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Colt Reeves

Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Fri 14 Feb, 2014 11:38 pm    Post subject: Wire and Cord Wraps         Reply with quote

Ok, I did do a little searching on this site and Google to try and find my own answers, but it doesn't seem to be happening...

Concerning wire wraps, I have been getting the impression that they were popular during the Norse and earlier periods as full hilt deals but seemed to drop off for a time after the 11th century, only to resurface as the latest fad in the 15th century, especially as half wire wraps, then later as full again when it came to rapiers and the like. Since I am thinking of wire wrapping some of my swords, I was wondering how accurate this impression really is. I know there are a few examples such as the Sword of Estore Visconti that show full wire wraps in the early 15th century, etc, but my main interest is the 14th century, since that is for better or worse where most of my swords seem to be loosely based on. (Windlass, Hanwei, etc, so very loosely.)

So, questions to them as know better than I:
1. Are there any significant wire wraps known in the 14th century, full or partial?

2. Specifically, are there some for single handed swords such as a type XIV? How about a falchion?

3. Any partial wraps for Sempach styled swords?

In a similar vein, could anyone speak out as to the times where cord wraps were common? Any pictures of corded grips? By cord wrap I am in this case referring to swords where the grips is actually wrapped in cord, not ones where the cord is temporarily wrapped around the wet leather grip to give it texture and later removed. Somewhere in my searching I believe I saw an example of a 15th-16th century sword Nathan posted that had both a corded grip and a wire wrap.

Edit: And does anyone have any idea what gauges were commonly used, generally speaking, back in the day? I have seen that most tutorials for wire wrapping a hilt refer to 20-26 gauge wire, while I have used 18-19 gauge wire on a couple of my swords. Just eye-balling it, either/or looks roughly about right to me, but it is hard to tell by online pictures.

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Harry Marinakis

PostPosted: Sat 15 Feb, 2014 5:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The single handed type XII sword Cangrande Della Scala is dated at AD 1325 and has a silver wire wrap with green silk over binding.

There is a type XV sword in Oakeshott's Records book dated around 1404-1412 that has a pretty coarse wire wrap. There are also several examples of cord wraps in that book, as well as a nice discussion in his. Chivalry book.
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Luka Borscak

Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,307

PostPosted: Sat 15 Feb, 2014 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

About the cord wraps, I guess they would be quite popular, they provide a good grip, they are easy to make and can be made tougher with some pitch/glue. But they are not found on many original grips, maybe because they perish easily or maybe they weren't so popular because most people liked the look and feel of the leather...
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