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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > DIY: Building early 16th C. longswordDIY Project Reply to topic
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
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Posts: 358

PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2015 5:13 am    Post subject: DIY: Building early 16th C. longsword         Reply with quote

Two years ago Iīve bought a superb blade from a Czech maker Stanislav "Had" Elias (http://www.mece-had.cz/en.html). Heīs making superb blades (at least, thatīs my experience) and he was selling this one as a bare piece for an affordable price - a very good basis for a DIY project.
The blade was waiting for two years in my workshop and I was looking for an inspiration. I wanted to make something close to my period of interest (16th and 17th century), of a simple form (no complex hilts), but with some interesting features.
Then, some time ago, somebody posted on this forum a link to a sword in the DHM collection: http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/dhm.php?seite=5&fld_0=AK004361 - and that became my inspiration.
The plan is not to make a replica of that piece - first I do not have enough information on the original, and Iīm not planning to make any modifications to the blade. I take it as an inspiration, and will try to capture general "flavour" of the sword.

The first thing was to make the cross-guard. It had started as a simple steel bar (picture 1 - with some initial shaping).

After cutting and grinding with angle-grinder, the basic shape was finished. Picture 2 shows the piece, with holes drilled for the tang.

Then came a painstaking work with needle files, but at the end I was able to fit the tang quite nicely and tightly (picture 3 - but this is the side of the blade).

The cross-guard was bent and I cleaned a bit - more will be done at a later stage. Picture 4 shows the cross-guard assembled on the blade.

The next step will be (hopefully this weekend) to make a pommel. Thereīll be lots of cutting and grinding... Iīm still wondering about the grip. I only know it will be red - any suggestions for the shape?

Thanks for looking and any comments! And sorry for crappy pictures - with this phone-camera and no natural light it will not get any better...



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Matthew Colvin




Location: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Joined: 05 Nov 2015

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2015 6:04 am    Post subject: DHM sword         Reply with quote

I was the one who wrote the post about that DHM sword. Glad you got inspired, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the blade!
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2015 11:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew, thanks again for posting that picture - itīs a very interesting sword.

Last evening I had some half an hour to work on the pommel, so hereīre some first steps.

- it all started as a block of steel (picture 1 - with the drawn outline of the pommel)
- a rough shape was cut with the angle grinder - it is not perfectly symmetrical, but itīs not a problem, as it will be corrected by grinding (picture 2)
- Next, I have drilled a hole for a tang (picture 3). I do not have a drill press, so I have to work from free hand, moving very carefully not to drill off-center. This time it came out quite well. I will still have to enlarge the hole in the lower portion, where the tang is beefier.
Thatīs it for now, more would come, hopefully, after this weekend.



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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Dec, 2015 2:37 am    Post subject: DIY: Building early 16th C. longsword         Reply with quote

Radovan, after your sword is finished do show us its photos.
I wonder how does that sword look like after completion. Wink

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posts: 489

PostPosted: Sun 13 Dec, 2015 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Radovan,

I am considering buying a blade from mece-had.cz, do you have any more pictures of the blade you're working on?

'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Sun 13 Dec, 2015 11:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Ian,

Unfortunately I donīt, besides those that Iīm posting now here. However, I will try to make some in full light asap and send them to you.

After this weekend, the pommel is more or less finished. First, I have roughly corrected the shape with angle grinder and files (picture 1).

Then, the profile of the pommel was changed by grinding from oblong to a flat hexagon. The whole piece was cleaned and Iīve tried to assemble it on the blade (pictures 2, 3). My pommel is probably somewhat bulkier than the original, but I needed more mass to counterbalance the blunt blade.

In the end, I have decided to make a simple copper inlay around the base of the pommel. Itīs the first time I was trying it, so itīs far from perfect (picture 4).

I have also started to work a handle and a wooden core for the scabbard, but did not take any pictures.



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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
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Posts: 358

PostPosted: Tue 15 Dec, 2015 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A minor update: I have made a core of the handle - itīs a simple sandwich construction. Later on, it will be bound with a linen thread for added strength.


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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
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Posts: 358

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jan, 2016 11:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some pictures of the finished sword. Now working on a scabbard.


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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jan, 2016 1:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, more nice work on a DIY project, the pommel profile shape sort of reminds me of a Cinquedia pommel in shape if not assembly method that is different with a Cinquedia.
You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Mon 25 Jan, 2016 4:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Jean. It was that pommel shape that attracted me to this sword. However, mine is (probably) a little thicker, and longer, than the original in DHM. I needed to make it heavier to counter-balance the blunt blade.
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Tue 26 Jan, 2016 11:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some progress pictures from working on scabbard. I have used two thin planks of some soft wood. Following a well-known method, Iīve made to shallow recesses, glued & clamped pieces together (picture 1). After two days the glue set. Iīve tried the fit and itīs just fine: wooden core keeps the blade inside, but not too tightly (picture 2).
Then Iīve traced the blade on the outside (picture 3) and shaped the core with saw & rasp.
More pictures to follow soon.



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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Mon 17 Jul, 2017 11:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Iīve realised that I had never posted pictures of the finished sword, so here it goes. The scabbard is from red-dyed leather on a wooden core, with simple suspension system and belt with brass fittings.

After a year of use (Fecht presentations, theatrical fencing etc. - the sword is blunt), the shade of the leather on the grip is somewhat dimmer and it differs from the scabbard - a little nuisance, but I have no clue how it could have been prevented (the leather was waxed to seal the colour). Maybe I could have used a different dye, maybe thatīs just what happens when the sword is used.

Anyway, Iīm quite happy with the result. The sword is really lively and the blade holds really well - using a blade from Mr Elias was definitely worth investment.



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Tim Lison




Location: Chicago, Illinois
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Jul, 2017 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That came out very well! I love that guard. Great job all around.
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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posts: 489

PostPosted: Fri 21 Jul, 2017 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice looking sword Radovan! Do you know anything about Elias' sharps?
'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Mon 24 Jul, 2017 12:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Ian. I donīt own any, only handled some over the years. In general, Mr Elias has a very good name as blade-maker.
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