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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2005 9:46 am    Post subject: Grip re-wraps         Reply with quote

I have posted in several threads that I was going to redo one or another of my sword grips when I get a chance. Well, my dad sent me the grips from my swords that have threaded tangs (because of my housing situation (i.e. Army barracks) I can't have the whole sword at the moment), and sent them to me. Here are some pictures of what I have done. At the moment I pictures of only the grips, but I will update this with pictures of the grips on their respective swords when the grips make it back to Colorado, and dad sends me some pictures.

The first picture is of all four grips as they were when I had started.
Upper Left: Windlass/MRL Archer's Short Sword.
Upper Right: Windlass/MRL Type XVa. (I believe that this was called the "Medieval Bastard Sword," or something equally vague. It is based on XVa.2 from the Spotlight on XV's)
Lower Left: I actually made this grip. It goes on my re-forge/re-hilt of a Windlass/MRL 500574 (discussed in this thread).
Lower Right: Depeeka Dagger. I don't know a name or model number, as I got it from a friend. I don't think they carry this particular piece any more. The grip was originally covered in low-quality black leather.

The leather for all of these was a chamios.

For the Archer's Short Sword, I used natural cord from the local hardware store. I am not able to decipher the single German word on the packaging, but it would seem that it is made from cherry trees Question WTF?! It came in a variety pack with several thicknesses. I used the 1.7 mm thickness for the base wrap, and 2 mm for the risers. The risers are four seperate pieces. You can also just make out (in the bottom "square") that I used buttons to ensure pressure inside each square during drying. I wanted green leather, and could find no green leather dye or polish, so I used weeds from the sidewalk to stain the leather. You can just rub it on (rather like grass-staining ones clothing, though more deliberate), but I would recommend bruising the leaves with a bit of sandpaper first. This will keep your leather from streatching too much. Also, because chlorophyll is more like working with water-colors, don't expect too deep a color. This may not survive real well (I hope it doesn't turn a sickly brown, but I don't know), but I can always just cover it up with black shoe polish. I found that the natural cord that I used left fibers attached to the grip where excess glue had leaked out at the seam. Chlorophyll does not do a good job of covering this, or the seam itself, up.

For the type XVa sword, I needed the grip to be the same thickness as it had been originally at top and bottom (so that it would fir the guard and pommel), but wanted to increase the diameter of the rest of the grip as it was too small. Therefore, I used "550 cord" (often called parachute cord, it is a nylon cord sheath with seven smaller bits of cord inside), despite the fact that it is historically inaccurate. I "gutted" the 550 cord (removed the inner cords), and laid the sheath out flat against the grip core in order to keep the diameter of the grip close enough to original dimentions. after the first wrap, I began twisting the cord to make it round, and increase the thickness. I finished by making the last wrap flat as well. The risers are also made from gutted, twisted 550 cord. I used the inner cords to do the exterior wrap during drying, which resulted in a lot of the detail from the interior wrap (the cord under the leather) showing through. It also highlighted a few mistakes. The leather was colored with Kiwi shoe polish. First I laid down some brown higlights, and then covered the whole thing with cordovan (Kiwi's cordovan is more like a dark brown).

After improving the shape of the wooden core (this one was real clunky) by carving and filing, the Windlass 500574 re-hilt was wrapped in 1.7 mm cord, and I used some 2.5 mm stuff for the risers. I used 1.7 mm cord for the exterior wrap during drying, and once again found that the natural cord tended to leave fibers attached to the grip. Shoe polish (I used Kiwi brown, with a little bit of cordovan for higlights) did a much better job of covering up the ones that could not be plucked off, and it also disguised the seam rather well.

I first carved down the dagger grip to create a hexagonal cross-section, and then wrapped it in 1.2 mm cord. I used multiple wraps of the same cord in order to create the risers. The leather was stained using red "Leather Rejuvinator" (a paste-like substance for restoring color to shoes, which just might be a fany name for polish) from Mister Minit, an on-post shoe repair place. Just a little bit of cordovan brushed onto the leather beforehand resulted in some interesting highlights. The exterior wrap on this one was done with the inner pieces from 550 cord. They are about 1.2 mm (a little less, but not much), and because they are synthetic, they don't leave any fibers on the grip.

I'll go ahead and post some of the lessons learned when I get a chance, but at the moment the library is about to close.

-Grey



 Attachment: 14.83 KB
4-before.JPG
All four grips before re-wrapping

 Attachment: 15.73 KB
Archer-after.JPG
Cord: 1.7mm natural cord with 2 mm natural cord risers
Stain: Chlorophyll


 Attachment: 9.29 KB
XVa-after.JPG
Cord: Gutted, twisted 550 cord
Stain: Cordovan and brown shoe polishes


 Attachment: 16.42 KB
Short-after.JPG
Core: Improved profile and distal tapers
Cord: 1.7 mm natural cord with 2 mm natural cord risers
Stain: Brown and cordovan shoe polishes


 Attachment: 11.24 KB
Dagger-after.JPG
Core: Carved to hexagonal cross-section
Cord: 1.2 mm natural cord
Stain: Red leather rejuvinator with cordovan polish highlights


 Attachment: 10.12 KB
Mag-lite.JPG
If you have left-overs, you can always customize your Mag-Lite

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


Last edited by Greyson Brown on Wed 13 Apr, 2005 8:17 am; edited 2 times in total
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2005 9:56 am    Post subject: Re: Grip re-wraps         Reply with quote

Those look great, Greyson! I've been meaning to rewrap a couple of my swords after Sean's excellent article, I just keep putting it off.

