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Gary B. Ledford




Location: Southern California
Joined: 14 Feb 2009

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2012 2:35 pm    Post subject: My first project completed- WMA practice Italian longsword         Reply with quote

This is my first completed project posted. This is my version of a early 16th century Italian longsword. It is not exactly historical, but close enough for my purposes. I practice Fiore Italian longsword, and also intend to use it for a later period Marozzo spadone (though perhaps I will mount a longer Tinker longsword blade for this).

The crossguard and pommel are from an old Del Tin sword that Museum Replicas used to carry 2 decades ago. I picked it up on Ebay a few years ago, for more than I should have paid (about $300). However, imagine my excitement when I learned from a recent topic here that the furniture was from early 16th century Venetian type XVIIIe. Here is the link to the thread showing the originals, and the pics I posted of the old Del Tin version.

The blade is from the Hanwei Practical hand and a half sword. For Fiore longsword, and WMA practice in genaral, I like this blade better than the Hanwei Tinker longsword. One of the biggest challenges was that the pommel I used has a round hole for a Del Tin threaded tang. I intended use my belt sander to carefully narrow the tang to fit the pommel, and thread the end to accept a tang nut. I know many people would argue the various reasons that peened is better, but for a WMA practice weapon, there are many reasons to want to be able to disassemble your weapons; also I did not have the ability (other than by hand filing!) to widen the hole in the pommel for the wider peened tang. Anyhow, when I took apart the Hanwei practical, I discovered that there is a small hole drilled in the tang right about in the middle of where the pommel sits. I'm not sure why it is there; since the pommel in not pinned to the tang. I believe it is to hang the blades from a hook/ wire when they are quenched, as I have taken apart 2 of the Hanwei practical hand and a halfs, and both had a small hole drilled in almost the same place (not to worry folks, I have seen 2 of these broken by Adrian Empire fighters, but none of them broke at the hole). So I went ahead and narrowed the tang anyway, and had my friend who is a blade smith fill the hole by forge welding. I also moved the shoulders up about 1/4 of an inch to accommodate the thicker crossguard.

The handle is the original from the Hanwei practical, cut to fit the new furniture and reshaped. It was finished with leather over cord, dyed black and sealed with a matte finish. I used a 1.5 to 2 oz veg tan, which was slightly thinned with the skiving tool on the entire inner surface, to make it just a bit easier to stretch and mount (it is still thicker leather than I have seen on any sword handle I have ever taken apart, and I have taken apart and repaired quite a few, from various makers).
The handle came out just a hair thicker than I wanted, (I'll use thinner twine next time) but it still fits very nice in the hand, and I have tiny hands.


Weight :3lb 3.2 oz
POB: 4"
Length: 43 11/16"
Blade: 33 3/4"
Grip length: 7" not including pommel



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Matte finish looks a bit shinier in the pic than in person, but it grips nicely with leather gloves. [ Download ]

Beware the Jabberwock my son,
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 601

PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary, I am green with envy! Excellent job, it really looks great. I really want to find one of these old Del Tin's for my own Italian longsword project, but my searches have come up empty, so I guess I will have to try to forge my own.
Edit: You know, you could easily modify that into an XVIIIe if you so chose, what with the take down hilt and fuller configuration. Just an idea, but it looks great just as it is.
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Gary B. Ledford




Location: Southern California
Joined: 14 Feb 2009

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2012 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Scott. I haven't seen one since about a year ago on ebay, which went for about 200. I shouldn't have let that one get by me; now I really want to to some grinder-fu on a Hanwei Tinker longsword blade to replicate the narrow ricasso shown on the one in your post.

THAT would make an awesome training weapon for some Bolognese spadone training.

Beware the Jabberwock my son,
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 601

PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2012 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think I can replicate the spiral decorations with just a file, so making the hilt components may not be as difficult as I first thought. I am thinking an Albion XVI bare blade for mine, a little more expensive but well worth it vis a vis the Hanwei Tinker, which I personally found to be too light and flexible for a sword that leans so heavily towards thrusting. I really can't recommend the Albion bare blades enough. There is enough material there that you could make it either a blunt trainer or a sharp.
Edit: Ps, you meant a HT blunt? I wonder if the blunt is significantly stiffer than the sharp? I would want the sharp stiff and the blunt more flexible, but in the HT lineup the reverse is probably true.
PSS I love Hanwei Tinkers when it comes to their more cut-oriented blades.
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