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E Sideris




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 08 Apr 2010

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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jun, 2010 7:35 pm    Post subject: Felt-lined scabbards?         Reply with quote

I know that it's common for well-made scabbard cores to be lined with close-sheared sheepskin, and as felt is obviously made of wool I was wondering if there was any historical evidence for its use instead, or at least modern attempts thereof. Does it hold lanolin as well as sheepskin? Have there been any complications with the oiled sheepskin and the glue holding it to the core? Would a non-water-based glue be preferable to water-based for attaching the felt to the core, were one to oil it after? Do I even know what I'm talking about?

Thanks,
Elias
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jun, 2010 9:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have been using wool felt that is intended for lining coats (Melamine or Melton 50% wool / 50% synthetic material ordered in natural color or camel color from fabric.com). It seems to hold gun cleaning oils fairly well, and I have not had much trouble storing swords in the scabbards in a humid SE U.S. climate. (I oil the felt before gluing scabbard halves together, glue the felt with a thin coat of epoxy, and oil the sword well when initially inserting. The only corrosion seems to occur at cutting edges where I would say the wool glued into scabbard half slats did not actually mate up perfectly.)

The main problem that I initially encountered is that if the felt is left flush with the scabbard mouth, a careless insertion of the blade can tear it away. The solution that has worked for me (based on a posted suggestion from one of our forum members) is to sew the felt up like a sock outside of the scabbard, and turn it back over the mouth. (Sort of like folding cuffs for pants legs or shirt sleeves that are too long.) I carve some excess wood off of the scabbard mouth to make room for the "turned down wool cuff", which is glued down to the outside of the scabbard just below the mouth area.

Anyway, I have had something like 3 Albion swords stored permanently this way for the past 3 years inside of Melton wool blend felt lined scabbards. Quite truthfully, the exposed pommels (oiled at the same time as the blade when inserted) seem to tarnish faster than the blade stored inside of the wool blend felt lined scabbard cores.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:08 am    Post subject: Re: Felt-lined scabbards?         Reply with quote

E Sideris wrote:
Does it hold lanolin as well as sheepskin?
Mind that all lanolin is washed out when you make felt. In order for the wool fibers to cling together to form felt, you first need to remove all the fat. I don't know of historical scabbards with felt, but I do know that textile was used a lot on the inside (f.e. iron age scabbards from the UK). I've made a scabbard for an iron age knife as well, and glued the textile with hideglue, then rubbed in a lot of sheep fat (not lanolin, that is only on the wool) before assembly. It works great Happy
Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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E Sideris




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 08 Apr 2010

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 2:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the fantastic tutorial, Jared! I was thinking I might possibly try to remedy the insertion issue by cutting the felt inserts longer than the mouth of the scabbard and cutting them flush with the leather rain flaps, and then sewing them together on each side.

And Jeroen, I figured I could just apply extracted lanolin, but I haven't experimented with other oils as I'm new to this. By the way, I've always been a fan of your work; it's exquisite!
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Mon 21 Jun, 2010 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a side note I'd recommend NOT using commercially available dyed felts. Well, not unless you want a colored sword. I had a green bladed Arms and Armor German Bastard Sword for a while...

According to Oakeshott amongst others there is evidence to support historically felt lined scabbards in later period swords.

TRITONWORKS Custom Scabbards
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 21 Jun, 2010 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the way, not ALL fine scabbards were lined. Depends on the period.
-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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