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Francisco Simões




Location: Portugal
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Feb, 2009 6:57 am    Post subject: The use of rayskin on a Western Medieval Sword grip         Reply with quote

I was wondering, what you gentlemen know about the use of rayskin on a European medieval sword grip?
Thank you
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Francisco

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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Feb, 2009 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know how historical it is, but I wouldn't recommend it. It would be like using sandpaper for a grip, as it's been used as a natural sandpaper in the past.
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Feb, 2009 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe it was commonly used on basket hilts in the British Isles in the 16th-18th centuries but cannot offer more than that.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Feb, 2009 7:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe Justin is correct. There are a number of Scottish basket hilts that have rayskin grips. Here's an example of an 18th century one:

http://www.firearmscollector.com/cat/cat_details.asp?id=223

Brian K. wrote:
I don't know how historical it is, but I wouldn't recommend it. It would be like using sandpaper for a grip, as it's been used as a natural sandpaper in the past.


There are different grades of rayskin, some of which are rougher than others. I don't know too much about it, but I believe different parts of the ray have larger nodes than other parts. The rayskin grips I've handled have been easier on the hands than wire wraps.

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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Feb, 2009 8:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I believe Justin is correct. There are a number of Scottish basket hilts that have rayskin grips. Here's an example of an 18th century one:

http://www.firearmscollector.com/cat/cat_details.asp?id=223

Brian K. wrote:
I don't know how historical it is, but I wouldn't recommend it. It would be like using sandpaper for a grip, as it's been used as a natural sandpaper in the past.


There are different grades of rayskin, some of which are rougher than others. I don't know too much about it, but I believe different parts of the ray have larger nodes than other parts. The rayskin grips I've handled have been easier on the hands than wire wraps.


I know that it has and still is used for sword grips, but it has also been used for sandpaper historically. The different gradients substitute well for different sandpaper grits. I also agree about wire wraps, ouch.

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Gabriel Lebec
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Feb, 2009 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know for sure that it is the same case for the basket hilts I have seen with this feature, but rayskin on Japanese arms is often lacquered, making it much easier on the hands. Raw rayskin can be rough indeed.

I don't recall ever seeing any medieval western swords with rayskin grips.

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Last edited by Gabriel Lebec on Sat 28 Feb, 2009 12:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Sat 28 Feb, 2009 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Isn't that what Europeans called (at least in later centuries) "shagreen"? It was definitely in fashion in the 18th and maybe 17th centuries and was used on all kinds of things, swords included.
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Francisco Simões




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Mar, 2009 4:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Either way, the use of it as far I understood, was from the 17th century foward, so there is no record of it beeing used on medieval period!
Godspeed
Francisco

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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Sun 01 Mar, 2009 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Isn't shagreen more commonly sharkskin?
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Richard M




Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
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PostPosted: Sun 01 Mar, 2009 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for the OT post, but this may be useful.
Bill Grandy wrote:


There are different grades of rayskin, some of which are rougher than others. I don't know too much about it, but I believe different parts of the ray have larger nodes than other parts. The rayskin grips I've handled have been easier on the hands than wire wraps.


The tanned rayskin you can get at Tandy is smooth and hard, the nodes are rounded and the whole thing is flexible, unlike raw rayskin. It is actually quite comfortable in the hand. One I did:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m282/shazm...s/Grip.jpg

Nothing historical going on there.

On another sword, when I did a wire-wrap, I found it too rough on my hand, so I took a file and knocked it down some, which made all the difference. I don't know about a historical precedent for this treatment, but I've seen some examples on modern swords where this appears to have been done -some of Vladimir Czervenka's work for example:

http://www.sword.cz/detailvik.jpg

I suppose the rougher treatment of either would be ok in a gloved hand.
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