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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Feb, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject: DIY Scabbard for Albion's Knight Sword         Reply with quote

Thanks to some help and inspiration from Aaron (tips on covering) and Patrick (review of the Knight which resulted in his buying it if I remember right), I could not pass up on buying the Albion Knight during the post holiday sale. I decided to make a more traditional looking wool lined scabbard (although it has been epoxy fiberglass laminated and did withstand a 200 lb proof test of standing on the middle while only supported at the tips.)

There were many firsts in this project; attempting antiquing with leather dyes, criss crossed stitching (over 30 feet of waxed linen thread to my surprise), and cord risers that I decided to try after Rod Walker's Towton Sword Scabbard post. http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=5835

The risers are not particularly well placed as I planned on a simple lace up bracer to fix it to a generic belt. More than anything, I wanted something more appropriate than the shipping box to store it in.



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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Feb, 2006 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared,
That's pretty good for a first attempt. Pretty darn good. Happy For future versions, consider thinning the core out. The problem with many modern scabbards is that they are just too bulky: the wood is usually too thick.

Happy

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Feb, 2006 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would like to know what the forum considers appropriate thickness. I have never seen one of the better professional artisan scabbards.

I made the wood core about 3/16" (say 5 mm) thick, plus accomodated about 1/16" (1.5 mm) for the internal wool in the compressed state . The 1/8" thick wool (turned down and sewn like a sock cuff) adds the appearance of it being much greater than this around the mouth. The leather steps down where the wool cuff ends. I was tempted to cord wrap the leather at the wool, but did not foresee this possibility and used too much epoxy (soaking into and stiffening the wool) when I turned the wool sock down. Lamination adds about 1 mm to the whole core (shark and stingray skin lamination was authentic in some eastern scabbards) while strengthening it by a factor between 2 to 3 times in terms of breaking strength when standing on the flat of the middle.

I used an Albion "Moat Sale" chape. I have several of these in different styles. All of the ones I recieved (large and small sizes, pointy to rounded) seemed to indicate greater thickness near the chape area than I expected (generally at least 10 mm thick inside the chape. I actually made the core wider and thicker at the tip than I wanted, just to accommodate a slip fit (epoxy) with the pre-made chape.

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PostPosted: Wed 08 Feb, 2006 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Schnatterly made a scabbard for my Sovereign. He started with 1/4 inch slats and worked his way down in thickness.

The pics below show a slightly thicker core before being worked down into the final pic.

I should have the scabbard in hand soon for measurements (Kevin Iseli is doing a chape and belt for it as we speak). I'll know the measurements then.



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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Feb, 2006 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As for the moat sale chapes, don't assume they're historically accurate.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Feb, 2006 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for positive feedback Chad. I think we share the same preferrences in what we want a scabbard to be shaped like. So far, I have not turned up a source for thin reproduction chapes though.


There are quite a few web auction and archeological dig reports that give dimensions for surviving chapes. I looked at several today and found that while the Moat Sale chape is way too long, the I.D. is pretty representative of what one could expect at the last 2" of the scabbard tip (meaning historical was probably even blunter or having less distal taper to the end of the core.)

http://www.ukdfd.co.uk/ukdfddata/showcat.php?cat=123

I have actually made around 10 cores to this point, although this is only the second one I have bothered to attempt covering. The first one for my Crecey was wide enough and thick enough to qualify as bolemic. Most cores were subjected to destructive testing (I have posted pictures previously). I have found it very difficult to get the core down to the 1/8" thickness range without it becoming very flexible (and subject to breakage under moderate loads against the flat.) The width and thickness of wood outside the cutting edge / profile of the sword is really where the most critical aspect of scabbard strength will be derived from. It is sort of like the flanges of an I beam, when load is applied against the flanges instead of the web (web load would be like trying to break the scabbard through a cutting aligned force.) Anyhow, have you considered having your core laminated with glued linen (some believe historically accurate, plus you can wax it for extra water proofing)?

