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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject: My Coustille         Reply with quote

I became interested in the Museum Replica's Coustille some years ago when I first became aware of Windlass Steelcraft's replica weapons and armor. I settled on a different sword instead.

Sometime in the last two years or so the Coustille's design was changed. It became less "fancy" and more utilitarian looking, which I did not disagree with. Someone posted a review on the Swords of Might forum for the new design, which I read. However, I was soured the usual Windlass glossy black leather, bright shine and terrible grip-stitching. To this day I fail to understand why they stitch their grips. You can read the review here. It is worth a read for anyone interested in these sorts of long daggers.

When Julien M. posted a thread on his alterations to the Coustille, I changed my mind completely. With only a little bit of material, he managed to completely recreate the look of the sword / dagger. You can see his original project here. I'm sure most of our regular members have at least read it, but newer members probably missed it.

With limited funds, the 100USD pricetag at Kult of Athena was very attractive to me. I was soon to celebrate my 21st birthday, so I figured I would go ahead and see if Julien was up for another project. A few PM's later, the whole thing was sorted out and I placed my order. You can find the Kult of Athena page for the Coustille here.

For this project, I had requested a re-wrapping of the grip, complete with raisers and cord wrap. A redye of the scabbard was also in order, as was treatment to reduce the shine on the blade to something more reasonable.

Julien laid out a very reasonable price, and we worked out a deal to send over a dagger as well, as part of payment. There was a catch, however! Shipping prices to the UK are insane. For the dagger and coustille, a c. 2.3 kg package, the total shipping charge was only shy of 50USD. I have shipped packages of nearly twice that weight to New Zealand for less than half of the cost. As it turns ou,t these sort of things are quite expensive in the UK. We tried to find a dealer local to him that would reduce the shipping cost, but the cheapest one we found was 160USD. A few moments later, I placed my order at Kult of Athena and began the waiting game. The price of the dagger and it's shipping was deducted from the overall cost of the project.

After being stuck in Customs (or the UK equivalent), Julien finally got the package. He began work as soon as he was able, first by stripping off the hold grip and the scabbard dye. The raisers came next. They were originally of cord, as you can see in the photos below.





I selected blue dye for the scabbard and grip, as blue is one of my favorite colors. Shipping on the dye took a good while, and during this time Julien received a shipment of goat leather he found on ebay. Once the dye was in, the project moved forward. He secured the goat leather to the grip, made sure the raisers were in place, and began to dye it.

Here is what it looked like wrapped but undyed. The orange is residue from the cord-wrap he used on the other project.


Unfortunately, blue seems to surface "bronze", which means it doesn't work very well.




So much for that idea!

I decided brown was the next best thing, and the project moved on. During the re-wrapping, Julien replaced the cord raisers with leather, which resulted in much better definition. The brown grip turned out really well.





End part 1, image limit

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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Part 2


He then moved on to the scabbard, which also turned out well. After that was completed, the blade was sharpened and aged to remove the glossy surface. The end result turned out rather well, as shown below.



Once assembled, the piece was complete, and ready for shipping.




So much like a few months ago, I must now play the waiting game again. I am hoping fortune allows the package to slip through Customs unmolested and undetained, as I am eager to hold the sword in hand. I plan to make my own suspension for it, likely out of spare buffalo leather I have laying about.

All in all, I am very pleased with Julien's work, as well as his informative emails and continuously improving techniques. It was a learning experience for the both of us, to say the least.

M.

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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2009 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow! This might be the nicest looking "project" sword I've ever seen! It's really nice. I love the grip color. It's amazing what a difference a little tlc can make with some of the less expensive swords. Damn fine piece you've got there!
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2009 10:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice work! It looks great. I would love to have such a nice arm. Julien did a great job on it.... I have always liked that design of blade.

Yes shipping here is expensive. Inside the country is not so bad but once you leave it, even just to Europe it starts adding up fast!

