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Einar Drønnesund





Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2011 6:03 am    Post subject: Albion Squire line viking DIY "upgrade"         Reply with quote

I decided to try and fancy up my squire line viking sword, so I removed the leather from the handle and filed down the wood just a little bit, as i think the original grip is a bit too broad for comfort at the cross end.

Got a spool of 0.6 mm silver covered copper wire from a crafts shop and twisted about 22 meters of it into a 10-11 meter double twisted wire with an electric drill. I needed about 8-9 meters of the resulting thread to cover the entire grip. I smeared some epoxy on the wooden core as i wound the wire on, and it seems very secure, and provides a surprising amount of grip in the hand, even without gloves.

I then covered the wrap in electrical tape to protect it while i smoothed out the rough finish on the pommel with 180 grit sandpaper, before moving on to finer paper, and finishing with a scotch brite pad to give it a nice satin finish. I did the same thing with the blade. Spent quite a bit of elbow grease to get the finish closer to the level of my Albion NG Squire. In doing so, I took some of the crispness of the ridges of the fuller away though, since i accidentally rolled the sandpaper over the ridges several times while sanding the flats. It still looks nice though, and I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Finished by gluing a loop of twisted wire around the pommel, fitting it into the groove left by the casting.

The hilt wrap was surprisingly easy to do, and I'm fairly happy with the result, although I think the sword is a bit too plain for the silver wire to really "fit" the look of it. I think I might redo it with a bit thicker steel wire instead with a bit of a darker shine to it. The groove in the pommel is also very rough and wider in places than the wire by a noticable margin, so I'll redo that as well with 0.8 mm wire instead.

Tomorrow I'll try to put an edge on it, as I think it'll be a pretty damn good cutter if I can get the edge bevel right. I would appreciate any tips on how to put a nice, even edge on it with basic sanding tools and files.

I apologise for the quality of the picture. The camera on my phone isnt the best.

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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2011 6:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Einar, looks great! If you take the wire off the handle later, you should leave it on the pommel. I think that especially looks awesome.

By the way, mind telling us how you twisted the wire with a drill? I'd love to learn that technique.
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Einar Drønnesund





Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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Posts: 200

PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2011 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:
Einar, looks great! If you take the wire off the handle later, you should leave it on the pommel. I think that especially looks awesome.

By the way, mind telling us how you twisted the wire with a drill? I'd love to learn that technique.


Thank you Happy

I'll replace the wire on the pommel with a thicker guage. I like the way it looks too, but the rather ugly jagged groove shows in places because its not of uniform width.

The twisting is dead easy. I followed this tutorial, and it worked perfectly. The last few inches of the wire on both ends will twist tighter than the rest, so just trim that off when youre done, and the rest of the length will be nice and uniform.

http://www.britishblades.com/forums/showthrea...dle-how-to
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2011 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Einar, this looks very nice! Custom work like this is easier to do than most think and makes a sword unique.

There are finds of non-twisted wire, twisted wire and even knotted and weaved bands of sorts on sword handles from the viking age. I want to try experimenting with non-twisted wrap and added loops of twisted at the pommel and crossguard for my next sword handle. For that I'll definitely look into using a power drill like you did.

Getting the bevel and edge sharpness right is easiest done with an Accusharp knife sharpener for a straight standard angle single bevel, the type with a sort of saber guard for the hand. Lots of other ways to do it, but I mostly use these and with some practice you can take a semi-dull blade and make it razor sharp with this.
In Sweden these cost about 200 SEK at the Clas Olsson hardware store.

http://www.accusharp.com/

There are also sharpeners with two sides cutting different angles and creating a double bevel. Double bevels are strong and retain their relative sharpness longer than single bevels, but are often not the best to cut practice targets and are far harder to get really sharp. Iv'e gone from initially using only double bevel to using single bevels and experimenting with hollow bevels on some of my blades.

