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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Reproduction of the Jamestowne Fort Basket Hilt Reply to topic
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reproduction of the Jamestowne Fort Basket Hilt         Reply with quote

Just over a year ago, I opened talks with Craig Johnson at Arms and Armor about a reproduction of the beautiful and early "Feather Hilt" broadsword excavated and conserved at Jamestowne Fort in Virginia. Recovered from a well, the original sword is currently on display at the U.S. Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington. This sword has previously been described on this Forum and dates from c1610 - 1630 or so. There is a similar sword described in Mazansky who mentions that there are only three of so known examples, not counting the one recovered in James Fort. Needless to say it is an unusual and beautiful piece - at least to a basket head like me!

As my baby daughter was getting hitched in DC last summer, I made it a point to tour the museum again (nice work on the military history display, by the way!) and take some pics of the sword. The original is mounted vertically by itself in a plexiglass display case which allows pictures from at least three sides. As soon as I returned to Nashville, I sent the pics to Craig and work started in earnest.

I won't bore you with the number of times Craig related that he had to remove a piece and redo the work, but I can safely say it was not only indicative of his craftsmanship but also a credit to his patience. I understand even the cleaning of the hilt was somewhat of a chore.

Although I have yet to receive the final product, I wanted to share pictures of the sword without the final polish and the grip. Craig described to me a very interesting process for "pebbling" period leather grips and we have decided to go that route which should be something unique. The sword is a testament not only to the Basket hilt aas a style but an even greater testament to Craig's workmanship, patience and ability to turn dreams and pictures into cold, hard steel. The "pantheon" of Evans, Erickson and Johnson represent the ne plus ultra in this style!



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Last edited by GG Osborne on Thu 21 Apr, 2011 5:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is one of my favorite designs for basket-hilts. There are only a few examples of this style and I've wanted to see it reproduced for well over a decade. I'm excited on your behalf, but of course I'm also quite envious!
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Nathan! I thought you'd like this one!
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Chris Goerner




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WOW! That is absolutely stunning! Congratulations on a fine sword by a fine maker!
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 6:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice. I don't think A&A has done many baskethilts. This one is a fine and unusual design. Tthe Mazansky hilt you mentiioned - is it A21 on page 63?

I hope we see more pictures soon.

Go here to see some photos of the Jamestowne original.


Last edited by Roger Hooper on Thu 21 Apr, 2011 6:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Osborne-

I call dibs on the following antique hilt so that I can have it made before you do. Happy Wink

You keep picking swords that I want to have made. Laughing Out Loud



I'm just sayin'...

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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I* WANT !!! My ancesstor ( Douglas/Hayden ) came here in 1622 ( not Jamestown ) Purhaps he had a sim blade ???

Jack
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Robinson,

What makes you think one isn't already in the works?

Razz

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E.B. Erickson
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 8:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's looking really good! It will be interesting to see it with the leather grip when completed.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Apr, 2011 4:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another stunning piece, you lucky so and so. Your going to have post some group shots when you recieve these beauties.
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Apr, 2011 6:01 am    Post subject: A&A effort with a good deal of help!         Reply with quote

Thank you all for the very kind words and appreciation of our work. A&A is a group of folks that all contribute their talents, skills and sweat to making our pieces turn out the way they do. To place my humble name along side Vince and ElJay, both smiths who work on their own for most projects and create art that I would be proud to own, is praise beyond my worth.

In fact, in this case not only our efforts have been expended but recognition must go to Historic Jamestown for their excellent photos and their interesting comments and help not only with this project but others as well, this is not the first time they have helped with a part of Mr. Osborne's armoury Happy To E.B. Erickson who sent me a great deal of information and invaluable comments about his insight to these hilts and ideas about the bits that where missing. It would not be as good a hilt with out his sharing of information. Also the pictures that folks had taken at the museum.

We truly live in a time of riches for such access and sharing, not that long ago those of us who ran in these circles, without the internet, often where working from a fuzzy one view photocopy. In this case we had a wealth of information which allowed us to see most of our mistakes early on Eek!

Again thank you for your kind comments, but I would be remiss if I did not share the appreciation with the whole shop for while I am often the voice and fingers on the keyboard for A&A we are a team and I am not the soul craftsman who achieves these things.

