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Ryan Hobbs




Location: Middle GA
Joined: 19 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Apr, 2018 5:27 pm    Post subject: Tod's Stuff Scabbards?         Reply with quote

Howdy!
Does anyone have any experience with Tod's stuff scabbards? I just put in an order for an Albion Agincourt and want a matching scabbard. I was going between a Triton, Valiant Armory, or Tod's Stuff scabbard. Tod's stuff looks nice, but it's also pricey (the one I was looking at is 940 USD).
Does anyone know if his scabbards are worth the price compared to some other cheaper guys?
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Lloyd Winter




Location: Los Angeles
Joined: 27 Aug 2011

Posts: 172

PostPosted: Tue 24 Apr, 2018 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Iíd rank Todís scabbards right up with Christian Fletcher or DBK. As soon as my Soldat shows up from Albion I will be making another ontribution to Todís coffers.
I canít speak to Triton or Valiant since I donít have any of their scabbards.

As far the price goes are we talking bare scabbard or one with lots of metal work and tooling? One thing Iíve learned in commissioning scabbards is that nothing drives the price up like all the metal work. The $940.00 price is about equal to what I would expect to pay for a good scabbard from any of the top end makers.
That being said the conversion between Pounds and Dollars is always a bit of a shock but in the end itís reallly the same price youíd pay from a first class maker in the Sates.

Tod has one major selling point right now and thatís delivery time. Everyone else is backlogged for 6 months or more but heís quoting 2 months. I swear sometimes I thnk the man must be a robot, he just keeps turning amazing stuff out at an amazing rate year after year.
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Victor R.




Location: Spring, Texas
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Apr, 2018 9:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have Tod's scabbards for my Munich, Landgraf, Mercenary and Burgundian. They are at various levels, with the Munich being at the higher end, Landgraf mid and Mercenary and Burgundian lower end of range. The pound was also stronger when I got mine, but I think the Munich scabbard was close to the cost of the Agincourt you're looking at. All in, I think my three, with shipping to Texas, were close to $3K. This was probably 2011, maybe 2012.

They are all very high quality and wonderful pieces. My only caveat is that they were based upon swords that Tod has and, even though Albions are machined to pretty strict tolerances, there are still variations. As a result, my Mercenary and Burgundian are a little too snug at the throat, my Munich a little loose, but the Landgraf is about perfect.

Shipping your sword to Tod for a custom fit would be fairly expensive and the UK has gotten pretty weird about sharp and pointy things (at least it seems so). I don't have a custom Valiant, but did have one of their production models. The scabbard was pretty nice and I'm sure their custom work is better - and shipping would be cheaper if you wanted to go the route of getting a precise fit. I'm also pretty sure Albion would ship directly to Sonny for the work and you might save a little on the budget.

It's hard to go wrong with Tod, but it's really a matter of whether you want to assure a precise fit, or hope it's close enough. For the money I spent, I'd likely go the domestic route next time around and get better precision.
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Ryan Hobbs




Location: Middle GA
Joined: 19 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2018 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lloyd Winter wrote:

As far the price goes are we talking bare scabbard or one with lots of metal work and tooling? One thing Iíve learned in commissioning scabbards is that nothing drives the price up like all the metal work. The $940.00 price is about equal to what I would expect to pay for a good scabbard from any of the top end makers.


True, the extra shiny stuff can get pretty expensive, but thankfully for my wallet I've always had a taste for a more simple look, so nothing fancy.
Was the fit on your Soldat good?
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Julien M




Location: Austin TX
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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2018 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've seen and held many of Tod's scabbards - they are top quality and at the very top of the range.

Furthermore:
They are historically accurate - in both form (Tod has access to historical artifact and his eye for medieval design is very reliable) and execution (they are made using traditional craftsmanship techniques).
I see many makers use excessive stamping on medieval scabbards for instance (often plainly made from 3D printed stamps). While I have nothing against clever shortcuts, the end result often strays quite (or very) far from what a medieval scabbard should look like.

Finally Tod is also unrivalled for custom scabbard metal work - I know of no other scabbard makers able to deliver that - most use pre-made, generic or 3D printed shapes/brackets.


Last edited by Julien M on Wed 25 Apr, 2018 12:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ryan Hobbs




Location: Middle GA
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PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2018 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Victor R. wrote:
I have Tod's scabbards for my Munich, Landgraf, Mercenary and Burgundian. They are at various levels, with the Munich being at the higher end, Landgraf mid and Mercenary and Burgundian lower end of range. The pound was also stronger when I got mine, but I think the Munich scabbard was close to the cost of the Agincourt you're looking at. All in, I think my three, with shipping to Texas, were close to $3K. This was probably 2011, maybe 2012.

