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Michael Sandoval





Joined: 21 Dec 2006
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Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2015 1:37 pm    Post subject: Scabbard and sword measurement         Reply with quote

Hi,

Do you think it's possible for a craftsman to make a well-fitting scabbard using measurements of the blade alone, without having the actual sword in hand as a guide?

Recently, a post was up regarding a skilled leather craftsman in Slovakia making scabbards on Etsy.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/203880914/authentic-leather-scabbard-sheaththe?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=sword%20scabbard&ref=sr_gallery_15

I communicated with this gentleman, and he told me that he could have the wood core constructed based on measurements of the sword I could send, so that I wouldn't have to send the actual sword all the way to Eastern Europe.

What do you think? If you think this would be okay, would you have any recommendations as to what measurements I would need to take? Seems that I'd need a set of calipers to measure distal taper...

Thanks
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Dean F. Marino




Location: Midland MI USA
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2015 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just an opinion...

Could a wooden core that ACCEPTS a certain blade be made this way? Absolutely. Many commercial MFGs. do this.

Will the blade FIT WELL? Very unlikely. Too tight - not much can be done. Too loose - you will probably end up shimming the blade to avoid rattles.

In edhil, hai edhil. In edain, hai edain.
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Michael Sandoval





Joined: 21 Dec 2006
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Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2015 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hear you on that---

If distal taper is taken every inch or so, same with blade width, am wondering if this would improve the accuracy enough to ensure a good fit? Though only if the scabbard maker was exact as the measurements.

Has anyone has tried this? Certainly, respected sword makers have reverse engineered swords by taking measurements in museums and then replicating those measurements in the shop without the original in hand. The great Peter Johnson is one.But then again, that's why he's great!
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David Clark





Joined: 10 Feb 2009

Posts: 128

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2015 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could you trace the blade's dimensions onto heavy poster board, fold it up, and mail it to him? I know it would delay the scabbards arrival, but it would be accurate as for width and length. Not some much with depth though.
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Greyson Brown




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

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2015 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It can be done; I have done it. That said, it is a gamble, and I am not a good enough craftsman to be comfortable making a scabbard for someone else this way. Accurate measurements of the blade, and consistency of the blade itself (warpage, etc.) will have a huge impact on the fit. I would expect a scabbard made this way to NOT securely hold the sword if turned upside down. I don't know how necessary that really is, but some people are concerned about it (I used to be one of them -- I've mellowed a bit on that particular requirement). It is feasible to make a scabbard that holds the sword safetly with little to no rattling. I would not expect the scabbard to be precisely shaped to a fuller or exactly match a hollow grind, but a perfectly functional scabbard can be made.

My actual concern would be a little less related to whether the craftsman can do what he claims and more related to what he does to ensure his work stays intact after completion. Specifically, humidity differences can cause the scabbard to swell or shrink and affect fit. The scabbard I made for Josh Warren (page 3 of the topic linked above) was made with the sword in hand, and fit perfect, but I took it with me on a trip from Kansas to Colorado and back which really screwed up the fit. I was able to get it corrected, and used some boiled linseed oil to seal the wood (I litterally poured it into the finished scabbard and then back out into a container). Since you are in contact with the craftsman, I would ask him what he does to protect the scabbard core from natural expantion/contraction and warpage issues on its way from Slovakia to you. Linseed oil, teak oil, varnish, lacquer, etc. are all effective solutions (with the linseed and teak oils probably being the most historically acurate), and there are probably plenty of options I don't know about, but I would be hesitant about spending my money if the wooden core is not protected from humidity in some way.

-- 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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Greyson Brown




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

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2015 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Clark wrote:
Could you trace the blade's dimensions onto heavy poster board, fold it up, and mail it to him? I know it would delay the scabbards arrival, but it would be accurate as for width and length. Not some much with depth though.


If I was the one doing this, that would be a requirement of the project. I don't know that poster board is necessary, but I would definately want a tracing of the blade's profile with the thichness marked at least every inch. I would want thickness measurements to the nearest 1/2 mm, as that is reasonable for most cheap calipers, and adequate for this kind of work.

-- 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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Michael Sandoval





Joined: 21 Dec 2006
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Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2015 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson--

Very smart. Good advice!
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