RPM
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks great! I've become a fan of these little swords, which are often seen in the hands of the apostle Peter in historical depictions of the arrest of Jesus. The example below is dated to 1520. Remove that metal scabbard throat, maybe add a chappe, and you'd have a nice 15th/16th civilian weapon. As for suspension, it is sometimes shown suspended by thin cords, like a large knife. In some cases there are no visible means of suspension--scabbard is held in the left hand and appears to have been produced from beneath Peter's cloak. Were such short weapons sometimes concealed by simply thrusting through a belt like a large bowie? Maybe. When shown sleeping, as here, Peter almost invariably has a hand on or near his weapon.


 Attachment: 130.86 KB
1520.JPG


-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2009 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What kind of leather was it?
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Ed S.




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2009 1:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The first post mentioned that it was goat leather:

Quote:

Shipping on the dye took a good while, and during this time Julien received a shipment of goat leather he found on ebay
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject: Re: My Coustille         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:


]


I have to laugh, because my workbench looks exactly like this at the moment--from the Feibing's bottle and swab to the stained carboard scrap and dyed grip. Laughing Out Loud If we could see Julian's fingers, we'd probably have a match there, as well. The WHO missed this pandemic, somehow.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2009 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice work. The blue grip would have worked out fine though. Here is a little tidbit of info for you:

Most Tandy colors will surface bronze when applied to tanned leather. However, once you seal the leather with sealant (such as Eco-Flo Sheen) - http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/home/depar...=Product_1 - or a similiar finishing product, this bronze effect disappears and is no longer visible. Everything I have ever dyed with darker Tandy dyes had an annoying rainbow tinge until the finishing coat was applied. The saddlemaker I learned most of my leather working skills from told me it was because the dye is metallic based.

Just passing the info along so that you don't have to try to limit your color selections in the future. Big Grin

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Andres M. Chesini Remic




Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Jun, 2009 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Where do the edges of the leather meet? I really can't see it Eek!

Beautiful work Happy


Ps: Really, is there any pic where you can see the borders of the leather?

"El que no viene por donde debiera, no viene a lo que dice - P. B. Palacios ~ Almafuerte"
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Julien M




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun, 2009 2:28 am    Post subject: Re: My Coustille         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
If we could see Julian's fingers, we'd probably have a match there, as well.


Happy It's funny you should mention that Sean because I happened to have job interviews a few weeks ago while working on this project...and if the color surfaced badly on the leather, it sure did take well on my hands! Spendid alien like deep blue fingers...something to captivate the attention of a potential future employer I'm sure Happy I had the best time cleaning it off as you can imagine!
JE Sarge wrote:


Most Tandy colors will surface bronze when applied to tanned leather. However, once you seal the leather with sealant or a similar finishing product, this bronze effect disappears


Thanks for the tip JE. Actually I did some research before giving it up and stripping the first wrap off (I can confirm that those mean to stay in place now, as I had to use pliers to tear the leather off!) and I did try a few things such as the one you suggest: http://cornercobbler.com/FiebingsLeatherDye.html

NOTE-Navy Blue dyed leathers may surface "bronze".
This condition can be corrected with an application of Kellys Neutral Shoe Polish.

It didn't help unfortunately and the grip turned blackish. I suspect the issue came from the oxblood dye that transferred to the leather from the cord I used on the wrap (cord I used on a previous project..that will teach me to be cheap!). It then somehow reacted with the blue dye and the damage was irreparable.

But it's all for the best in the end, since dark brown looks good, and i improved the overwrap using natural fiber cord instead of nylon. The result are cord marks that exactly match my Albion crecy's grip, with slightly uneven imprints...much more pleasing to the eye.

Yes the leather is goat. Got a fantastic deal from ebay after looking for month. 6 full hide of natural veg tan leather, as thin as it comes (20 square foot of scrap veg leather goats 0.4-0.6 mm)...for a mere 9ú.

That's for the grip wrap side of things...but actually the more challenging aspects of this projects and of most windlass convertions isn't the grip nor the antiquing, but the sharpening to an appleseed edge. It is time consuming and tedious work.
I aim at a "realistic" edge. No visible bevel, and a blade you can hold with your bare hands but yet that cuts paper with ease.
The issue I find when aiming at the appleseed is that you work to set the bevel, it cuts like madness, then you blend it, re polish the blade which takes hours of work with grit paper, and then you find the edge has dulled in the process. So you go back to the file, mess things up, etc etc...you get the picture Happy

I enjoyed working on this blade as my very first commissioned work, Thanks to you Michael, and I really hope you'll be fully satisfied with this sword after all the trouble we went through (shipping cost, added VAT, custom keeping the package and not telling about it...).

