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Alasdair Grant-Hastings




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 05 Nov 2017

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PostPosted: Sat 09 Mar, 2019 3:32 am    Post subject: Poplar in the UK- For Scabbard making         Reply with quote

Hello all

This is aimed more at UK members, where would i be able to source some Poplar in the UK?
I want to have a got at making a scabbard myself and this seems to be the wood of choice. If anyone has any suggestions for vendors or for any other suitable woods.

thanks all
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Leo Todeschini
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Location: Oxford, UK
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Mar, 2019 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My supplier is local and doesn't post, but just google a good hardwood supplier on line and there will be choices, but buying it thin enough may be tricky. Best to find a good local specialist timber yard.

Tod

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Will S




Location: Bournemouth, UK
Joined: 25 Nov 2013

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Sat 09 Mar, 2019 12:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bear in mind that poplar in the UK is the trade name for Tulipwood. I don't make scabbards so I'm not sure if that's important, but I make arrows and you'd be amazed at the number of professional, career fletchers and archery suppliers who don't have the faintest idea that they're selling an American imported timber as an indigenous wood!

In my experience, 99% of all UK timber yards selling poplar are actually seeing tulip (liriodendron tulipfera) and not the poplar mentioned in medieval literature which is Populus tremula, Populus nigra or Populus alba. The problem is that Tulipwood is known as yellow poplar in the States, which has become shortened to Poplar.

It might not make a jot of difference for a scabbard unless you're looking for "the real thing". If you want actual medieval poplar, you're best looking in Scandinavia where it's used for fence posts and sauna timbers or refining your search to aspen.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sun 10 Mar, 2019 10:43 am    Post subject: MP.         Reply with quote

If you are going carve the wood core, Birch is period and really pleasurable to carve, decidedly more so than Poplar. I assume that Birch is easy to obtain there.
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William M




Location: Buckinghamshire , England
Joined: 01 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Mar, 2019 1:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will S wrote:
Bear in mind that poplar in the UK is the trade name for Tulipwood. .


Ahhh.. OK this is very helpful thank you! I used to get my poplar sent to me from the states! Now I just need to find a decent timberyard that has thin planks. :P
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 482

PostPosted: Tue 12 Mar, 2019 2:28 am    Post subject: Re: Poplar in the UK- For Scabbard making         Reply with quote

Alasdair Grant-Hastings wrote:

I want to have a got at making a scabbard myself and this seems to be the wood of choice. If anyone has any suggestions for vendors or for any other suitable woods.

Modern scabbardmakers usually use "poplar," but all the European descriptions of the scabbardmaking from the 15th to the 18th century say that the wood to use is fouteau aka. hętre aka. Buchholz aka. beechwood aka. <em>fagus sylvatica</em>. Home improvement stores in Austria carry it in slats 5 mm and 10 mm thick. Extant scabbards from the early middle ages use a variety of wood: Roland Warzecha lists willow/poplar, oak, maple, alder, beech wood, ash in surviving scabbards.

Wood in medieval European scabbards is usually 1-2 mm thick, so some rolls of "veneer" can be suitable.

Some woodworking shops will turn one 5 mm or quarter inch board into one or two 2-3 mm thick boards for a few dollars, pounds, or Euros ... ask around your area.

www.bookandsword.com
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Alasdair Grant-Hastings




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 05 Nov 2017

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue 12 Mar, 2019 3:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi everyone

Thanks for the responses they have been really helpful. I am off to find some wood now! Once I have found some and have made the scabbard I shall post it on here.

Very interesting to see all the woods that ahve been used historically as well. I though oak wouldnt have been all that suitable i have read that it can be corrosive? Something about it being high in tannin? I could be wrong and often am!


Thanks again
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 482

PostPosted: Tue 12 Mar, 2019 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oak would not be my first choice either, I think tannin is acidic, but I know people who have made oak scabbards and are happy with them: I think the lesson is that if you can't get thin slats of beechwood, most other woods which carve or steam well will work OK.
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Leo Todeschini
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Location: Oxford, UK
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Mar, 2019 2:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beech is an interesting choice as it can be quite brittle, Oak I would avoid because of the tannin and it does certainly stain or rust iron.

Poplar is great because it is tough and stringy, birch is quite similar in that it is light and tough, but is not commercially available in the UK

Willow would be tough, so also good, as would ash, but hard to work down that thin.

Tod

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William M




Location: Buckinghamshire , England
Joined: 01 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Mar, 2019 2:05 am    Post subject: Re: Poplar in the UK- For Scabbard making         Reply with quote

[quote="Sean Manning"]
Alasdair Grant-Hastings wrote:

Wood in medieval European scabbards is usually 1-2 mm thick, so some rolls of "veneer" can be suitable.


That is an interesting idea... my scabbards are usually too chunky. My next project is to make a scabbard for my bronze swords but the problem is that they have a thick middle ridge, which I don't think will be compatible with using veneer. Sad
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 14 Mar, 2019 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:
Poplar is great because it is ...stringy...

Precisely why I don't like Poplar for carving!

Happy

William M wrote:
That is an interesting idea... my scabbards are usually too chunky.


See the posts for February 8, 2019 in this thread:

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=310...;start=100
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Antal László




Location: Lymington, Hampshire, UK
Joined: 16 Sep 2006
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar, 2019 2:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How about basswood? I think I have seen a comment somewhere that it's great for scabbards.

It's available in various thicknesses here:
http://modelshop.co.uk/Shop/Raw-Materials/Woo...mm/ITM3989
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 482

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar, 2019 2:15 am    Post subject: Re: Poplar in the UK- For Scabbard making         Reply with quote

William M wrote:
My next project is to make a scabbard for my bronze swords but the problem is that they have a thick middle ridge, which I don't think will be compatible with using veneer. Sad

I have not read any of the reports on Bronze Age European scabbards, but for some styles of scabbard the best solution might be to start with a green log (deadfall from the last winter storms?), split it into lathes, rough them out with adze or drawknife or chisels, and leave them to dry. Historical woodworking often used the properties of wood as an organic material which changes as it dries and has Y and J shapes, where modern carpentry and cabinetmaking tries to reduce it to interchangeable, stable rectangular-section boards.

I found an article on Anglo-Saxon shields in Barry Molloy's The Cutting Edge and some books and articles on Greek and Roman shipbuilding helpful for grokking early woodworking and how your approach changes when you don't start with saw-cut, kiln-dried boards.

www.bookandsword.com
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Julien M




Location: Austin TX
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar, 2019 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Catford Timber Co - I've got mine from these guys, around 10 years ago and I'm still using these to this day for grip work (10 planks, half an inch thick). Was cheap and straight forward to order but I collected the planks myself and have no idea if they will ship.
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