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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 11:40 pm    Post subject: A scabbard for my Duke         Reply with quote

I wanted to make a historically correct scabbard and suspension for my newly acquired Albion Duke, so I decided to use my Albion Tritonia historical scabbard as a model and see what happens. I was expecting disaster.

I am a complete OCD nutcase and I can't start something unless I know I can finish it in one sitting, so I took most of the day Sunday to complete this project. The scabbard took about 10 hours from start to finish, though in retrospect it only felt like a couple of hours.

For the last two scabbards I made (I’ve only made 3) I used balsa wood. Why balsa? First, because it’s ridiculously easy to work….the core takes about one and a half hours. Two because it is completely non-corrosive. I’ve left a sword in a balsa wood scabbard for weeks without a sign of corrosion. Balsa is a weak wood, though very strong for its weight (it’s extremely light), but for scabbards I think it’s strong enough. Any force that would snap the balsa scabbard in half, such as getting it caught between your legs, would also likely snap a hardwood scabbard. Also, with the sword inside, the scabbard is not likely to break. I’ve used balsa for a while now and have never had a problem with it.

I started with two 1/4” balsa planks and traced the outline of the sword and hollowed out the core using hand tools (a hand plane, a small sanding drum from a cordless drill sander kit and some hand chisels for fine work). Balsa is so easy to work that most of the hour and a half of making the core is fitting it to the sword. One the sword fit, I glued the two halves together using Elmer’s carpenters glue…the only glue I’ve tried that is, like the balsa, non-corrosive.

I put the glued core down on a carpeted surface and put a mail hauberk on it to weigh it down. A half an hour later, I took the core and used the hand plane and sanding drum to round it out (cut it to shape).

I used an Albion campaign line scabbard chape (they are friction fit and just pop off) off of my Earl scabbard and replaced it with a more appropriately pointy chape. I had to bend the Albion chape a bit, then fit it to the core so that it sits loosely on the tip (so that it’s snug once the leather cover is in place).

Next I took some veg tanned leather (2oz goat skin) and cut it to a rough shape (more than I needed), then glued it using the wood glue to one side of the scabbard only. I wet it and pressed and pulled it until it was smooth. I then drew a straight line down the middle of the back side (no leather side) of the scabbard and put glue on half of it (one side of the line). I glued the leather to that half, wet it, and creased it sharply along the straight line, then used a scissor to cut down the line. I repeated the step on the other side, being careful to match the seam (press it down so that it’s flush) with the other seam and once again cut it with a scissor. Surprisingly, the result was a pretty awesome looking seam. This was the first time I tried this technique…it’s very easy and beats the hell out of sewing.

I then fitted the chape and cut, folded and sewed the little triangular flap. I decided to get fancy and do some tooling, which turned out surprisingly easy. A ball point pen with no ink and a straight edge was all it took to make fancy looking tooling lines.

I dyed the entire thing oxblood and set it aside to dry.

Now for the hard part…

I stared at the Tritonia scabbard’s suspension until I figured it out, then cut the straps and dyed them black. I laced in the temporary belt buckle (I’ll get a real forged one at some point) and attached the suspension. Some fine tuning was necessary, but the entire assembly fit great.

The result amazed me. I was not expecting this to come out so well.




















New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/


Last edited by Michael Edelson on Sun 18 Nov, 2007 11:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 11:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote



Here it is next to my first successful scabbard/suspension project:


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Allen Andrews




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 4:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks great Mike. I would like to see it in person sometime.
" I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood. "

Faramir son of Denethor

Words to live by. (Yes, I know he's not a real person)
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allen Andrews wrote:
That looks great Mike. I would like to see it in person sometime.


You're not that far away, hop in the car and I'll see you in a few hours. Happy

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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 9:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice Michael!

You guys and your DIY scabbards- you make me jealous as I know I do not have the skills to pull this off. Oh, and we seem to have the same brown grip- I would rather have a red one but the brown is nice. My Duke's hilt furniture has also been treated with saltwater/vinegar and has a nice patina.

