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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 8:04 pm    Post subject: Re-wrapping grips         Reply with quote

I'm thinking of re-wrapping the grip on one of my daggers. What kind of cord is appropriate for an underwrap? How about for risers?

Also, what kind of glue should I use for the cord and leather cover?

Thanks!

Happy

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Pamela Muir




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:36 am    Post subject: Re: Re-wrapping grips         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I'm thinking of re-wrapping the grip on one of my daggers. What kind of cord is appropriate for an underwrap? How about for risers?

Also, what kind of glue should I use for the cord and leather cover?

Thanks!


Hi Chad,

By appropriate do you mean historically accurate or easy to manipulate? I can help with easy, but not historically accurate. Happy I use crochet thread for all my underwraps. It comes in a variety of widths. The higher the number, the thinner the thread. I use coated hair elastics for the risers, basically coated rubber bands. The smallest size available is usually just about perfect. They stretch to fit over the pommel and then stay in place once I have them positioned. For glue, I use "tacky" craft glue. It's strong and quick drying and being a mom and a Cub Scout leader I always have it on hand. Happy

Hope this helped some. Maybe someone else can help with what was used historically. Happy Oh, and be careful. It's addicting. Once you do your first one it's hard to quit! Laughing Out Loud

Pamela Muir

Founder/Lead Instructor
Academy of Chivalric Martial Arts


"I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night. He's gotta be strong, And he's gotta be fast, And he's gotta be fresh from the fight." ~Steinman/Pitchford
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know if I can really answer those questions, as I am still asking them myself. I know that Albion uses hide glue, and I would think that would be the most appropriate. I now use the same thing, but have also used regular old wood glue (which I would think should be pretty similar to a hoof glue, but I don't know). Hide glue has the advantage of being runnier. As a result, it will flow around the risers, etc easily, and is less likely to result in bulges or other oddities.

For the cord, Albion states that they use a cotton cord. I think most of the crochet thread is cotton. Mostly, I focus on finding cord that is made from some kind of natural fiber, I have used cotton, hemp, and some stuff that was apparently made from cherry trees. Having tried several methods, I find that I like using a smaller cord and wrapping it several times to form the risers (as I did on my dagger) rather than using a larger size cord (which is what I did with the rest of the grips in that thread).

It might be a heresy, but I use synthetic cord for the exterior wrap. For one, I found the size I wanted (I think it is 4mm) in synthetic, but I have also found that it has less tendency to leave little bits of itself glued to the outside of the grip. It is also a bit stronger for its size (I think), and that lets me wrap it really tight.

Leather is the trickiest part for me. Chamois actually works quite well, and it compresses enough that your seam can almost disappear without too much effort, but I don't think it is quite the right stuff for historical accuracy. I want some 1 oz calf skin, but that costs six or seven dollars a square foot Eek! . As an alternative, I have used 1 oz pigskin. It works, but I find that the texture obscures some detail, and it can be kind of stiff. I'm not sure what the best way to soften it up would be. It also requires that you skive it a bit if you want to hide the seam.

Hope that helps a little bit.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company


Last edited by Greyson Brown on Tue 23 Jan, 2007 9:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: Re-wrapping grips         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I'm thinking of re-wrapping the grip on one of my daggers. What kind of cord is appropriate for an underwrap? How about for risers?

Also, what kind of glue should I use for the cord and leather cover?

Thanks!


Hi Chad! Happy

I used macrame cord as an underwrap on my Schwert. I can get it at my local Wal-Mart. It's a natural material, but I have no idea what. It's just thick enough to show through the leather overwrap. It's also a bit less even than some of the other manufactured cords, so it can give the wrap a bit of a "rustic" look. Whatever natural material macrame cord is made out of also takes glue very well. It may have a tendency to pull apart a bit as you're working with it, but it's always best to go slow anyway.

This may be blasphemy, but I've been known to use suede thongs as the risers (another leather would work too - but suede is cheap and readily available at Wal-Mart). They lay flatter and glue easier than cord risers. I think there is at least one sword in Records of the Medieval Sword, Type XVIII. 11 (pg. 182) that may have thonging as the risers instead of cord. It's hard to tell just from photos, but the risers look a bit flat and square to be made of cord. At least thonging may be an option.

