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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 1:13 am    Post subject: Nearly complete next-gen Knight scabbard         Reply with quote

I've just finished the leather bits of a scabbard for my next-gen knight. The chape is underway but I haven't started work on the strap ends or buckle yet since I need someone else's workshop for those.

Part of the aim for this project was to complete it using as close to period materials and technology as possible. With the exception of the initial sawing of the 50mm ash plank into 12mm slabs this was all done with hand tools. It's a little rough in places but I'm fairly happy.

The core is ash, and after a few attempts to glue it together with hide glue we came to the conclusion that that's just too much of a pain so we wrapped it for about 30mm at the throat with fine linen cord and at a couple of other spots down the scabbard with 10mm wraps. It holds together just fine, and if anything has come out a touch tight.

The leather is 1.5mm veg-tanned cow. I wanted calf but it was just too pricey at the time. The body of the scabbard is undyed, it's fairly heavily grease-stuffed and will darken with sunlight and time. The black is an iron-oxide dye. There is an escutcheon of leather under where my SCA arms are.

The back seam is sewn with the same sort of hand-assembled and waxed linen thread I use for making shoes. It's probably the roughest looking bit, but I had real trouble generating a pattern for the cover that didn't come up way too tight.

I'm no real expert on scabbards, this was constructed based on quite a long time spent staring at Kevin Iseli's work on the Albion site and diagrams of the strapping. I would welcome comments on the accuracy of the design and construction and suggestions on how this could be improved.

I had a whole lot of learning experiences making this, and am in the process of writing up a detailed construction log on my website. I'll update this thread when that's done, probably some time in the next 6 months.








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Al.
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Kenton Spaulding




Location: Connecticut
Joined: 18 Jul 2005
Reading list: 12 books

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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, Al, that looks exceptional. I've got to go to work right now, but I can't wait to read more about it when I get home. Love the colors. Real nice.

Kenton
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 3:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Absolutely beautiful. I'm trying my hand at my first scabbard, and since I am as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to wood working, I've already gone through four slats and cut myself with my chisel (not too badly; no stitches required). Fortunately for me, I get to see such fine examples and it helps motivate me to keep trying.
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
Absolutely beautiful. I'm trying my hand at my first scabbard, and since I am as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to wood working, I've already gone through four slats and cut myself with my chisel (not too badly; no stitches required). Fortunately for me, I get to see such fine examples and it helps motivate me to keep trying.


Thanks for the comments.

I'm no woodworker myself, but I had help from someone who is. The key thing I learned was to use sharp tools, and I mean surgically sharp. A properly sharp chisel means you don't have to lean on it hard, so you have a much smaller chance of it slipping out and either cutting you or screwing up what you're carving. I did the shaping with a block plane and a spokeshave, again both scary-sharp. I think this was actually easier than using power tools since there is a much greater degree of control over the process.

Stick at it, and be patient - including prototyping there's over 100 hours of work in that scabbard, but I sure learned a lot doing it Happy I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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Al.
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 10 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I really like the shield emblem.

Did you affix a shield shape underneath and wet/ push the leather down over it?

I have considered sewing on a thicker tooled leather patch as another option. Learning to tool leather is like a whole new project in itself though....

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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I really like the shield emblem.

Did you affix a shield shape underneath and wet/ push the leather down over it?

I have considered sewing on a thicker tooled leather patch as another option. Learning to tool leather is like a whole new project in itself though....


Thanks. Yes, there is an escutcheon of the same leather I used to cover the scabbard (1.5mm thick veg tanned cow) stuck to the slats with some wax and the covering leather is molded over it, mostly with a cobblers hammer and a bone folder, but you can do it just as effectively with a clean plastic chopstick Happy Once I've got some zinc oxide I'm going to paint the white bits in the armory.

Tooling leather in a medieval style is actually pretty easy, it is quite a different aesthetic to modern western floral style, though in some cases the techniques are the same. Stamping and incising are the most common techniques on extant examples. I don't actually know how scabbards were typically decorated, if they were decorated much at all, but if you have a look in "Knives and Scabbards" (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London) By J. Cowgill,M. de Neergaard & N. Griffiths, published by the Boydell press, you will find numerous clear examples of period decoration of leather.

