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Lewis A.




Location: United States
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

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PostPosted: Mon 01 Sep, 2014 10:57 am    Post subject: Early Scottish basket hilt broadsword from parts         Reply with quote

One of my favorite types of swords has always been the early Scottish basket hilts of the 16th century. I first became aware of this style of sword from a black and white photograph illustration in Stephen Wood's book The Scottish Soldier:



A similar sword from another book:



More recently I came across some photos of this sword that someone had taken pictures of while visiting a museum collection:




Seeing the more recent color photos finally inspired me to do something that I had been intending to do for over 4 years now, to assemble an early Scottish basket hilted broadsword using a fullered blade like the one shown in the museum sword, paired with a basket taken off of Windlass' "Scottish cutlass":



For the blade I chose to use one taken from Cold Steel's ahistorical version of a 19th century Scottish military regimental baskethilt, the blade of this particular version matching quite closely the blade on the original early Scottish basket hilt:



The end result was, in my opinion, a far better an more historically correct sword than either the Windlass Scottish cutlass or the Cold Steel Scottish baskethilt.:

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Sep, 2014 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is very nice work. I believe the hilt is referred to as the Sinclair hilt after one of the Caithness Sinclairs, George of Stirkoke, who led mercenary troops in Scandinavia. Sinclair had raised troops from his lands and offered them to Gustavus Adolphus to fight against the Norwegians. They were apparently an untrained and ill-equipped bunch who marched right into a Norwegian ambush almost straight off the boat and were pretty much wiped out. How this particular style of hilt became connected to Sinclair is unknown to me but perhaps some other forumites know.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Lewis A.




Location: United States
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Mon 01 Sep, 2014 2:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
That is very nice work. I believe the hilt is referred to as the Sinclair hilt after one of the Caithness Sinclairs, George of Stirkoke, who lead mercenary troops in Scandinavia. Sinclair had raised troops from his lands and offered them to Gustavus Adolphus to fight against the Norwegians. They were apparently an untrained and ill-equipped bunch who marched right into a Norwegian ambush almost straight off the boat and were pretty much wiped out. How this particular style of hilt became connected to Sinclair is unknown to me but perhaps some other forumites know.


There is a type of dusagge that I have seen referred to as a Sinclair saber. Del Tin at one time offered these and I believe Museum Replicas had them in their earlier catalogs circa mid to late 1980s or early 1990s, they were a beautiful cutlass and had the same type of blade that Windlass uses on their Scottish cutlass, but a very different style of hilt:







Unfortunately I didn't purchase one at the time they were being offered, which is a shame since I am supposedly descended from Henry Sinclair, at least according to the genealogies that I have seen on a line that I am doubly descended from on my mother's side of the family.

According to internet sources, this style of cutlass was named after Captain George Sinclair of Stirkoke (son of David Sinclair and a nephew of the Earl of Caithness), who helped lead an expedition of 550 Scotsmen passng through Norway on their way to hire out as mercenaries in Sweden (which was then at war with Norway and Denmark). The unfortunate Scotsmen were ambushed by Norwegian farmers, but Sinclair's sidearm survived to give it's name to a breed of extremely handy weapons. George Sinclair himself was killed by gunfire.
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Sep, 2014 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice! Cold Steel's Scottish basket hilt blades are a bit over-engineered (that is, they're overly heavy), but have a good temper. I did the same thing myself, pairing a first-generation CS broadsword blade with an Eljay Erickson hilt. It looks nice and balances well, but as mentioned, a bit heavy....
David K. Wilson, Jr.
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Lewis A.




Location: United States
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Mon 01 Sep, 2014 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
Nice! Cold Steel's Scottish basket hilt blades are a bit over-engineered (that is, they're overly heavy), but have a good temper. I did the same thing myself, pairing a first-generation CS broadsword blade with an Eljay Erickson hilt. It looks nice and balances well, but as mentioned, a bit heavy....


I was actually surprised at how light this particular blade was - perhaps Cold Steel's blades vary somewhat in weight from blade to blade (they are made in India). Or maybe it is just that I had previously considered doing this with one of those John Barnett basket hilt blades, which I found monstrously heavy compared to this Cold Steel blade which seems very lively and well-balanced with this hilt.
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