As for leather, I have used pigskin like Greyson. I think it's called Mission Grain Pigskin Lining. I, too, have found it to be a bit stiff, but it's usable. It's better than the "pleather" MRL uses. The pigskin is about 1.5 to 2.5 oz in weight (leather thickness is measured in weight - 2 oz would be approximately 2/64 " thick). It costs about $2.50 a square foot.

Like Pamela, I've used Tacky Craft Glue (amazing how, when you have kids, you always have a bottle of Tacky Glue around Wink ). I think I have also used wood glue in the past. Both are just tacky enough to hold the cord on while you wrap it, dry fairly quickly, and yet don't dry so quickly that you can't adjust it if you make a mistake. The added bonus to tacky glue is that it's non-toxic, and pretty much fume-free.

One thing I've noticed when doing leather over cord, at least with the materials I have used; it's better to leave a slight space between each ring of cord (no more than a cord's width). I find if you wrap it too tightly, the cords "smush" together, and you lose the ridged relief effect.

None of this may be 100% historically accurate, but it works. If you're trying for more appropriate historical materials, I would recommend using a very thin vegetable tanned leather, like Petite Tooling Calf or something similar, and then dye it whatever color suits you. The tooling calf is 1 to 1.5 oz in weight, which is a bit lighter than the pigskin. It costs about $7.99 a square foot.

I usually sew up the seam on my grips with waxed linen cord, again readily available at my local Wal-Mart (in the craft section). I know that grip wraps can be fine just with glue, but I like the added security of a stitched seam, and this helps pull the leather tight around the grip core.

I hope this helped!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar


Last edited by Richard Fay on Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 10:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

I thought I would show an example of a sword grip wrapped with pigskin leather over macrame cord with suede thong risers. This can show you what results can be achieved using these materials. Below is a photo of the grip on my MRL Schwert. The grip was too chunky for my hands, and the weird leather-wire-leather-wire-leather banding that MRL had as a grip wrap was too uncomfortable, so I took the original grip wrap off and shaved the grip core down to a better size and shape. I then tried a plain leather grip wrap, but that was too smooth. I next tried leather-over-cord, but that was still a bit too slick. The addition of the risers made for a more positive grip. The suede thonging I used for the risers may have been a bit too thick; if I was to redo it once more, I would use thinner leather thongs. However, they do work as risers. The risers may be a bit too close to the cross, but I like to hold it in a hammer-style grip with my hand against the cross, so it works for me. MRL grips tend to be slightly long, so the risers may actually be in the right spot in relation to the cross.

Anyway, here's the photo (I hope it looks okay; I have bad lighting indoors and a camera that doesn't like low light conditions):



 Attachment: 29.74 KB
Schwert grip[ with risers..JPG
MRL Schwert grip with risers.

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar


Last edited by Richard Fay on Tue 23 Jan, 2007 4:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Steven H




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm interested in the answer to Chad's question too, and have two related questions of my own:

How do you start and end the cord wrap so that it stays in place and tight?
Do you glue down the cord? Or just glue the leather to the cord?

Thanks.

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Pamela Muir




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
I'm interested in the answer to Chad's question too, and have two related questions of my own:

How do you start and end the cord wrap so that it stays in place and tight?
Do you glue down the cord? Or just glue the leather to the cord?

Thanks.

Hi Steven,

I do glue down the cord. The start of the wrap ties to the guard and I attach a weight to the end of the cord. After the glue dries I snip off the extra cord from both ends.

Some excellent tutorials are right on this site:

The Instant Antique by Sean Flynt
Grip re-wraps thread started by Greyson Brown

Pamela Muir

Founder/Lead Instructor
Academy of Chivalric Martial Arts


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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
How do you start and end the cord wrap so that it stays in place and tight?
Do you glue down the cord? Or just glue the leather to the cord?