Cheers,

Julien


Last edited by Julien M on Fri 12 Jun, 2009 3:58 am; edited 4 times in total
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun, 2009 2:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ed S. wrote:
The first post mentioned that it was goat leather:

Quote:

Shipping on the dye took a good while, and during this time Julien received a shipment of goat leather he found on ebay


Well I had read good so I was asking what good leather could be found an ebay and from what source.

Most fonts are too tiny or my eyesight at this point of my life.

I have experimented with less than 1 mm cow leather but the overlapping remains deeply unsatisfactory. Recycled stuff anyway.
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun, 2009 3:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julian,

The grip looks great either way. I just know that I ran into the bronzing issue early on in my leather working. I guess they use plutonium in the Navy Dye or something, it's weird that they point it out specifically, so I am assuming that the effect us much worse than with the other dyes.

Sometimes if a color bronzes up badly on me (more than I am comfortable with - mainly with black), I'll give it a light buff with 000 steel wool and remove the irredescent sheen before applying the leather sealant. However, when using the Eco-Flow Satin Sheen, it always seems to do away with it. Neutral Kiwi wax polish seems to do a good job removing it as well. I will know to be apprehensive about that particular color in the future though. I've never used it before, but it's obviously reacting differently that the other dyes for some reason or another.

Keep up the good work!

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 13 Jun, 2009 4:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, I had forgotten!

It's name is G˙■wine, which in my poor excuse for Old English talent means "Battle Friend", which I assume also means ally. Found out on SBG in a completely unrelated thread that this was Eomer's sword from LOTR (the name, rather). This is news to me, so I swear I'm not ripping it off Razz

M.

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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Jun, 2009 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It arrived the 24th! I do not have a camera to take new photos (see page 1, posts 1 and 2), however I will express my feelings on this item.

The scabbard is the usual Windlass stiff leather thing. It doesn't fit well, unfortunately, and does not retain the sword when held upside down. It did take the dye job rather well, however, and the fittings are tight. It's well sewn too. I might make this my first scabbard project, if only to see how well I can make something.

The blade is quite sharp, owing to Julien's work on it. It's a fine apple seed, and I'm sure it could handle any would-be warriors headed my way Wink The antiquing is done really well, too. Now, the original blade does have a few flaws. Worst off is the fuller, which is cocked off to one side slightly and uneven. I kind of like this, in all honesty -- it looks less machined and more hand done.

The hilt fixtures are nice, though the guard appears asymmetrical. This is not a major issue; I highly doubt this would be a problem in any context, though it might make my scabbard project a tad tougher. The grip's new rap is very nice; the raisers are strong and comfortable. The cord-wrapping is also very nice; I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to a smooth grip again! I have small hands, so the pommel does not get in my way at all.

The overall piece has a nice kind of balance to it, moreso towards the hilt than the tip. Not bad at all for an overgrown dagger!

Julien did a great job with the thing. I recommend him if you have something you wish similar work to be done to. However, due to the highway robbery that is international shipping, I do not think I will be able to afford such work again. This is a shame, as it's great work. If I manage to get myself one of those Type IV's before they go out, I shall attempt similar work on it myself.

M.

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Julien M




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jun, 2009 2:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi M.

Just back from holidays and I'm relieved you received the sword at last (glad that you are happy with it too!). Did they ask for custom charges again on the way back too (hope not!!!)?

You are right about the fuller, it is slightly off centered. It was kind of obvious when the blade was factory/mirror polished but the antiquing did quiet a good job at somehow hiding this fault. As far as the pommel and guard are concerned, I've worked on the sword so that it is still fully dismountable, so play around with it (change grip side and guard side. There is an assembly that works best. Interesting as I had two version of the same Coustille in hands to see how windlass products can vary.

Cheers,

J
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