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David Sutton




Location: Bolton, UK
Joined: 06 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 2:35 pm    Post subject: Ulfberht Upgrade         Reply with quote

I've been the owner of a Windlass Ulfberht for a couple of years now, and while I've always thought it was one of Windlass/MRL's better swords I always felt it could be improved upon appearance-wise.

I've had this project on the backburner for a while. My Ulfberht lay there without its cheap black leather grip wrapping and with the blade polish half done for too long. So last week I decided to finally complete my refinishing project. Heres a list of what I did:

- Sanded and slightly reshaped the grip core.
- Added risers to the top and bottom of the grip.
- Re-polished the hilt metal and blade, starting with a fine wet and dry sandpaper, then a fine-grit sanding sponge, then fine grey scotchbrite and finally a polish with Prelim surface cleaner (this is a mild cleaner and polish from the makers of renaissance wax, its good stuff). All abrasives were used with Balistol as a lubricant.
- Rewrapped the grip with thin vegetable tanned leather (cow hide, or maybe its calf skin? From the fine grain its definitely bovine in origin Big Grin ) dyed 'Oxblood' and over wrapped with thin nylon cord for that textured 'Albion' look.
- Finally after everything had dried and I'd cleaned off any gunk from the glue etc. I finished the grip with some clear paste wax and buffed to a nice sheen.

This was the second re-wrap I've done and the first using veg tan leather (I used chamois leather before) and I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out.

If anybody is thinking of trying this out then go for it, its easier than you think and it improves the look of a sword 100% IMO. In fact its like having a new sword!

Anyway, heres some pictures :








'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

Hypatia of Alexandria, c400AD
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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Posts: 2,284

PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Inscription looks much better with polish! And grip is very nice too...
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Scott S.




Location: Central North Carolina
Joined: 28 May 2009
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice David!

Of course I look at pictures first and as soon as I saw the grip I thought "Albion." That's one clean, neat wrap and perfect inspiration for me at just the right time. I'm getting ready to do my first cord wrap, but have already tried the technique several times on my "practice dowel." (I'm still trying to achieve that "seamless" look at the moment, so if you have any tips there???)

Although I love the fine-textured look of Albion grips, I thought I'd go with "big" texture for my current project, however I've been thinking about buying an Albion 13th C. Knightly or Great Sword, and the thought had occured to me that I'd have to try duplicating their high-end grip style if I did. I hope I'll be even half as successful as yourself! In general, I want to show as much variety as I can in any future swords I may customize. Offhand I'm also doing my grip in oxblood, It's absolutely my favorite color.

Overall, the sword looks fantastic. You've really made me regret not having seen the Ulfberht's potential myself.
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JG Elmslie
Industry Professional



Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

mm. that is a lovely oxblood red.

mind if I ask what you used for it? Feibings dye, or something else?

(last oxblood I used came out closer to purple. I was not impressed, so shopping around for alternates.)
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Brogdon Combs




Location: Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Joined: 22 Jan 2009

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sun 11 Jul, 2010 4:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful! Great work, man.

May I inquire as to the identity of the cord you used? That's much thinner than most I've seen, and I prefer the look greatly.
If you have link to where I could buy that thread, I'd be very appreciative.

Thanks, either way, and keep up the awesome work!

-Brogdon

"Here's to you, mister pirate-ship-captain! With your endless booty calls and a violent streak that makes Grand Theft Auto look like Super Mario Kart, only you could bring the wooden leg back into fashion, and only you could fight three men at a time with a patch over one eye and a hook for a hand."
-Strongblade.com
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jul, 2010 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just another complement on your grip. That looks really nice.
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David Sutton




Location: Bolton, UK
Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Likes: 15 pages
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 230

PostPosted: Sun 11 Jul, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Guys, thanks for all your kind comments! Cool

I'll try and have a stab (no pun intended! Big Grin ) at answering your questions.

Quote:
I'm still trying to achieve that "seamless" look at the moment, so if you have any tips there???


