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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 8:00 am    Post subject: MRL Arbedo Redo         Reply with quote

Here is my Museum Replicas’ Arbedo with a reformed and rewrapped grip, and browned Cross and Pommel.

Measurements and Specifications

Weight: 2 pounds 13 ounces
Overall Length: 39.75 inches
Blade Length: 31 inches
Fullers: None
Guard Width: 8.25 inches
Grip and Pommel Length: 8.25 inches
Grip Length: 6 inches
Point of Balance: 3.25 inches from guard
Center of Percussion: 18 inches from guard

The Arbedo Sword is Museum Replicas’ attempt to replicate a beautiful hand-and-a-half sword (c. 1350-1400) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Based upon the few pictures I have seen and the one blade measurement in Oakeshott (31 inches), the MRL’s Arbedo Sword seems to be a fair replica. The blade geometry is slightly different, especially at the tip. However, the pommel and grip is where most of the differences can be found. The replica’s pommel seems to be significantly thinner. The shape of the grip is also different. The original has a ridge running down the center of the grip that continues the median line of the blade.

My Arbedo has a tight and solid feel to it. The fit and finish is well done, with no large gaps, pitting or scratches. It has a very flexible, well-tempered blade with the typical MRL grinding (or forging) ripples on the blade surface—maybe a bit more pronounced that normal. One of these depressions is larger and somewhat noticeable near the ridge-line of the blade. These irregularities can only be seen in an oblique view down the blades length. And, as this sword was a Christmas gift from my wife, it would take much more than this to tempt me to send it back.

The Arbedo Sword is easy to control. The point of Balance is rather close to the hand and the counter-weight of the pommel and extra grip makes the sword feel much lighter than the scales would indicate. Yet the sword has enough blade presence (barely) to track well.

With five children in my house, all my swords are blunts. So I have no idea how the sword would cut. I suspect that the sacrifice of weight in the blade (making it easy to place the cut) would reduce the force of the cut. The same could be said for thrusting. The point would go where you wanted but the relatively thin flexible blade would not have the rigidity to penetrate very easily. A little less distal taper and a more prominent central spine would make this replica a better weapon. In fact it would be the blade as appears on the original.



 Attachment: 73 KB
WebArbedoComparison.jpg
The Original in the Met
MRL Arbedo Replica
My Arbedo "Redo"


Two swords
Lit in Eden’s 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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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

More Arbedo Redo Hilt Pics...
Two swords
Lit in Eden’s 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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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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Reading list: 42 books

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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice job Kirk, thanks for sharing.

Aging these MRL swords really seems to be a viable way to make something interesting out of a rather ho-hum product.
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Patrick

I don't think you meant it that way, but that comes off a bit harsh.......

Personally, I don't think of MS as ho-hum, I think of it as entry level, and the economy lineup.....

It seems that this year, we've seen a few of the more experienced collectors acquire an MS and like it enough to hang onto it for a while. The Scottish Backsword comes to mind.

Personally, I started with a WS sword years ago. The blade has been reground, rehilted, etc, about like what one would expect from someone that eventually winds up making swords.....

Some of my early collection was MS stuff, but of course in those days the production world didn't have that much selection, and the custom makers weren't well known.....

Today, with the economy the way it is, MS offers a viable alternative. Folks with kids in school, folks that have been laid off, folks that are under or unemployed can't really afford the "nicer" swords, but might be able to take a flyer on an MS sword. As time goes on, if they get really involved in this interest, they likely will sell, trade, or whatever, to acquire the more expensive swords..... and on and on, just like some collectors I could name today that started with less expensive stuff years ago.....

I also believe that working and experimenting on these less expensive products tends to bring out the more creative in some of us, and that the next gen of scabbard makers, handle wrappers, and blade and sword makers are likely to have some experience with these cheaper swords.........

Auld Dawg

swords are fun
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't presume to interperate my words Gus. It sounds exactly as it was meant.

I've owned several of them myself, so I should know whereof I speak. I think Kirk did an excellent job of jazzing up a lower-end product. That's not a personal attack on Kirk or his purchasing power, it's a simple statement of the facts as I see them. I think anyone else will be able to see that as a compliment.

