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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 736

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject: Scabbard and grip color matching.         Reply with quote

I know that his is kind of an odd question, here goes though. In the opinion of my fellow forumites, would it look strange for a sword's grip to be one color and the scabbard leather another? With some of the swords I see coming out of shops both are a close color match. Is this historic or just something that is done so it looks good? I ask because I am looking to send in my first order to Christian Fletcher and am debating what color to make the scabbard. I would guess that while a well made and maintained sword could last a while the scabbard would tend to get beaten up and thus need to be replaced more often. Thus causing the colors to be different after a scabbard replacement. Or am I just crazy and stressing over something that is no big deal. Thoughts and opnions most welcome. So please sound off.

Scott
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Eric Spitler




Location: PA
Joined: 07 Aug 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out this Sovereign scabbard:

http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...abbard.htm

Looks fine to me Cool
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Shae Bishop




Location: Louisville KY
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you would be OK as long as the colors compliment each other. From what period is the sword from and what type of sword belt will you have? If you have a look through the plates in the famous 13th century Maciejowski Bible you will see a number of sword hilts which do not match their scabbards. One possibility is if you are getting a suspension system with it, you could have the grip color match the sword belt and have the scabbard in a contrasting color.

http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/maciejowski_images_11.htm

Good luck,
Shae
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Considering that a sword's grip and scabbard may have both been changed several times during a sword's working life, it is quite possible (and even likely) that you would get different colour combinations. Also, the grips could be wrapped in bright colours, like yellow silk cord, that may not be used on the scabbard. And the grip could just be decorated in a different way than the scabbard.

For instance, the sword from the tomb of Sancho IV (el Bravo) of Castille, circa 1295, has a grip of dark red-brown wood with three inset glass circles painted with the arms of Castile quartered with Leon, flanked by smaller panels of chequy or and sable. The scabbard is covered in rose-coloured leather, the belt is of green galoon trimmed with narrow borders of red silk.

The grip on the sword of Fernando de la cerda of Castile, circa 1270, is covered in an elaborately knotted binding of yellow silk cord with an overbinding of thicker red silk cord. The scabbard is covered in a dark brown (?) leather, with an undyed buckskin belt.

The grip on the sword of Don Juan, el de Tarifa, circa 1319, has a grip covered in twisted silver wire. The scabbard is covered in red velvet, and the lockets are silver gilt.

The sword found in the coffin of Can Grande della Scala, circa 1329, has a grip bound with silver wire and an overbinding of green silk cord. The scabbard is covered in red velvet with silver lockets.

These examples show that sword grips didn't have to match the scabbard. Of course, there are also examples in period art where the grip and scabbard do match.

I personally don't think mismatched grips and scabbards would look strange, since they occurred historically. It's really up to personal preference.

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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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 736

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for the responses. Especially Richard for the historic examples. That is exactly what I am looking for.

Shae, no offense intended. The words contrasting colors makes me start to go off into lala land. No idea what it is and no care to find out either. Next thing you know you are going to tell me that there are more than 8 colors out there as well. Eek!
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T.L. Johnson





Joined: 16 Sep 2005

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Through Christian Fletcher I ordered a Regent with an oxblood grip, mated to a black scabbard which suits it fine. Then again, it's blackó can't really mess up matching something up with black.

http://www.christianfletcher.com/Site/Regent_files/HPIM1802.jpg
And lookie there: blackened hilt, polished chape. Contrasting colors. Wink
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Sean Belair
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Joined: 08 Aug 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 11:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i don't think any of the scabbards and grips in the maciejowski bible match. it is not somthing to worry about
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 736

PostPosted: Fri 26 Jan, 2007 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T.L. Johnson wrote:
Through Christian Fletcher I ordered a Regent with an oxblood grip, mated to a black scabbard which suits it fine. Then again, it's blackó can't really mess up matching something up with black.

http://www.christianfletcher.com/Site/Regent_files/HPIM1802.jpg
And lookie there: blackened hilt, polished chape. Contrasting colors. Wink


Now that looks sharp. I think that might be the route I end up going. I was origianlly going to go with a hunter green grip and brown scabbard. Now I am going to go with a black scabbard. Thank you for posting that!
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Glen S. Ramsay




Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Joined: 10 Dec 2003

Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sun 28 Jan, 2007 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that different complementary colors can look great together, especially with an integral belt. This picture is of Patrick Kelly's Peter Johnsson Type X with a chocolate brown scabbard. The sword grip is black, and together with the integral belt I think it makes a beautifully classy package.


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PeterJohnssonTypeX&Scabbard.jpg

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T.L. Johnson





Joined: 16 Sep 2005

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Kowalski wrote:
Now that looks sharp. I think that might be the route I end up going. I was origianlly going to go with a hunter green grip and brown scabbard. Now I am going to go with a black scabbard. Thank you for posting that!

