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Brian K.
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Joined: 01 Jan 2008

Posts: 722

PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2015 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's great work though, Terry. Working with metal is a difficult learning curve.
Brian Kunz
www.dbkcustomswords.com
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2015 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian K. wrote:
Working with metal is a difficult learning curve.

Understatement of the century!


I have been researching scabbard stitching techniques and I have not found any evidence of the cross stitch that many of us have been using. I found the diagonal whip stitch and the butted edge-flesh stitch -- but no cross stitch. Anyone have any extant examples or illuminations showing a cross stitch on a sword scabbard?

Also wondering about evidence for scabbard linings during the high and late middle ages.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Fri 16 Jan, 2015 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Someone asked if I could publish bits of the scabbard-making guide that I am working on. It is very slow and tedious work, don't hold your breath for the final results. But here is the outline with which I am working at the moment. Of course this is all fluid.

I have some chapters that are nearly finished (listed in red below), if you'd like to critique them, please send me your e-mail address and I'll send a PDF. I would greatly appreciate any and all input.

Table of Contents

Part 1 - Introductory Material

I - Introduction

II - Acknowledgements

Part 2 - Historical Background

III - Overview of Period Scabbards

IV - Period Wood Cores

V - Period Scabbard Linings

VI - Period Scabbard Covers

VII - Period Leather Stitching Techniques

VIII - Period Rain Guards

IX - Period Chapes

X - Period Suspension Methods

Part 3 - Design & Preparation

XI - Research

XII - Designing Your Scabbard

XIII - Tools & Materials

XIV - Prepare for Your Project


Part 4 - Modern Construction Techniques

XV - Wood Core

XVI - Carved 2-Piece Wood Core

XVII - Bent Slat 2-Piece Wood Core

XVIII - Modern Wood Core

XIX -

XX - Risers

XXI - Dyeing Leather

XXII - Dyeing the Scabbard Cover

XXIII - Cutting & Sizing The Leather Cover

XXIV - Leather Stitching Techniques

XXV - Gluing & Stitching the Leather Cover

XXVI - Sewing the Rain Guard

XXVII - Scabbard Lacing

XXVIII - Leather Work

XXIX - Dry Assembly

XXX - Suspension Systems

XXXI - Final Assembly

XXXII - Finishing Wax

Part 5 - Administrative Material

XXXIII - References
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Terry Thompson




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

Posts: 147

PostPosted: Sun 22 Feb, 2015 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Due to the snowfall yesterday, I got some belting of a couple scabbards done. These are both done with brown heavy chap sides (oil tanned and wax infused). One with a buckle and chape. The other with the swallow-tail fastener.

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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2015 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Terry, please share some of your techniques.
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Terry Thompson




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

Posts: 147

PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2015 7:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll try to put some thought into a write-up, but basically, I just looked at the instructions from Peter Johnsson on Ye Old Gaffer's web site.
I would put the process down, but I really didn't think about documenting it when I did it, and even now I'm sort of vague on how I even did some of it now that I look at it. I started to jot down the process but realized that verbally it doesn't make sense without some sort of photo and pointing at it.
For instance if I said "take the one thong and pass it through the other thong, and then lift the leather so you can mark where they pass over one another." isn't really describing the whole list of processes that were going on in my brain.
Maybe on the next one I'll try to document the process as I take photos, and then draw on those photos with notes. But a lot of what I did was just arbitrary decision making like "I got this far, might as well just keep cutting away at it until it fits!"

I did want to point out that for these scabbards I enlisted the help of an armorer to manufacture some scabbard chapes, which came out very excellent, IMO. I sent him wooden forms instead of sending him the whole scabbard. The forms are the same dimensions as the scabbard covered in leather. If anyone wants more info, let me know.


-Terry
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sun 28 Jun, 2015 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Questions for those of you who make scabbard by steaming and warping thin slats around the blade:

How to glue to the two halves together? Do you sand the edges after warping so that the two faces meet and can be glued? Or sand the flat edges before? What's your technique?

