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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Feb, 2006 7:32 pm    Post subject: Linen wrapped cores in 14th century scabbards?         Reply with quote

I'm working on building a period scabbard for an Albion knight. I've got the ash slats carved and am waiting on a different type of hide glue to stick them together.

Having tried this previously with both pva (on the pine mockup) and gelatin glue (on the 'production' slats) one of the big problems seems to be stopping glue from leaking into the scabbard while at the same time making sure that once the scabbard is shaped the glue margin is going to be completely filled.

Anyone have ideas on solving this issue? Are we certain that the slats were glued, and not pegged or pinned? I've read bits and pieces that suggest that there was a layer of linen over the wood and under the leather covering and figured that if that were glue soaked and wrapped it would hold the slats quite nicely and solve the problem. Is this a provably accurate, or even plausible construction?

Cheers.
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Al.

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Risto Rautiainen




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Feb, 2006 11:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Was done in the "viking" age, but don't know about 14th cent. It surely adds sort of a composite structure to the scabbard.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Feb, 2006 12:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The core can be made from solid wood and carved to shape.
You do not need vast amounts of glue to keep the edges together. A small amount of wood glue will be enough. Apply it with some care, and press the halves together.
Personally, I think it is easier to make the hollows and cut the outline of the scabbard on *one* side before gluing. but I leave all shaping of the outside till after gluing. That way it is easier to apply preassure on the slats: they shift and warp less.

Small pegs can also be used, of course, but only as long as the core is still thin enough. It is common today that scabbards are way to bulky. This is a common mistake.
A scabbard hould not look like two slalom ski wrapped in upholstery leather.
Thickness of the core will vary depending on the size and type of the blade, naturally, but some 4 mm thickenss can be pretty normal on a scabbard. Always cut the outside shape into a nice and tight shape. Avoid leaving a flat surface on the front. An even nice curve will make the scabbard look much better.

On surviving scabbards from the 15th and 16th C Ive seen, thin verneer was used for the core, not solid wood. Some 3-5 layers of vary thin veneer on each side. These were presumably glued together. A linen wrap could have been used to keep them in place, as there is no narrow flat on each side of the blade.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Feb, 2006 3:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could you post some pictures of the slats you have prepared?

Many of us have done as Peter described. With availability of modern tools, it is pretty easy to hollow out an oversized pair of solid boards and glue them togather. The profile of the scabbard is easy to cut after the gluing, and sanders make tapering a faster job than the initial hollowing out.

You could epoxy the linen over the wood core. Hide glues can be tricky for first timers (need to work quickly), and may let go if you get stuck in harsh enough rain to soak through the outer covering. Some have suggested that the linen would have been coated with beeswax (known to have been done in Roman tent making) after the hide glue is cured. This will help give the hide glue impregnated linen layer some water resistance.

If you want a very neat single piece covering, you will probably have to overlap a paper covering with trial fitting and tape to hold it in place. You can mark and slice it down a centerline. The linen piece needs to be a little wider so that you can overlap the seam (my guess would be to allow 3/8" overlap) on the back side seam. You might even cheat and secure the linen with contact cement, then saturate it with hide glue after positioning it to your satisfaction.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 4:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gentlemen,

Thank you for your responses. Sorry it's taken me so long to reply. I was failing to understand the way this forum notified of replies to watched threads and didn't realise your replies had appeared.

I started with 12mm thick x 120mm wide slats of ash, for no reason other than that's the size it came out after it was resawn.



What I did was clamp these together and plane one long edge and one end into reference edges. The layout of the outline and profile to be carved was all laid out relative to these. The first glue-up was done after the interior was carved but before any shaping had taken place. The pieces were aligned by simply pushing the reference edges against a flat, vertical surface.

After that the profile was sawn out and the outside was shaped.





In the end they turned out a touch thinner than this, as the glue-up here failed under the tension of the first leather cover and the sword became totally loose in the scabbard. After that we dissolved out the glue, scraped and planed the glue surfaces back together and ended up binding it together with thin linen cord. The thick cords in the picture below are just risers and aren't structural at all. The finished scabbard can be seen at http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=66643



This is a plausible construction to me, I just can't document it Happy It is certainly quicker and easier than gluing the slats back together and seems plenty strong enough.

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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Peter,

Peter Johnsson wrote:

On surviving scabbards from the 15th and 16th C Ive seen, thin verneer was used for the core, not solid wood. Some 3-5 layers of vary thin veneer on each side. These were presumably glued together. A linen wrap could have been used to keep them in place, as there is no narrow flat on each side of the blade.


That's very interesting. I built this scabbard with the guidance of a woodworking friend of mine and during the course of building the scabbard we found that the first leather cover I put on it was a bit too small and the tension it put on the scabbard squashed the edges inwards and opened it up quite a bit. It also turned out a fair bit looser after carving because the slats were able to flex more. This put the idea in our heads that if the slats were thin enough they could just be bent and lashed in shape. Thicknessing ash down to 4mm certainly made it flexible enough for this to be feasible.

Has anything been published on the scabbards you mention? I'm interested in reading more about it.

Many thanks.

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Al.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Mar, 2006 6:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm in the process of learning how to make scabbards for bronze age swords and daggers, and evidence from finds show much similarity in construction with medieval scabbards. One thing I keep seeing is that for the wood core, where the wood type is mentioned, it's always hazel. Does anyone have any idea why hazel was specifically chosen for this purpose? I know it's quite strong, light and easy to carve, but is there another reason why specifically that type of wood?

Also, a lot of scabbard remains on blades show a transverse bar surrounding the blade near the hilt, suggesting a seperate mouthpiece. Are there examples of medieval scabbards with a wooden mouth piece? And if so, how where these attached (glued to the inside, or only a partial overlap of the slats, single piece or two halves etc.).
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Mar, 2006 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.controverscial.com/Hazel.htm

The hazel wood could have had religious or mystic meaning. Otherwise, it should have temendous difference (possibly more elastic) then poplar or birch.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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