Greyson Brown wrote:
I wanted green leather, and could find no green leather dye or polish, so I used weeds from the sidewalk to stain the leather.


That's fantastic!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Outstanding job, Greyson! The grip with the diamond-pattern risers and green hue is especially impressive.
Adapt and overcome! The grip you made is the prettiest, though, IMHO.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2005 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Sean. The green cross hatched grip is particularly nice Greyson, very cool.

Neat!

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2005 5:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent. I have two old MRL's that I need to do.
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2005 8:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments guys.

As I commented on in my post, I had to do these while they were not attached to the sword. That made a few differences. For the most part it was straight forward, but:

-Expect to glue yourself to stuff. Given that wood glue cleans up pretty easy, this isn't a concern. I was still fairly liberal with the glue, but because the only thing I had to hang onto was the grip itself, I stuck myself to a couple grips.

-You really only need to glue the cord to the grip at the begining and end of the wrap. Not gluing the main portion of your work allows you to correct mistakes (thus getting the wrap tighter), and helps you avoid getting glued to stuff.

-My top and bottom risers had to be closer to the middle of the grip than I think would be needed if the grips had been on the sword. If I put them closer to the ends, the exterior cord (used during drying) would slip off of the ends. This would be negated if there was a pommel or guard to stop it sliding.

-I was able to apply my leather dry and then just dunk the whole grip in a pot of water. With the grip attached, you would probably want to use wet leather or give the grip a sponge bath. I could see wet leather fighting a bit (I don't think it would glue so well), and a sponge bath might not get things wet enough.

-The exterior cord is responsible for about 50% of the texture on a finished grip. Don't just wrap cord around it in a hurry and set it aside to dry. Make sure that it is evenly spaced, and that it applies pressure in the areas that you want to highlight or hide.

-Along with that last comment, try not to use too much pressure when passing the exterior cord over a riser, as it leaves a mark. The best place (in my opinion) for cord to go over a riser is at the seam, that way the pressure that is applied holds the leather tight and helps to hide the seam.

-The leather likes to pucker just a bit on the risers. This makes the seam more visible, but can be avoided be following the above bullet.

Last but not least:

-Shoe polish can hide quite a few sins.

-Grey

"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: Wed 13 Apr, 2005 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Outstanding job, Greyson! The grip with the diamond-pattern risers and green hue is especially impressive.
Adapt and overcome! The grip you made is the prettiest, though, IMHO.


I don't know how historically accurate the green grip really is. There are several effigies and drawings that show this pattern, but I think that it is very possible that they were carved, or done like XII.4 in the most recent update. XII.4 has leather strips tacked in place, which would be quite a bit easier than gluing the risers in place (that part took a whole day, because the cord I used was stiff and wanted to be very dry before I glued the next section), and then getting the exterior wrap on. That is one place where having the grip off of the sword was really handy. I did one pass with the 1.7 mm cord on either side of the hatch-work, and then wrapped over the whole thing with the same cord. Like I said before, I put buttons in each square so that the leather would be held done. I really should have used something larger, as I got some bulges anyway.

I think that it would be possible, given some planing, to get your hatchwork risers to line up so that the exterior cord passed over the pommel or guard, but both is going to be a pain. Also, the thinkness of the guard or pommel would hold the cord off of the grip, and you might not get as much detail at either end of the grip.

The other thing that this grip taught me is that no one is going to see the cord inside of the leather. That means that you can draw the position of your risers on the cord. I simply had no choice but to do that for the green grip, but it would have avoided some crooked or unevenly spaced risers on the other grips as well.

The one that I made for my Windlass 500574 re-hilt was more straight forward. I was actually inspired by the Albion Squire.

Both of these grips are very comfortable when held properly. My thumb and index finger lie right along one of the diagonal risers on the green grip, and the risers on the home-made grip have just the right spacing that they end up under the joints of my fingers. All of them provide a very nice grip, but those are probably the two I admire most.

-Grey

"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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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2005 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I read or saw somewhere that some grips were covered in complex, knotted meshes of cord much like what you have produced, though perhaps with smaller openings. I think that's in one of the Oakeshott books (A of W?).
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2005 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:

Both of these grips are very comfortable when held properly. My thumb and index finger lie right along one of the diagonal risers on the green grip, and the risers on the home-made grip have just the right spacing that they end up under the joints of my fingers. All of them provide a very nice grip, but those are probably the two I admire most.

