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Nathan G




Location: California
Joined: 12 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2014 10:11 am    Post subject: Sword to scabbard fit         Reply with quote

How common is it for a long sword to rattle around a bit in the scabbard and how much is considered "acceptable"?

My XIIa and XIIIa do this quite a bit (worse than my Hanwei "katanas" and their saya rattle) but I don't know if this is common to this type of sword (very flexible at the end) or do I just need to buy the right kind of scabbard.

I think I'm going to acquire a few more swords (and scabbards to go with them of course) soon and am still debating on who to go with.
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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2014 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scabbards can surely be made so there is no rattle, the blade type should not matter. If its a mass produced sword and scabbard combo, often times they are not custom fitted to your particular blade so you don't get really good snug fits all the time. I would say they err on the side of a bit bigger than needed than smaller so at least the blade fits in the scabbard...if it rattles....*shrugs* I suppose is the thought.
The church is near but the roads are icy. The tavern is far but I will walk carefully. - Russian Proverb
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2014 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ideally, the fit should be snug but not too tight: the sword shouldn't rattle around if shaken, nor fall out too easily under its own weight if turned upside down, yet shouldn't be hard to draw. This is the same for all types of swords, from gladii to katana.

In practice, of course, it varies a whole lot. My Valiant Armory Kriegschwert has just about perfect fit, while my H/T 9th Century Viking Sword has to be forced into its scabbard (I actually think it's been slightly warped in shipping) so I'm keeping it in a flattened cardboard tube until I get around to making a better scabbard, and all my Windlass swords rattle around quite freely in their sheaths and scabbards.

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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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2014 4:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I once owned a H/T Norman that had a bad rattle. The blade fit well in the top of the scabbard, but it rattled like hell when wearing it and walking. I finally decided to stuff a few cotton balls down it and sheathe the sword until the tip would seat itself on the cotton balls. That seemed to help a lot. Happy ........McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Dean F. Marino




Location: Midland MI USA
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2014 8:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What Bryan said. In all likelihood, you have a standard "commercial" scabbard - mass produced on the large side to fit one of SEVERAL line offerings. They work - they hold a sword.

I got tired of these & taught myself to make my own. You can too - FREE tutorials....

http://findlithui.deanandsandy.dyndns.org:808...ter1.2.pdf

http://findlithui.deanandsandy.dyndns.org:808...ore1.1.pdf

In edhil, hai edhil. In edain, hai edain.
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Leo Todeschini
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, UK
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PostPosted: Sat 24 May, 2014 1:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is an interesting area and one that I suspect comes down to personal preference as much as anything.

On the one hand a rattle is annoying and is exactly the sort of thing that a modern consumer hates, however I am not sure this was always the case.

You often see knives and scabbards in manuscripts sold separately and so presumably they often fitted rather badly - however that is what they often did. I suspect sword scabbards may also have been sold like this; at least some times. You go to the scabbard shop and find one that fits reasonably.

In addition to that I think that tight fitting scabbards potentially can jam in wet weather and the likelihood of your scabbard being held upside down for long enough for the sword to slide out seems slim to me.

In a nutshell I think that tight fitting scabbards are what the consumer wants and what us scabbard makers deliver, but I personally am not sure that is historically totally correct.

Tod

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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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PostPosted: Sat 24 May, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have traditionally-made scabbards, from recent to antique, made for the blades they house, where there is some rattle. Indian, Philippine, Indonesian, Chinese. The scabbards fit well, and the rattle is fairly small, much smaller than the rattle I've seen in badly-fitting repro Medieval scabbards, but a definite rattle, enough for the rattle-phobic to reject such scabbards.

So I'd say that, without doubt, rattle is a historically acceptable option.

"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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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Sun 25 May, 2014 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I line mine, either with shearling, wool cloth or felt.
They don't rattle.

However, whilst this is the norm for the period that I concentrate on, I know that it is not usual for scabbards to be lined from the High Medieval onwards.
Possibly this is because a slim scabbard became preferable to a slightly bulkier lined scabbard or it might be just down to the fact that the early medieval period is just better all round.
For everything.
Happy

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Mikko Kuusirati




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

Posts: 940

PostPosted: Sun 25 May, 2014 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:
This is an interesting area and one that I suspect comes down to personal preference as much as anything.

On the one hand a rattle is annoying and is exactly the sort of thing that a modern consumer hates, however I am not sure this was always the case.

You often see knives and scabbards in manuscripts sold separately and so presumably they often fitted rather badly - however that is what they often did. I suspect sword scabbards may also have been sold like this; at least some times. You go to the scabbard shop and find one that fits reasonably.

In addition to that I think that tight fitting scabbards potentially can jam in wet weather and the likelihood of your scabbard being held upside down for long enough for the sword to slide out seems slim to me.

In a nutshell I think that tight fitting scabbards are what the consumer wants and what us scabbard makers deliver, but I personally am not sure that is historically totally correct.

Tod

Oh, indeed. Confusing ideals with standards leads to madness. Happy

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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Dean F. Marino




Location: Midland MI USA
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Sun 25 May, 2014 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Last comment I have...

Yes, you can make a scabbard too tight - it's wood. Wood does interesting things as the humidity changes. It gets worse if you fall into a Lake Happy.

You can make a scabbard too loose (apologies to Lautrec).... it always works, and acts like a GM vehicle with too little oil... clunky.

OR? You can make a core that actually FITS your sword, probably won't fit 30 other swords, and just works. Folks, no slam on the commercial sword sales guys - they need to run a business, and they DO, in most cases, provide a functional scabbard. But if you want the RIGHT scabbard core? There really is one of 1) Go to a Pro, and GIVE HIM your blade - he NEEDS that to get it dead right. PAY THAT MAN - the materials are pretty cheap, but the HOURS involved can be LONG. Doing my own work? I now understand why a good craftsman may very well charge $800 for a scabbard Happy. Or? 2) Learn how to fit a core to a PARTICULAR blade, yourself.

All of this is, of course, personal opinion... I just don't believe one MUST live with $18 wholesale "rattle wagons" Happy.

Oh - quick disclaimer (I realized I had NEVER posted this on this forum)... I NEVER SELL ANYTHING. I never will. My work is for me, and for my sons Happy.

In edhil, hai edhil. In edain, hai edain.
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