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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2014 4:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Nicolaysen wrote:
Analysis of all early medieval scabbards which have been lined shows that it was with skin rather than fleece or felt.

Well, I bought a goat skin, and soon I will make a scabbard lined with skin.

I also have another interested scabbard experiment in the works, which I won't divulge until I get more information for you. Let's just say that something that Ewart Oakeshott once wrote has piqued my interest and I am investigating.


Last edited by Harry Marinakis on Thu 27 Nov, 2014 6:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Making thong sword belts:

In his book "Records of the Medieval Sword," Ewart Oakeshott stated that the sword belt on the Infante Fernando de la Cerda sword was "buckskin."

If you look at folio 16 recto from the Bible Moralisée, France, c. AD 1225-1249, the thong belts are white and so soft that they appear to be made from cloth:
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/media/manuscr.../433-2.jpg

Images such as these support Oakeshott's claim that the sword belts were made from buckskin.

HOWEVER.... Buckskin stretches too much to be used for sword belts. Some could argue that a different tanning process back in the Medieval period produced buckskin that did not stretch.

I have used veg tan leather for thong belts, but veg tan just does not have the look and feel of a soft thong belt.

I think that the modern solution is to use latigo leather. This is a very soft, supple oil-tanned leather that has the feel of cloth. The problem is that latigo cannot be dyed, so you have to find the correct color. Most latigo hides that I have found are dark brown, black and burgundy. Perhaps you could convince a tannery to produce a side of latigo for you in a particular color. I found a source for a thick 6-8 oz. latigo in a light cream color from Promise Land Tannery, but it is too thick and I plan to split it. I would guess that 4-6 oz.would be a better weight for thong belts.

Anyone have a good source for 4-6 oz. latigo leather in a light tan or cream color?
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Harry,

I've sent a few elk and deer hides to this company. I think elk hide is very strong and lighter-weight than cowhide.

http://www.rockymountaintanners.com/custom-tanning-colors.html

The palomino color isn't pure white, but it is quite light. I also had saddle and tobacco leathers.

Hope that helps. You don't have to send in your own skin, they have their own stuff for small lots.

I used the leather for chaps and moccasins, and it's quite durable.
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Dean F. Marino




Location: Midland MI USA
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quinn W. wrote:
Leo Todeschini wrote:
Some had glued seams, most however had a raised seam at the back with saddle stitch going through the faces; none of this flat back that we are all obsessed by making/having. There is a good book on Finnish finds that details this and some detail also in the knives and scabbards book. I will try to remember the name for you.

Would the ridge created by this method cause problems when trying to install a chape, locket or other type of metal suspension as we often see in 14th/15th century scabbards? Is this a case where a glued seam or some other method would be necessary? I use the saddle stitch method on most of my knife scabbards and it works very well and matches period examples but I can see it getting in the way in this case.


I stop my stitching exactly ONE stitch under the chape edge, and glue this unseen area with SuperGlue on the butted seam. Not sure if it is historical, but it works VERY well Happy.

In edhil, hai edhil. In edain, hai edain.
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Leo Todeschini
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Location: Oxford, UK
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Nov, 2014 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quinn W wrote "Leo Todeschini wrote:
Some had glued seams, most however had a raised seam at the back with saddle stitch going through the faces; none of this flat back that we are all obsessed by making/having. There is a good book on Finnish finds that details this and some detail also in the knives and scabbards book. I will try to remember the name for you.

Would the ridge created by this method cause problems when trying to install a chape, locket or other type of metal suspension as we often see in 14th/15th century scabbards? Is this a case where a glued seam or some other method would be necessary? I use the saddle stitch method on most of my knife scabbards and it works very well and matches period examples but I can see it getting in the way in this case."

I doubt very much they cared if there was a small gap between the chape faces and the scabbard back caused by the ridge - its just what they did. If they cared about this, they would have stitched differently or modified the last inch or two as Dean suggests.

Tod

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Alessandro Petrocco




Location: Rome, Italy
Joined: 30 Jun 2014

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PostPosted: Mon 24 Nov, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can you suggest a good product to glue the inside woodcore to the wool.
I'm trying with vinylic glue D3. Do you think there is something better to make this work?

"There's a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand"
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Wed 26 Nov, 2014 4:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alessandro Petrocco wrote:
Can you suggest a good product to glue the inside woodcore to the wool.


I've used wood glue, Tightbond III
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Thu 27 Nov, 2014 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do it properly, use 'pearl' hide glue. Smells terrible but it's brilliant stuff and will bond the skin to the wood.
"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 04 Dec, 2014 5:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I need some help.

When it comes to sewing the scabbard cover, I know that a lot of us will use a butted seam with either a grain-flesh whip stitch or a grain-flesh cross stitch (see attached photos). Personally I use 2 needles.

