Shortening a grip
A fellow forumite asked for advice about shortening the grip of a flush-peened sword. This might be a common problem, so I thought I'd post my response and sketch here. This is based on my own experience. If any of you have tips or spot problems with my advice, please speak up!

• Unless you're worried about offending the maker, you could ask him if the pommel compresses the grip or if it is tightly fitted to the tang, and won't slide down. That is the important question, and the answer will tell you how to proceed.

• If the pommel compresses the grip, or if you're not sure how it is fitted to the tang, you should saw around the top of the grip down to the tang, remove that unwanted length of grip and see if the pommel will drop down to the cover the gap. If that works, all you have to do is file the sides of the peen to make the tang straight (no need to shorten the tang,) put on a block and re-peen. Done! Look for a little X-acto hobby saw;var=sbar . These have very thin blades for accurate cutting. If this method leaves the grip too thick at the top, remove the grip cover and carve or sand the grip core appropriately and re-cover.

• If you want to make a new grip, rest the grip on a hard surface (anvil is perfect,) rest a chisel on the edge of the grip and strike the chisel with a hammer, starting with light blows and increasing in power until the grip splits. If the grip is not well glued, you can then just pry it off the tang. If it is heavily glued, you might have to use the chisel to remove some parts of the grip.

• On many modern swords, the pommel compresses the grip. Without the grip, the pommel will slide down enough to expose the peen. You might have to strike the pommel with a mallet to get it to drop. THIS WILL NOT WORK IF THE SWORD IS MADE LIKE AN ALBION or A&A. If the pommel is tightly fitted to the tang, it will not drop. In that case, you will have to get a drill bit the size of the peen and slowly drill down far enough to eliminate the peen. If you create a peen block, it will cover the resulting depression in the pommel. If you flush-peen, the peen will fill the depression.

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The last image in my crude sketch might give the impression that the exposed tang should be bent over. It should be properly peened, of course. There is ample instruction for that in these fora. None of this is to scale or precise in any way, so don't try to peen that much tang, either! You need only a small amount of exposed tang for peening.
Sean, although I don’t have the need for this information (mostly because of not having a collection wide enough to include any swords that would benefit from it) that diagram is brilliant.

I read the title and thought “gee, that would be a really tricky operation.” Then I looked at the diagram, took about two seconds to process it, and said “unless you did that” , I thought it would be incredibly tricky before seeing it, but your presentation made it seem intuitive and obvious. If I was wearing a hat I would take it off to you.
Thanks! Of course, this approach depends on a compression-type construction with a pretty loose pommel. It would work with most or possibly all of the Windlass swords I've owned. At most, one might have to file the tang beneath the pommel to make sure it goes down far enough. Based on my experience with other manufacturers, this method wouldn't work with Albion, A&A, ATrim or Hanwei-Tinker.
your X-acto razor saw i believe is a cost effective equivalent to whats called a cabinet saw. it's a very thin bladed saw thats usually used to get flush fits in tight 90 degree corners.

it's also good to know that when making a peen - use the correct size hammer. you'd be surprised at what a mess you can make with a 1lb hammer vs a 1/2 gram hammer. you can use something your comfortable with, i'd suggest using something lighter. and you only need about 1/16 of an inch to 3/16 at the most to make a good peen.

strike the center of the tang's shaft with the peen of you ball peen hammer - you don't need heavy blows this is usually soft steel and will begin to deform after a few dozen well placed strikes. once the tang begins to deform and spread out like the head of a nail lightly go around the the outer edge of the tang with hammer strikes until you get the mushroom effect. then turn the hammer over to the hammer end and begin to strike firmly around its outer edge again until you see the tang peen over and secure itself to the pummel. once the tang is totally peened over you can give a few heavy strikes in the center of the tang again and this should lock the peen over the pummel.

if you see a little crack in your peen, it's not the end of the world. usually that means you've attempted to flatten out the peen a little too much. but these will still hold tightly, however, if it has a few cracks where you can see the peen is actually split to the center of the tang - this may not hold forever if your using you sword.

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