Steven,

I can tell you what I did on the grip I posted a photo of earlier. I glued the cord so it would stay in place (Tacky Glue works fine for this), and even tucked the end up over the following few loops (glue the end pointing perpendicular to the loops around the grip, so the loops catch it as you go) so it would definitely stay in place. Then I just wrapped the cord around in a spiral, making sure there was a bit of space between the cords to create a nice ridged look, gluing it to the wooden grip core as I went. It doesn't take a lot of glue, just enough to keep the cords in place. You can just glue the end in place when you're done.

I've had a thought regarding the cord used historically; would linen have been the most historically-accurate material for the cord? I don't believe I've ever read what material the cord was made of, just that it was there.

When using a finer leather, you may be able to wrap the cord a bit tighter, and just let friction hold the cord in place.

I hope this helped!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Tim Harris
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 5:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been using bargain shop jute cord over PVA glue. A bit thicker than the other suggestions here, but fine for the swords swords I've been doing, and not totally unlike hemp. The downside is it tends to shed fibres, which can end up on the outer wrap if I'm not careful.

I use contact adhesive over the cord to hold the leather wrap, which works well if everything is kept clean. I'm not too fussy about the leather, but favour pigskin lining.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 4:10 am    Post subject: Re: Re-wrapping grips         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I\'m thinking of re-wrapping the grip on one of my daggers. What kind of cord is appropriate for an underwrap? How about for risers?

Also, what kind of glue should I use for the cord and leather cover?

Thanks!


If you wish I can send you a little quantity of traditional hemp cord, it is still used here in Italy for home chores, mainly for closing packets etc.

It is almost inexpensive.

Very smelly.

I rewrapped a sword with it.

I have seen some original schiavonas,one piece of cord was exposed, very dirty, I recognized a fabric thread but I could\'t identify it: I guess a linen cord would be perfect for you.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For cord you can use several types, depending on what result you want.
A cotton cord /macramé cord) works fine. It is pretty strong and even in texture.
Sometimes it might be too even but sometimes this is just the effect one might want.
I also use hemp cord sometimes. The kind I use is available in common stationary shops. It is not so even and varies in both diameter and texture. Sometimes this is just perfect, especially if you do not want an evenly textured over wrap..

You can use either one as either over or under wrap, depending on what final effect you seek.

Leather should be thin. About 1 mm is good. Best effect will be by using vegetable tanned calf or goat skin (Goat skin is *perfect* and very hard wearing). It is expensive and sometimes hard to get.
Avoid chrome tanned leather at all cost. Rather use textile instead if you cannot get vegetable tanned leather or choose a wire wrap or some other method.
I have found that hide glue works perfectly with the cord and the leather.

The leather should be well dampened (thoroughly soaked and then patted with a towel untill damp but not dripping wet). I always do a first coloring before wrapping while the leather is damp from the soaking.

Before you apply the leather, you need to wrap the grip core.
Start at the thinnest end (the pommel side) and work your way towards the other end. You need to make sure the cird is evenly applied. You need not use incredible force, but a good tight wrap is a good foundation.

You can secure the ends of the cord by binding it down with simple lop knots (don´t know the name in english) or simply use crazy glue.
Teh risers are also made fo the same cord. Pretty straight forward thing to do if you secure it down with crazy glue. If you want to avoid crazy glue, use instead hide glue and a bit more patience.
When the wrapping is complete apply a coating of hide glue and let it soak in through the cord and let the semi finished grip sit over night.

On originals I have seen risers made from either cord or leather thongs.

Before wetting the leather, cut it to shape (allowing for some overlap) and skive the edges to assure a nice tight "seam". the better you manage the skiving the better end result you will get.

If you have a water bath heater for the hide glue (the tradiional method) you need to make sure the glue is not steaming hot when you apply it on the leather: the leather might shrink prematurely if you are not careful.
Some types of hide glue is sold in a bottle as a liquid. This kind obviously does not need a water bath....

When the leather finally sits where you want it (this kan become a bit messy), start binding it down with cord.

Depending on what cord you use for under and over wrap and what thickness of leathe you use you will get different results.

Let the bound grip sit at least 24 hours before you remove the over wrapping.