Just so that everyone is clear as to where I stand on MRL products, I would *strongly* suggest that everyone read this review: http://www.myArmoury.com/review_mrl_alb.html

Kirk,

Could you tell us the proccess you used in aging this sword? We've now seen several projects like this, and it's a very interesting look.


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Thu 06 Nov, 2003 10:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks absolutely fantastic. Thanks, in particular, for sharing photos of the original reproduction along with the antique and your own version. Can you please include more info on the process you used for the aging process and re-gripping? I think a lot of people could benefit from this!
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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

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Posts: 820

PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:
Hi Patrick

I don't think you meant it that way, but that comes off a bit harsh.......

Personally, I don't think of MS as ho-hum, I think of it as entry level, and the economy lineup.....

It seems that this year, we've seen a few of the more experienced collectors acquire an MS and like it enough to hang onto it for a while. The Scottish Backsword comes to mind.

Personally, I started with a WS sword years ago. The blade has been reground, rehilted, etc, about like what one would expect from someone that eventually winds up making swords.....

Some of my early collection was MS stuff, but of course in those days the production world didn't have that much selection, and the custom makers weren't well known.....

Today, with the economy the way it is, MS offers a viable alternative. Folks with kids in school, folks that have been laid off, folks that are under or unemployed can't really afford the "nicer" swords, but might be able to take a flyer on an MS sword. As time goes on, if they get really involved in this interest, they likely will sell, trade, or whatever, to acquire the more expensive swords..... and on and on, just like some collectors I could name today that started with less expensive stuff years ago.....

I also believe that working and experimenting on these less expensive products tends to bring out the more creative in some of us, and that the next gen of scabbard makers, handle wrappers, and blade and sword makers are likely to have some experience with these cheaper swords.........

Auld Dawg


Angus,

You hit the nail on the head...
I like to take lower-end, beat up swords and try to improve and age them to have a budget sword that captures that well-worn, all-most used up kind of beauty. It would be hard for me to do it to a high-end sword even if I had the money to purchase one...

Kirk

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s 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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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

Spotlight topics: 6
Posts: 820

PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Don't presume to interperate my words Gus. It sounds exactly as it was meant.

I've owned several of them myself, so I should know whereof I speak. I think Kirk did an excellent job of jazzing up a lower-end product. That's not a personal attack on Kirk or his purchasing power, it's a simple statement of the facts as I see them. I think anyone else will be able to see that as a compliment.

Just so that everyone is clear as to where I stand on MRL products, I would *strongly* suggest that everyone read this review: http://www.myArmoury.com/review_mrl_alb.html

Kirk,

Could you tell us the proccess you used in aging this sword? We've now seen several projects like this, and it's a very interesting look.


Patrick,

No offense taken whatsoever...
My wife just bought me a book on viking swords... I think it may be Ian Pierce??? Anyway... compared to those swords the Arbedo is really "ho hum". Yet I think that ho hum is okay... It seems that there is such a range of craftsmenship in original swords that some of them were possibly "ho hum" also. What attracted me to the Arbedo was the balance in the design... evidently artist of the time like these wide bladed swords for it seems that there are more contemporary pictures than there are surviving swords.

As to the aging of the blade... It is really simple. Dab mustard in a regular pattern on the blade, let it dry for 10-15 minutes and then polish it off with 0000 steel wool. It has a strange polished, 3-deminsional effect. The difference in the blade color from yellowish to gray in the photos is cause by the different ways the light reflects off this almost etched pattern.

Kirk

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s 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


Last edited by Kirk Lee Spencer on Thu 06 Nov, 2003 4:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks again Kirk.

Mustard? Apparently a vinegar and salt solution can also be used to good effect, although that seems to provide a bit of a corrosive effect. I like the aged look of the whole piece.

What about the grip? It really looks like you did a lot of work in that area.
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
That looks absolutely fantastic. Thanks, in particular, for sharing photos of the original reproduction along with the antique and your own version. Can you please include more info on the process you used for the aging process and re-gripping? I think a lot of people could benefit from this!


