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Jan Downs




Location: Earth
Joined: 12 Feb 2006

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed 01 Mar, 2006 5:44 am    Post subject: rehilting question         Reply with quote

To any DIY guys (Grey, Sean, Kirk, etc): when I am making a new core for the handle do you think it is easier to make a split core or a one piece? I'm working on a one piece for my old AC viking sword but for future reference I was wondering if a two part hilt would be simpler/less time consuming, etc.

Thanks for the help.

Jan Downs

for God's sake strike true, man!
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Laurie W
Industry Professional



Location: SW Arizona
Joined: 20 Jan 2006

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 3:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If this is your first time rehilting, the easiest is to make a two piece (which is just as "period"). You make an outline of the tang and carve out both sides for it to lie properly. The better the fit, the less need for any more glue that you have to use. The rest of it, is what you are going to cover the handle with to help keep the two halves tight.
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Jan Downs




Location: Earth
Joined: 12 Feb 2006

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 6:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Laurie. It is my first time doing a hilt, although I'm handy with tools. For this old sword I've already started making a one piece core but for my next project I'm definitely going with a two piece core. I don't have a drill press which made getting the drill to go in straight a bit tricky.

Regards,

Jan Downs

for God's sake strike true, man!
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Greyson Brown




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

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 6:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just in case someone is wondering about this same stuff in the future and comes across this thread as a result of their search:

I addressed Jan's questions (kind of by accident) in this thread.

-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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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

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Posts: 820

PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 12:47 pm    Post subject: Re: rehilting question         Reply with quote

Jan Downs wrote:
...when I am making a new core for the handle do you think it is easier to make a split core or a one piece? ...

Thanks for the help.

Jan Downs




Hi Jan...

If I were going to make a grip that would be completely covered (ie. cord, leather, wire) I would definitely go with a two piece grip because it would be easier to make. I would get two pieces of wood and trace the shape of the tang. Then use the cutting bit or coarse sanding drum on the dremel and cut out between the lines so that the two pieces would fit over the tang.

I would then use a fine cut off wheel and scar up the surface of the tang. Then I would get the old serrated steak knife I borrowed and abused to cut a cross hatched pattern on the inside of the groove for the tang.

I would then epoxy the pieces to the tang (I use JB weld because it can take allot of shock) and clamp them together. After a day or so I would begin shaping the block. I would draw the outer lines of the grip on the surface of the block on all four sides... Then beginning on the sharp corners of the block with the coarse sanding drum on the dremel tool, gradually working it to shape.

finally I would make minor adjustments to get a good fit to my hand. Then I would get some coarse sand paper and take the surface down half a millimeter or so to make room for the added thickness when the cord, wire or leather is applied.

If the grip is not going to have a covering, I would probably go with a solid grip so that there were no seams. In this case a friend with a drill press would be really handy. If I had to do it by hand I would use a thick block of wood to have more mess up room. I would use the dremel because it would be lighter and easy to get a straight hole. Use a small bit for a pilot hole... drill halfway from one end and halfway from the other end of the block. You can make sure the drill bit is in line with the block from your side but it is harder to tell if you are pulling it toward you are pushing it away. So you might have someone at a right angle telling you when the drill is straight up and down.

Anyway... After the pilot holes are drilled, use successively larger bits to open up the hole. You can then take small rat tail or bastard files to shape it to fit the tang. I would then epoxy the block onto the tang and shape it to fit with the coarse sanding drum of the dremel

I had a bone grip I made for a gladius and used gorilla glue to attach it to the tang. The inside of the bone was very irregular with marrow pores. I knew the gorilla glue would expanded to fill the pores inside the grip. Sure enough about five minutes after I applied the grip gorilla glue began oozing out of a couple of tendon holes in the bone. It made for a very tight and secure grip. And I think the gorilla glue may have even stabilized the bone some.

Hope this helps

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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Laurie W
Industry Professional



Location: SW Arizona
Joined: 20 Jan 2006

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good advice Greyson.

Kirby uses a variety of woods for his one piece grips. Hardwoods like Oak and Maple mostly. Even made a few dirk handles from Desert Ironwood. The problem with that is finding a block the right size without any cracks but it polishes beautifully and the grain is wonderful. Unless the sword requires a two piece grip because of style or period (i.e. Shamsher, Kopis, Celtic Leaf,) all of his are one piece. Same thing with daggers or other knives. Of late he has been hilting some swords with bone and this calls for a different technique. The same thing with any staghorn.

