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Alan Schiff
Industry Professional

Location: Las Vegas
Joined: 06 Oct 2008

Posts: 246

PostPosted: Mon 20 Apr, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject: Windlass Sword Redux         Reply with quote

I bought a Windlass from the marketplace a couple weeks ago. The seller thought the model was just called "great sword." There is a review of this model here  It's actually quite a nice sword IMO, and while both the review and the previous owner of my sword state that it's "whippy" I disagree. I would classify the sword as an Oakeshott XIIa and while the blade is certainly flexible it's not overly so. In fact it doesn't even sag when held horizontally.

Here is the sword I received.

The blade as I received it was sharpened by the previous owner, leaving a noticeable secondary bevel and scratches all along the edge. He did not polish the blade after sharpening so the edges are scratched-up and the rest of the blade is Windlass's mirror polish under lacquer. I intend to polish out the blade to an even finish.

The grip on the sword was a bit too large for my medium-sized hands to fit comfortably, so I decided to redo the handle and grip. The sword is peened, and well done as well. First I took off the suede grip to see what there was to work with underneath. I had to cut off the metal rings with a dremel tool.

Next I took off the handle. It is sandwiched and I used a small flat screwdriver to separate the topmost piece from the rest. There was also quite a bit of epoxy on the inside. You can see it in this pic of the tang. The tang itself is nice and wide and remains rectangular in cross-section all the way through the pommel, which I thought was nice considering all the other Windlass swords I've handled, even the peened ones, have a round tang at the pommel end.

Here is a pic of the shoulders at the guard. I rounded those off a bit but forgot to take a picture of it. Underneath you can also see the end of the tang where the pommel was hot-peened on.

Since I had everything apart already I decided to try my hand at back-peening the guard. It seemed like I did a decent job but it ended up loosening just a little when I peened the pommel back on, so it's sort of a mix of both back-peened and compression fit.

So here is the hilt as it sits right now. I reshaped the handle a bit to slim it down and will be doing a new wrap today with black leather to match the sheath it came with. I'm not generally a fan of mismatched colors :P.

After the grip wrap I'm going to start polishing the blade and hilt furniture to get a more even finish. Stay tuned for updates!
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Alan Schiff
Industry Professional

Location: Las Vegas
Joined: 06 Oct 2008

Posts: 246

PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr, 2015 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Finished her up today. I decided to go with a 4-riser grip similar to one I saw on Christian Fletcher's site.

Here are the risers, 1/8th inch suede lace. The two middle risers look askew in the pic but are not in person. Must have been the camera angle.

And here is the finished grip, covered in some upholstery/garment leather I had leftover from another project, probably about 4oz. The tope and bottom risers didn't show through as distinctly as I would have liked, but it still looks pretty good.

And I was able to polish the blade. First I removed the lacquer that Windlass put on, which I've got to say was kind of a PITA. I started using 100 grit sandpaper but it wasn't working well by hand, so I switched to an orbital hand sander. I still had to do the fullers by hand, though, as the sander couldn't get in there well enough. Here it is after removing the lacquer.

Next I went to 150 grit, then 220, then 320. After 320 I was going to go to 500 but decided I liked the look at 320. I also smoothed out the edge bevels to a more appleseed-type edge. Here is the finished blade.

While I didn't make any drastic changes to the sword I do feel that changing the grip made a significant difference in how comfortable it is for me. It also looks quite a bit better than it did when I received it. As it is now it weighs a tad under 4 pounds and handles very nicely.
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Greyson Brown

Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 809

PostPosted: Wed 22 Apr, 2015 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice job. Thinning down the grip was really needed, and I think it improved the aesthetics quite a bit, too. Getting the lacquer off made a big difference as well. Thanks for sharing your work on this.

-- Greyson

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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J. Hargis

Location: Pacific Palisades, California
Joined: 06 Feb 2012
Likes: 22 pages

Posts: 350

PostPosted: Wed 22 Apr, 2015 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well done, Alan. A big improvement. The leather looks particularly supple.
It's incredible what the right grip does.

I really enjoy the 'how I did it' threads.

Thanks, Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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