Australian woods suitable for sword scabbards?

I would like to make a scabbard for my Albion Sovereign. I have attempted to find woods that are available in Europe for making a scabbard but to no avail.

I have read that Pine can stain the steel of the blade and thus is not a good choice, I made a scabbard for my Albion Squire from Pine and it seems to be ok so far. However as this is my second scabbard and I am confident that I can make a good wooden core, I am at a loss as to what is available in Aus that might be suitable for use.

Does anyone have any suggestions about what Australian woods might be suitable or a place in Australia where I might be able to get a more exotic wood suitable for making a scabbard?


Sydney blue gum is an excellent hardwood that is easy to work, finishes beautifully, and shouldn't mark the steel.
I too struggled with this. The short answer in my mind is pine. Not perfect, but reasonably adequate.

Other than matchsticks and living trees, neither of which were of much use for my scabbards, the only place I've found poplar is in imported pallets. Depending on your line of work, these may or may not cross your path every now and then. Worth keeping an eye out for.
I am not sure what type of wood you can find in the large chain DIY stores in Australia, but here in the US Poplar is commonly found in those places. If you can get it... it works very nicely for this application.
I would contact Brendan Olszowy at Fable blades because Brendan is in Australia and he has experimented a lot with native hardwoods in his work.
Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately poplar is not commonly available in Australia even though we grow it as a plantation timber.

I'll try Fable and see if they are able to help me out. If not I'll give the Gum a try.

I do occasionally get pallettes, are all of these poplar? I'm not sure I'd be able to tell poplar by sight.
Pallet timber is the cheapest, crappiest timber that is available. They are usually plantation-grown Southern Yellow Pine such as radiata or slash. The main hardwood used for pallets is eucalyptus. Because they are grown as quickly as possible they have less structural strength than forest timber. One of the ways to tell the difference is smell. If it smells rancid when machining it then it is eucalyptus. If it is sweeter then it is pine.

Fable uses Jarrah so that may be a good option, otherwise I'll have to see if I can source the Gum. Dan where did you get if from?
Dan R wrote:

Fable uses Jarrah so that may be a good option, otherwise I'll have to see if I can source the Gum. Dan where did you get if from?

I nicked all the off-cuts from dad's staircase when his house was getting built. I never asked where it came from. :)
For scabbard lining, the best that I've found is balsa. Imported rather than native, but easy enough to find for sale. Otherwise, I'd try Tassie oak. Easy to work. I've posted about its lack of strength for polearm hafts, but scabbards should be good. If you're pine-phobic.
Poplar is very close to magnolia and is available in Oz, but not easy to find. It is perfect for highly polished Japanese blade so it will be suitable for all steel. Obviously Magnolia is perfect but super hard to find. Those are the only sap free woods that I am aware of that grow here.


Dan R wrote:

Fable uses Jarrah so that may be a good option, otherwise I'll have to see if I can source the Gum. Dan where did you get if from?

Jarrah ???!! no thanks, and I am from where this wood grows. Very hard, very heavy, oily and hard to work - It is a beautiful red timber - I suppose it would be okay if lined with balsa.
Wood for scabbard
Hi folks

Having recently made a couple of scabbards for katana out of rimu (NZ wood), I'd suggest that whatever you use be very dry.

A larger issue for damage to the steel is the glue, with many being acidic in nature. Traditional katana scabbards used rice glue - I had a go at making it from the recipes and couldn't get it to work correctly. Look for a slightly alkaline or neutral wood glue.


or use bone or hide glue.
it's even authentic

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