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Forum Index > Makers and Manufacturers Talk > A slithery project Reply to topic
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2014 7:24 am    Post subject: A slithery project         Reply with quote

So this one was a little out of the ordinary...

I have a customer that had one of the reproductions of the sword from the movie Sleepy Hollow. The sword itself has a serpent theme and he wished to continue that in the scabbard. I think that's his own invention although I've never seen the movie. In any respect we batted around various ideas and eventually he sent me a skin that he wanted included...



Python skins aren't the cheapest thing in the world as it turns out nor the easiest to work with either. They are pretty tough but VERY thin. I was very concerned as you might imagine, because if I messed up the skin I would have to replace it out of pocket. Fortunately that didn't happen.


The other concern was that this customer lives in Canada. He didn't want to ship me his sword so instead I worked from measurements. Again, I was worried, because the fit is only as good as the measurements given. Fortunately this gentleman was good with his measurements.



It's always the little details that count:





Anyway I hope you don't mind me showing this one off a little, it was something a bit out of the ordinary. Not historically accurate by any means, but a fun project to do.

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2014 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very different and some of the details are very thoughtful to stay with and support the overall theme of the piece. Its not something I would normally pick up but I can see the craftsmanship that went into it and appreciate it artistically. Its the buckles and other serpent details that make it work to me.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2014 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

... well, someone should pull these gentlemen over and give them a ticket for ...

... outrageously intriguing and quite stunning work !

So, I'm assuming, to keep within the spirit of the entire project, one of you had
to visit some jungle or another, snake-rodeo a victim of appropriate dimensions,
preferably without bodily harm to yourself, peal said victim like a banana, THEN
smuggle the skin out-of-country, quite possibly after a feast of Bar-B-Q python
steaks so as to leave no evidence in your wake ...

B-)

I can only imagine it must have been quite the adventure.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2014 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Two words...............kick...............ass. ................McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2014 11:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thulsa Doom would be so proud! This scabbard is very high on the "bad ass" meter! I think the wielder of this piece needs a mullet since its so metal!
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2014 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And a van with a wizard airbrushed on the side. Sleeps in a waterbed no doubt.

All kidding aside, that is one hell of a scabbard. Not my cup o' but excellent craftsmanship. And I believe there IS some historical precedent for working in fish skin, I have no idea about snake though.

"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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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I hope he wears it while riding a black Harley and wearing a Death Dealer helmet. Big Grin

Personally I think it's hideous, but that's just a matter of taste. I think you did an absolutely outstanding job of giving your customer exactly what he wanted, and all without the sword in hand. In that respect it's very impressive.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Gregg Sobocinski




PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2014 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fantastic work!

Is there historical evidence for using snake skin on scabbards or even belts, pre-17th C? Although many on this forum (including myself) are programmed to appreciate simpler decorations, I believe this would have been a very popular design back in the day!
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Will S




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2014 12:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now that's craftsmanship. Love the buckles especially.

Scabbards I don't know about per se, but as a bowyer I see lots of modern (and genuine antique) bows that use snakeskin as a backing material. Usually boas, pythons and rattlesnakes but often kingsnakes and other more unusual species. It's tough and strong and can be stunning to look at (especially boa skins from Suriname Red Tail boas - Google that and you'll see what I mean!) so I see no reason not to put it on a scabbard.

Historically speaking (and I say this as a rough guess as I breed snakes here in the UK more than a knowledgeable statement based on understanding of European scabbards) the snakes we have in England and others parts of Europe where scabbards like this would be found are usually very small. We have adders and grass snakes of course here in the UK which are tiny and there aren't many bigger species throughout Europe. The snakes would be so small that you'd have a very hard time getting one to cover a long wide item like a scabbard, but might be used for much smaller things like decorative trim or knife sheaths etc. It's only when you hit hotter climates that you find snakes big enough for this purpose.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2014 4:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Whether you like it or not, the craftsmanship is superb and that's certainly one of the most striking and memorable scabbards I've ever seen.

Weren't there any problems with shipping this across the border? We have a lot of rules about importing exotic animal parts up here.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2014 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I once built a sgian dubh for a friend of mine. The wood core sheath was covered in bullfrog skin. Talk about tricky. Don't worry...the frog legs were delicious fried up and enjoyed with a glass of port. Laughing Out Loud Just thought I'd throw that in.......don't know why. Laughing Out Loud ............McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Russ Ellis
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Very different and some of the details are very thoughtful to stay with and support the overall theme of the piece. Its not something I would normally pick up but I can see the craftsmanship that went into it and appreciate it artistically. Its the buckles and other serpent details that make it work to me.


