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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Preferred Scabbard carving tool(s)? Reply to topic
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 12:59 pm    Post subject: Preferred Scabbard carving tool(s)?         Reply with quote

I finally got around to starting work on my first scabbard yesterday. I am having to do this "by the numbers" as the sword is in Colorado, and I am not, but I should be able to make a functional scabbard. I started carving the scabbard with my dremel tool, but that was not giving me the control or results that I really wanted. As a result, I switched to the chisels. In my opinion, I have more control and can work faster with a chisel than with a dremel. This got me to wondering; what tool do most people prefer to use for their scabbard projects and why? Is there just some trick to using the dremel that I am overlooking?

Also, any other advice that you can think of would be great. I have read the other threads on scabbard construction, but if anyone has learned something that isn't in one of those, I'd love to hear it.

-Grey

BTW, the scabbard is for my Albion Poitier, as I didn't want too complex a cross-section for my first scabbard.

"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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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've used chisels for the inside and box plane and spokeshave for the outside. I was thinking of getting a router for the inside, but I've no experience with such and it's not like I make things very often. Hand tools can be quite satisfying to use (maybe that's just me) and I was left lots by my father (carpenter) so there is a sentimental side to it too.
Geoff
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Greg Griggs




Location: Houston, TX
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just recently jumped off this pier myself. Working on a scabbard for the St. Maurice, and it's been quite a bit of fun. Like you, I started trying it with a dremel but found it lacked the control I needed, so went to a router for the general shaping and depths, then switched to chisels for the blending & finishing cuts. Seemed to work really well that way. The router gave great control on the edges to make them crisp and of uniform depth. One thing I found about the poplar wood is that the dremel wasn't strong enough and would follow grain paths instead of going where I wanted it to, hehe. Used a planer and then a 6" belt sander for outside shaping, then a small hand sander for finishing. Works like a champ.
Best of luck with yours, Grey!

Now if I can just get this %(#*@ chape right!!!!!!

-Greg

Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 1:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Griggs wrote:
Now if I can just get this %(#*@ chape right!!!!!!


I haven't started really worrying about that one yet. And of course, I specifically chose to get swords that belong in the 14th century, so lockets would appropriate as well. Worried

-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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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't over look the dirt cheap and effective sanding block!

I actually have several routers, dremels, planes, etc. After making roughly a dozen or so trial scabbards (have kept about 4 so far), my favorite tool is just a simple block of wood with coarse (60 grit) sand paper wrapped around it. You can hold a block at an angle approximating the blade angle of a sword and taper and control the amount of wood removed to very accurately fit a sword by occasionally test fitting it against the work. I do remove some of the wood first using a router, but basically can sand the shape of one half of a scabbad within an hour using nothing but the sanding block.



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Lawrence Edwards





Joined: 23 Dec 2005

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 2:42 pm    Post subject: Dremel tool         Reply with quote

I've used a dremel type tool/grinder on 2 prototypes. It works well if you get used to diligently and carefully following your profile lines (especially on the insdie). You have to kind of hold the tool rigid, and pass the stock past the grinder, similar to using a router table. Precision can be had, but it takes forever to grind down to a proper depth - that's the drawback. A Router and hand tools are my next step.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've seen Gregs scabbard at its various stages of production. He now has the wooden core covered in leather with a bit of tooling done on the surface. If I said I was impressed so far it would be an understatement. A scabbard is a tricky thing to get right and few do so on the modern market. Gregs first effort is very impressive. I need to do a bit of sucking up. Wink
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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 4:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For my knight scabbard, the first one I ever built I used chisels to carve out the blade cavity and a spokeshave and block plane to shape the outside. I also used a specifically shaped cabinet scraper to do the fine shaping on both the inside and the outside.

The key thing about all of these tools is that they were *extremely* sharp, all of them had been set up by a guy who really knows his woodworking kit and it really makes a huge difference. Being able to effortlessly shave perfect paper-thin strips off the outside with a block plane is a thing of beauty.

I tried using an electric sander to shape the outside of the core and I actually found it both harder and slower than using a spokeshave & plane.

