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Gen2 Henry V upgrades
I bought the Henry V Gen2 a couple of month ago. I was hesitant to make that purchase because of comments I had read here and there about the sword having quality control issues (weak tip).

Having owned several Windlass in the past, I was eager to buy a sword with a “real” edge geometry (no secondary bevel) and a peened pommel at that price point. The glowing reviews I had read on various forums including myArmoury finally convinced me to give it a shot.

I received the sword a couple of month ago and even though the design showed great improvements compared to the previous Gen2 I had seen in the past I was still not impressed:


Aesthetic concerns mainly:

Bulky guard of very odd design to say the least (weirdly shaped around the ricasso area - see first picture below). Now most pics I looked at showed the guard on its attractive side (shots facing the sword laying flat) and I was much surprised to find out how the guard was shaped on its other sides. I owned some windlass before that had way more subtle hilts.

The middle of the guard featured round metal bulges on each sides, making the guard twice as thick.

Handle: round as a baseball bat, uncomfortable to hold, and way too thick for a guard that wasn't slim itself to start with, showing the round wood section under the leather at the point of junction with the guard.

Blade: very little if any hollow ground was noticeable, mainly due to the mirror polish finish (factory looking, showing grind marks etc).

Edge by blade geometry, no secondary bevel

Peened pommel

Handles very well (after the grip was reshaped)

Performs well: highly efficient and sturdy cutter but also very efficient at thrusting (as far as thick cardboard and bottles are concerned, and I don't plan to confront the tip to anything tougher yet)

Though and solidly built, as Gen2 swords are known to be

Includes a genuine wood core scabbard (the "leather looking" coating isn't pleasant though, but compromises are to be expected at that price point)

So overall, despite a disappointing "out of the box" experience, a little backyard cutting cession convinced me that the sword was still worth the money, and that it was the perfect candidate for further home improvements.

1-first I removed the leather on the handle (and stripped the scabbard as well), then spent some time reshaping the grip using a file and sand paper. I removed a lot of wood, aiming at an oval grip, 3 mm thinner than the guard on each side. This simple alteration already made a big difference in terms of handling.
2-the grip now being thinner, the bulges on each sides of the guard became an issue. When holding the sword in hand and swinging it around, the metal bulge was pressing hard on my fist knuckle, and that was painful and dangerous. For that reason and in order to improve the looks of the hilt, I decided to try to get rid of those and to reshape the guard, using the file I used for the wood handle.
3-a few days later, one millimeter at a time (make that 8 hours or so!) the guard was flattened (remember that the sword cannot be taken apart, because of the peened pommel (unless you are better equipped and more daring than I am).
4- I redid the finish/polish of the entire hilt after the file work. At that point the sword started to appeal to me.
5-I blued the hilt using blueing paste to create some contrast with the blade. It was charcoal black at first (after 15 passes or so). Rubbing the hilt with oil and steel wool gave a dark grey patina that I really like.
6-I placed raisers on the wood grip, bought some chamois leather (I didn’t bother looking for more expensive Veg tanned on the web). I wrapped the grip after cutting to size and I used a shaving razor to thin the leather at the edges. This technique worked remarkably well and saved me a lot of time. The leather overlap is almost invisible.
7- Changed the finish of the blade from mirror to satin. Work in progress.

I am very happy with the results so far, and I find that this revamped Gen2 doesn’t look bad at all next to my Crecy now. Even if chamois leather is convenient to use, I won’t use it again. It is easy to find and dirt cheap, but I’m not too found of the finish (even coated with Lexol and quality dye, it has a “grainy” finish, but you have to look closely to notice it).

Pics are below; scabbard wrap and suspensions to follow soon (should be easy since Gen2 provides a genuine wood core)

Hope you like it,


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original guard

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blueing the pommel

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6finished sword 2.jpg

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reshaping the guard

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reshaping the guard

Last edited by Julien M on Sat 04 Apr, 2009 5:21 pm; edited 7 times in total
Looking good Julien, nice work!
Couple of higher res pict alongside the Crecy in it's (still) unfinished scabbard.