Thanks Joe, snakeskin is not something I would normally pick up either, but after I got over my initial case of the heebie jeebies, it really just turned out to be leather with an odd finish. In fact I do wonder if that's not exactly what it was, thin cowhide with a snakeskin bonded to it. I've been meaning to do some research on that part to see if they are tanning snake leather (or if that's possible) or if they are backing it with cowhide.

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Russ Ellis
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz wrote:
... well, someone should pull these gentlemen over and give them a ticket for ...

... outrageously intriguing and quite stunning work !

So, I'm assuming, to keep within the spirit of the entire project, one of you had
to visit some jungle or another, snake-rodeo a victim of appropriate dimensions,
preferably without bodily harm to yourself, peal said victim like a banana, THEN
smuggle the skin out-of-country, quite possibly after a feast of Bar-B-Q python
steaks so as to leave no evidence in your wake ...

B-)

I can only imagine it must have been quite the adventure.


LOL, well yes there was all of that, but only AFTER escaping from the giant stew pot of some cannibal natives, sneaking through a lost temple AND avoiding some rabid Miley Cyrus fans. An adventure to say the least!

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Russ Ellis
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
Two words...............kick...............ass. ................McM


Thanks Mark, I'm glad you like it. Happy

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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Lison wrote:
Thulsa Doom would be so proud! This scabbard is very high on the "bad ass" meter! I think the wielder of this piece needs a mullet since its so metal!


Thanks Tim, this one does indeed have a very Hypoborean feel to it. I've worked in cow, I've worked in goat, and now I've worked in snake. I REALLY want someone to need an Alligator skin scabbard! Happy

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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I hope he wears it while riding a black Harley and wearing a Death Dealer helmet. Big Grin

Personally I think it's hideous, but that's just a matter of taste. I think you did an absolutely outstanding job of giving your customer exactly what he wanted, and all without the sword in hand. In that respect it's very impressive.


LOL! Thanks Patrick, I agree that it's not my personal cup of tea either preferring more a historical approach, but from my perspective it's nice to get to try something new every now and again. It makes me think of new solutions to new problems. For years and years I did scabbard after scabbard in unrelieved black or brown with the occasional green or red thrown in. Doing something like this is a nice change of pace. Now if I could just get someone to spring for that blue scabbard with the white belt I've been wanting to do... Happy

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Russ Ellis
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gregg Sobocinski wrote:
Fantastic work!

Is there historical evidence for using snake skin on scabbards or even belts, pre-17th C? Although many on this forum (including myself) are programmed to appreciate simpler decorations, I believe this would have been a very popular design back in the day!


Hey Gregg,

Not that I'm aware of. There's certainly fishskin grips but nothing I'm aware of would suggest a snakeskin scabbard at least not for a Western style sword. They just didn't have the snakes big enough I guess... Happy

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Russ Ellis
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will S wrote:

Historically speaking (and I say this as a rough guess as I breed snakes here in the UK more than a knowledgeable statement based on understanding of European scabbards) the snakes we have in England and others parts of Europe where scabbards like this would be found are usually very small. We have adders and grass snakes of course here in the UK which are tiny and there aren't many bigger species throughout Europe. The snakes would be so small that you'd have a very hard time getting one to cover a long wide item like a scabbard, but might be used for much smaller things like decorative trim or knife sheaths etc. It's only when you hit hotter climates that you find snakes big enough for this purpose.


Should have read all the responses first, I see that Will beat me to it. Thanks for the thoughts Will!

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Russ Ellis
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Whether you like it or not, the craftsmanship is superb and that's certainly one of the most striking and memorable scabbards I've ever seen.

Weren't there any problems with shipping this across the border? We have a lot of rules about importing exotic animal parts up here.


Hey J.D. we didn't have any problems in this case either to or fro as it were. Perhaps we just got lucky and customs was busy getting coffee I couldn't say. I do admit that thought crossed my mind when I shipped.

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Russ Ellis
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 08 Jul, 2014 7:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
I once built a sgian dubh for a friend of mine. The wood core sheath was covered in bullfrog skin. Talk about tricky. Don't worry...the frog legs were delicious fried up and enjoyed with a glass of port. Laughing Out Loud Just thought I'd throw that in.......don't know why. Laughing Out Loud ............McM


Interesting, have a picture?

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