swords.) Getting 1.5 to 2 yards should be enough for 4 to 6 scabbards. I purchased what I have been using the last 2 years from Fabric.com. The heavier weight wool Melton (80% wool, 20% nylon) intended as lining for winter coats should be about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Sometimes you can find a heavy flannel that is similar. This is advertised as a "historical" weight of wool fabric by several merchants, although I have no idea what they base this claim upon.

The thicker wood is great and very forgiving in terms of hollowing out scabbard halves and achieving a firm pull that lasts for years. My first has stayed good for two years now.) I judge the wood core carving to be close to optimum when I have to gently press the sword down about 1/16 inch (1.5 mm), compressing the fabric for the cutting edge to be flush with the hollowed out core. If you pre-oil the wool before gluing the scabbard together, you should get a finished job which cradles 90% or more of the blade in oil soaked wool. This is not necessarily authentic. Several have posted that "vikings" only lined the mouth of the scabbard with wool. For preservation, I like the entire interior of the scabbard to be lined with wood that was lightly oiled before it was assembled.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Joel Whitmore




Location: Simmesport, LA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 342

PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 8:28 pm    Post subject: Wool linings         Reply with quote

Virgin wool, or wool that has not been chemically processed is what was used historically. The chemical process of dying and preparing the wool for dye rids the wool of the natural oils which make it waterproof. You can still get this unprocessed wool from online vendors if you search. Don't forget to search hide and leather sellers too. I had a scabbard which was wool lined and, unfortunately, while a novice was handling the sword he tried to put it back in the scabbard. The blade tip apparently caught on the wool lining and he simply tried to force the sword in the scabbard. Well, this ripped one side of the wool from the scabbard core and rendered it useless. I tried with coat hangers and various other instruments but I could not pull the wool back up to the mouth. From what I have read here and elsewhere you do not need to use wool to be historically accurate. There are rare surviving medieval scabbard that are not wool lined. No sword should be stored in it's scabbard for long periods of time. Good luck with your project and post up some pics when you are done.

Joel
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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks for the info Jared,

the wool i have has only a light dye, and it sounds like this should be ok, judging by your experience.

should make a nice cozy bed for my baby.

cheers, adam s
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 26 May, 2007 1:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What's the point in using wool in the first place if it does not have the oil that makes wool a viable lining?

M.

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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Sat 26 May, 2007 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
What's the point in using wool in the first place if it does not have the oil that makes wool a viable lining?

M.


well it's no great undertaking to reapply oil to wool which has been stripped of its own during processing.

keeping a sword in a close fitting wooden scabbard, the wood can leave marks on the steel if often drawn in and out.

wool lining keeps the blade oiled and clean, is an exta protection against moisture etc, and it is better for the steel when sliding in and out to do so against wool rather then wood.

of course, if you've got a crap blade, and it seems that most blades out there today are crap, then it certainly wouldn't be worth the bother - you wouldn't wrap up a toad in grandma's swaddling cloth would you.

if you are fortunate enough to possess something that merits great care and respect, however, then it is appropriate to treat it accordingly.

cheers, adam s
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 26 May, 2007 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah I missed the bit about it being a wood core. Not sure how I missed that...

M.

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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sat 26 May, 2007 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe there are possible problems with a lining of any kind that can become contaminated with some abrasive grit should dirt or sand stick to the oiled blade the grains would be hard to get out of the scabbard once there.

The original idea of using fleece inside the scabbard of protecting the blade from rust seems viable but the risk of scratching the blade may be worse than with no lining if the inside of the scabbard get dirty.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Sat 26 May, 2007 7:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Maybe there are possible problems with a lining of any kind that can become contaminated with some abrasive grit should dirt or sand stick to the oiled blade the grains would be hard to get out of the scabbard once there.

The original idea of using fleece inside the scabbard of protecting the blade from rust seems viable but the risk of scratching the blade may be worse than with no lining if the inside of the scabbard get dirty.



this is certainly true as a potential risk and is a risk which applies to all scabbard types to some degree. This is one of the reasons why it is good practise to wipe a blade clean before sheathing it.

cheers, adam s
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Sat 26 May, 2007 9:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We have good alternative fluids to work with other than lanolin today. If you are after preservation rather than historical materials in the scabbard, bear in mind the following.
There is no need to rely on original oils in the wool.
The wool fiber itself is hollow.
You can and should impregnate your seasoned cloth/wool lined scabbard with exactly what you want your sword to be in contact with..... (I like a light machine grade oil such as gun oil.)
If you can get as close to "virgin" 100% wool as possible (in my case the lining for coats was the best I could find) the better off you are. If you have kept it somewhere very dry, you should be able to apply light oil (gun oil or clock oil) and displace water vapor just by lightly wiping it with your finger.

You can cut and glue wool into one half of a scabbard (assuming you are hollowing out two wood scabbard slat halves like most on this forum have done.) The 20% nylon content blended into the wool coat lining actually helps it adhere to 30 minute epoxy. The time to apply the oil is after you have glued the cloth into place and repeated your test of the stiffness it takes to draw the sword. If it is too tight, you should start over.

The compression test (assemble the whole mess unglued with weight on the slats, sword sandwiched between wool and hollowed slats) is pretty reliable for predicting how hard it will be to draw the sword from the finished scabbard. Use wood working clamps with wide boards covering the scabbard slats or stack heavy weights (paint cans, pots filled with water, or whatever you can manage to test it) to compress the scabbard halves together before you glue the two halves. Don't flood with glue and make sure you withdraw the sword and wipe it to prove it is "free" and not glued while the glue is setting up!

I have found that the use of carpenter's wood glue (aliphatic resin that loves humidity and exchanges moisture with it forever to some small degree) infallibly tends to result in some corrosion near the cutting edge of the sword if stored in the scabbard for many months. If you glue the scabbard cores together with epoxy, the bond will not be very strong. You will need to laminate over the shaped scabbard with model aircraft fiberglass cloth (I recommend the cloth that weighs 2 oz per square yard) and epoxy. If done like that, you could probably store the sword in the scabbard with the scabbard partially submerged in water. The full water proof glue laminated scabbard is my favorite. I only find slight corrosion at the portion of the sword near the mouth of the scabbard after storage periods of 4 to 5 months in the scabbard made with no "wood glue." The corrosion on the pommel and guard exposed to air is noticeably more rapid than that on the blade (if kept in an oiled wool lined scabbard) despite the fact that I wipe down all of the furniture with gun oil as the last action when setting it aside for storage.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Sat 26 May, 2007 9:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks for the info Jared,

that sounds good using fibre glass, no doubt that would make a most excellent and solid scabbard.

for now, i'm just making a semi-temporary one out of some reasonably soft wood for slats. I'm going to wrap twine around the scabbard in about six places for an inch or so in each spot. This, together with some godd wood glue should keep it together ok.

the wool i've got is actually a mix of 50% possun fur and 50% merino wool. It's certainly "virgin" soft and is of very good quality.

Folllowing your advice, i'll do my best to avoid glueing my sword into the scabbard! Razz

cheers, adam
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