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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 7:02 am    Post subject: MRL Grip Upgrade         Reply with quote

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-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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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seeing the drawing of Albion's upcoming "Vassal" ( see it here: http://www.albionarmorers.com/swords/albion/nextgen/vassal.htm ), which is similar to the Thorpe Falchion (see stats here: http://www.myArmoury.com/review_mrl_falc.html ), inspired me to learn how to give my MRL/Windlass falchion a better and more attractive grip.

Wood: The original grip was well made, as described in my review, but needed to be narrowed at both ends so the cord and leather wouldn't protrude beyond the hilt furniture. I chiseled away a bit.

Cord: Two sizes of hemp cord from Hobby Lobby. This stuff is rough and irregular in diameter along its length, which gives it a more homespun quality that I like.

Wrap: This is what hung me up for so long. Very thin, high quality leather is expensive and hard to find in small quantities. There was nothing in the scrap box at the local leather repair shop. I had a really good idea when I bought a pair of dark red high-top women's boots at the local Goodwill for $6. Unfortunately, although the thin red leather uppers provide enough material for 1-3 plain leather grip wraps, they aren't thin enough to let a cord wrap be clearly defined. I'll save that material for another project. Finally, I just dyed a $10 chamois from the auto dept. of the local K-Mart. This was almost perfect, the only drawback being the matte surface. With some experimentation I realized that the surface can be smoothed with ordinary beeswax weatherproofing and buffed to a good polish with a shoeshine brush (I also darkened the color with a touch of cordovan shoe polish). I'm sold on the chamois, now, and can get an estimated 3-5 grips out of one piece.

Method: I clamped down the sword on a work table with the hilt hanging out over the edge. I started the cord with epoxy so I could wind it tightly around the grip. After the expoxy set I covered the grip with wood glue and wound the cord onto the grip. At the end of the grip I secured the spool of cord and suspended a weight in the middle of the line running from spool to grip to keep tension on the drying grip. The little riser is just a thicker piece of cord glued in place on top of the thin cord to fit between my index and middle finger. When the cord was dry, I trimmed the chamois to rough size, wet it and glued one edge to the grip with epoxy. When the epoxy dried I covered the grip with wood glue and pulled the wrap tightly around the grip, overlapping my starting point. Next, I secured to one of the arms of the hilt one end of a new strand of the fine cord, then wrapped that tightly around the entire grip, top to bottom and let the whole assembly dry. Finally, I removed the cord overwrap, trimmed the leather at the overlap, top and bottom, and waxed, polished and buffed the finished grip.

There are a few unattractive spots I attribute to being a first-timer, especially at the base where I trimmed the wrap too close. The seam isn't invisible, but it's flush and neat. Overall, I think this very fast and easy project dramatically improved both the look and handling of the piece. Unfortunately, it's as close as I'm going to get to a Vassal. Sad

-Sean

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


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Tue 29 Jun, 2004 7:54 am; edited 3 times in total
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Howard Waddell
Industry Professional



Location: Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice Job!!
Albion Swords Ltd
http://albion-swords.com
http://filmswords.com
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks! That means much coming from you! I've admired Albion's grips since first seeing them.
-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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Joel Chesser




Location: Oklahoma
Joined: 23 Oct 2003

Posts: 714

PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Surprised I am dully impressed and inspired i have been looking to do this kind of thing on my Valiant Armory Agincourt some time. Like you, however, I have had trouble finding appropriate and affordable material. It's great to hear how you solved the problem. Thanks for the inspiration!
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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William Goodwin




Location: Roanoke,Va
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brilliant Sean! Really like this sword and what you've done to it. Thanks for sharing!

Now, whatcha gonna do with the Scottish Backsword?



William

aka Bill
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William Goodwin wrote:
Now, whatcha gonna do with the Scottish Backsword?


Thanks! That's a really good question. I go back and forth over this one. I considered a full twisted wire wrap appropriate for a plain military sword of the period, but a much simpler wire binding over leather like that seen on many basket hilt grips also appeals to me. But, then, I'm also thinking that a plain black wrap with a brass wire binding would look pretty spiffy with japanned and gilded hilt furniture. Or maybe steel wire binding with japanned and silver hilt decoration. Now that I've sort of figured out how to do the cord/leather wrap, it's tempting to do that with this weapon, but in brown. That seems like a good choice for this sword, and I think it would look great with the antiqued steel. I'm going to make my choice soon, and I'll post the results here.

-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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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nicely done Sean. I really like your work on these MRLs. I tempts me to get some so that I can try my hand at it.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I tempts me to get some so that I can try my hand at it.


It can definitely improve 'em, and they're so inexpensive your hands won't shake as you rip off the original wrap, take a chisel to the wood, or otherwise butcher them. I think it's a great way to develop some basic skills. You should get another one and just go CRAZY on it, Patrick! We need to see some custom sword conversions based on bargain MRLs. How about a State Trooper's presentation sword, with blued hilt, textured black rubber grip, and a small badge or state seal inset in the pommel? Big Grin

-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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Scott Byler




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 20 Aug 2003

Posts: 209

PostPosted: Tue 29 Jun, 2004 3:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice job, Sean. I picked up one of those MRL closeout fantasy 'dragon swords' and found that the grip was very well done, but the wrap protrudes over the guard a bit. I probably won't mess with it, really. I had intended to rehilt it but since it is peened and works alright for me as is, I will skip that... For the price I got a good deal as is..... But, anyway, as you say, the MRL stuff is a very good option for those that want to 'tinker' with the fittings and such...
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