http://www.regia.org/warfare/sword.htm

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Feb, 2006 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I have found it very difficult to get the core down to the 1/8" thickness range without it becoming very flexible (and subject to breakage under moderate loads against the flat.) The width and thickness of wood outside the cutting edge / profile of the sword is really where the most critical aspect of scabbard strength will be derived from. It is sort of like the flanges of an I beam, when load is applied against the flanges instead of the web (web load would be like trying to break the scabbard through a cutting aligned force.) Anyhow, have you considered having your core laminated with glued linen (some believe historically accurate, plus you can wax it for extra water proofing)?

http://www.regia.org/warfare/sword.htm


Aaron treated the core with linseed oil which was supposed to help strengthen it, I believe. The core is currently covered with leather. It and its brand new Kevin Iseli chape and belt are on their way back to me as we speak. Happy

I'm not sure how much protection a scabbard is designed to give. The idea of a bit of wood and leather being able to provide a ton of protection to tempered steel seems odd to me. Question I think it would keep the elements off the blade and keep it from being carelessly damaged, but wouldn't be a super-significant protector against physical damage. But I've never worn a sword regularly or gone on an extended campaign.

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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2006 1:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I'm not sure how much protection a scabbard is designed to give. The idea of a bit of wood and leather being able to provide a ton of protection to tempered steel seems odd to me. I think it would keep the elements off the blade and keep it from being carelessly damaged, but wouldn't be a super-significant protector against physical damage. But I've never worn a sword regularly or gone on an extended campaign.


The only "extended campaign" that I can claim to have been on was rather different than what Chad was thinking of, no doubt. And there were (most unfortunately) no sword involved. That said, modern soldiers carry around their rifles by a sling. All that does is provide a way to keep the weapon on your person while freeing up your hands. I an fairly certain that scabbards were intended to serve the same purpose. We read of some people carrying their swords in iron rings so that they can pull them out more easily (and I suspect, so that they don't have an empty scabbard tapping their leg while they fight). A metal ring isn't going to provide you with any protection at all, so that tells me a sword bladed was probably capable of taking care of itself, so to speak. Of course, a full scabbard would help to protect against the elements like Chad said, and might keep the finish of you blade from getting marred if it scrapes against something, or some importunate kid throws a rock at you, or the like.

They might also have worked a bit like a safety. By covering the edges, you reduce the chances of accidentally inflicting an injury. So those guys who carried their swords in an iron ring might have been the medieval equivalent of the fellow on Black Hawk Down who carries his rifle around on fire. Laughing Out Loud

-Grey

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2006 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The difference in perspectives here is humourous. I was not even thinking about bodily protection when working on scabbard strength.

I had read in posts at other forums that people had sometimes accidentally broken their reproduction scabbards while sitting down. I am not sure, but believe one person mentioned slamming one in a vehicle door and breaking it. The use of basswood (a soft carving wood that is not quite as light as balsa) for the core was at least part of the cause in some of these incidents.

My objective was really just to make a compact core that could flex or bend an amount roughly comparable to what the sword blade it self is capable of bending under moderate incidental accidents such as sitting or trapping against an obstacle. It is probably "over designed". A secondary benefit is that if I have unkowingly sanded excessively thin anywhere, it is well reinforced by a glue laminated covering which is very water proof. Such a covering adds negligible thickness and weight. It is simply not detectable on a finished scabbard, other than the additional strength. Of all the steps I have tried to learn in making a scabbard, the process of applying a fabric lamination over the core is by far the easiest. I would describe the lamination effort as trivial (it does add 1 day of time) compared to shaping a core nicely, getting a very compact wool lining, or taking on leather working.

The first one I tested to destruction is shown in the attached image. I was actually jumping on this one like a spring board, and got to a height of around 2 feet before landing on itthree times when it finally broke. This had 1/4" of wood all around the blade, and actually had two very thin layers of laminated fiberglass. Most of the white you see is cotton felt that was inside as a liner. If you look closely at the broken edges, you probably can see the lamination. This really seemed like more strength than necessary. I have since settled on 3/16" thick wood all around and one layer of lamination. I can not jump on that, but can stand on it.



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Joel Whitmore




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject: Scabbards         Reply with quote

Anyone who has collected European swords knows that scabbards are by far teh hardest thing to come by. I find this strange since in the Japanese arena a scabbard seems to be without question with the sword. Perhaps because there are so few surviving medieval scabbards to go from. I read an article by Peter Lyon and he said for the LOTR swords molds were taken of each blade and fiberglass scababrds were made then covered in leather. I have never seen anyone offer this type of scabbard probably because historical authenticity is so omportant to us. BUt it would seem a great way to make a strong yet light scabbard. I have no clue on how to work with fiberglass or even make molds but I think it woudl be faster than carving wood to fit. Anyone know of peple out there doing this?


