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Michael B.
Industry Professional

Location: Seattle, WA
Joined: 18 Oct 2007

Posts: 367

PostPosted: Sat 12 Feb, 2011 5:38 pm    Post subject: Silk Purse out of a sow's ear         Reply with quote

I have undertaken a project during my down time from work in the living room, much to the fiancee's distress.

The sword originally started out has a Paul Chen Hanwei Practical Sword, a sluggish beater of a sword. Here it is before I ripped off the plastic and epoxy handle.

Almost 2 years ago I stripped it all off, and the blade sat in the corner waiting to be resurrected. I had originally played around with the idea of cutting it down and making a long baselard dagger. Then the Albion Moat Sale happened. I ordered guard from them, pictured here:

This piece also sat in my project drawer for awhile until my fiancee's parents were traveling through Madison and bought me a pommel, (they also bought be a longsword blade there too for Christmas, but more on that later). Anyway. Here's the placement of the parts.

The proportions looked alright to my eye, and a fast balance test with the loose parts teased at a good balance. I cleaned and polished up the guard, using a dremel to clean up some of the rough areas and did the same with the pommel. I put the first couple layers of bluing on as well.
Since the guard hole was too big, I shimmed it a bit with wood, then used JB Weld to secure it in place. For the pommel, I had to reshape the tang a little to make it fit, but got it really snug, I didn't get it all the way through to do a peen, I'll save that next step for another project. I JB Welded that in place as well.

Next I took some wood (it may be basswood, or perhaps popular, it was sitting in my drawer), split the block, carved out the grove, speared epoxy all over that, and clamped it tight. I purposely made it too long and slowly sanded down the ends so I could take a rubber mallet and gently tap it in place ensuring a tight fit.

After letting it dry over 24 hours, I took it out, and using a chisel, and some carving tools, shaped the handle, a good sanding now and then to smooth it out. Here I'm holding it to get an idea of the thickness.

Once I was happy with the handle, I wrapped it in tule, gluing it down, then I wrapped that in pig suede leather scrap, and wrapped it up. Cut it away and....

I polished up the bluing a bit more, and since this picture was taken, cleaned up the tule strands and put a small amount of gilt in the grooves of the guard. It feels like a real weapon now, and is greatly improved. The blade rings nice when crossed with another, and there's no strange vibrations in the handle. The COG is around 3.25" from the guard.

Overall, it only took me a couple hours (not counting drying time). Next up, I'm going to tackle my first scabbard for it to get anyway from the crappy fiberglass one they sent with the original sword.
Michael Bergstrom
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David Teague

Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Sat 12 Feb, 2011 6:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think I'm the one that said This is proof that you really can make a "Silk Purse out of a sow's ear" after Mike showed me this after a WMA class a few weeks ago..

It handles quite well and is light and lively in the hands...




This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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