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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 12:07 am    Post subject: Changing a grip color         Reply with quote

Sorry if this has been done already, but searching both this site and google turned up empty.

Has anyone tried changing the grip color on their Albion? I know that various sword shops, such as Christian Fletcher's, can change grips on Albion swords, but I'm more referring to something someone would do themselves. There is a sword I'm considering buying, but I'm really turned off by the bright red grip. I'm curious if it could be darkened to look like an oxblood color, without damaging the grip itself. I'm not sure what process Albion uses to dye their grips, so I don't know if changing it at the user level would be feasible. Of course the easy answer would be wait until I found a sword with the grip color I like. But if not too much is involved in changing it, it might even be a fun project.

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Julien M




Location: London
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,059

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 12:22 am    Post subject: Re: Changing a grip color         Reply with quote

D. S. Smith wrote:
Sorry if this has been done already, but searching both this site and google turned up empty.

Has anyone tried changing the grip color on their Albion? I know that various sword shops, such as Christian Fletcher's, can change grips on Albion swords, but I'm more referring to something someone would do themselves. There is a sword I'm considering buying, but I'm really turned off by the bright red grip. I'm curious if it could be darkened to look like an oxblood color, without damaging the grip itself. I'm not sure what process Albion uses to dye their grips, so I don't know if changing it at the user level would be feasible. Of course the easy answer would be wait until I found a sword with the grip color I like. But if not too much is involved in changing it, it might even be a fun project.


Yes you can do that, but the rule and limitation here is that you can only go towards a darker tone. You can't go from dark (black, dark brown) to a light color (light red, light brown for instance). Despite this advice I tried that on my Crecy once, changing the grip from black to oxblood. I rubbed the grip with alcohol until the leather turned gray, then applied oxblood leather dye. The result was actually very good...for a few weeks. After that the darker pigments resurfaced and the grip turned to grey/oxblood.
I redyed black to get rid of the issue.
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S. Sebok





Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Likes: 9 pages

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 2:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My Albion Reeve has a red grip but because I got it second hand it's actually more of a dark red almost oxblood color. I'd suggest just making it Oxblood or darkening the red because oxblood is basically an aged red.
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William Swiger




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

Posts: 442

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 3:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have used cordovan shoe polish to tone down a very red grip. Used the shoe polish and buffed followed by saddle soap and buffed. Might get a little on your hand when handling the sword the first few times but it stops.

Another thing I have used is sword oil on the leather which will darken it as well. Just work it in with your fingers.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 2,251

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with William. I've toned down a gaudy grip with shoe polish and oil. If the grip in question is reeeeally red, then a little black or dark brown polish should take it down to a nice oxblood color. Just apply it a little at a time, and massage it into the leather by hand. Wear rubber gloves though, or people won't want to shake hands with you for a few days. Laughing Out Loud The oil (I used vegetable oil) will set the color in and slightly darken it a bit more, so stop the polish just shy of the shade you want and it should turn out great! Best of luck! Show us a before and after pic!.............McM
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys, you've given me some hope. This may turn into a fun project after all. Big Grin

I like the idea of before and after pictures. So from what you gentlemen are saying about working in oil, it sounds like the red coloring Albion does is more of a dye than a painted on finish. Because if it was a painted type finish oils wouldn't soak in I wouldn't think.

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Dean F. Marino




Location: Midland MI USA
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wellll .... I would add one thing.

Do not start to do this IF you are unwilling to can the re-dye, and instead, do a rewrap.

A re-dye CAN turn out well - or not. An example nightmare - original leather was dyed, THEN glued down - with glue penetration into the leather. At re-dye time? BOOM - ugly spot that will not take dye - or oil, or just about anything else Happy.

And there is no scrap to experiment with - pretty much a one way trip.

Now, none of this matters if there is a backup plan... If all hell breaks loose? Be ready to re-wrap Happy.

In edhil, hai edhil. In edain, hai edain.
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the suggestion Dean. It's funny that you mention this, because just this morning I decided that if I end up not liking the looks of the color change (or maybe even if I do), I am very much considering having a new grip cover and half wire wrap put on. I in the end, it seems like I have nothing to lose. Especially since the sword is a kind I've been wanting and I'm willing to put some effort into it.

As a matter of fact, I might even consider doing a half wire wrap and re-grip myself as a project down the road. If worse comes to worse I could always send it to a professional afterwards. I know nothing about working with leather, but you have to start somewhere. Laughing Out Loud

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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