Detail of what I did:



The tiny little dots were made with the point of a pair of dividers (not needle pointed ones), the lines around them were made with a swivel knife and the stamping is a single rondell stamp, heated and pressed into slightly damp leather. The risers around where the strapping goes are just thick waxed linen thread stuck to the wooden core with more wax -- shoemakers hand wax, which has pine rosin in it and so is quite sticky, but beeswax or contact adhesive would work. In the end product they weren't as effective as I would have liked, I think they needed to be more raised, and spaced slightly further away from the strap than they were - the gap between them was only 5mm more than the strap width.

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Al.
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David Quivey




Location: Davis, California
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 10:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lovely job Al, really lovely. Great sense of design, really complements the sword nicely Exclamation
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Eric L.




Location: Netherland
Joined: 21 Sep 2003

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Wed 08 Mar, 2006 2:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent job Al Cool
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Jeff Smith




Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 11 Apr 2006

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Fri 21 Apr, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Al,

BEAUTIFUL! I'd love to be able to make one like that, it's totally awesome! Happy
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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2006 3:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeff Smith wrote:

BEAUTIFUL! I'd love to be able to make one like that, it's totally awesome! Happy


Thanks Jeff. There's no reason you can't if you're willing to take it slowly, read lots of threads on this forum, and are prepared to make some mistakes and learn from them.

Go for it :-)

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Al.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2006 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Al,
Have you made any great discoveries on making your own chape or buying one somewhere? The best I have come across so far is the NSF02 from Mercier. http://www.re-enactment.biz/bronzeindex.html

I estimate that I had to grind off around 40% of the material to get the interior smooth enough to slip over a similarly shaped scabbard, and to reduce outside dimensions to the point where it only weighed around 60 grams (still a heavy wall fitting.)

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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2006 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Al,
Have you made any great discoveries on making your own chape or buying one somewhere? The best I have come across so far is the NSF02 from Mercier. http://www.re-enactment.biz/bronzeindex.html

I estimate that I had to grind off around 40% of the material to get the interior smooth enough to slip over a similarly shaped scabbard, and to reduce outside dimensions to the point where it only weighed around 60 grams (still a heavy wall fitting.)


Other than that I ended up making it about half the height it should be, and that I need practice doing the filework, not really.



I made it out of 18ga steel with the help of a knifemaker friend of mine. The pattern is the tip profile of the covered scabbard with a little bit added on all round. It was made in two halves which were shaped, ground to fit, and welded together.

If I were doing this out of sheet again for a scabbard with a fairly blunt tip profile I'd make a front plate which wraps around the edges and a flatter backplate and not weld them. I don't have the wherewithal to cast bronze - though it's on the list of things to do. The next scabbard I make is going to have a much sharper point so I'll probably be able to shape a brass chape out of sheet.

Because we made it specifically to fit the scabbard, fitting it was just a matter of tapping it into place, drilling a couple of holes and pinning it on.

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Al.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2006 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would like to learn to do something similar my self. The cast bronze one I used adds more weight than I want (as bought 100 grams is nearly 20% the weight of some lighter swords, as ground it still adds 10% weight....way too much.)

For forming, did you use the scabbard itself and an ordinary combination vise/anvil to shape the halves?

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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Sat 22 Apr, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I would like to learn to do something similar my self. The cast bronze one I used adds more weight than I want (as bought 100 grams is nearly 20% the weight of some lighter swords, as ground it still adds 10% weight....way too much.)


Do you know of any documented extant examples? I'd be curious to know how much they weighed.

Jared Smith wrote:
For forming, did you use the scabbard itself and an ordinary combination vise/anvil to shape the halves?


Nope, we had it there for frequent reference, but the scabbard itself is too fragile to form even fairly thin steel over. The forming was done over a candle stake and a dishing form.

Roughly shaping and then checking against the scabbard is a pretty accurate way to see what needs to be adjusted.

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Al.
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R. Howard Dawkins




Location: NE Florida
Joined: 10 Mar 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 23 Apr, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Al...it's beautiful...I'm envious! Razz
Rob
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