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Andy Biggers

Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Joined: 11 Aug 2006

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat 23 Sep, 2006 6:08 am    Post subject: On Making Sword Scabbards         Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

I recently decided to take a stab at making a few scabbards for my viking swords. Naturally, I wanted to create scabbards that were both functional and visually pleasing while maintaining a degree of historical accuracy.

I am an experienced wood worker and was able to quickly make up a number of perfectly formed two-piece wooden shells that fit each of the intended blades perfectly. However, I an not an experienced leather worker -- and it is on this subject that I am writing today in an effort to solicit some advice.

The first question is: so far as is known, were Viking age scabbards completely covered in leather, cross-wrapped in leather strips, or left as bare wood?

Part 2:

The second question is based on the assumption that the Vikings completely covered their scabbards in leather and then placed the chapes etc. over that.

a) what wight of leather is appropriate (in ounces)?
b) were the backs of the scabbards seamed and stitched, or was the leather simply overlapped and glued?
c) what is the best method of affixing the leather to the wooden shell.

I will need particular advice on point "c" above -- I simply don't know how to best go about gluing the leather to the wooden shell.

Finally, are there any good tutorials on scabbard making on the net? I have searched and found very little. In my view, this is a topic that cries out for a feature article; or perhaps, even a series of feature articles.

Any help would, as always, be appreciated.


Gain say who dare!
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Justin King
Industry Professional

Location: flagstaff,arizona
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Reading list: 20 books

Posts: 551

PostPosted: Sat 23 Sep, 2006 7:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Andy,
Scabbard making has been discussed in detail previously, a search here and/or on SFI should turn up a good deal of info. To answer some of your basic questions, leather is generally glued over the wood with contact cement. The leather should be thin enough to stretch and wrap tightly around any contours-2 or 3 oz is about right. The seam is most often on the center of the backside, and is usually stitched. Any metal fittings would be attatched over this.

This is the method that is most common for reproduction scabbards, I think. As to historical authenticity for any given time period, there are others here who are far more learned on the subject than myself so I will leave it to them.
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