Nathan,

When I saw that you included a forum on your website, It reminded me how much the pleasure of collecting swords would be deminished if we could not share them with each other...
So... Thanks for your hard (and very fine) work in making this possible.

Before I became interested in swords, I was a "buckskinner" (fur-trade reinactor). I used Birchwood Caseys "plum brown" on the barrels of my rifles. I thought I would try it on the guard and pommel... Of course you must heat the metal. I very carefully heated the cross and pommel, with a torch that I had... applied the browning solution let it set... heated it again applied another coat, let it set... then one more heating and coating.
[I have seen browing jobs on the forums where it appears the only applied one coat, so it is really splotchy.]

I was surprised that I could use a hot browning solution on an assembled sword without burning the leather on the grip. You start at the edges and let the heat conduct through the metal toward the more organic parts.

Then I messed up...
I had some cold browning solution I got through Dixie Gunworks catalog. I use it to darken just a few light areas. Then I decided later to do one more coat of the plum brown (the true artist knows when to stop).

Evidently the cold browning solution was flammable and had soaked into the edge of the grip.
So I had the proverbial flaming sword.

This inspired me to change out the grip to more closely match the original. While the grip was ruined, I took the opportunity to finish the browning process. You can see that the pommel is a darker brown... that is the cold browning solution. And the guard has a more reddish brown of the Brichwood Casey Plum Brown. It looks off balance to me, so I am applying the cold brown to the guard now, leaving just a few reddish highlights of the plum brown (just so the whole flaming sword thing doesn't seem unnecessary).

As for the grip...
I took the burned leather off, unwound the waxed cord underneath. They had wrapped it with two separate cords one starting at the pommel and the other at the cross, leaving gaps that were filled as the opposite cord passed. I'm not sure why they did it this way... maybe it is more stable... or maybe a maching did it. The wood of the grip was sandwich together around the tang. Plain straight grained wood, obviously milled, giving the grip its mass produced look. I ground the wood with my dremel tool to match the shape of the original in the Met. There was not enough wood to create the central ridge of the grip, so I got out my JB Weld epoxy, cut grooves in the wood for a better grip of the epoxy and then built up the ridge with epoxy, let it set, and then finished shaping the grip.

Cording
I took the left over cord and braided some to form the larger cording on either end of the grip and in the middle. I took some coarse sandpaper and made the surface of the wooden core very rough. Then I rewound the left over cord around the larger portion of the grip, super-glueing it to the core as I went. (Super-glue... is that cheating... I heard ancient sword hilters had some kind of supermastic.)
There was not enough cord to do the smaller end of the grip because I had used it to make larger bands. I took some of my grandfathers waxed line he used to weave fishing nets and used it for the smaller portion of the grip. I like it better because the cord varies lightly in diameter and make it look more handmade. I then took the braided thicker cord, wrapped it around the ends of the grip (and the middle), glueing all down securely.

Leather Wrap
I bought the thinnest leather I could find. (I got a whole cows worth... only used about one square foot.)
Cut it to an approximate size then took my supermastic to one edge along its length and then worked my way around the grip a little at a time, putting down a line of superglue, pressing the leather down and running my fingernail between the cords. When I made it around to the other side I overlapped the two layers, took a very sharp exacto knife and cut an angled slit through both layers of leather. Pulled up the loose side, put some supermastic (glue) and tried my best to blend the edge away.

There you go Nathan...

Kirk

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s 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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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks great! Having gone the faux-antique route a couple of times now, I have to know–How did you strip off the lacquer? I sand it off with good results but that's time consuming and probably not great for the mucous membranes. I found lacquer thinner and even Citrustrip to make hardly a dent in the stuff. There must be an easier way, but I haven't yet figured it out....
-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: Thu 06 Nov, 2003 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Looks great! Having gone the faux-antique route a couple of times now, I have to know–How did you strip off the lacquer? I sand it off with good results but that's time consuming and probably not great for the mucous membranes. I found lacquer thinner and even Citrustrip to make hardly a dent in the stuff. There must be an easier way, but I haven't yet figured it out....


Sean,

On the Cross and Pommel I used a little very fine sandpaper and alot of elbow grease. On the blade I used the Citrustrip and steel wool. It was a hit and miss operation. I missed a few places, but the mustard would not etch in those places so I would put on some more Citrustrip and hit those spots hard with the steel wool.