I did find one example of a butted seam with a whip stitch in Figure 1 of Cameron's Sheaths and Scabbards in England AD400-1000 (e.g., the black scabbard in the attached photo). But I am not sure if this is a grain-flesh stitch or an end-flesh stitch.

http://www.archaeopress.com/archaeopressshop/...9D6481CA0}

Overall, I am not findings any references or examples of such stitches on any scabbards, from the Bronze Age through the Medieval Period.

All I am finding are edge-flesh butted seams and grain-flesh closed seams (as in in Figure 1589 in Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York.)

http://www.yorkarchaeology.co.uk/resources/AY...orking.pdf

Anyone have any extant examples or other papers on the topic of scabbard seams?

Specifically the butted seam with grain-flesh whip or cross stitches?



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Mike Janis




Location: Atlanta GA
Joined: 26 Feb 2007

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri 05 Dec, 2014 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I cheat. I trace around the blade allowing an extra ½ inch all around, on a piece of plywood and cut it out. I put that in a bathtub of hot water with a weight on it for a couple of days. After it delaminates, I take two pieces with the grain running from top to bottom for the outsides. I use the pieces with the grain running side to side for the core. I glue as many core pieces together as I need, based on the thickness of the blade. I trace around the blade on the core and cut it out. Now I have two solid outside pieces and a V shaped core. Clamp the entire thing together and test fit the blade. If you want a chamois or felt lining, now is the time to add it. When you are satisfied, glue the entire thing together.

The scabbard can be stained, painted, covered with leather or velvet.

MikeJ
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2015 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For those of you who dye your leather scabbard cover after you have glued and sewn the cover into place on the wood core, please tell us how and why you do it that way.

(As opposed to dyeing the leather cover before you attach it to the wood core.)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of dyeing after the cover in in place on the wood core?
What is your technique?
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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2015 7:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I prefer to dye the leather after stitching it on. This is purely because I use veg tan leather and I find that it responds better before being dyed and I don't want to achieve the color I want only to have it changed by casing (wetting the leather to soften it) or tooling. My general method is to affix the risers, then case the leather. IMO gluing it is optional - I sometimes do, sometimes don't - if you're using softer leather it probably isn't optional, but the veg tan holds detail extremely well. Anyway, with or without glue, the cased leather is applied to the front of the scabbard and all of the riser detail is worked through. I mostly use my fingers to do this, but also resort to a butter knife, knitting needles and whatever else I need to get the look that I want - some tools give soft definition, some sharp.

After stitching (I butt the edges and whip stitch - I always oversize the leather a bit as it will shrink some) and trimming I'll dye the leather with Fiebings. An absolute must if you want even dye is cleaning the leather - I use rubbing alcohol. I don't like doing leatherwork with gloves, so the oils from my hands get on the leather a lot when tooling and the alcohol helps clean it off. I wait until the leather is almost dry, but not quite, before dyeing it - if it's too dry, it'll just soak up dye like a sponge and it can be hard to avoid it looking streaky. If it gets too dry before dyeing I'll spray it a bit with a bottle of water.

I don't own either of these swords any more, but here are two scabbards I wrapped this way:


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Lloyd Winter




Location: Los Angeles
Joined: 27 Aug 2011

Posts: 173

PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2015 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter beat me to it. I also dye my leather afterwards, partially because back in the bad old days I used to use acetone to mold the leather and it will pretty much destroy any dye it encounters but really because it just works better for me.

Now I use water, and I usually don't glue the leather to the core. I go for a tight fit that's wet molded as I work my up the seam which is butted and cross stitched with 2 needles. If you can move 2 oz calf skin that's been sewn tight and wet molded and then dyed then the cover is not tight enough:)

Advantages to dyeing afterwards?
Dyeing in my experience changes the texture of the leather, and I seem to have more trouble sewing leather that's already dyed, dyed leather is messier to work wet and I also want the final shrinkage from the dyeing to really tighten the leather up around the core. Also you only have to dye the leather that really needs it so your scraps are undyed and be used later for a project of a different color.

The only disadvantage I've ever seen is that if the core is not well glued you can end up dye inside the core, but in that case I'd really be more concerned abut the water in the core.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2015 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I did some experimenting today.

I have always been intrigued by the lacing in the scabbards at Naumberg, and I wanted to try to reproduce those scabbards.

So I made a mock scabbard with a leather cover and experimented with some Latigo leather. Here is what I came up with. It does not match the Naumburg scabbards perfectly, but at least now I have a basis from which to work.

This is very rough work, I did not do any measuring and everything was rough cut. I was just trying to get the lacing right.

