Nick the broke A** Saxon's new sword
So, a bit of background. I wanted to make a migration period sword ( I know, excellent choice for someone that has no clue what they are doing). The first thing I needed was a blade, which I got of a practical viking a had laying around. Not really wide, but it'll do.

Having taken care of that I had to decide how I wanted the hilt to be put together. I chose to have simple brass plates made and to sandwich wood in between them to form the upper and lower guards along with a separate pommel cap. Long story short the upper guard plate and pommel cap wound up coming as a single cast piece. Which was a minor setback and resulted in me royally screwing up the sword. I had no way to pass the blade's tang through the setup, or any way to punch or drill a hole though the solid block of brass so I wound up grinding off the pommel cap far enough that I could file a hole through the rest of the plate which allowed me to pass the tang though and peen it over. Problem solved, it looks absolutely horrific, but the hilt fits solidly together without any noticeable wiggle (Though a healthy slathering of 5 minute apoxy under all the hilt pieces definitely helped) and I'll have to figure out a way to make it less ugly later.

As for joining the guard plates and organic material, that was done with rivets to either end. This was my first time riveting as well, and while ugly and amateurish they are secure and solid, though one of the rivets did begin cracking during the process.

Total cost including practical sword, brass, wood, and stain...roughly 200 dollars.

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Pretty bad, but for what is basically my first wood/metal working of any kind....not too bad. Now, onto the scabbard.
Hey, not bad at all! Especially as your first attempt at doing a project of this caliber. It looks a lot better and certainly more unique than a 'practical viking sword' from Hanwei. A sturdy blade choice, though.

Have fun with the scabbard! They're neat to construct.

Nice job,Nick! My first hilting project was not a beautiful thing either ;) I like the sandwiched wood pieces.. what kind of wood did you use? Now I'm eyeing my practical viking with a mischievious I have time for another project :lol:
Thanks for the replies you two. As for what exactly the wood pieces are, the handle is just the left over one from the practical viking thought I had to cut it down a bit to shorten the grip. The sandwiched pieces between the plates is just something I had laying out in the garage, I'm not sure exactly what it is other then that it's some kind of plywood, but not the super cheap 1 dollars a sheet kind.

I stained it (3 coats) but for some reason it doesn't seem to be darkening or really taking to the wood that well. Would a coat of varnish brighten it up, or do you think it would just make it slick to grip?

For the scabbard I think I'm just going to use the core from the practical viking (it already fits the blade), and since I'm not being a stickler for accuracy with this thing having a fiberglass core wouldn't hurt. I'm just going to reshape the throat to fit the new straight guard, then cover it in leather and add a strap bridge, simple enough.


As for the practical viking blade, I actually really like this blade. It has a good temper, returns to true, and is surprisingly light. Some of my other blunt swords (Tinker viking and norman) appear to be exactly what they are...blunt swords. But the practical at first glance doesn't appear to be blunted (They sacrificed balance and the like, but still kept it looking like a sword blade) and thought it is not as wide as I would like at 1.5 inches, I think it fits the hilt well.
it's always a good idea to put a few coats of sealer on wood, especially if it's a softer wood. i always recommend tung 'n teak oil. it really caused the grain to pop. another easy sealer is lin seed oil. but you are going to need something like 10-15 coats of it to make a good finish. and it's not really going to make the grip slick.

one application of a stain is usually good enough, it doesn't really get much darker only more uniform with more applications. if you go too dark - it is a little hard to get to a light finish.

i like this idea - i've got my own DIY migration sword project on the way, but i've got some research to do before i dive into it.
Hi Nick,

That looks pretty nice. You did really well for your first sword project. Great job!

Just to echo what Daniel said about concerning your grip treatment, you definitely want to apply a sealer. The majority of plywoods are invariably comprised of stacked layers of soft woods. The exposed end-grain of the wood in the ply of your sandwiched sections will readily absorb moisture. Tung oil, Teak oil, Linseed oil, or varnishes are all viable sealant options. If you decide to go with a varnish, in my experience lower sheen levels like matte or satin are much less slick to the touch than the glossier options.

Good Luck with the scabbard.

Hey Daniel,

First, it's nice to see another Pennsylvanian around :). Thanks for the information on ways to seal it, I'll see if I can find some tunk 'n teak oil anywhere, because it is a softer wood.

I belong to a small local migration period oriented group (By small I mean 4 people) and I have been using mostly viking style blunts for the past few years. I finally decided that I wanted a migration style one, and decided to make it myself. Once I get the scabbard made I'm going to see what I can do about the mostly ground away end of the sword where the pommel cap used to be.

I think the grinding marks can be mostly polished out of the brass as they don't appear to be too bad. The only problem is where there is a notch where the person that cast it made the 'cap' semi hollow. Anyone have any idea how to fill something like that in? iI'll take a picture of it when I get home.



Thanks Christian for the added information, I'll be stopping on my way home at the local hardwood store to get something to seal it with. Probably varnish because that is likely to be what is readily avalible.
varnish is actually hard to find. especially in pa our epa laws prohibit the use of all oil based paints and sealers something with possible contamination to ground water :wtf: . (i know your thinking of rust-oleum right now, but thats actually an acetone based paint) mostly varnishs has been replace by latex polyurethane just because of how much easier it is to use. varnish is an art, my old man can make all varnishes come out like glass, i've tried it before i can't get it to look that way no matter what. you varnish add a filler, sand, revarnish add more filler repeat 500 times.

now, you can still get linseed oil at your local lowes or home depo - same goes for the tung 'n teak oil it comes in high medium or low gloss. i don't see too much difference between the two, tung 'n teak oil causes the grain to 'pop' a little more so if you would be using a good wood with a lot of nice grains i'd use that.

when looking to buff out brass, get some 400 grit sand paper, sand the spot down, and if you have a buffing wheel with a bench grinder, even if you jump to the #6 polishing compound being that brass is so soft if will buff out of a mirror quality.

i'm hoping to get a thread started for my migration sword idea soon, we seem to be on a bit of a saxon streak lately, and i'd like the work to be inspired by saxon art.

I picked up some tung n' teak oil as you suggested and I'm hoping to start putting a few coats on sometime this week. I do have a bench grinder and probably have access to a buffing wheel, so I'll be giving the brass a polish asap.

What I am also going to try to do is finish grinding off the remnants of the 'pommel' that I absentmindily left on there. This will create something like a raised peen block that the peened tang will be sitting on. Then I hope to cover that with an actual pommel cap that I have cast.

I'll let everyone know how the next few steps start out. Thanks again!
It looks good. Did you cold peen it or hot peen it out of curiosity? Like myself I think you're too hard on your own work. I fall victim to that too. It's a very impressive job you did.

Thanks for the kind words! The tang of the practical viking blades are pretty soft, so I cold peened it. It worked, but took forever to mushroom the tang. I can honestly say that the peening came out pretty well, I will post a picture of the peened end later.


Alright I'm gearing up to start work on the scabbard for this sword. Sadly I don't have any leather suppliers in close proximity. Would linen be a migration period appropriate scabbard cover?


linen, the short answer is yes, some had both leather and linen in layers one over the otherthere have also been finds of the linen being wound in a siral up or down the blade with some sections more closely bound than others i believe (others out there will definately have more info) i'll be watching and secretly pinching all the info they pass on! :p

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