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Stephanie Maks




Location: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 04 Jul 2008
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 67

PostPosted: Sat 20 Sep, 2008 6:35 am    Post subject: Medievil Scabards / Suspensions for Knives?         Reply with quote

I was looking over some of the information at Tod Stuff's website, particularily his article about which historical knife do I buy? and I got inspired to make a couple small eating/general purpose knives. My intention is that they would be something suitable for a lower class / peasant (although I don't know if the blades are appropriate -- they're just two small blades I happened to have onhand).

I have the knives done and I'm ready to make up scabards for them. So I've been searching through the myArmoury threads, looking at all the topics of knife/dagger suspensions that I could find, and of course there is suspension info on the same article at the Tod's Stuff site.

It looks like the most appropriate setup will be a simple leather scabard, with a leather thong suspension that hangs from the belt. And that leads to my questions.

Did everyone wear belts? What sort of belts would a lower class / peasant wear? Would both men and women have worn belts? I don't think they had pockets, so if one didn't have a belt, what else might one do to carry things?

A few years ago I made a knife and scabard, and made the thong long enough that it could be worn round the neck... would that have been appropriate / possible, or would such a thing be unheard of?

Cheers!



 Attachment: 110.93 KB
2knives_1.jpg
Two small knives; blades 3", handles about 3.5"
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Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
Joined: 23 Aug 2006

Posts: 289

PostPosted: Sat 20 Sep, 2008 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pretty much everyone wore a belt; although it might not be seen in a picture as it may have been worn on an under-garment rather than an over-garment.

Typical belt for a man would be 1/2" - 5/8" wide; no more (another hollywood myth) For lower classes stick to natural leather (undyed), grey/black (from oak galls) or red (horse manure)

For carrying items most men had a pouch/purse. Until the 15thC this appears to be fairly small (around 7" x 5"); towards the end of the medieval period the pouches grew in size, but not massively. A purse doesn't have to be huge, since you didn't own many possessions (certainly not ones you'd want to carry around with you) as a peasant
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G Ezell
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Location: North Alabama
Joined: 22 Dec 2003

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Wed 24 Sep, 2008 11:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just wanted to say, very nice little knives, needs the bronze and leather treatment seen on some of the old Scandinavian stuff. Looking forward to seeing them sheathed.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Location: Netherlands
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It does depend highly on which exact period you're looking at. By the end of the medieval period, scabbards seem to disappear (I believe the conclusion was that knive at that point were kept home in the drawer, rather then carried around).

If you're really into late medieval knives, I recommend to get a copy of "Knives and Scabbards (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London)". It's got a fantastic range of finds described in high detail. Another place worth looking is this website:
http://www.lorifactor.pl/anoze.html
A lot of the reproductions are based on finds from the above mentioned book. One of the things that's typical for the late medieval scabbards is that they're all highly decorated. Virtually none of them is just plain leather.
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Stephanie Maks




Location: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 04 Jul 2008
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 67

PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the information and feedback!

I was working on the sheaths last night in fact. I made wood cores a few days ago (not sure if wood cores are appropriate but they feel a lot better with them than without.) The leather is cut and stitched, but unadorned. I have some ideas for decorating, which I will try to do tonight. I'll post some more pics when I've got them finished.

Cheers!
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what I've seen, scabards for utility knifes have changed little since the middle ages (like the knifes themselves).
There are some varieties, like double scabards. These where used to carry a pair of knifes, usually one large-ish and one small and very sharp, to cover different uses.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Stephanie Maks




Location: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 04 Jul 2008
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 67

PostPosted: Thu 25 Sep, 2008 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks again everyone for the information, links, and feedback.

I have finished up the two sheaths/scabards tonight. They are admittedly a little crude, but in my defence it's my first project involving leather carving and staining.

The scabards both contain a wood core carved to fit the knife blade, then covered in 3-4oz veg tanned leather. They're suspended by a leather lace / thong.

I did some simple designs on the front of the scabards and a bit of Ogham runes on the backs. After the designs were done, I used a dark brown dye to darken the scabards.

One amusing thing - although the knives are slightly different, I was making both sheaths/scabards at the same time and basically with the same design in my head, and yet somehow I managed to reverse one of them, so one is 'backwards'.

Cheers!



 Attachment: 109.26 KB
2knives_5.jpg
The one on the left reads "Blessed Be" and the one on the right reads "Stephanie Made Me". At least, I think that's what they say! :)

 Attachment: 136.72 KB
2knives_4.jpg
The one on top is a simple knot/loop pattern repeated twice; the one on the bottom has my "mon" and then a knot/loop 'rope'
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

Posts: 253

PostPosted: Mon 03 Nov, 2008 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Stephanie-From all I've read, wooden cores or lambswool with the oil left in were the favored lining for sheaths. Since we don't have too many lambs around these days, at least in most places, wood is a good idea. It helps protect the edge too. And I think your sheaths are great!
Ja68ms
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G Ezell
Industry Professional



Location: North Alabama
Joined: 22 Dec 2003

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One's for right-handers, one's for lefties...
I can't comment on historical accuracy, but they are good looking, especially considering they are your first attempts at leather-work. I like the idea of wooden cores, makes for a very strong sheath (or is it scabbard?). The only criticism I can offer is the cores look a bit overbuilt and bulky, they could be thinned down a bit the next time.
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Stephanie Maks




Location: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 04 Jul 2008
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 67

PostPosted: Tue 04 Nov, 2008 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback! I'm still rather proud of them. I've been reading a lot about making sword scabards since I did these, and following all the scabard project threads closely.

These did turn out quite beefy - actually it didn't occur to me to shave the cores down, all I did was make them smooth. Not really an issue with a 3 or 4 inch knife but I don't want to make that mistake when I try doing some sword sized scabards in the near future.

Cheers!
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