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Last edited by Julien M on Sat 04 Apr, 2009 5:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
Nice job on the grip. How many times have you done a grip before? If that is your first, nice work.
Julien, good work there. Thinning the guard and grip have made a great improvement on the original and the bluing looks nice too, gives the sword an aged look.

Your grip rewrap is excellent; nice chocolate brown colour too. :cool:

Looking forward to seeing the scabbard. Have you decided on what sort of suspension you are going to go with?
Re: Gen2 Henry V upgrades
Your improvements look great.

Julien M wrote:
Having owned several Windlass in the past, I was eager to buy a sword with a “real” edge geometry (no secondary bevel)

Please note that many "real"/antique/authentic swords have secondary bevels. Not all swords have blended edges... lots of edge geometry variation can be found in antiques. Of course, the blunt/rounded edges of Windlass swords is not exactly historical :)
Nicely accomplished, while I may not post on a majority of similar posts, I always
enjoy looking at what others do to improve or change a certain item.
Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback!

Brian K. wrote:
Nice job on the grip. How many times have you done a grip before? If that is your first, nice work.

And what if it's not? :) That's actually my second wrap, I did a windlass towton a while ago, using materials I thought to be appropriate at the time : epoxy glue (!?!) and chronium tanned leather (posted the result here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...t=towton).

I haven't decided about suspensions yet. This should be an early XV century scabbard, and that usually calls for metal shapes and mountings...the very thing that put my Crecy scabbard on hold for month now. I can't really re use the ones that came with the scabbard, because the leather will add too much thickness.

Nathan Robinson wrote:

Please note that many "real"/antique/authentic swords have secondary bevels. Not all swords have blended edges... lots of edge geometry variation can be found in antiques. Of course, the blunt/rounded edges of Windlass swords is not exactly historical :)

I'm aware of that Nathan, though I can't remember spotting secondary bevels on any museums swords of that period (well that calls for another trip at the wallace next week!). I'd be interested to see a picture of a secondary bevel edge on a genuine med sword.
Well, for that matter, it looks good no matter how many times let alone your first. Nice grinding work too. Maybe DBK needs a UK extension ;)
Great work and a big improvement on the sword out of the box.

The guard's bulk didn't really bother me as is, but seeing what you did to yours I will admit that I really like what you did to it.

I modified mine less extensively but basically the most important modification was changing the grip from a fat circle to a smaller oval section as you did and make a new cover for it.

I also got to a satin finish by antiquing the blade with yellow mustard for a dark grey patina and then changing my mind and polishing of the finish to a dull satin with light etching marks left in the blade. ( Going true 2 or 3 changes of mind about having the blade blued or not contributed to the nice final finish ).

I plan to semi remove the blue on the guard and pommel for a more mid or light grey patina eventually.

What work well is to use an artificial steel wool using diluted blue paste and this removes the bright blue but re-blues at the same time to a light grey finish. ( mentioned this trick I stumbled upon in another Topic thread, just thought I would mention it again in case you want to experiment with the technique ).

Anyway, the sword now looks 300% better. :D :cool:
Brian K. wrote:
Maybe DBK needs a UK extension ;)

Thanks for the compliment Brian! I admit I'm flattered :)

I've starting working on the scabbard.

1-removed the black leatherish coating, cutting it, sanding it mainly.
2-Loosened and removed the steel at the mouth
3-tried to do the same for the scabbard tip, only to discover that Gen2 took an interesting shortcut here (the tip is solid steel). I was trying to get the tip of a knife under it to make it loose, no wonder I wasn't successful! Seeing that this wasn't going anywhere I went berserk and saw the damn thing off, only to find out that there was no other way to get rid of the tip anyway :)
4-reshaped the shortened scabbard to mimic the sword's blade.
5-will have to strengthen the core, regluing the now open gaps on the sides (the scabbard is almost split in two again, it keeps from breaking apart because I left the metal mountings at the mount on.


edit: regarding the grinding of the guard Jean, it would take minutes for someone who has access to a belt grinder to do that alteration (repolishing is longer though). I would have done much more if I had been able to dismount the hilt...maybe later! :)

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I think it looks fantastic. Chamois will not give as high a polish as top-grain leather, but neutral wax and buffing can do wonders. Just take the sword to your local shoe-shine stand :D Grain is a different problem, of course, but I see a fair amount of variation in natural tanned chamois. You might find another piece you like, but if you have a good supply of thin top-grain leather, you might as well go for that. Your work is certainly worthy of the premium stuff.
Julien, your work has greatly improved the aesthetics of this sword, congratulations. Now it looks like something I'd like to have in my own collection.
Thanks for your comment Sean, much appreciated.