Yes, drilling a hole can be tricky especially in long wood handles like on a Landesknecht Great Sword or Scottish Claymore Kirby does not use a drill press but a hand drill with a special long bit. Then the handles are fire fitted to the tang. He has been making the grips this way for the past 50 years.

But he has rehilted a few other swords through the years. Each case is different depending on the steel and initial tang construction. Recently, a customer sent us a Paul Chen Godfred Viking "Damascus" Sword to rehilt. Ummm, yes....different.
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Jan Downs




Location: Earth
Joined: 12 Feb 2006

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 11:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kirk and Laurie, I really appreciate you both taking time to give such excellent and useful info to a newbie "cutler".

This will all come in very handy in the future. I think the Gorilla glue will actually help with this hilt I'm doing right now.

High regards,

Jan

for God's sake strike true, man!
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Shawn Shaw




Location: Boston, MA USA
Joined: 07 Jan 2006

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Fri 03 Mar, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

People always seem to talk about "stabilized" wood. What does that mean? If I walk into Home Depot and grab a small piece of hardwood, will that work? Assuming that stabilized wood is actually necessary, where can I get it?

Thanks!
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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

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Posts: 820

PostPosted: Fri 03 Mar, 2006 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shawn Shaw wrote:
People always seem to talk about "stabilized" wood. What does that mean?


Hi Shawn...

I'll give my very unprofessional thoughts on this...

I believe professional grade stabilized wood is regular wood that has been put in a vacuum chamber to pull some kind of epoxy like resin into all the pore spaces in the wood. It makes it extremely durable and crack resistent, yet still retains the wood grain look. Of course once it is stabilized you can not stain it or change the color. However professional stabilized wood usually comes in many different colors.

To me, especially the burls, look very... ah.... what's the word... "Bowlingballish" Eek! . They remind me of those fancy bowling balls... a little too plastic looking for my taste.
However if you were going to do fancy full coverage carving, it probably would not be as noticable.

It seems hard to find just regular old straight grained hardwoods that are stabilized, although I did find a really nice piece of Texas Madrone in its natural color at Atlanta.

DIY grade stabilized wood is simply coating it in superglue and letting it soak in from the surface. As as I said in the post above I think gorilla glue confined would force its way into the pores from the inside of a grip.

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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Shawn Shaw




Location: Boston, MA USA
Joined: 07 Jan 2006

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Sun 05 Mar, 2006 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been doing a little fishing in the forums but I can't seem to find info on how wooden hilts would have been finished historically.

Does anyone have any ideas on how wooden hitls were finished historically? I'm assuming they were rubbed down with some kind of oil but I don't know what kind.

Also, while I've got the floor (so to speak), I had an idea on the sandwich technique of hilt construction. Why not make your tang with "spurs"? What I mean by that is, make the tang look like a cross, so that it is very hard for the grip to move up and down the tang. I know that it shouldn't move anyway once you rivet/glue the grip in place but it seems like having a tang with little spikes on it to hold it in place would be a neat idea. I've never seen this done historically but maybe some of you either have seen it or can tell me why that might not be the best idea. The only reason I can think of why it wouldn't work well would be if the repeated impacts would eventually drive the "spike" on the tang through the grip into your hand. That would be most unfortunate indeed! :-)
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Greyson Brown




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

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2006 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Spikes or spurs on the tang aren't nessessarily a bad idea, but I think they are a solution to a non-existant problem. They would make the tang much more difficult to shape, and offer no real benefit. All of the shifting I've noticed with grips is side to side as you swing the sword, not up and down along the tang. That is best fixed by having the grip fit the tang correctly. As long as your gip is the correct length, "spurs" would be redundant.

At least, that's my opinion. Big Grin

-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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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
Joined: 01 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2006 5:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shawn, to add to Grey's comments on the "spurs" concept - these would also make the grip core harder to shape around those spurs. If the fit was not correct, the spurs might not provide any function at all. Furthermore, the more complex shapes might lead to stress risers and premature failure.
"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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