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Gregory J. Liebau

Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Sat 03 Apr, 2010 10:57 pm    Post subject: Albion 13th Cent. Squire Scabbard/Hilt Project - (4/12/10)         Reply with quote

Hey folks!

So last week I received my first sword from Albion Swords Ltd. It's a Squire Line 13th Century Knightly Sword. I had big plans for the sword. It arrived and I can only say that it is beautiful and I can't wait for an opportunity to move up and get a Next Generation piece, because I can't imagine a production sword much more balanced or finely crafted than this one!

Within a day I set about making a scabbard for this sword. I have never made a scabbard before and honestly I haven't done much leather work in about three years... So it's been fun getting back into it! I did some light research regarding the historic methods of construction and studied typical reconstructions from some craftsmen who are known for their quality scabbards. I decided that I did not want to try to make a wood core, and opted to use a leather core for this project. So I began with a piece of 13 oz leather (a bit too heavy - but it was all I had) and cut out the initial shape of the scabbard core. I wet the core down and shaped it over the blade and then pressed it for the night under about 50 pounds of books on a flat surface.

The following day I drilled holes all along the seam of the core, and then stitched it up with waxed thread. Initially, I'd hoped that this single layer of leather would suffice and that I could dye it directly and attach the scabbard belt to it. I decided that it did not look as tidy as I'd like it to and that the initial cut in the seam left too many gaps for aesthetic interest. So I debated what I would use to cover the core with. I decided to use some ~4 oz. leather I have that I was using to make straps and belt blanks.

(note: I cut the excess waxed string after taking the picture)

After cutting this outside layer to shape, I similarly wet it down and trimmed it until it would fit well over the core, and then punched holes through its edges very close to the seam. Some hundred holes on each side made for a lot of lacing! I used regular 100% cotton sewing thread quadrupled up to stitch this layer together. Like I did with the core, I took two separate pieces of string and stitched them from top to bottom both times and then tied them off at the bottom. Before tightening I slipped the core out of the outer layer and smothered the front face of it (opposite the stitching) with gorilla glue, then slid it back into place before tightening the strings from bottom to top. It worked out very well.

I trimmed the lip above the blade insert, leaving it a bit tall in the end because I did the final bit of stitching too high up but it doesn't look bad, just tall! After this things got fun. I dyed the entire surface with Scarlet Red Eco-Flo dye from Tandy's and after that dried I went over the surface with a brisk layer of Fiebing's Leather Balm. I plan on doing this again when the project is complete so I didn't worry too much about it.

Next I let the scabbard sit a couple of days while I stared at it, dreading the next step... Making the belt! Finally, I got around to it today. I looked at some examples on reproductions, glanced over some period sources and relied heavily on a one-page sketch by Peter Johnsson that is publicly available regarding the construction of scabbards of this type. So, I started cutting some leather. The entire belt is made from two pieces of leather. The top piece that includes the loops and such was 36" long and 2" wide. The second piece was 46" long and 1.75" wide and consists primarily of the extension to go around the waist.

I won't even begin to describe the process of getting the belt done, but let me tell you it was a headache and I had a couple of instances where I felt like I was surely going to screw it all up. It turned out very well, though. I completely set it up and then removed it, soaked it in neatsfoot oil and then put it back together and stitched/tied it into place. I have not cut the extension yet so that I can tie it into place and I have not put the holes in the opposite end yet to allow this! After I do those things I am going to go over it extensively with a swivel knife adding some decoration and then I am going to put some more Eco-Flo dark brown dye on it.

There will be some other elements, but they are unclear as of yet... I am probably going to finish it and then send it to an armorer to have a custom brass chape made for it. The progress photos here are of the project as it has come along over the last five days since I started it. I hope you enjoy it!


My Flickr Galleries - Travel, Nature & Things

Last edited by Gregory J. Liebau on Tue 13 Apr, 2010 9:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gregory J. Liebau

Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Mon 12 Apr, 2010 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tooled and dyed the belt over the last week, rather slowly. It turned out rather sloppy at points (in my opinion) but it works! I'm really happy with this project, and now all I need is the chape, which I plan on making myself over the weekend!


My Flickr Galleries - Travel, Nature & Things
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional

PostPosted: Tue 13 Apr, 2010 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks very nice, Gregory. Keep us posted with updates as you progress! Happy
J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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