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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2006 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, Jared, it would seem that I, at least, misunderstood your reason for reinforcing your scabbard. And yet the discussion doesn't seem entirely out of place to me. A reenacter probably suffers no more risk of sitting on his scabbard than a medieval knight. Car doors, on the other hand, well they are as big a pain as the contraption to which they are attached. I guess in the end, if you scabbard looks and works the way you want it to, then it is a succes.

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Glen S. Ramsay




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Feb, 2006 12:58 am    Post subject: Re: Scabbards         Reply with quote

Joel Whitmore wrote:
Anyone who has collected European swords knows that scabbards are by far teh hardest thing to come by. I find this strange since in the Japanese arena a scabbard seems to be without question with the sword. Perhaps because there are so few surviving medieval scabbards to go from. I read an article by Peter Lyon and he said for the LOTR swords molds were taken of each blade and fiberglass scababrds were made then covered in leather. I have never seen anyone offer this type of scabbard probably because historical authenticity is so omportant to us. BUt it would seem a great way to make a strong yet light scabbard. I have no clue on how to work with fiberglass or even make molds but I think it woudl be faster than carving wood to fit. Anyone know of peple out there doing this?

There was a thread about how to do it over at SFI awhile back. The result was pretty nice:
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?s...adid=34733
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2006 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The methods described in the fiberglass method are pretty much the same as what I do on top of a wood core. This all could still be done with a very thin wood core, and still have all of the strength to weight benefits.

I prefer two successive cloth wraps (length wise wrap getting pretty full coverage of the scabbard core, followed by a perimeter wrap using full length pieces of cloth, not spiraled) of 1 oz to 2 oz fiber cloth for each wrap. 30 to 45 minute slow cure time epoxy is needed for good strength, smooth finish, and flexibility in the fully cured state. The first wrap is allowed to cure several hours, then sanded before a second wrap is applied. If the core is wood, and the interior has been coated with wood glue or has a wool liner, there is no issue with acid leaching from the epoxy resin onto the sword blade. Laminations can be very beautiful with no additional covering, as is evident in some historical Katana scabbards which actually had fish (shark and manta ray) skin on the exterior. I showed my first fiberglassed wood core to a woman. She said "How pretty. Is that an antique airplane propeller? How did that fly get in the wood?"

An interesting thing about composites made from many materials is that they can be stronger than any of the individual materials. This is due to the potential for bond strength to be greater than any of the unglued materials. The resins by themselves would actually impart very little strength as they will tend to fail in shear and tensile if that is all that is on a surface. I have seen estimates for the strength increase of thin plywood with 6 oz per yard fiberglass overlay to have a strength increase of a factor of 4, Similar estimates ranging from 2.5 to 3 times strength increase are not hard to find. It is a pretty complex subject, but simple break tests on trial scabbards easily convinced my family once they saw unlaminated scabbards breaking when my kids stepped on them, while I was jumping on the laminated ones. Boat builders have recognized the same thing and found wood laminated over with fiberglass to be superior to either of the two. The composite survives impact as well as sheer load better than either material can do by itself.

The reference image at the following link gives one a rough idea how just raw fiberglass performs structurally compared to a true composite.
http://www.tricelcorp.com/frp/frpgraph1.htm Fiberglass wood composites have been assessed as similar to high tech "FRP" and honeycomb type composites.

This next link was based on testing 1/4" thick wood strips, roughly 1.5" wide (sound approximately like the amount of wood needed for a scabbard core?) Conclusions are a little cryptic, but the general idea is that strength is better with the grain. I like to make my cores with wood grain along the length of the blade, and the first lamination along the length as well.
http://www.guillemot-kayaks.com/Building/Testing/

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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2006 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm not sure how much protection a scabbard is designed to give. The idea of a bit of wood and leather being able to provide a ton of protection to tempered steel seems odd to me.


I would guess that it's intended at least as much, if not more, as a way to keep the blade from cutting/stabbing into someone while wearing it, as well as to keep it out of the elements.