Humbly yours
Craig
Happy
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Henrik Bjoern Boegh




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Apr, 2011 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just lovely... Well done! Can't wait to see how the handle turns out or how the entire finished sword looks.

Cheers,
Henrik

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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2012 8:01 am    Post subject: Re: Reproduction of the Jamestowne Fort Basket Hilt         Reply with quote

Hi GG

Another beauty that I'd missed .... excellent job Craig, and congrats to GG !
(guess I've been away too long so sorry if I'm bringing up pieces that you guys have already posted about).

If I recall Vince took pics of the original so I'd have to check my records and search out what I have on hand.

Again, any new shots of this completed piece ?

Take care, Mac

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2012 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With Craig Johnson from A&A's permission, here are some photos of the completed sword. I do not have a photo of the whole sword.


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Jamestown basket-hilt as created by Arms & Armor

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Jamestown basket-hilt as created by Arms & Armor

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Jamestown basket-hilt as created by Arms & Armor

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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2012 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Nathan & Craig !

Wonderful work, Craig & Co..... and nice photos to boot !

I'm curious about the wire wrap on the grip .... did you purposely not carve recess in the wood for the wire ?
Does it require a gloved hand or does it feel comfortable in hand ?

Again, nice work and thanks for posting those Nathan

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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2012 4:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome.... very nicely done!
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2012 6:07 pm    Post subject: Grip         Reply with quote

Hello Mac

Great to hear from you my friend.

Thomas McDonald wrote:
Thank you Nathan & Craig !

Wonderful work, Craig & Co..... and nice photos to boot !

I'm curious about the wire wrap on the grip .... did you purposely not carve recess in the wood for the wire ?
Does it require a gloved hand or does it feel comfortable in hand ?

Again, nice work and thanks for posting those Nathan


I found the grip to be quite comfortable, I would use it with no qualms bare handed. Though my hands might not be the norm Eek!

The grip actually was quite a project as in discussion with Glenn he allowed me to explore the idea of doing an authentic "shagreen" style grip. This took a little bit of research and some trials, oh ok a bunch of trials but got a pretty decent representation. The tradition of using seeds to impress small bumps on the surface of the leather that imitates ray skin. We where trying to do a traditional style grip that one of medium to lower means may have had on the sword they carried to the new world.

Best
Craig
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2012 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And I must say it turned out rather well! While it is certainly an unusual grip from a reproduction standpoint, it seems to fill a void between the smooth leather or leather with cord or strip backing and - as Mac mentioned - wire wrapped grips with recesses for the wire. I like to think of it as an evolutionary piece and appreciate Craig making the suggestion and then taking a lot of his valuable time to experiment to get it right. I'm glad everyone seems to like this hilt, although from conversations with Craig during the year long build, I get the impression someone would have to talk long and fast to get another one made! Razz
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Jan, 2012 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Nathan

If you do decide to have that basket-hilt made (Fig. 134, Page 234 in David Caldwell's "Scottish Weapons & Fortifications 1100-1800") I have some really great pics of it that Vince mailed me a few years back (unfortuately they cannot be posted publicly as Vince shot them at the Reserve Collection, Edinburgh, and is under obligation to keep them private).

Dr. Caldwell's book, c. 1981, lists it as from the Scottish United Services Museum (No. 1930-20)
Vince noted that it's listed now as "Reserve Collection, Edinburgh, H 1993.608".

Interestingly when viewed from inside the basket the conical pommel is filed flat at the grip, where the guards meet, similar to what Vince saw on an original S-hilt that he once recreated, and I once had in my collection.

I believe there was a version of this "feather" basket-hilt made that someone on NetSword once posted, but ,although nice, never really captured the wonderful look of the original.

If Vince gives me permission I will scan & send ya the pics and let you see what he snapped.
(But again the pics must stay private)

Take care, Mac

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Mr. Osborne-

I call dibs on the following antique hilt so that I can have it made before you do. Happy Wink

You keep picking swords that I want to have made. Laughing Out Loud



I'm just sayin'...

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Wed 25 Jan, 2012 8:17 am    Post subject: Kirby Wise ?         Reply with quote

Hey Nathan

I found a few pics of that other reproduction that was originally posted by "Chuckie" at NetSword.

I think at the time we all thought it to be the work of Kirby Wise .. ?

Mac



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'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
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