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Ian Hutchison




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

Posts: 437

PostPosted: Thu 04 Jan, 2018 10:16 pm    Post subject: Saber restoration: new grip         Reply with quote

I have a 1796 lc style saber on which the grip has rotted and cracked apart.

I am planning to make a replacement out of micarta or g-10. It would seem easier to make it a two piece affair, epoxied together. This would allow me to carve an accurate channel for the tang. Would it be prone to splitting?

The alternative is a one piece grip. I believe the original was one piece with a rectangular cut made straight through it. I have no idea how to replicate such a cut.
If I were to take this route, would it be better to drill a round hole as close to size as possible fitting the whole tang, or an undersized hole which I can more carefully and closely shape with small diamond files?

'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


Last edited by Ian Hutchison on Sat 06 Jan, 2018 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Geoffroy Gautier





Joined: 18 Nov 2009

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2018 5:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why micarta or G10? That would just be a nightmare to work without any added benefit. If you want to make a split grip from two shells, you can just make it from wood, an leave a bit of "fat" here and there so that the tang doesn't go all the way, but leaves a 2mm margin to be forced in at the moment of final assembly. As for the wood, use something not too soft, not too hard. I can't tell what wood they were usually using, as I'm not really good at recognizing european woods, but it's something soft enough not to crack when the tang is forced in, but hard enough not to get crushed through decades of hard use.

I don't know exactly how they made the hole for the tang. I believe it was drilled undersize, and then enlarged with home-made rasps/files. It seems they were often taking away too much, and gaps were filled with pieces of wood like toothpicks, this time from a rather soft wood that would squish to fill the gaps. When I took apart a mid 18th century hunting sword with a bone handle, cork-like material fell out of it, the natural channel in the bone being much larger than the tang. But make the grip out of wood, really. Not only is it much simpler to work with, lot cheaper, but it also has a real vibration dampening effect that contributes to saber being nice to handle.

I get my experience from dismantling mostly French sabers: one 1845 (it had a horn handle though, but it's made the same way), two 1821, one 1886 (horn grip also), said hunting sword, and two late 19th century Prussian parade or police sabers of some sort. I'm also in the process of trying to make a whole new grip for a spare 1821 blade, but I'm lazy.
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
Joined: 07 Oct 2008

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2018 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yikes, why G10 or Micarta? Is this an original? Seems a shame to do that to one.

A block of wood, significantly, thicker than what you want as an end result would be the easiest to use. Figure out the width of the tang, and then raise a table saw blade to that hight, you might be able to find a blade with the same width... depending on the tang thickness. Then just pass the block through, and you have a perfect U shape cut in the block. Trim the top/bottom so it is the right length tho fit in the handle, fit it and mark out the final shape... then with hand tools or a belt sander run the block to the desired shape. You can then cut in the wire grooves with a chisel or dremel, wrap in leather and set in with epoxy.

You should then be able to fit it back on fairly easily. You may be able to use the original as a guide depending on degradation. Otherwise, just send the sword to a professional restorer.. there are many, and it shouldn't be too expensive, certainly it would result in a better value item than a home job.

Z
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Ian Hutchison




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

Posts: 437

PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2018 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is an original in the sense that it is old and has correct blade geometry, but it is a late 19th, early 20th c. export model for Argentina(?) and has little collectors value. I looked at it just as a way to get a correct geometry blade cheaper than custom.

I'm thinking g-10/micarta because I want it to be strong, very 'grippy' in the hand, and insensitive to changes in humidity or temperature. From a practical, utilitarian perspective, I see no reason not to go with it for a modern cutting sword.

Zach, if I'm understanding correctly, the method you describe leaves one side open? Is the top of the 'U' cut not covered or backed by another piece of material?

Also, do you have any recommendations regarding sword restoration services for future reference? The only dedicated one I could find mainly dealt in US Civil War era swords. He had a polymer Starr 1817 handle, but leather wrapped it was more than $100 and no guarantee of fit. I'm not terrible at DIY and figured I could make my own for ~$25 + time.

'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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Willy M




Location: Kingston
Joined: 03 Jul 2011

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat 13 Jan, 2018 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom Nardi is a supplier of sword restoration materials
http://swordrestorationtn.com/
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Ian Hutchison




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

Posts: 437

PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2018 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Willy M wrote:
Tom Nardi is a supplier of sword restoration materials
http://swordrestorationtn.com/


His outfit was the one I was referring to in my previous comment Wink

'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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