As you said, Finish/conditioning seems to be upgradable with Chamois, and I picked up a tin of quality dark brown shoe polish yesterday and applied it to the grip. It worked surprisingly well, complementing the color and making the dye more even. I didn't polish it after, just removed any excess and coated with lexol again. Still a little grainy but really nice still. I'll post a pict later (I'll have to use the same technique for the scabbard to have a spot on color match though, and I'll hesitate before rubbing quality veg tan with shoe polish!)

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Now it looks like something I'd like to have in my own collection.
Cheers Patrick, too bad you chose to get a vigil instead! :) :)
New veg tan grip for my Henry V.

I don't have any red shoe polish to complement/finish the dye yet and I will get some tomorrow, so the color might look a bit plain for now (I want to avoid turning the grip towards oxblood, which is a risk when using darker shoe polish).

Will post picture once the matching scabbard is finished.



ps: the many raisers make a HUGE difference in terms of handling, allowing for a much more precise control...I was hesitant to pick up that design but I'm happy I did.

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That is really excellent work! It makes a big difference in the look of the sword. Too bad Gen2 can't just do that from the start. They'd sell a lot more of those.
Henry V Scabbard WIP
Moved on to the scabbard today.

I used epoxy to glue the leather onto the core this time. It is partially attached to the core though (the tip isn't glued either), to allow access for sewing the back. At this stage I've done half of the leather moulding, but I'll keep it that way until I'm done with the sewing. The mouth is almost finished though.

It is a simple design without excessive ornamentation, as those were common in the XV century. I have to resist the urge to start carving/tracing floral patterns on the facing side of the scabbard, for I was much impressed with one such scabbard Tod posted here a while ago.

Will post the finished job with suspensions when it is done.



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shot of the back

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upper side
Sewing done, and dye has been applied, red dye, or so it says on the tin...

I had a hard time getting such a bright color for the handle, and as I feared the damn thing turned oxblood on me...and I'm pissed. Fieblings ruined me a grip once, as blue surfaced bronze. I just teared it off and started again...but here it is not an option.

Does anybody has any ideas that could correct this? I generously applied red shoe cream with little results.
How about these? http://www.algeos.com/acatalog/Magix_Colour_Shoe_Dyes.html

"to enhance or change the colour of shoes, accessories and upholstery" they say. Has anyone tried those?

Hell...Iif I can get this right I'll go black with red suspensions...



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I would advice against using any shoe polish or other shoe leather treatments at all. Instead, use traditional leather dyes and finishing products. The shoe products are intended to be used on previously-finished leather, but you have the benefit of working with bare leather and can color and treat it without limitation.

Tandy Leather has some really great books that can teach the basics of traditional leatherworking including a discussion of techniques and product selection. I highly recommend such resources.

Using shoe products, chamois leather, etc., just ends up leading to an uphill battle of compromises and a lack of ability to fully control the final product.
I wish I could suggest a remedy. I had my own bad experience with red dye recently and am hesitant to try it again. That was partly my own fault, but there did seem to be a difference in the performance of black and red Fiebing's dyes with the same chamois (a material lots of informed folks don't like but which has served me well with careful finishing). I even had difficulty with the red dye on top-grain tooling leather. The black works fine with both materials. It may be that it's just very difficult to match lighter colors on different cuts of leather. One of the problems I noticed was that the red-dyed top grain got lighter anywhere the leather was flexed. I didn't see a way to get a uniform red color in a piece that had to be manipulated to some degree after dyeing. No problem with the black dye.

I know you weren't looking for oxblood, but it is an attractive color.
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