(Not all grips had cord underneath the leather: you can apply the leather directly on top of the wooden core if you want. You can still add any risers you would like)

Good luck!
And please show us your result Happy
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
... Avoid chrome tanned leather at all cost. Rather use textile instead if you cannot get vegetable tanned leather or choose a wire wrap or some other method....

I have previously heard the caution to avoid chrome tanned leather. However, I don't remember seeing any explanation for why chrome-tanned leather is bad. Would you remark on that question, please?

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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Grisetti wrote:

I have previously heard the caution to avoid chrome tanned leather. However, I don't remember seeing any explanation for why chrome-tanned leather is bad. Would you remark on that question, please?


Hi Steve,

I'm not Peter (obviously Happy ) but a couple of reasons why chrome tanned leather is bad for this spring to mind. The first is that it doesn't wet form worth a damn. Vegetable tanned leather has the useful property that when you get it wet and stretch it it will hold that shape when it dries, allowing you to mold it to the shape of the grip you are wrapping. This also means that it will form down into the grooves of the underwrap and take the texture of the overwrap in a way that chrome tanned leather just won't.

The second reason is that, wet forming aside, getting high quality chrome tanned leather is actually quite difficult and low quality chrome tanned leather is utterly useless.

Leather has two sides: the grain side is the smooth outside of the skin and the flesh side is the rough inside. The vast majority of the of the strength, wear resistance, and waterproofing of leather comes from the grain side layer which is much denser than the flesh (suede) layer.

When modern tanneries process cow skins they split them to get one grain (outside) layer and lots of layers of suede. When dealing with very thinly split leather that has come off of a cow the grain layer itself gets split several times and none of the resulting layers are as strong as a piece of calf or goatskin that started out thinner to begin with because you don't have the full structure of the grain layer to work with. Also the suede layers frequently end up being mechanically finished and laquered to look like grain layer, but with absolutely none of the useful properties of quality leather of that thickness and often there is no way to tell them apart when you are buying.

The other problem with chrome tanned leather is that the centre of it is a bluish grey color. It is almost never dyed right the way through so no matter what color you started with if you wear through that thin layer of laquer and dye you get horrible grey spots in your leather.

--
Al.
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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:

Leather should be thin. About 1 mm is good. Best effect will be by using vegetable tanned calf or goat skin (Goat skin is *perfect* and very hard wearing). It is expensive and sometimes hard to get.


Peter, have you tried a bookbinders suppliers like J. Hewitt & Sons http://www.hewit.com/? They sell vegetable tanned goatskin and calfskins.

I got some beautiful alum tawed goat from them to make shoes out of and they were good to deal with. They sell to the restoration bookbinding market and you don't get many people more conscious of the quality of thin leathers than that lot Big Grin

--
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
On originals I have seen risers made from either cord or leather thongs.


Peter,

Thanks for that insight! I though some of the risers looked too flat to be cord in the photos of certain sword grips, but a photo can only tell you so much. I wondered if thonging was indeed used. Thanks for the verification! Wink

Unfortunately, I personally must work within a really tight budget, that's why I mentioned that I have used Mission Grain Pigskin Lining Leather. Are your warnings against chrome-tanned leather due mostly to historic reasons? Calf skin or goat skin are certainly much nicer, but they're also a bit pricey. Sad

Of course, I like your suggestion about using textile. I've actually tossed around that idea a bit. A velvet wrapped grip might be nice. Maybe I should change the Schwert grip once again and use fabric. That'll irritate my better half! Wink

Oh oh, I think you've planted dangerous ideas in my head...

By the way, Peter, could you give any insights on how to wrap a grip in textile? Does the gluing and sewing differ at all from that used with leather? Would the edges of the seam of the textile be treated with any sort of binding stitch or other binding technique? I would love you input on the matter, since I have considered trying to wrap a grip in textile in the past.

Stay safe! Happy

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Allen W





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PostPosted: Sat 27 Jan, 2007 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is great information guys!Thank you. Personally I have a project in the future involving a smooth leather wrap on a renaissance style sword with no underbinding. I'm concerned that the overwrap (securing the leather while it dries) might leave an imprinted texture in the leather. How would this be prevented?
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