I really like the Latigo leather for the thong belt, it is really soft and strong. My Latigo is 6-8 oz. so I used a belt sander on the flesh side to thin it down to 4 oz. That worked out quite well.

I color-coded the strips on the thong for reference.

Red:
1. Starts out with the blue
2. Splits from the blue on the back of the scabbard
3. Wraps around the front above the lattice work
4. Loops around the thong to hold it down
5. Runs back around the front and passes through a tab in the orange/green strap
6. Terminates behind the scabbard, tucked behind everything else

Blue:
1. Starts out with the red
2. Splits from the red on the back of the scabbard
3. Wraps around the front below the lattice work
4. Directed down on the same side and wraps around the front below the belt
5. Tied in front as a tassel with the green strap

Orange:
1. Starts out with the green
2. Splits from the green on the back of the scabbard
3. Fed through the slits in the offset belt to hold the belt in place

Green:
1. Starts out with the orange
2. Splits from the orange on the back of the scabbard
3. Wraps around the back and around the front below the belt
4. Tied in front as a tassel with the blue strap



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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2015 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the ideas about dyeing the scabbard.

How do your burnish the leather to get a nice shine after it's already in place? I burnish my leather with a bone tool after dyeing but before stitching, and my leather is as slick and shiny as can be.

How about those of you (like me) who dye the leather before stitching the cover into place - how and why do you do it that way?

Lloyd Winter wrote:
Advantages to dyeing afterwards?
Dyeing in my experience changes the texture of the leather, and I seem to have more trouble sewing leather that's already dyed, dyed leather is messier to work wet and I also want the final shrinkage from the dyeing to really tighten the leather up around the core. Also you only have to dye the leather that really needs it so your scraps are undyed and be used later for a project of a different color.


The one time I stitched on a cased leather cover was the one time that it screwed up the fit of the sword.

I had a wood core that was carved perfectly, the sword went n and out smoothly, it gripped the sword perfectly, and I had sanded the wood core down to 1/8 inch. It was my best work ever.

After the cased leather cover dried, the shrinkage must have pulled the wood core from an oval shape towards a more rounded shape. The scabbard became loose as hell, and I had to glue in some leather shims at the mouth to keep the sword from falling out. I have been hesitant to use a cased leather ever since.
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Lloyd Winter




Location: Los Angeles
Joined: 27 Aug 2011

Posts: 173

PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2015 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I clean my cover after stitching is done to get rid of skin oils, grease, wax, dirt etc, then dye it then buff with wool, then oil and wax. If you really want to go all out use a clean rag wheel and a big block of carnauba or something like that and buff it to your heart's content.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2015 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:
Some had glued seams, most however had a raised seam at the back with saddle stitch...


[Emphasis added]

I have always wondered about this, do you have a specific reference for this?

Cameron's books states the Viking scabbards before AD 975 were closed with a butted whip stitch, but after than were closed with a hidden edge-flesh stitch.

I have wondered about how medieval leather covers were closed.
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2015 6:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My two cents on the scabbard subject:

Trimmed rabbit fur works great as a liner. Use strips of linnen to glue-wrap the hollowed out slats. Stitch the moist leather covering onto the core, don't use glue for this step.

More on the subject can be found on my tumbler, tagged scabbard: http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/search/scabbard

Have fun, making scabbards is a very satisfying work, which hones many different skills.

Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2015 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great stuff Thomas
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Terry Thompson




Location: Suburbs of Wash D.C.
Joined: 17 Sep 2010

Posts: 147

PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2015 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since I've recently covered a bunch of my scabbard cores, I've spent the past week working on chapes for them and some dagger scabbards that I made a few years ago and never chaped.



The left most and the middle are actually the same chape off of an inexpensive dagger from ebay. But they were obviously modified differently (I cut the knopf off of the middle and more aggressively cut out the middle for a gutter style chape). These are made out of pot metal and were pretty easy to modify with a dremel and cut-off wheel.

The second from the left is a modified scabbard tip from a Museum Replicas sword. And the brass one is a Springfield (American Civil War ) bayonet scabbard chape, that I "shaped" into a triangle shape and then modified with a dremel.

The right most is a chape I made for my Albion poiters and finished a few hours ago. It took about 7 hours to get to this stage from deciding on the style and including about an hour cutting out cardboard patterns. It still needs a fine sand and polish.
This is not my first attempt at a scabbard chape from scratch (more like my 6th). It's my 2nd attempt at using nickel silver. The nickel silver is very easy to solder. And shapes about 1000 times easier than steel, but still about 5 hours of shaping has instilled a great deal of respect in those who can make an awesome stylish chape.

I decided to tackle this last one after screwing up enough courage and trying to distill a metric tonne of information I've gleaned from reading the armour boards about shaping metal. It also has convinced me to leave it to the professionals.


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