I'm working on my second core at the moment using the same tools. I've been contemplating a dremel with a sanding drum to speed up the shaping of the inside but so far it's going Ok with chisels.

--
Al.
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 4:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My son and I are working on a scabbard as a first effort, as well. We are using poplar.
Greg Griggs wrote:
...Like you, I started trying it with a dremel but found it lacked the control I needed, so went to a router for the general shaping and depths, then switched to chisels for the blending & finishing cuts...

We found that a router worked very well, also. We ran the router at several, stepped depths for the gross material removal, leaving a terraced effect inside the core, and then just followed up with sandpaper to smooth out the terraces. Next time, I think I would (1) rout; (2) chisel or scrape out most of the 'terraces'; (3) sand by hand.

Greg Griggs wrote:
...Used a planer and then a 6" belt sander for outside shaping, then a small hand sander for finishing. Works like a champ.

On the outside, we used (1) a jig saw to cut to within about 1/4 inch on the profile taper; (2) a hand held power belt sander to get the profile the rest of the way; (3) a power hand planer to get a (mostly) uniform reduction in the thickness of the 1/2 inch poplar we used as base material; (4) because the belt sander died, we then used a 6 inch bench mounted disc sander to get the shaping we wanted in the outside surface (I think that a belt sander would have yielded better results more easily.); (5) we hand sanded to get the final surface.

Good luck!

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Jeff Pringle
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Location: Oakland, CA
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd recommend finishing off the inside surface with luthier's finger planes and/or scrapers, that way there's no chance a stray bit of grit from the sand paper will stay behind to scratch your blade.
Scrapers in any size or curvature can be made from 'blue temper' shim stock, just cut the shape you need and file the edge to a slight angle.
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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 8:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeff Pringle wrote:
I'd recommend finishing off the inside surface with luthier's finger planes and/or scrapers, that way there's no chance a stray bit of grit from the sand paper will stay behind to scratch your blade.
Scrapers in any size or curvature can be made from 'blue temper' shim stock, just cut the shape you need and file the edge to a slight angle.


I'll second this, I used cabinet scrapers on my scabbard and they're real handy. You need a fairly smooth surface to start with though or they'll just grain-follow like mad but they leave a perfect finish.

You can make 'em out of old saw blades too. I was taught to put a mirror-finish 90-degree 'edge' on them and then raise a burr with a burnisher or smooth steel (don't use a grooved steel). The burr becomes the cutting "blade".

Decent woodworking books have info on using them.

--
Al.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Got my renaissance wax from this place and they seem to have everything you might need to work wood: At the very least you could browse the site for ideas about what tools might be useful to you.
http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/index.asp?...tegory=333

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Merv Cannon




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2006 4:16 am    Post subject: Scabbard tools         Reply with quote

Hi Greyson..............I used a Dremel with ok results.....but I had to use the Router attachment....do you have this ?
I then finished off with a chisel which then followed the edge grooves made by the Dremel. I think that a small hand-router would be better...........you know, the little edge-trimmer size ones. I am also sure that it would work well on a good router bench but it would have to be well set up and you'd have to use stop-blocks to prevent te wood from going too far towards the tip end. Oh, yeah, you're in an appartment aren't you ?........ok then....how about a Beaver on a stick ? Eek!

Merv ....... KOLR
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Greyson Brown




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

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Al Muckart wrote:
Jeff Pringle wrote:
I'd recommend finishing off the inside surface with luthier's finger planes and/or scrapers, that way there's no chance a stray bit of grit from the sand paper will stay behind to scratch your blade.
Scrapers in any size or curvature can be made from 'blue temper' shim stock, just cut the shape you need and file the edge to a slight angle.


I'll second this, I used cabinet scrapers on my scabbard and they're real handy. You need a fairly smooth surface to start with though or they'll just grain-follow like mad but they leave a perfect finish.

You can make 'em out of old saw blades too. I was taught to put a mirror-finish 90-degree 'edge' on them and then raise a burr with a burnisher or smooth steel (don't use a grooved steel). The burr becomes the cutting "blade".