In the end the steel wool produced a very smooth surface... I believe that is one reason the mustard produced a three-deminsional etched look, as if it were under a glass surface... obviously an optical illusion, but very interesting. The first time I did the mustard etch, the blade surface looked as if it had been etched into a pattern... much too regular... so I changed the thickness of the mustard in places, took a blow dryer to different parts to get it to etch at different rates so it would look more like aging instead of hand etching... not as a regular pattern...
It is funny how hard it is to make something look like it aged naturally. I have a few wall hangers I got for about $20 buried in the back yard. I'm sure they will look very natural.

Kirk

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s 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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Eugene George




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Nov, 2003 2:14 pm    Post subject: Great job         Reply with quote

Good work! Great tips. Makes me wish I had more time on my hands...
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Patrick Fitzmartin





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PostPosted: Sat 08 Nov, 2003 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings All, This is my first post on this site which I have already learned a whole lot.
Kirk , Beautiful job on the Arbedo sword. I have steadily been drawn to that one. From what you have said, it may be a worthwhile purchase. Idea
Sean Flynt, As far as stripping protective coatings go, I have found straight MEK (methly ethly ketone) works very well on Del Tins. The MRL coatings are resistant even to this which as far as I know will eat just about anything. It work fairly well with OOOO steel wool. Just keep it wet and add the elbow grease. Please exercise great care with the MEK though. It is highly flammable. Lots of open air and no smoking are recommended. So are gloves. Eek! It will work though. Sincerely, Patrick Fitzmartin
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Nov, 2003 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Fitzmartin wrote:
Greetings All, This is my first post on this site which I have already learned a whole lot.
Kirk , Beautiful job on the Arbedo sword. I have steadily been drawn to that one. From what you have said, it may be a worthwhile purchase. Idea
Sean Flynt, As far as stripping protective coatings go, I have found straight MEK (methly ethly ketone) works very well on Del Tins. The MRL coatings are resistant even to this which as far as I know will eat just about anything. It work fairly well with OOOO steel wool. Just keep it wet and add the elbow grease. Please exercise great care with the MEK though. It is highly flammable. Lots of open air and no smoking are recommended. So are gloves. Eek! It will work though. Sincerely, Patrick Fitzmartin


Patrick,

Thanks for the good word...
And welcome to the forum!

Kirk

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s 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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Patrick Fitzmartin





Joined: 07 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Sat 15 Nov, 2003 7:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings Kirk, Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for the welcome. At least least your brave enough to show off your work which you have have every right to. A job well done. I do some work myself but I have that "Its not good enough yet" thing going so I don't post pics. There is a definite sense of satisfaction in this hobby though. Big Grin Sincerely, Patrick Fitzmartin
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Nov, 2003 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome to myArmoury Patrick!

From one Patrick to another Big Grin
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Nov, 2003 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kirk,

Thanks for sharing. Made for a good read.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Patrick Fitzmartin





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PostPosted: Sun 16 Nov, 2003 5:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings Patrick Kelly, Thank you for the welcome sir. I like this place. Wink Sincerely, Patrick Fitzmartin
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Mon 17 Nov, 2003 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Fitzmartin wrote:
Greetings Kirk, Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for the welcome. At least least your brave enough to show off your work which you have have every right to. A job well done. I do some work myself but I have that "Its not good enough yet" thing going so I don't post pics. There is a definite sense of satisfaction in this hobby though. Big Grin Sincerely, Patrick Fitzmartin




Patrick,

I for one would love to see some of your work!

I can not seem to leave any of my swords alone... They will probably all meet the same fate as the Arbedo.
I am currently working on getting a grip on Albion's Odysseus Sword.

http://www.albionarmorers.com/swords/albion/odysseus.htm

Here are a few more pics of the Arbedo (the cross is a little browner) and the light was a little better for pics.
I think the Arbedo is well worth the price.

Kirk



 Attachment: 81.98 KB
CompositeArbedoWeb.jpg


Two swords
Lit in Eden’s 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
View user's profile Send private message


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