Various other ways have already been described in threads on this forum and SFI. Some prefer to clamp the sword to a bench and use a similar hand sharpener, or even power tools. Just be careful using power tools because you can burn the edge if it gets too hot, with a telltale gold, then brown and finally black spot, and it loses tempering. Sometimes you have time to see it start to form and anything from seconds to a minute or so to react. Have a bowl of cool water or similar to cool it with immediately if this happens.

If you want a hollow bevel, which is best for tatami cutting but makes it less durable vs hard targets, then there are other similar hand sharpeners that have two ceramic rondels that cut hollow. This doesn't necessarily give a sharper edge and often a more ragged looking one than the straight bevel made by the accusharps, but it cuts fibers more easily.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Einar Drønnesund





Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2011 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello, Johan, thanks for a very informative post. I was actually thinking about using an accusharp since i saw them at clas olsson this weekend. I've read about them before, and IIRC the general consesus is that it cuts too steep of an angle for knives, but that sounds about right for a sword, so I think I'll try it.

I considered using a fine flap disc (lamellar disc) on my angle grinder, but even though i use angle grinders in my work, I dont think I dare use it on my sword. They cut very aggressively, and one little slip up can ruin the edge.

And yeah, you're right, putting a personal touch on a sword isnt all that hard. Just takes some effort and patience. I have an Angus Trim Phat Bastard bare blade that have been sitting around hiltless for years, and this has inspired me to finally do something about it. I also have a Paul Chen Dark Sentinel that I'll try transforming into a messer of sorts.
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Einar Drønnesund





Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jul, 2011 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've redone the wrap with a blackened iron wire in a herringbone pattern, and i'm much happier with the look of this. It fits the simple sword much better than the silver, I think. I used some steel wool to bring out a bit of shine in the wire, while the recesses stayed dark, and I really like the way it came out. Its not perfect, there are some gaps here and there, especially at the ends, and there is some work to be done to remove some excess epoxy, but overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out.



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Lewis Ballard




Location: Houston, TX
Joined: 27 Dec 2009

Posts: 66

PostPosted: Tue 12 Jul, 2011 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Einar:

The rewrapped grip looks much better! I thought your first wire wrap made a definite improvement in looks compared with a "box stock" Squire Line Viking, and the second is even better. I also think the wire wrap on the pommel gives distinctiveness and class.

These kind of DIY upgrades are very inspiring.
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Einar Drønnesund





Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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Posts: 200

PostPosted: Tue 12 Jul, 2011 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lewis Ballard wrote:
Einar:

The rewrapped grip looks much better! I thought your first wire wrap made a definite improvement in looks compared with a "box stock" Squire Line Viking, and the second is even better. I also think the wire wrap on the pommel gives distinctiveness and class.

These kind of DIY upgrades are very inspiring.


Thanks, Lewis. I have a couple of bare blades that need hilts, and I'm seeing wire wraps in their future. I'd like to try a couple of different styles, but I dont think I'll go back to the silver wire on any of them. I like the look of the blackened iron much better.
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2011 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That Herringbone wrap looks great!
I find that with wire grips the best grip is had with thin leather gloves, even wet ones with blood, sweat or rainwater where a wood handle with no wrap feels like holding on to a piece of soap. I still use a safety loop for cutting though.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Einar Drønnesund





Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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Posts: 200

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2011 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan Gemvik wrote:
That Herringbone wrap looks great!
I find that with wire grips the best grip is had with thin leather gloves, even wet ones with blood, sweat or rainwater where a wood handle with no wrap feels like holding on to a piece of soap. I still use a safety loop for cutting though.


Thanks, Johan.

Yeah the wrap is certainly very, very grippy. Much moreso than the first silver wrap, and the original leather. So grippy in fact that I think that any prolonged use without gloves would be fairly uncomfortable. Before I ever held a wire grip sword, I assumed they would be kind of slippery, but thats not the case at all.

I used 0.6 mm annealed blackened iron wire for this, and it doesnt have a polished surface like stainless wire does. And just buffing the surface with steel wool after it was all wrapped up makes it looks like its been used for years, rather than being brand new. Its also really really soft, so its easier to work with.
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