Decent woodworking books have info on using them.


I found the Luthier's finger planes on the website that Jean provided. Those do look rather handy. I'm not sure I understand how I would make one though. Also, Jeff, what do you mean by 'blue temper'? That is not a phrase I am familiar with.

-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

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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2006 6:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Al Muckart wrote:
The key thing about all of these tools is that they were *extremely* sharp.


That is where I am having some minor issues. My chisel set is just some cheap Chinese made chisels that I picked up at the PX or Wal-Mart (I think it was the PX, but I don't remember). They do the job, but they are not great. I think I will have better luck if I take the time to sharpen them really good.

-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 06 Sep, 2006 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: Scabbard tools         Reply with quote

Merv Cannon wrote:
Hi Greyson..............I used a Dremel with ok results.....but I had to use the Router attachment....do you have this ?
I then finished off with a chisel which then followed the edge grooves made by the Dremel. I think that a small hand-router would be better...........you know, the little edge-trimmer size ones. I am also sure that it would work well on a good router bench but it would have to be well set up and you'd have to use stop-blocks to prevent te wood from going too far towards the tip end. Oh, yeah, you're in an appartment aren't you ?........ok then....how about a Beaver on a stick ? Eek!


I do not have the router attachment. Unfortunately, my impatience got the best of me when I bought my dremel, and I got the only kind that was in stock; the digital dremel with the adjustable speeds. I think the router attachment will fit on that one, but I need to double check. It sounds like some kind of router or router attachment is a good idea if I plan on doing much of this stuff (and I have 8 Albions that all need scabbards Eek! ). They are supposed to have a pretty decent wood shop somewhere on this post, so I will probably see what they have that I can use before I go out and buy a bunch of stuff, though.

I wonder if the wood shop will have a beaver on a stick........?

-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 06 Sep, 2006 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Got my renaissance wax from this place and they seem to have everything you might need to work wood: At the very least you could browse the site for ideas about what tools might be useful to you.
http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/index.asp?...tegory=333


Thanks, Jean; another way to spend my money! Razz

-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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Jeff Pringle
Industry Professional



Location: Oakland, CA
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2006 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Blue temper" is a term occasionally used to describe 1095 spring steel shim stock, which has been hardened and tempered to a blue color. I have never seen it for sale in anyother way, though, so the terms should be all interchangeable, your catalog may vary.
Wink Wink
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2006 7:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:

I found the Luthier's finger planes on the website that Jean provided. Those do look rather handy. I'm not sure I understand how I would make one though. Also, Jeff, what do you mean by 'blue temper'? That is not a phrase I am familiar with.

-Grey


At a guess the blue temper would be when you soften, polished white, heat treated steel until it turns blue around 600 F giving something in the low to mid fifties r.c.

You get a straw colour first to golden and to blue as the steel absorbs heat and softens. ( Could be a bit wrong about the order of progression of colours though, and the exact temperature / hardness numbers are just ballpark. )

So I think that is what Jeff meant by " blue temper " : Heat bluing ! And I'm sure you know all about the heat treating process and I'm just going into detail for others who might not know.

Oh, years ago, In machine shop class we used a heated block of steel ( heavy heatsink ) on which to temper the centre punches we had made and this was the process we used, as far as I can remember.

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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2006 1:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Greyson,

Greyson Brown wrote:

I found the Luthier's finger planes on the website that Jean provided. Those do look rather handy. I'm not sure I understand how I would make one though. Also, Jeff, what do you mean by 'blue temper'? That is not a phrase I am familiar with.

-Grey


Sorry, I was talking about cabinet scrapers rather than the finger planes. Making a good finger plane would require pretty serious skill.

Cabinet scrapers are just a piece of thin well hardened steel you use for very fine stock removal and finishing. Used properly they leave a perfect finish on wood the likes of which sandpaper can't match.

Have a look at this url http://www.woodzone.com/articles/scrapers/index.htm for info on how to use them.

--
Al.
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