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Brian D





Joined: 14 Feb 2012

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 9:51 pm    Post subject: Modifications to a Cold Steel Gladius         Reply with quote

Hello all! I'm planning on purchasing a Cold Steel Gladius Machete soon, but felt like making a few modifications. Firstly, I'd like to mod out the scabbard, which is a cordura affair with rivets and a rather unappealing tip. It would be nice if I could wrap it in leather and replace/cover the tip with some sort of metal chape. As for the gladius itself, I'd like to modify the hilt only slightly, perhaps wrapping the section with something resembling bone for contrast purposes. Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I've wanted a gladius since Latin class in High School (we learned five different ways to say slay before we learned to count). I've included the stock photos for reference.


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Brian D





Joined: 14 Feb 2012

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 9:56 pm    Post subject: Stock sheath         Reply with quote

Stock sheath photo.


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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,299

PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Out of curiosity, and not meaning to sound negative, but do you want a modern machete that is gladius-shaped, or something which actually looks like a Roman gladius? If the latter, cheapest reasonable-looking gladius that I know of is this one:

http://legvi.tripod.com/armamentarium/id366.html

You can get the same thing directly from Find-It Armory, and I have seen it offered elsewhere for as low as $75. Most reenactor groups will accept it straight out of the box, though I'd recommend replacing the baldric (rather flimsy!) and the pommel nut.

If you hope to modify that machete into something historical, I'd have to say it's a lost cause, sorry! But if you are happy with it as a machete and just plan to dress it up, go for it! I have a feeling that trying to wrap the grip is going to make it too bulky, unless it's only a layer of white tape.

Roman reenacting is what I've spent most of my free time on for the last 20 years, so that's just how I tend to think! I don't mean to denigrate anyone's fun project. But sing out if I can answer any other questions!

Vale,

Matthew
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm. The amount of work you would have to put into that Cold Steel to get a remotely accurate gladius would be very time consuming and expensive, and even then, I feel that it would be nothing like an actual gladius. I'd get one of the $65 militus gladii from the above webpage and save myself alot of time and effort - those look good for the price. Of course, you could also get an Albion bare gladius blade and make the guard, handle, and pommel yourself from some nice bone and hardwood components.

I'd just stay away from the machete though. It would cost you more in the long run and not look as good or function as well. Happy

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"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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Brian D





Joined: 14 Feb 2012

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick reply! I'd like a legitimate gladius someday for sure, but right now the machete's a better choice for my budget. There's little chance of it standing up historically, as you pointed out, but I'd at least like to make it a touch more presentable. The gladius itself only needs minor modding, such as the grip, but I'd at least like to modify/replace the sheath with something a little more presentable, and perhaps fashion a baldric for it. Any suggestions?
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Robert Rytel




Location: Pittsburgh
Joined: 23 Oct 2011

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 7:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.atlantacutlery.com/p-1059-qama.aspx

This blade is much more durable and will hold a better edge than that machete thing. Looks more realistic too. Modify the full tang grip to make it look more historical if you like. Even stock, it looks better than plastic.

This is the only blade from Windlass that I recommend. Even they can't screw up this sharpened car spring. It's pretty much indestructable. For 40 bucks, can't go wrong.
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 456

PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These are all well meaning posts but they don't answer the OP's question.

Save up and get a ______, isn't the most helpful of answers. I don't want to sound chastising at all here, and I hope it doesn't come off like that.

Here is a link to a scabbard how to by ye old gaffers. I think you would get the best results by ditching the sheath and starting over, instead of trying to modify it.

http://www.yeoldegaffers.com/project_scabbard.asp

As for trying to make the handle look like bone, I would paint it. I don't think anything you could wrap with would look solid like bone.

Of course if it were me, I'd save up and get that windlass. Big Grin

Welcome to the world of sword modification, its a slippery slope!

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,299

PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian D wrote:
Thanks for the quick reply! I'd like a legitimate gladius someday for sure, but right now the machete's a better choice for my budget. There's little chance of it standing up historically, as you pointed out, but I'd at least like to make it a touch more presentable. The gladius itself only needs minor modding, such as the grip, but I'd at least like to modify/replace the sheath with something a little more presentable, and perhaps fashion a baldric for it. Any suggestions?