Scott, to hide the seam you need to 'skive' down the leather. That is using a razor, sharp scalpel or a purpose made 'Skiving Knife' (http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/home/depar...Product_19 you can get them from Tandy or other leather craft suppliers) you thin the leather down by effectively shaving away the underside, bit by bit until the edge is left wafer thin. The thinner you skive it the better the seam will be hidden. You also need to do this wherever the leather overlaps and at the foldovers at top and bottom of the wrap; so you don't end up with unsightly bulges. In fact I got a very slight bulge but you need to look closely to see it otherwise its not noticeable. The rule to follow is; 'if you think you've skived it enough - skive it some more'! You're more likely to not thin it enough than too much. Take it carefully when the edge is very thin and fragile, but its suprising how thin you can get the very edge. It takes a little time to master, but its pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I took a photo of the seam but it was out of focus. I'll try and get another taken and post it.

I own a Squire Line 13th Century Knightly and I'm tempted to have a crack at it. But, the grip job they did was nice, even though its not textured and has no risers so I'm in two minds about it. I have seen some Squire Line swords with slightly different and IMHO poorer looking grips than mine so I'd probably re-wrap in that case. I'm interested in trying some different combinations of risers etc on future projects.

Quote:
that is a lovely oxblood red. mind if I ask what you used for it? Feibings dye, or something else?


JG, yes it was indeed Feibings leather dye (http://shop.fiebing.com/products/category/326....72764.0.0). Oxblood is nice, its colourful yet has a restrained, natural look to it, it doesn't look like a synthetic colour. I also found that you can get it to range from a nice red to a dark red-brown depending in how many coats of dye you use. I used 2 coats.

Quote:
May I inquire as to the identity of the cord you used? That's much thinner than most I've seen, and I prefer the look greatly. If you have link to where I could buy that thread, I'd be very appreciative.


Brogdon, I got the cord from this site http://www.beadsforbeaders.com/acatalog/C-Lon_Tex400_Cord.html. It was a little on the pricey side actually so think I might try and source some from elsewhere.

Its a site based in the UK, so might not really be worth it in the USA. However I'm sure you could find something similar or even the same in the US. Try looking on craft sites etc. Its a twisted Nylon cord of approx 1mm thickness (actually this is a touch under, I'm not sure what that would be in inches, 1/8"?). Watch you get twisted as you can also get braided but I think that probably wouldn't give as good a result. I basically used the grips on my Albions as a guide and they use quite a thin cord for the overwrap which I tried to replicate.

'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

Hypatia of Alexandria, c400AD
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Brogdon Combs




Location: Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Joined: 22 Jan 2009

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sun 11 Jul, 2010 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks so much, that answered my question perfectly.

I know I've said it already, but I'll say it again... MAN, you did a good job. It looks Christian-Fletcher-good, at least to me. Seriously impressive.

-Brogdon

"Here's to you, mister pirate-ship-captain! With your endless booty calls and a violent streak that makes Grand Theft Auto look like Super Mario Kart, only you could bring the wooden leg back into fashion, and only you could fight three men at a time with a patch over one eye and a hook for a hand."
-Strongblade.com
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Sun 11 Jul, 2010 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow...nicely done. I love the oxblood dye...but you can't get them in california Sad . What size nylon cord did you end up using?
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David Sutton




Location: Bolton, UK
Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Likes: 15 pages
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 230

PostPosted: Sun 11 Jul, 2010 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

P. Cha wrote:
Wow...nicely done. I love the oxblood dye...but you can't get them in california Sad .


Thanks, yeah I noticed that, seems a bit of a touchy restriction to have.

Quote:
What size nylon cord did you end up using?


I don't know if it has an official size but it was about 1mm thick twisted cord.

'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

Hypatia of Alexandria, c400AD
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Sun 11 Jul, 2010 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

1mm...okay I can get 1mm hemp twine so I think I'll get some of those for my handle Happy .
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Julien M




Location: Austin TX
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Sat 17 Jul, 2010 1:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey David,

Great job on your grip wrap! I would use natural cord rather than nylon to achieve that "albion textured look". I got some natural cotton at the local post office that does a great job at adding those very slight irregularities on the imprint.

Oh and that etched ulfberth inscription screams for salt and vinegar antiquing!

Cheers,

Julien
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David Sutton




Location: Bolton, UK
Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Likes: 15 pages
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 230

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 7:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Julien!

I'll have to look into that cotton string as the nylon stuff is pretty expensive for what it is!

I went with the nylon because it tends to leave a good impression in the leather.

This is a close up of the texture:


'Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all'

'To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing'

Hypatia of Alexandria, c400AD
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