-Grey



Hey Greyson...

Thanks so much for the info... It will come in handy.

I am always amazed how different a sword feels when I redo the grip to fit my hand.

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
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PostPosted: Sat 16 Apr, 2005 1:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean,

I do know that at least some were done that way. Oakeshott does include a plat with such a sword, I believe, and I know that one is pictured on the last page of the 13th century chapter in Edge and Paddock's Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight.

I might give that a try at some point, but it might require more dexterity than I have.

-Grey

"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
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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jul, 2005 3:54 am    Post subject: Update [new pics]         Reply with quote

I promised that I would post pictures of the grips on the swords when I got them. Well, I finally have such pictures. I put together a before and after shot of each sword (just the grip area, if somebody wants to see the whole sword, let me know) so that you can compare the new grip with the original.

Unfortunately, the green grip on the MRL Archer's Short Sword has lost a lot of its color. I guess I will have to go over that one with some black shoe polish after all.

Enjoy!

-Grey



 Attachment: 22.04 KB
Archer Before and After.JPG


 Attachment: 37.2 KB
Dagger Before and After.JPG


 Attachment: 26.11 KB
XVa Before and After.JPG


 Attachment: 19.57 KB
Rainguard Before and After.JPG


 Attachment: 34.57 KB
Rainguard.jpg
This a full view of the sword that I re-forged the tang on, and made the grip for. The pommel and guard were made by my father. I realize that brass is not historically accurate, but that was what we had at the time.

"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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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jul, 2005 3:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice work, Grey.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jul, 2005 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, it's amazing what a difference a nice grip wrap can make! Very cool, Grey.
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Daniel Parry




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jul, 2005 8:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They look really good. It struck me how real they look with your new grips. I don't use the word 'authentic' simply because I wouldn't know what was an authentic grip on a medieval sword. But they look somehow more real and practical and used than a lot of reproduction pictures you see. Particularly the sword at the bottom which you said you'd done work on. I don't know about authentic furniture on these swords but I could well imagine a knight riding along on a muddy horse with that slung at his side.


Daniel
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Anton de Vries





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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jul, 2005 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very useful information. Thanks.
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jul, 2005 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Parry wrote:
It struck me how real they look with your new grips. I don't use the word 'authentic' simply because I wouldn't know what was an authentic grip on a medieval sword. But they look somehow more real and practical and used than a lot of reproduction pictures you see.


Thanks Daniel. I would agree that they do look a lot better. I am quite jeleous of my brother, as he has gotten to handle the swords with the new grips in place, and I have not. I can say, however, that just the grips by themselves are much more comfortable. The cord and leather gives just a little more than having leather directly on the wooden core, and I feel as though my hand kind of sinks into the grip just a little. It isn't spongey, though. It's still solid. I was also amazed at how just a little bit of texture improves the grip noticably. So, yes, they feel more "real" to me too.

Daniel Parry wrote:
I don't know about authentic furniture on these swords but I could well imagine a knight riding along on a muddy horse with that slung at his side.


The type XVa with the metal rain guard is a MRL replica of a sword in the Glasgow Museum (XVa.2 in the Spotlight section), so the furniture is pretty close on that one. The others are less accurate. The two with brass furniture I had when I was 16 or 17, so I was a bit less exacting about historical accuracy at that point. I was just glad that my parents would let me have sword-shaped objects. Still they aren't horrible pieces, and I think I can improve them quite a bit if I get access to a forge for a couple of days (in addition to re-wrapping grips, I have plans of making new guards, and hopefully a couple of pommels, for several of my swords).

Thanks for all the kind words.

-Grey

"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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Tom Carr




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jul, 2005 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The green diapered grip is quite interesting, as are they all. Very nice work ! Oakeshott shows several examples in Swords in the Age of Chivalry. Most were done with velvet over wood and silk or wire diaper pattern. I think the technique dates as far back as the 14th century. Most of them seem to be for single handers, but a couple of drawings seem to show the them used on hand and a halfs. Im tempted to try out a velvet and silk cord wrap, just to see how it looks and feels. Keep up the good work! Big Grin
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
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PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2005 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom Carr wrote:
Oakeshott shows several examples in Swords in the Age of Chivalry. Most were done with velvet over wood and silk or wire diaper pattern. I think the technique dates as far back as the 14th century. Most of them seem to be for single handers, but a couple of drawings seem to show the them used on hand and a halfs.


Most of the ones that Oakeshott shows in SAC or in Archeology of Weapons are just line drawings, so I had to do some guess work on actual construction methods.

You are right that most of the swords with this type of grip are one handed (most appear to be type XIV's, but many are in their scabbards); the only example of a hand-and-a-half sword with this type of grip that I could find is the type XVa or XVII on the effigy of Sir Reginald Cobham. The technique seems to be a bit older than you suggest however, as it is in use on effigies and in pictures at least by the mid- (and possible the early-)13th century.

If you go ahead and do that velvet and silk wrap, make sure you let us see it.

-Grey

"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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