Heck, I never even thought to include a link to my site! This might help:

http://www.larp.com/legioxx/gladius.html

Also this:

http://www.larp.com/legioxx/gladhnts.html

Scroll down to ideas on rehilting that qama blade that Mr. Rytel linked to. (And I agree with him, don't bother with any other "Roman" (or "Greek") items from Windlass!)

I've done a lot of conversions and upgrades over the years, and cannot overstate this: If you can get something that is better from the start, don't even look at the "cheaper" item that "needs some work"!! The Cold Steel machete has a flat, lifeless blade with a black finish and an overall outline which isn't very accurate, plus a plastic hilt and a junk scabbard (historically speaking!). This may sound facetious, but if you replace the blade, the hilt, and the scabbard, you MIGHT end up with something reasonably accurate. But how much time, effort, and money will you have spent by then? Can't tell you how many things I've piled up that I'm not happy with even after much sweat, swearing, and frustration. Save yourself the agony, save up a few more dollars, and get something that is usable right out of the box.

Or if you just like messing around in the workshop making stuff, cool! Dig a piece of scrap steel out of a dumpster or trash pile and make your own blade from scratch! Making stuff is why I do this hobby, and I'm also a dedicated cheapskate, so I am not one to push people towards the high-end custom-made stuff from the start. Never know what you can accomplish until you try. But given the choice, starting from Square One is easier than undoing all kinds of mistakes first...

Sorry, went into sermon mode! Us old guys.... Good luck and Vale,

Matthew
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Brian D





Joined: 14 Feb 2012

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 9:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, now I'm a bit mortified. The Cold Steel is, admittedly, a rather flimsy stamped blade. It is black, which has some weird appeal for me, but the qama is the first affordable alternative I've found. I might just get it, but I have very few tools with which to mod it. If I were to purchase the qama, would the base model be unsharpened, could I remove/sand those triangular bolt heads down, and simply engrave the standard pommel with an eagle? I'd settle for the standard hilt until I have decent tools. I might try to line the inside of the scabbard with fur for retaining/oiling purposes. Also, seeing as I'm based in CA, how much would shipping be? Thanks for the support guys. I think I've just saved 40 bucks.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,299

PostPosted: Thu 16 Feb, 2012 7:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian D wrote:
Wow, now I'm a bit mortified.


Nah, don't be! And don't think that you HAVE to follow laws laid down by us purists! Bottom line, if something appeals to you and meets your needs and desires, go for it. All we're saying is that if what you *want* is something *historical*, and not just Roman-influenced, there are better options than the Cold Steel machete. Many of us started out with cheap weapons, or things that we thought were better than they were, and later found out more and regretted our choices. Mistakes will teach, but you can learn from ours rather than making your own! Lucky devil...

Quote:
If I were to purchase the qama, would the base model be unsharpened, could I remove/sand those triangular bolt heads down, and simply engrave the standard pommel with an eagle? I'd settle for the standard hilt until I have decent tools.


Grinding or cutting the rivets will probably damage the horn grips, at least on one side. (And that "horn" could be plastic...) An easier mod would be to just file off the corners of the grip to make it kind of octagonal in cross-section, then file the rounded finger grooves (though that lower rivet could be a problem). The corners of the pommel and guard can be rounded off, too, but they don't have to be. I don't think I've ever seen an original hilt with eagles or anything else carved into it, except for an officer's traditional parazonium which sometimes had an eagle-head-shaped pommel. Not on a gladius, though. Plain is safe.

Mr. Adams, thank you for that scabbard link! Great stuff.

Valete,

Matthew
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Robert Rytel




Location: Pittsburgh
Joined: 23 Oct 2011

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Thu 16 Feb, 2012 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Atlanta Cutlery charges a few bucks for taking the blade to a bench grinder to put a quick edge on the Qama. The hilt is two black painted wood slab stocks on a fairly thick full flat tang. You could get away with grinding down those points a bit, or even just replacing them with rivets, but they do help keep a secure grip.
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 683

PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 5:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently spotted the Pompeii gladius from Find-It Armory SDK1171 in a store in Rotterdam.