I am going to try this technique and I want to have a better idea of the process before I start.
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jun, 2015 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Bryan Heff wrote:
...not needing to router or chisel out the profile for the blade...


I use a straight chisel to mark the perimeter of the profile, and then finish carving by hand using a 5/8-inch fishtail gouge. If you keep the gouge sharp, it actually goes pretty quickly...


I noticed this thread was active again. I wish to add about the usefulness of basic gouges.

Short answer, "V" gouges are also great for making some pre-measured depth cuts.

A cheap sliding "vernier" style woodworkers caliper that has a pin which protrudes out the end opposite the measurement jaws lets you measure a hole or in this case the groove depth so that it matches half blade thickness. You do have to measure the space between the jaws, and then reduce it to half that to get the pin to stick out half depth, but only every few inches or so of blade length.

For broad fullers (not diamond profile), I have used two V grooves for some approximate indication of the thick section between fuller and cutting edge.

Depending on cloth liner, the V gouge can help form a relief space for the liner thickness. As all cores I made after scabbard trial #1 were lined with a cloth sock sewn around the blade, I first traced and cut a V groove around the profile of the blade with the liner sock on it. That whole liner profile can then quickly be hollowed out fairly flat to about to the estimated compressed cloth dimension. The naked blade profile is then cut within the center of the cloth liner cavity. Thankfully this seems to be a quick and easy job after sewing a cloth sock or liner all of the way around a sharp pointy blade.

Anyhow, I am looking forward to a finished guide on the whole process. Stitching leather back seams, and making integral suspension knots are the two areas I hope to hear more from others on.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Mon 14 Mar, 2016 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I made another scabbard for friend - this is is more of a medieval-style scabbard for a non-historical sword.

I keep running into a problem.

I get the scabbard to fit the sword perfectly - but when the leather cover dries, the sword ends up being really loose in the scabbard. I am wondering if, as the leather cover dries and stretches tight, if the wood core is being pulled from an oval into a more round shape. Just enough to loosen up the sword.

Anyone else run into this problem?



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Terry Thompson




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

Posts: 147

PostPosted: Mon 14 Mar, 2016 5:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Only one time. I had the same hypothesis as you.
Though, I wouldn't really have called it "really loose", but it was loose enough that I couldn't hold the sword by the handle without the scabbard slipping right off. Most of my scabbards are just snug enough that they won't fall off, If I hang them up on the wall by the crossguards. I wound-up adding a thin shim of card board at the throat.
-Terry
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 17 Mar, 2016 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Terry Thompson wrote:
...I wound-up adding a thin shim of card board at the throat...

I cut the cover off this one, split the wood core and sanded it down.
The fit is perfect now.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Mar, 2016 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A recent bastard sword project: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=324...ht=bastard
I've added some light decoration since I got these shots, but this thin, soft leather doesn't take decoration very well. Cheap, though!



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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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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 17 Mar, 2016 3:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice work Sean
I really need someone to hold my hand and show me how to make chapes
I spent a lot of time in my shop ruining sheet brass and bronze
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Mar, 2016 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I feel your pain. That chape gave me fits. I've made conical chapes before with some success, but getting this complex curve to work was tough. I just clamped the annealed brass to a wooden scabbard form secured in a vise and hammered away. You can see where I had to cut the edge to remove excess material arising from the shaping. More importantly, I still can't solder worth a damn. The two-piece construction I used here is not uncommon (usually a cast front and plain plate back, apparently) but its success depends on solidly joining front and back. My solder did not hold in one area, so my (too-thin) back plate is loose at one upper edge.
-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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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Mar, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Damn you and your narrow scabbards Sean! Someday, I'll get my slats to get that narrow, without resorting to using a spacer between them. The only thing I can say for the slat method is that you can get very thin (not necessarily narrow) scabbards out of it with very little work.