Green, black and silver (steel) is one of my favorite color combinations to furnish a sword. I'm just in my "red" phase at the moment.
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The medieval mind wasn't hung up on color coordination like we are. The more color and the greater the variety the better. I've gotten to the point where I find scabbards and grips that exactly match to be rather boring. Different shades of the same color, or contrasting colors are nice. In my opinion, that choice should be made in reference to other things: what is it you're trying to represent with the ensemble? Are the sword and scabbard part of a larger kit and as such should fit that particular persona?
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Patrick Kelly wrote:
The medieval mind wasn't hung up on color coordination like we are. The more color and the greater the variety the better. I've gotten to the point where I find scabbards and grips that exactly match to be rather boring. Different shades of the same color, or contrasting colors are nice. In my opinion, that choice should be made in reference to other things: what is it you're trying to represent with the ensemble? Are the sword and scabbard part of a larger kit and as such should fit that particular persona?


I definitely agree with Patrick here. Medieval warriors seemed to has a penchant for decorating their arms and armour with colour combinations and choices that might seem gaudy or clashing to the modern eye. Sometimes it seems "the brighter the better", whether it be a sword grip wrapped with a red leather, or a breastplate covered with red velvet. Some grips had colour combinations that might seem to much to the minimalist modern eye.

I wonder how common matching grips and scabbard were in period. There seem to be plenty that didn't match.

Perhaps you should study some period art and surviving examples, and base your decision on what looks possible, and what looks nice to you. There is no reason to restrict yourself to matching the grip to the scabbard. In fact, there are compelling reasons not to!

"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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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 736

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T.L. Johnson wrote:
Scott Kowalski wrote:
Now that looks sharp. I think that might be the route I end up going. I was origianlly going to go with a hunter green grip and brown scabbard. Now I am going to go with a black scabbard. Thank you for posting that!

Green, black and silver (steel) is one of my favorite color combinations to furnish a sword. I'm just in my "red" phase at the moment.



Hmmm. That sounds familiar. I have decided to go with an antiqued green grip and plain black scabbard for this project. The fittings of the blade will also be antiqued by CF. I cannot wait to see how it turns out. By chance T.L., you would not happen to have pictures of any of your green, black, and silver blades to post would you?
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T.L. Johnson





Joined: 16 Sep 2005

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 6:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have black and polished steel, in the form of a Christian Fletcher 16th century reitschwert guard to an AT1548 Mk.I, but I haven't quite gotten around to adding the punches of green that I would like (would involve a little sewing). I have an excess of rough green silk that I intend to use for a knot or a wrap to either the hilt or scabbard/bladric for color.
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Thom R.




Location: Tucson
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PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Apologies for the thread necromancy but I have a stupid question on this topic of color and scabbards. Why not painted scabbards? Are there any surviving scabbards or fragments thereof that show traces of paint decoration over the wood or leather? We certainly see paint over leather on other medieval items such as bags, shields, horse tack, etc. I am a little curious because every time Sean Flynt throws out a new link on the internet to images of medieval art (and I have been re-reading Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight again lately) - I come to the same conclusion as Patrick Kelly - that there was a lot more colour and decorative work going on with arms and armour back in the day than we often seem to re-produce today. tr
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct, 2009 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
Apologies for the thread necromancy but I have a stupid question on this topic of color and scabbards. Why not painted scabbards? Are there any surviving scabbards or fragments thereof that show traces of paint decoration over the wood or leather? We certainly see paint over leather on other medieval items such as bags, shields, horse tack, etc. I am a little curious because every time Sean Flynt throws out a new link on the internet to images of medieval art (and I have been re-reading Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight again lately) - I come to the same conclusion as Patrick Kelly - that there was a lot more colour and decorative work going on with arms and armour back in the day than we often seem to re-produce today. tr


The Black Prince's scabbard has traces of red pigment (not red dye). A number of knife sheaths published in Knives and Scabbards show evidence of pigments rather than dye.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Hadrian Coffin
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, England
Joined: 03 Apr 2008

Posts: 380

PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct, 2009 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To concur with Chad, certainly. There are many examples historically, however they tend not to sell as well in todays market. That's why you see so few scabbards with paint in reproductions today. Unfortunately modern people tend to equate brown with old. Even well studied individuals tend to go for a "rustic" look, period pieces often look garish to our modern eye. Many scabbards, sword hilt fittings, armour, knife handles, etc. show evidence of pigment or enamel.
Cheers,
Hadrian

P.s. If anyone is interested here is a nice article on period leather working.
http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~Marc-Carlson/leather/leather.pdf
if you don't wish to read the whole thing, below is the best part:
http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~Marc-Carlson/leather/plwt.html
Scabbards and Sheaths from Viking and Medieval Dublin by Esther Cameron is a lesser known but wonderful book

Historia magistra vitae est
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