For the EUR 99 (you can find them on American websites for USD 75 or so, I think) they asked for it, I think that would be a pretty good deal.

The good things:
- Correct materials: bone hilt, wooden pommel and guard, leather over woodf scabbard (unlined though)
- Correct looking blade and scabbard (I'm not an expert on Roman weapons though)

The problems:
- Lot of play in the hilt, which could easily be solved by filling it with glue / resin.
- Screw on pommel.

The unknown:
The salesman said it had a welded tang, I asked for him to disassemble it, which he did, but I could not see a weld line. I was hoping that Matthew has something to say about this, and perhaps also about the blade material. So all in all, I have no idea how suitable it is as a sword for fencing or test cutting.
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David Clark





Joined: 10 Feb 2009

Posts: 129

PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am getting a cold steel gladius machete soon just so I can do cuttings with it. I can't bring my self to actually chop anything with my swords that I spent real money on till I have made sure I have edge alignment and such down pat. Figure it would make a good enough stand in for several of my short swords. Big Grin
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,299

PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2012 4:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Avete!

Hoo, been a couple years since I saw one of the Find-It swords, and while we must have taken the hilt off I don't remember if there was a weld or not. Probably best to assume there is--it's entirely possible that they are not all the same! I'd use shims and maybe a little glue for keeping the hilt from moving. Use a square nut instead of the pointy brass cap nut, crank it down tight, and peen the tang over it. Simple!

No idea about the blade quality, either, unfortunately. It's probably comparable to the crap the originals were made of! Surely accuracy is better than superiority? (Bwa ha ha...)

I don't think there is any evidence that Roman scabbards were lined with fleece or anything, just (apparently) wood covered with leather. When blades are actually found still inside the brass scabbard parts, there clearly isn't a whole lot of room for much of anything between the steel and the brass! So thin wood and thinner leather. Very little bulk.


David Clark wrote:
I am getting a cold steel gladius machete soon just so I can do cuttings with it. I can't bring my self to actually chop anything with my swords that I spent real money on till I have made sure I have edge alignment and such down pat. Figure it would make a good enough stand in for several of my short swords. Big Grin


There ya go! Can't argue with that.

Matthew
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 683

PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Hoo, been a couple years since I saw one of the Find-It swords, and while we must have taken the hilt off I don't remember if there was a weld or not. Probably best to assume there is--it's entirely possible that they are not all the same!

No idea about the blade quality, either, unfortunately. It's probably comparable to the crap the originals were made of! Surely accuracy is better than superiority? (Bwa ha ha...)
You have a point... I guess the word "helicopter" didn't exist back then... Wink Anyway, on one hand I would really hate to see a sword break at the tang, on the other hand, I guess that Deepeeka swords are about the same quality. And since they are fairly short, the forces that the tang takes are not so great, so perhaps welding and poor materials are not as unacceptable as they would be on a longsword. Still it would be nice to hear from someone who has done fencing or reenactment fighting with such swords.

Matthew Amt wrote:
I'd use shims and maybe a little glue for keeping the hilt from moving. Use a square nut instead of the pointy brass cap nut, crank it down tight, and peen the tang over it. Simple!
Well, the one I saw had A LOT of play... Think a rectangular cross section tang of maybe 10mm wide in a hilt with a 15mm round hole... Eek!

(note: these dimensions are not accurate as I didn't measure them but just serve to illustrate the point)
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,432

PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hmm, if the OP just wants it to hvae something to slice things up with i sincerely doubt that it will be wallhanger grade crap. but nor will it be all that good
but hey if the local markets sold one of those id snap it up in a split second.
my advice,
paint the hilt the appropriate colours i.e brown hilt white grip
get rid of the blackening

and for scabbard
ive heard its not that hard

its just like you use a pair of thin strips to seperate two slabs of wood, with just the right sizes to fit the blade shape. wrap it in thin leather or even canvas (dunno about authenticity but its a cheap method), for fittings maybe just use brass sheet thats really thin guage and wrap it round the throat and chape end.
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