They are all very high quality and wonderful pieces. My only caveat is that they were based upon swords that Tod has and, even though Albions are machined to pretty strict tolerances, there are still variations. As a result, my Mercenary and Burgundian are a little too snug at the throat, my Munich a little loose, but the Landgraf is about perfect.

Shipping your sword to Tod for a custom fit would be fairly expensive and the UK has gotten pretty weird about sharp and pointy things (at least it seems so). I don't have a custom Valiant, but did have one of their production models. The scabbard was pretty nice and I'm sure their custom work is better - and shipping would be cheaper if you wanted to go the route of getting a precise fit. I'm also pretty sure Albion would ship directly to Sonny for the work and you might save a little on the budget.

It's hard to go wrong with Tod, but it's really a matter of whether you want to assure a precise fit, or hope it's close enough. For the money I spent, I'd likely go the domestic route next time around and get better precision.


Ah, that's too bad about the fit. Potential for the sword not fitting isn't something that I had considered, thanks for the heads up! I'll see if I can get a quote from valiant armory and compare it with Tod's prices.
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Lloyd Winter




Location: Los Angeles
Joined: 27 Aug 2011

Posts: 172

PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2018 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ryan Hobbs wrote:

Was the fit on your Soldat good?


Iím still waiting for my Soldat.
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Guillaume Vauthier




Location: France
Joined: 16 Jun 2016

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2018 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually the fit was not always perfect in the middle-ages as I heard, so from an historically accurate point of view it is not shocking at all.

I've got a Tod's scabbard (going with my rapier made by him), and it perfectly made from my standards. Everyone that saw this scabbard were pretty impressed as well - so I'd definitely recommand you Tod for your scabbard. Pricey, but worth every penny in my opinion.
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2018 1:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the interest and I think in a way this allows for a larger debate on scabbards and how they functioned.

Scabbards can be constructed in a number of ways, but looking at those with a solid core, there are a few ways of constructing them; here are some gross generalisations.

Slats front and back (not connected at the edges) and covered in leather or cloth and fur lined - mainly Migration era

Slats front and rear and bonded at the edges to create a a long thin shaped 'tube', fur or cloth lined and covered in fabric or leather - mainly Viking/Saxon

Slats front and rear and bonded at the edges to create a tube, no lining and covered in leather and occasionally fabric - mainly medieval

Shaped veneer pressings from and rear, bonded at the edges to create a tube, no lining and covered in leather and occasionally fabric - mainly medieval

Clearly there are scabbards that step outside of these generalisations and to be fair there is so little evidence for all these periods it is hard to make rules, but this is a guide to what was fairly standard (as far as I can tell). Just had a contact to say that he seems to think the edges were not bonded and left as two shells - and discuss.......(last sentence edited in)

From this we can see that lining medieval scabbards was abnormal and this leads on to the next point.

Wood is a natural and absorbent material and so swells and shrinks with moisture, but mainly on the cross grain, not along the grain. This is a very real phenomenon and can effect the fit of a sword.

The wood in my workshop has a moisture content of a little under 20%, if I keep the wood in my house the moisture content will drop to around 12% so it loses 8% moisture. The Burgundian I am working on right now requires only a 10thou or 0.3mm reduction in the cross dimension of the scabbard to cause the blade to stick out of the scabbard 3/8" or 15mm.

As anybody who makes hand made wooden objects can tell you, having a friction fit in the field and maintaining a friction fit in the house is a technical impossibility especially if the scabbard is kept in a wet tent for 3 days over a weekend. Just try it with a folding wooden chair.

Several years ago, when I didn't fully get the implications of this, I kept the wood in the workshop, however I now keep the scabbard wood under my bed (long suffering wife).

Needless to say the slightest amount of junk in a scabbard can cause a problem.

There are 4 ways around this wood movement 'problem'.

1. varnish the core - slows moisture/size changes, but does not stop it
2. line the scabbard with cloth as this allows a sort of 'buffer' dimension - works very well, but they tended not to do this
3. make the scabbard fractionally bigger than it needs to be - I suspect this is the sensible option
4. make the sword a tight fit and allow it to 'size' the scabbard - also works

Cloth lining works to stop the problem of a loose or a tight sword, but there is little evidence they did this which leads to two questions.

A. why not?
B. how well should a sword fit a scabbard? I ask because as I have outlined, a tight fitting sword after a week of sun will be a jammed sword after a week of rain, so the only answer is that the sword was not a tight fit as the modern market has come to expect.

There is a lovely wood cut of a knife seller from the 14thC and he is clearly selling knives and sheaths separately, so the there is little likelihood that the knife and sheath would fit nicely, I wonder if swords and scabbards were similarly sold (to the mass market, not the top end).

