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Julien M




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 12:43 pm    Post subject: MRLTowton re-wrap         Reply with quote

Hi all,

First I'll say a few words to introduce myself. My name is Julien, I'm a French born guy now living in London. It is my first post on myArmoury, but like many I have been crawling this forum daily for years now, trying to educate myself further in the matter of swords and learning about the treacherous subtleties of the modern replica market.

As far as I can remember, I have been interested in matters related to swords. I was (and still am) a Tolkien enthusiast, I studied history in university (even though I then spent most of my time then playing RPG at night at the time). My interest in swords became more specific when I became eager to find a "real sword" on the internet 5 years ago. The rest is easy to guess, since anyone who seriously asks himself that question should end up posting here after buying a handful of Ewart Oakeshott books and a few carbon steel blades.

My "collection" is very modest at present. My first sword was the well known Towton sword, shortly followed by a dynasty forge 1060 katana. I also own a genuine 1851 French Infantry short sword and a rather crude Guadeloupian machete (perfect for practicing polishing). I have been satisfied with those for a while now, but Im afraid it wont last since Ive had my eyes on the Albion Crecy for too long now.

Now back to the topic of this post: making a new grip for the Towton. It is a well known fact that most windlass swords come with rather low quality grips. For all its improvements, the Towton was no exception. The grip is far too thick, made of poor quality leather, and worse, allowed no secure grip on the sword. The sword being rather slender and nicely proportioned, I had been keen on improving it the minute I took the sword out of the box. Though Ive never seen nor touch an Albion sword yet (if someone is willing to show me one in London Id be interested!), I found their grips to be very elegant and decided to try my luck at doing such an handle for my Towton. Ive been reading thoroughly every post written on the subject of grip wrapping on myArmoury (especially Peter Johnson post) as well as Sean Flint customisation guides. All very precious advices that gave me a fairly good idea of the process.

But since it was my first try, two things really inspired me to start on the right foot: the short Albion video (how its made) were you can actually see how they wrap a sword (its brief, but I noticed that there was no cord underwrap, that the pattern were actually an imprint of the overwrap, I could have a better idea of the thickness of the leather used, how the raisers are placed and so on). The second is Greyson Browns wrapping of a maglite. Since I was sure to screw up the first attempt better make those mistakes on a worthless object than on the sword itself. So I did a quick and crude try on the first thing at hand, a large pen. I tried different combinations on it, with and without underwrap, different overwrap cord size, different raiser sizes etc and made all possible mistakes you can think of. From that I could decide that no underwrap would do best. My advice to all that want to attempt such an endeavour is not to skip this crucial trial step.

I wont go into too many details, the process is well known here Im sure. For materials I used cotton twine for the raisers, very thin lamb skin (a nightmare to find, prices on the net are off putting toofinely found plenty for 5 pounds a meter in a London flee market), nylon cord for the overwrap, and epoxy to bind it all. I did a lot of reshaping of the wooden grip before, using sandpaper and files.

Conclusion:

I am rather pleased with the results, but couldn't avoid a few mistakes. I did clamp the sword to allow better control during the overwrap but as a result I was hardly able to check the side facing the ground. Also I wont try to pass over the raisers again when doing the overwrap, it leaves a mark and I wanted them well defined (next time Ill cut the cord, attach a weight and will continue overwrapping using a new bit of cord on the other side of the raiser. Finally, I wont use epoxy again for that kind of work, it is damn smelly when youre working indoors, but its also too thick and increases the risks of getting bulges and other oddities. Ill go for a lighter glue next time (any suggestions btw?). Ill probably let this grip sit for a few month, take it off and do it all over again to get it better.

Pictures attached, looking forward to read your comments!

Cheers,

J.



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Last edited by Julien M on Tue 26 Feb, 2008 4:29 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Julien M




Location: London
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a closeup and a shot of the back as well, less satisfying (you can see marks on the raisers I was talking about previously).

Cheers,

J.



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Last edited by Julien M on Tue 26 Feb, 2008 1:29 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Richard Gessman




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, for your first serious re-wrap that turned out extremely well, it looks much better than I could have done.

Edit: Looks like you posted the second picture while I was writing. Happy

Even with that crease being visible, the wrap still looks very good. And if you do end up trying it again, I'm sure it will turn out even better.
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Corey D. Sullivan




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, very, very nice Julien. These lower-end swords always look worlds better with a proper grip wrap.

As for your question about glue, I've found that ordinary wood glue works well, though hide glue is better if you can get it.