Your scabbard looks pretty good. My only question is this: are you supposed to leave the wood at the throat opened like that?
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2006 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Addison.
I felt like it actually showed some promise. Lack of thought towards suspension is a major negative, but I have not even gotten a buckle or started thinking through the making of belt yet. I have no mail, plate or kit of any type to wear it with yet. It is primarily a storage and transport scabbard that I expect to prevent rust, and hold the sword securely if I take it anywhere.

There is no visible wood anywhere. What you may be looking at is wool felt (woven felt, not just crushed) that is dyed in "camel hair" color. This felt lines all of the scabbard interior (not sewn, just glued in as two halfs to minimize additional width/ space that a fully stiched socks did add in earlier trials), and is then turned down like a pant or sock cuff over the first 2" of the scabbard exterior. The idea to turn it down over the exterior was volunteered by another forum member when I described difficulties with the wool lining tending to pull loose if left flush with the mouth. With the downturned cuff method, the wool lining stays put. The guard of the sword seats on this wool felt. All wool is now seasoned with gun oil such that if you thoroughly wipe the blade dry with an absorbant paper towel and then insert it into the scabbard, it will have a very slight oil film on it when removed. Wool is a hollow fiber that if seasoned with oil when dry will tend to repel minor moisture from humidity or light fog and retain the oil. I am not willing to go as far as throwing the thing into a lake though......

I have a experimented for about 9 months now with another wool lined core and found that the blade of my Albion Crecy blade never shows rust or patina upon removal from a "seasoned wool" lined scabbard regardless of how carelessly I put it away. In contrast, the Crecey's pommel tends to always have some rust and I have not been able to retard it even with cheap cold bluing treatments and a monthly oiling. I had some issues with the Crecey blade if it was stored in a bare wood core. It then needed regular oiling. I suspect blades typically get handled and touched less than pommels and guards though, because corrosion on the blade was never as big a problem as it has been on the pommel and guard.

A couple of wool lined trials for the Crecy and some unlined cores I had posted previously are shown below. These were all destroyed through load testing, I actually destroyed my last one (core number 9 or 10 would be my best guess) about 2 weeks ago at the point where I decided that 3/16" of wood is enough for just about anyones' standard of strength. You would fall down if anything hit it hard enough to break it while you were wearing it (true for laminated, not unlaminated.)

One more point. You may notice from the various openings that I had to really work with a partially fullered sword like the 1 st generation Crecey to get smooth entry withdrawl. If somebody formed fiberglass over it, they would discover what I stumbled into. The sword could not be withdrawn. This is because the thickest point along the centerline of the blade occurs where the fuller ends. Undoubtedly there are other blade geometries that are similar. The Knight sword was tremendously easy (full length fuller) to shape the core for, and I would expect full length diamond profiles (Albion Talhoffer, Ringeck, etc.) to be similarly easy to shape a core for.



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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2006 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Addison C. de Lisle wrote:
Your scabbard looks pretty good. My only question is this: are you supposed to leave the wood at the throat opened like that?


Addison,
If you're talking about the scabbard I posted (and I would guess you are since you were quoting my text), the scabbard was completely uncovered in those pics. That's been changed. But, most of my scabbards have a bit of uncovered wood at the top: 2 Albion Campaign Scabbards, a scabbard by Aaron, and one by Jesse Bailey.

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2006 7:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
One more point. You may notice from the various openings that I had to really work with a partially fullered sword like the 1 st generation Crecey to get smooth entry withdrawl. If somebody formed fiberglass over it, they would discover what I stumbled into. The sword could not be withdrawn. This is because the thickest point along the centerline of the blade occurs where the fuller ends. Undoubtedly there are other blade geometries that are similar. The Knight sword was tremendously easy (full length fuller) to shape the core for, and I would expect full length diamond profiles (Albion Talhoffer, Ringeck, etc.) to be similarly easy to shape a core for.


If you notice on that core I posted, Aaron followed what Peter Johnsson likes to do sometimes. It has "bumps" that fit into the fullers on each side for the first couple of inches or so. It seems to help lock the sword in there a bit. If you did fiberglass, you may have to temporarily fill in all or parts of the fuller to keep from experiencing what Jared did.

Happy

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