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D. Austin
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Sun 10 Aug, 2008 11:02 pm    Post subject: Strapends         Reply with quote

Hi folks,

I'm wondering if any of you can provide me with the information I need to create a historically accurate strapend for my new sword belt. I'm looking at the late 15th century if that helps.

Some historical examples I have seen, from the UK detector finds database for example, seem to me to be cast in one piece with a hollow end for the strap to be inserted into. I may be wrong, given only one angle from which to view these pieces. Also, some reproduction belts I have seen have simply two thin pieces of sheet metal, riveted together with the leather in between, creating a "sandwich" effect. Other reproductions appear to be constructed by welding pieces together which I imagine is not a period solution but may result in a piece that looks right.

The casting idea seems plausible to me, but I'd prefer to use steel which puts this method outside the boundaries of what my skills and tools can handle. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I should make a historically fitting strapend?
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Aaron Schnatterly




Location: New Glarus, WI
Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Reading list: 67 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,244

PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Find a book called "Dress Accessories" - one of the Museum of London books. Unless it's been re-released, it's out of print and bad-expensive, but the library may have a copy or be able to get one for you through ILL. It will MORE than answer your questions.

That said... that isn't immediately helpful, nor is it helpful at all if you can't find the book. Here's something that might be:

Can you solder? Silver-bearing solder is plenty strong. Soldering, brazing, and welding were all period solutions to many applications.

The more complex ones you are seeing are probably 3-part (most likely) or cast in one piece (like the deBures (sp?) effigy fittings from the 14th C)... and one piece is not within your reach in steel.

The 3-part ones have the decorative bits cast and there are "legs" that provide the space between the front and back plates to create the pocket that the belt strap is fitted to. Solder the plates on, trim the end of the strap to fit inside, rivet through. If you look at the Albion scabbards page, that's how I do the ends for the Baron or Brescia ends, for example. You can fabricate the inner piece with saws and files, and use steel sheet to solder the sides on. It's a lot of work, but yields some nice results.

Other options for less-complex ones would be folding a piece of metal into a U over the tip or over the side of the belt and riveting it on. Sometimes flaps were cut like a cardboard box and folded to make a closed piece from sheet stock.
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Peter Lyon
Industry Professional



Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 225

PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another very useful book is "Buckles 1250-1800" by Ross Whitehead. It is aimed partly at collectors, but is very good at showing the evolution and changes in buckle design and construction, and is probably less expensive than the Museum of London book.

As far as I am aware, cast buckles were almost always bronze or pewter, or occassionally more expensive metals (though usually silver and gold were thin overlays), and iron buckles were forged. Built-up steel buckles would be exceptionally rare, if they existed at all, because of the time needed - no mass production possible.
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Johan S. Moen




Location: Kristiansand, Norway
Joined: 26 Jan 2004

Posts: 259

PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Schnatterly wrote:
Find a book called "Dress Accessories" - one of the Museum of London books. Unless it's been re-released, it's out of print and bad-expensive, but the library may have a copy or be able to get one for you through


Dress Accessories, and the other MoL books, have just been re-released as paperbacks. Quite reasonably priced as well Happy.

Johan Schubert Moen
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D. Austin
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 9:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips guys.

Aaron, I have soldered silver, brass, copper and platinum before but never steel. I might have to try that. I think the time's worth it for the nice results but would also enjoy learning a new trick. The Albion ones look great by the way.
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