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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
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Posts: 456

PostPosted: Tue 28 Feb, 2012 6:18 pm    Post subject: Grip replacement?         Reply with quote

I recently purchased a hanwei lowlander. I believe that with proper support, the tang is at the very least capable of supporting the sword through dry handling and some light cutting. The current handle definitely does not give that support. It is loose in all directions, even twisting around the tang. I am making a new grip and having a keyed pommel made for it, but I am having more trouble fitting the grip to the tang than I would have thought.

My question is, were wooden grips filled with anything like epoxy, the way so many modern ones are? Am I simply not yet skilled enough to fit a new grip properly to a tang? Are wood slivers used to shim a grip "proper"? How was this done in the past?

I traced the tang onto two pieces of poplar, routered out each piece, but left the channel intentionally too narrow. Then I used a knife to cut out slivers up to my pencil marks, test fitting along the way.... Sand sand sand, and more sanding. It is too tight in some parts, gapping in others, I'm just not happy. Is the answer just keep practicing?

It doesn't have to be 100% historical, I am a practicing martial artist and I'm trying to learn Montante. It just needs to be solid enough to drill safely. I have a waster on order, but I'd rather not just hang this on the wall, it's well balanced enough, and with a bit of TLC, I believe it has the potential to be a rather nice drilling piece.

My total plans for it are, back fill the guard with solder, put on a tighter fitting grip, and install a keyed pommel, which rests on the squared off portion of the tang, rather than the threaded portion.

I know this sounds like a lot of work for a cheapy, but dropping a grand on a nicer steel piece is just not in the cards at the moment.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you, Matthew

"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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Richard B. Price




Location: Providence, RI
Joined: 06 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Feb, 2012 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Matthew, I have made a few grips in my time and I recommend a slightly different approach. I prefer a 'sandwich' of three layers, the top and bottom layer are the final width you are looking for while the middle layer is the thickness of the tang itself. Carve, rout or (like I do) scroll saw out the tang shape. After that all you need is some glue and clamps, once this is done and the sandwich is tight, simply sand or plane the core down to a comfy shape. I usually finish with a wrap of leather or wire.
As for filling it with epoxy, that's a fine solution, but in my case I never do that, simply because I like to take the core off to clean my blades once in a while.
I hope this is at least some help

"We shall never know lasting peace until the last king has been strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Tue 28 Feb, 2012 11:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Filling a grip with epoxy is a good idea. For shorter grips you can also use wooden or metal wedges to compensate for a too big tang hole, but don't do it on a longer grip because a narrow tang will bend INSIDE the grip and hit against it producing nasty cracking sounds. You can still use wedges on a longer grip if your tang fits well in the middle of the grip but is loose at the ends. But good epoxy in combination with good hardwood grip solves all the problems till the end of the sword's life.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Feb, 2012 1:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Epoxy fill works fine. Epoxy putty is also a possibility, but might be hard to do for something this length.

But what you're doing sounds fine, too. You don't need a perfect fit the whole way. Perhaps you can do a little epoxy filling, if you're fussy about small gaps. You might be able to use polyethylene film (plastic kitchen wrap on a roll) to cover the tang so you can do this without gluing the grip core to the tang, if you want it removable.

I thought my Lowlander would be fine for drills without doing anything like that, though. The grip on mine doesn't twist or shift, so quality must vary. Might do an epoxy fill one day.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Mike Janis




Location: Atlanta GA
Joined: 26 Feb 2007

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed 29 Feb, 2012 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Instead of generic epoxy, I recommend J-B Weld.
MikeJ
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Matthew P. Adams




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

Posts: 456

PostPosted: Wed 29 Feb, 2012 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So, an epoxy filler (or JB Weld) should be fine functionally. That's good to know. Is there any reason I couldn't grease the tang before assembly so I can keep it disassemble-able? would this affect the hardening process? I like the idea of non permanent assembly, but there isn't any real reason I want to take it apart again.

Also, I'm wondering about historical assembly methods. Was any kind of resin or what not used historically? Were the cutlers just way more practiced than I am? What about burning the tang into the wood? I toyed with that idea for a bit but didn't want to risk the heat treat.

That scroll saw sandwich method sounds like a time saver, I have two more hilts to make, one for a Hanwei Practical Bastard (best name for a sword, ever) as well as a Hanwei Tinker Longsword blunt, and I think I'll try this method for them.

"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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Julien M




Location: London
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Wed 29 Feb, 2012 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure I understand where you are running into difficulties.

Whatever method you use it should be pretty easy to get a close fit with the tang using the sandwitch method (two halves, hollowed and then glued together). Ten use 30 min epoxy (preferable as it will give you the time to finish the assembly (pommel, peening if you are going to do that etc). Just be generous while applying expoxy on the tang and wood, clamp, done. Such a grip won't be moving at all once the glue has set. Next day file or sand the grip to its final shape.

edit: I would avoid epoxy putty altogether as it will dry hard as stone. A good grip should retain a fair amount of flexibility otherwise it would crack under stress/vibrations.
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Matthew P. Adams




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

Posts: 456

PostPosted: Wed 29 Feb, 2012 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, if an epoxy filler isn't considered a poor substitute for a *perfectly* mated grip then I'm not having a problem.

I was trying to have full contact of all four sides of my tang to the hollowed out core of my grip, without any gapping, and I wasn't able to achieve that. So with a filler it's fine.

I was thinking of using this stuff, because I already have some, think its too brittle?

http://www.itw-devcon.co.uk/index.php?/devcon...agic_bond/

"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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T.F. McCraken




Location: Ingleside, Illinois
Joined: 13 Apr 2006

Posts: 128

PostPosted: Wed 29 Feb, 2012 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew, one website you should invest a little time in is Ye Olde Gaffers Project pages.
Here's the grip tutorial-
http://yeoldegaffers.com/project_grip.asp

You can do this without the epoxy by just being careful while following this nice procedure.

Hope it helps,
Murphy Cool

aka "Murphy"
See ya at Bristol Renaissance Faire!

The decisions we make, dictate the life we lead.

"I drank what?" -Socrates
www.celticfuryproduction.com
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