Congrats, and welcome to the forum.

"He had scantly finyshed his saienge but the one armye espyed the other lord how hastely the souldioures buckled their healmes how quikly the archers bent ther bowes and frushed their feathers how redely the byllmen shoke their bylles and proved their staves redy to appioche and loyne when the terrible trotnpet should sound the blast to victorie or deathe."
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Gary A. Chelette




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very well done, that's all I can say. I have a Del Tin Bastard sword I'd like to redo and you may have given me the excuse to try.

It's ugly, but I bought it that way. The handle is loose as well.

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Dan Dickinson
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks quite good, especially for a first attempt.
I would second the vote for hide glue.
Dan
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David Sutton




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 3:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a brilliant job you did on your Towton grip, Julien. I think I would be loathed to rip it of and start again, this first attempt looks very good. You might have a little trouble shifting epoxy if you do decide to redo it. On the few occasions I've used epoxy (none of them sword related) it has set like concrete when mixed properly.

Did you do anything to the sheen on the hilt of your sword, it looks a little more satin than the way MRL/Windlass fnnishes them? Maybe its the just the photos? I used some sand paper and sword oil (finnishing with fine scotch brite and oil) to knock back that mirror sheen, on my MRL Ulfberht sword, to a nice satin. I think a mirror sheen looks a little gaudy and a historical.

What materials did you use for the wrap and where did you get them?

'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

Hypatia of Alexandria, c400AD
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Thanks a lot for your encouraging comments! You mentionned hide glue Corey, I've seen it on this forum once or twice. I'll look around see if can get some or will try regular glue next time.

David, I actually did a first wrap on this sword and was about to let it rest for the night when I realized that by binding it I uncovered two millimeter at the base of the hilt, just below the guard, showing the bare wood. After a good amount of swearing, I decided to take it of and redo it all over again. It came of quiet easily, the leather and cord having soaked most of the glue, but the epoxy was probably not completely dry too (of course that previous attempt showed no defect at all when I took the overwrap off Worried ) Regarding the hilt and blade, you're right, I've removed all that glossy varnish using steel wool, sandpaper etc. But I still need to finish it with some metal polish. About the material used, I've mentionned them all in the post above. The harder to find was the leather. I'm pretty sure the piece I have is lamb skin, bought in fieldsmarket (london, liverpool street tube station). Most of what is sold there probably comes from old leather clothes, but is perfect for that kind of use (and very cheap!)

Cheers,
J.


Last edited by Julien M on Wed 27 Feb, 2008 5:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Hugo Voisine





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb, 2008 8:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very well done Julien, especially for your first (or should I say second) attempt. Have you applied beewax on the leather, like Albion does ?
Que dites-vous ?... C'est inutile ?... Je le sais !
Mais on ne se bat pas dans l'espoir du succs !
Oh ! non, c'est bien plus beau lorsque c'est inutile !
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 1:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Hugo,

I used regular shoe polish and cream to finish the grip. beeswax? The same wax used for wood and furnitures? Confused
Why not. What effect does it have on the leather? Does it contribute to that matte effect visible on Albion's grips? David, you use oil to polish your sword. I've used dry sandpaper only so far. What's the benefit of using oil when doing so?
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great job! It makes a difference in the handling, too, doesn't it?
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks a lot Sean.
It certainly changes everything in terms of handling. I placed the middle raiser to fit precisely the size of my right hand and the pattern on the leather definitely makes for a safe and comfortable grip. I just wish I wasn't living in a flat...can't afford as much swinging about as I'd like to Big Grin
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julien M wrote:
Hi Hugo,

I used regular shoe polish and cream to finish the grip. beeswax? The same wax used for wood and furnitures? Confused
Why not. What effect does it have on the leather? Does it contribute to that matte effect visible on Albion's grips? David, you use oil to polish your sword. I've used dry sandpaper only so far. What's the benefit of using oil when doing so?


I'm not Hugo, but oil is used to resist rust, but can also be used with an abrasive like a Scotchbrite pad for a nice finish. We have an entire article on care and maintenance for those who aren't familiar with it.

Julien,
Hello and welcome. Happy That grip rewrap looks great. Nice job!

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julien,

Welcome! That looks really nice. I like the different sizes of risers by the pommel. That is really classy.

I wish I had practiced a bit more before doing my first one. I also need to find some better leather, but, as you pointed out, the prices can be off-putting (good choice of words).