That brings me full circle to Victors' issues. If the sword is too tight in a scabbard, put the sword in, turn the scabbard on its edge across your lap and tap down on to the edge of the scabbard with a rubber mallet. If the sword makes a sound in the scabbard, it is loose at that point, if it makes no sound, then the sword is tight, so tap it from the other side at this point and try again. Turn over and tap on all the quiet areas and the sword will fit beautifully, very quickly. This is effectively self sizing option 4, though often simply pushing a sword in and leaving it for a few days will move the core enough that it changes shape to fit. Bare in mind that a 3 thou/0.1mm cut of the inside of the scabbard core by the blade will often be enough to solve any jamming issues - so not much.

What keeps bringing me back though is that doing this because you feel your sword may be a bit sticky is fine; less convenient is finding you have to do this whilst being ridden down by an opposing knight who just hove into view from behind a barn. So I can't help feeling swords had to be a bit loose in the scabbard and that modern sensibilities require something that just never was. That said I do try (and generally achieve) tight scabbards.

If a harness is fitted correctly, the comedy moment of a sword dropping out of a loose scabbard will not happen as the scabbard is never inverted. It is a psychological thing though in that you think it might, rather than a reality, so I try to make my scabbards a friction fit when they are in the workshop, this will get tighter in a house environment, but will generally self size and this becomes the norm, but then out in the damp field they should not tighten up too much either.

The nub of this whole problem is that if the wood gets dry, it shrinks across the grain and tightens into the edges of the sword, if it gets damp it swells and clamps onto the surfaces of the sword, so a thin line needs to be walked between the two.

I am aware that some people require a fabric lining to their scabbards and so this remains an option for all my scabbards, this effectively removes any sizing issues.

Another medieval way that I have seen to help with all these issues is to bond a small piece of felt or cloth at the throat of a scabbard, so that holds the sword at this point and the rest can be looser.

Generally scabbards with a rain flap can rely on the leather at the throat to hold the blade secure and so an exact friction fit on the core is not so critical.

I hope that helps with some insights and some questions for discussion.

Tod

PS Victor, drop me a PM explaining your issues and I am certain we can sort them easily enough.

www.todsworkshop.com
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Alexander B.




Location: Germany
Joined: 16 Nov 2014

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2018 5:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Observed that all unaltered hook style hangers for smallswords share a certain geometric set up, that lets you turn the thing 360į, and NEVER will the suspension point nearer to the throat be lower than the other one...

I think the felt at the throat is an excellent solution, to be honest. Apply some oil to it, and you have an auto-wiper/oiler.

The nice modern expectation of a tight fit is also something I have encountered with socket bayonets. People are not happy with a bayonet, that rattles a bit on the muzzle of a flinlock.. But if you ever do any shooting with a bayonet on, the hot barrel will epand enough to essentially lock the thing in place like nobodies business...
Musket Ramrods, likewise, if nice and snug in a dry appartment get stuck in the rain, if the fit is "too nice"

-PLUS RATIO QUAM VIS-
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Ryan Hobbs




Location: Middle GA
Joined: 19 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2018 9:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Leo for the reply, it's always great getting input from the experts and craftsmen! I was actually watching your scabbard videos this morning, so between that and your post I better understand the sizing dynamics. This is my first new High End sword purchase and overall scabbard purchase, so it's good to get a warm and fuzzy on everything.

Thanks to everyone else for their input as well. I delved deeper into what I wanted from a scabbard, and it looks like I'll be going with the Tod's Stuff 15th and 14th Cent scabbard with the hangers. The color scheme I have in mind will go great with the metal fittings. Thanks again!
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Victor R.




Location: Spring, Texas
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2018 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The two that were snug initially left the blade about 1/8" proud when inserted without applying undue force. I've worked them in and out a few times, getting closer to full insertion. The Mercenary now inserts fully, but is still on the snug side when I draw, but I think time and maybe using the tap method described can get it to what feels "right". The Burgundian still stands about 1/16" proud, but isn't as difficult to draw. Again, I'll just work it now and again without forcing the issue to get it where I feel it is "right". Part of it is just getting a little wear on the leather near the throat without cutting it through, so I'm just being gentle. I work them when I think about it, but I'm not obsessing over it.

As for the Munich, it would slip out if held to a 30į downward angle or more. That isn't the kind of thing that happens very often. If I were to wish to tighten it up, I might attempt to do some leather work or use some felt to create a slightly more snug throat. But, as it is, it could be worn safely enough (we can do that now in Texas Wink) and would be fairly quick on the draw.

If these were every day tools of survival, I'd have worked them more right away and gotten them to a better overall fit but, since a sword isn't a standard carry weapon in modern society, taking the gradual approach is working for me.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 05 May, 2018 1:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd rank Tod's scabbards at the absolute top of the heap. I have one and it's, frankly, remarkable. His strength is that he can create the metalwork components correctly and mimic originals.
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