Great job,
Jeremy
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Very nice Michael!

You guys and your DIY scabbards- you make me jealous as I know I do not have the skills to pull this off. Oh, and we seem to have the same brown grip- I would rather have a red one but the brown is nice. My Duke's hilt furniture has also been treated with saltwater/vinegar and has a nice patina.

Great job,
Jeremy


Jeremy....you have the skills, believe me. I have no skills when it comes to leather or woodworking. At least I didn't when I started.

This stuff is a LOT easier than the scabbard makers want you to know. Happy

For example, those "incised" lines....10 seconds with an inkless ballpoint and a straight edge ruler.

My grip is actually oxblood, which is why I chose that color for the scabbard. The scabbard is a lot darker in person.

New York Historical Fencing Association
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http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really nice work, Michael! I think probably the hardest part about making a scabbard is the patience and willingness to go from start to finish, so kudos to you for that!
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 10:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Bill.

For me the hard part is starting...once I start, I can't stop until it's finished. I'm crazy that way. Happy

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Felix R.




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This looks really nice. I would like to start by myself, unfortunately I don´t have any wood working tools, what would I need? By the way speaking of the appropriate woods, Balsa would not be to my liking, cedar is not goot too as I have read in the other thread, so what would you knowledgable people recommend. I have already ordered a scabbard for my Fiore, but I also have some other swords asking for some nice piece of shelter.
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 11:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix R. wrote:
This looks really nice. I would like to start by myself, unfortunately I don´t have any wood working tools, what would I need? By the way speaking of the appropriate woods, Balsa would not be to my liking, cedar is not goot too as I have read in the other thread, so what would you knowledgable people recommend. I have already ordered a scabbard for my Fiore, but I also have some other swords asking for some nice piece of shelter.


I use a small block plane, a sanding block of course paper and some hand chisels (art supply).

People seem to like poplar.

Also, don't use anything but Elmer's carpenter's glue or something someone else used with good results. It's the only glue I've used of that doesn't cause corrosion. Other glues may be just as safe, but they may also not be.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 12:20 pm    Post subject: try shaping with microplane rasps         Reply with quote

thanks to a tip from another member the last two scabbards I have made for my swords I have used microplane shavers, the ones that have snap in replaceable blades. They are relatively inexpensive, will work in either a push or pull stroke, work like a dream, and you can get multiple blade shapes (flat, oval, round, triangular). Makes the shaping go so much faster and easier. Stanley also makes a similar shaver although it only has one blade shape.

http://us.microplane.com/index.asp?PageAction...ategory=13

now that I have them I'll never go back to carving oval and rounded shapes with flat planes again. tr
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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome scabbard, I like them like this, simple in appearance with no embelishments. All business, no frills and still a beautiful piece of craftmanship.

As an aside, the more I see of the Duke the more it starts to edge out the Baron as my next Albion purchase.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 12:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Watson wrote:
Awesome scabbard, I like them like this, simple in appearance with no embelishments. All business, no frills and still a beautiful piece of craftmanship.

As an aside, the more I see of the Duke the more it starts to edge out the Baron as my next Albion purchase.


Thanks for the compliments.

As for the Duke...I never liked the Duke. I thought it looked brutish and crude compared to the Baron. I went to the New York Custom Knife Show intending to go home with the Baron, but when I held it, I didn't like it. I figured since I was there, I might as well check out the Duke. It wasn't instant love...but when I came back after lunch, the love was there. The Duke is a terrific sword...powerful, graceful and yes, brutish, but in a good way.

New York Historical Fencing Association
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J. Erb




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 1:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very fine work, indeed -- and you make it sound so easy! Wink
"What greater weapon is there than to turn an enemy to your cause, to use their own knowledge against them?"
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Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nicely accomplish, Michael. You know, as wonnerful as it would be for every one of our
swords to have beautifully handmade, hand-stitched, personal-fit, custom-of-the-line
Gucci-brand scabbards, I always end up wondering whether or not actual historical
scabbards were -- with exceptions, mind you -- a little more rough in looks and in
details; made out of what materials were generally at hand; and didn't necessarily
fit like a glove ...