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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David Sutton




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julien M wrote:
Hi Hugo,

I used regular shoe polish and cream to finish the grip. beeswax? The same wax used for wood and furnitures? Confused
Why not. What effect does it have on the leather? Does it contribute to that matte effect visible on Albion's grips? David, you use oil to polish your sword. I've used dry sandpaper only so far. What's the benefit of using oil when doing so?


AFIAK the oil helps to lubricate the abrasve and gives a smoother, more even finnish. I started with some fine sandpaper (the type labelled as wet and dry) and then finnished with ultra-fine grey Scotch-Brite. The Scotch-Brite polishes the steel up well and gives a good satin sheen without, IMO a tacky, mirror finnish. You can polish out any minor scratches to with this technique too.

http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/sword-care.htm

I used Ballistol oil which came with my Albion Squire Line 13th Century Knightly Sword (Albion includes bottle of oil and some of the ultra-fine Scotch-Brite pads as a free maintenance kit). Ballistol oil is good stuff and its available from Albion Europe its not very expensive.

http://www.albion-europe.com/shop/sword_care_...277748103a

'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

Hypatia of Alexandria, c400AD
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Hugo Voisine





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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Albion use beewax on their grip to "seal" the leather and make it shrink to some degree (I may be wrong on this last portion)...

A good polishing compound for the hilt components and the blade would be some "Metal Glo" paste... I prefer to use it instead of oil. Gets more result quicker. Happy

Que dites-vous ?... C'est inutile ?... Je le sais !
Mais on ne se bat pas dans l'espoir du succs !
Oh ! non, c'est bien plus beau lorsque c'est inutile !
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julien M wrote:
I used regular shoe polish and cream to finish the grip. beeswax? The same wax used for wood and furnitures? Confused
Why not. What effect does it have on the leather? Does it contribute to that matte effect visible on Albion's grips?


I'm not Hugo, but I thought I'd chime in on this (missed it earlier, sorry). I don't know exactly what Albion uses, but I can give you my experience. I used shoe polish on my first ones both for color and finish. It works pretty well when using chamois, but I don't think it is the best choice for other leathers. I've used beeswax, as well, but it is hard to apply evenly, and I just don't like it, when we get right down to the bottom line. The thing I have had the best luck with is mink oil. This can be applied just like shoe polish, but absorbs a bit better, and coats evenly. I've also been told you can do the same with tre-wax, but I haven't tried that (seems logical, though). Most of the tre-wax that I have seen comes in huge quantities (at least by the standards of this kind of project), as it is intended for floors and other wood-related projects. Mink oil still comes in copious quantities, but is more affordable (if memory serves), and can be found at almost any store that sells even the most basic shoe care supplies.

I suspect the matte effect on Albion grips is more a question of the photography and/or the dye, as I find them to be relatively satiny (is that a word?) in person.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Chase S-R




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beeswax is easy to put onand does give a matte efect. Use a blow-torch and melt the beeswax on it will go on in globules than re-melt the wax this shrinks and hardens the leather as well as making the globs of beeswax dissapear.
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Feb, 2008 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks to you all for the warm welcome!

It's actually great to be able to discuss such matters (our hobby is often a lonely one, easily considered odd by most to say the least). Laughing Out Loud

All interesting suggestions here, and all duly noted...more things for me to add in my sword toolkit!
I'll begin with metal gloo since achieving an even satin polish is the next step on this project. I'm also working on matching the scabbard (it's still windlass shiny) with the grip. I'll use sand paper on it, then will re dye it in black and will apply shoe polish to finish. That should do the trick. I'm afraid I'll have to rule out hide glue and hot beewax for now. My current working area being the diner table, I'm pretty sure my girlfriend will prefer if I keep the mess to a minimum. Wink Wood glue should do fine for now.

I'm also working on those marks on the raisers too. It seems I can erase those cord markings by applying pressure with a metallic round object on it. You loose a bit of definition on the raiser but I intend to humidify that part of the grip and then bound cord around the raiser again very tightly. let see how that goes too.

Cheers,

J
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David Sutton




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Feb, 2008 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know exactly what you mean Julien. A friend of mine thinks I totally bonkers, if I ever tell her im going out shopping she asks me 'oh are you off buying more swords'? Big Grin

I hope you will post more pics of your projects and keep us up to date.

Also a source for period materials that I found on the net:


http://www.traditionalmaterials.co.uk/html/main.php

'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

Hypatia of Alexandria, c400AD
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