EDIT: the scabbard is lined with cotton batting, and may be covered in a thin layer of muslin prior to adding a leather or textile cover. And the mouth is a bit wonky...



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"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Mar, 2016 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
I made another scabbard for friend - this is is more of a medieval-style scabbard for a non-historical sword.

I keep running into a problem.

I get the scabbard to fit the sword perfectly - but when the leather cover dries, the sword ends up being really loose in the scabbard. I am wondering if, as the leather cover dries and stretches tight, if the wood core is being pulled from an oval into a more round shape. Just enough to loosen up the sword.

Anyone else run into this problem?


Harry,

I have indeed run into this problem. It is caused, as you suspected by the moisture getting to the core. I had a scabbard that I made in Kansas which fit perfectly, I took it on a trip to Colorado, and it dried enough that it was loose. When I took it back to Kansas, it tightened up, but not as much as it had been. (The humidity difference between Kansas and Colorado is not huge, but it was enough.)

If you are having this problem, or are making a scabbard that you think will be subject to humidity changes (making one for a friend in another state, for example), the easiest solution is to use boiled linseed oil or teek oil to seal the core. I try to do that before glueing the halves together by putting some masking tape on the flats of the core (where you glue the pieces together) and then brushing the oil on. That said, I had a few that I decided to fix after the core was assembled. In that case, I used a funnel to pour oil into the core and then dumped it back out (this works best before covering, if at all possible). Enough stayed in the core to protect it from future moisture.

Things have progressed quite a bit from when I was actively making scabbards, and the current group of scabbard making folk on this site are using some techniques that are improvements over what I did "in the old days," but I also feel that there is some re-inventing of the wheel (yes; I feel like the old man in the room). So here is Aaron Scnatterly's (Albion's second scabbard maker) post that got me started as well as the posts I made about my trials, errors, and successes with scabbard making:

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3811
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=7833
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=7922

-- Greyson

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sun 20 Mar, 2016 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
...but I also feel that there is some re-inventing of the wheel...

My hope was that this thread would prevent that sort of thing.

Nice work with the scabbards! That's exactly the input we're looking for in this thread.

About swords getting loose in the scabbard.... Originally I thought maybe it was humidity, so I started waterproofing all of my wood cores - but that hasn't helped. So I definitely think it's the leather shrinkage that's making the swords loose. From now on, I am going to make sure that the leather cover has some room to spare, and I'm not going to pull the thread tight when I sew up the back.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Tue 22 Mar, 2016 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just finished another scabbard. I took a Valiant Armoury Monarch sword, stripped the leather cover and suspension, and put something on it that was more historically accurate. Suspension is based on illuminated manuscripts from the Agincourt time frame. This time I tried to make a "worn & aged" scabbard but I am not satisfied with the results. Oh, well.


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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Tue 22 Mar, 2016 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Recently I tried a new method to making really thin wood cores.

When it comes time to glue to the halves of the wood core together for sanding, I use hide glue since it is reversible.

Then, after I get the scabbard sanded down to just over 1/8-inch thick, I use a heat gun to split the wood core. This way I can inspect the wall thickness and sand it down some more without breaking through into the inside. Final sanding takes place after I've glued the wood core back together.
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Simon McKenna




Location: Huddersfield, UK
Joined: 25 May 2016

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed 25 May, 2016 2:28 pm    Post subject: First attempt at a scabbard         Reply with quote

This is a first attempt at a scabbard (or any type of leather work) but I'm pretty happy with the results. The threads on this forum were a huge help (thanks to all of you who post) and I've had a lot of fun making this - hopefully it'll be the first of many.

The sword it's made for isn't shown as its currently dismantled for some measurement work linked to my research, but its a Type XVIa I had made here in the UK by St. George Armoury (Mark Vickers).

I wanted to start with something plain and functional for a first attempt and though it's not representative of any particular historical example, I'd like to think it wouldn't be too out of place on a battlefield somewhere in 14th century France.



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