( Which, of course, is not to say I'm on target ... )

Ah, and I see you have also discovered the quality and character not so readily evident
in Albion's Duke. A grand, elegant brute it is !
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like your scabbard in every possible way, right down to the colors. The moat sale chape looks pretty good on it too.

I think what I actually envy is the small amount of time you managed to finish your scabbard in! I usually spend more time than that on just on the wood core, but am working with hard woods and laminating for extreme strength to weight. This introduces a couple of days of curing time. Distressing and wet sewing stretched leather seems to be a 4 hour hate doing-love results affair for me as well.

It might be very helpful to others if you were to show a photograph of the back or stitched side of the scabbard where you had to figure out how to weave those straps through. Also, I don't remember anyone giving lengths of the split thongs or other details that would make it easier for first timers to estimate the scale of what they need to do to succeed. I keep a file of these "how to posts" for that one day when I will try one. So far, its pretty lean on dimensional information.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 8:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I like your scabbard in every possible way, right down to the colors. The moat sale chape looks pretty good on it too.


Thank you. It's actually not a moat sale chape, though I wish it was. I plucked it off of one of my campaign line scabbards.

Quote:
I think what I actually envy is the small amount of time you managed to finish your scabbard in! I usually spend more time than that on just on the wood core, but am working with hard woods and laminating for extreme strength to weight.


Hard woods have their advantages, length of preparation is not one of them. Happy

As a martial artists, I tend to think of the scabbard as something that can get in your way. If it gets caught between my legs or hung up in a tree or other obstacle, I'd rather it no be too strong. I know Fiore has some scabbard blocks, but I don't do Fiore.

In the 15th century, one of the techniques of scabbard making was to use very thin slats of wood pressed to the sword and wrapped in linen, then leather. This resulted in a scabbard that would flex rather than break. It's a neat idea.

Quote:
It might be very helpful to others if you were to show a photograph of the back or stitched side of the scabbard where you had to figure out how to weave those straps through.


That's a glue seam, not a stitch seam. I'm horrible at stitching, so the only thing on that scabbard that's stitched is the triangular flap. There is no real need to stitch the leather, and I'm not sure why they used to do it in period. Maybe their glue sucked. Happy

Quote:
Also, I don't remember anyone giving lengths of the split thongs or other details that would make it easier for first timers to estimate the scale of what they need to do to succeed. I keep a file of these "how to posts" for that one day when I will try one. So far, its pretty lean on dimensional information.


I'll take some measurements and post them over the long weekend. I did it by eye....I'm not much for measuring.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 8:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz wrote:
Nicely accomplish, Michael. You know, as wonnerful as it would be for every one of our
swords to have beautifully handmade, hand-stitched, personal-fit, custom-of-the-line
Gucci-brand scabbards, I always end up wondering whether or not actual historical
scabbards were -- with exceptions, mind you -- a little more rough in looks and in
details; made out of what materials were generally at hand; and didn't necessarily
fit like a glove ...

( Which, of course, is not to say I'm on target ... )

Ah, and I see you have also discovered the quality and character not so readily evident
in Albion's Duke. A grand, elegant brute it is !


Hi Matthew,

So what you're saying is that my scabbard is more historically correct than the perfect Albion one? You're the best. Happy

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov, 2007 8:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:


Hi Matthew,

So what you're saying is that my scabbard is more historically correct than the perfect Albion one? You're the best. Happy


* laughs * ... I'm sure someone would call me out on that, Michael !
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J. D. Carter




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PostPosted: Wed 21 Nov, 2007 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Modesty is admirable but don't sell yourself short. There is some inate ability at work there as well. Give me lumber and nails and I can make you something serviceable enough. Through glue into the scheme and I'l probably make you a mess.

You did quite a nice job there, well done.
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