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Josh Davis
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
Joined: 16 Oct 2011

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PostPosted: Sun 24 Mar, 2013 9:07 am    Post subject: Historical leather-working technique on a sword grip         Reply with quote

Hello All,

I would like to share some of my latest work again along with some progress shots. A while back people were asking about some of my leather techniques and what my sources were. I have learned the basic modern leather tooling a couple years back from Johan Potgieter, (local to my area) who has been working leather for over 30 years. We have discussed at length or at least tried to figure out the medieval technique with many speculations and dead ends…Johan then put me in contact with another leather-working friend of his Serge Volken, who has had the chance to look very closely at some originals. This is the message he sent me:

“I have done some research on the subject and looked at quite a few bits from up close. Most decorated pieces where boxes and cases covered in leather. The leather covering where in most cases thin goat or calf skins. The motifs are very shallow incisions. A few pieces I could observe through a binocular microscope showed evidence that is was done with a heated blade just not sharp enough to cut through the leather. Apparently the decoration would come last, once the boxes where covered so this excludes much hammering as we do it now. Figurative representations and ornaments where basically just cuts with not much tooling but occasional modelling and embossing. Backgrounds are in nearly all cases done with a very small seeder tool. I reckon if you can set one in a handle you could heat it up and press the texture into the leather. Not red hot, just kinda too hot to hold it in your fingers and done on a humid leather.”

From his explanation I tried it a few times with varying results. The first big project that I had done with this technique was the scabbard for the messer, here is the link to that post: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...highlight=

After that I figured why not finish the grip for a sword (with process pics to show) that I have been on the fence about for ages…so I finally decided to do a sort of mix-match grip. I chose the tooled grip from the Durer style sword in Paris and the half steel grip from many different pictures that I have stumbled across. The guard is a one of a kind and the pommel is not quite finished yet…I have some other fun ideas I would like to try with it and will be sure to post pics when I am finally done with the sword.
Here are the specs for the sword:
Overall: 47”
Blade length: 36 ¼ “
Grip length: 8” (4 ½ “ wood/ 3 ½ “ steel)
Blade width: 1 ¾”
Guard width: 11 3/8”

-Josh

www.davisreproductions.com



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William Swiger




Location: Reston, VA
Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 443

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PostPosted: Sun 24 Mar, 2013 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice work.
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Matt Corbin




PostPosted: Sun 24 Mar, 2013 1:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eek! Big Grin
“This was the age of heroes, some legendary, some historical . . . the misty borderland of history where fact and legend mingle.”
- R. Ewart Oakeshott
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

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PostPosted: Sun 24 Mar, 2013 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, wow. Not only is that gorgeous work, you've also given me some really useful pointers for my own current project. Many thanks and kudos!
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Arne Focke
Industry Professional



Location: near Munich, Germany
Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Reading list: 34 books

Posts: 204

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PostPosted: Mon 25 Mar, 2013 2:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice job.
Serge really is a well of information, as is his wife Marquita.
Happy

So schön und inhaltsreich der Beruf eines Archäologen ist, so hart ist auch seine Arbeit, die keinen Achtstundentag kennt! (Wolfgang Kimmig in: Die Heuneburg an der oberen Donau, Stuttgart 1983)
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