Opinions wanted
I am looking for peoplesí opinions about this spatha that Iím working. Last week I did finish it, but ran into problems as I peened it. I had checked the fit prior to peening, but something was placed back on wrong, shifted when pressure was applied, or something. Anyway I ended up with things not fitting together well, so rather than putting something out there that Iím not happy with and doesnít reflect the quality of work that I want to be known for, Iím redoing it. I have taken it apart and the pommel is fine, but I want to remake the guard and grip. That is if I want to mount it back the same way. So Iím looking for everyoneís thoughts about the original design. I am wondering if you all think a different style would look better for the blade. The original hilt is based on an example from Vimose II and can be seen in the link below.


Here is how it looked when finished.

A couple other notes.

Julie was able to finish up her gladius and it turned out very nice.

Also I'm running a sale on the saber that I finished a while back.

I personally think that a differet style would look better on the blade. just me though.
Hey Shane, I had not looked at this yet until now.

I'm don't agree with the previous comment. I'd like to see a full photo of the completed piece to see the final proportions.

I'm not loving the blond birch wood, but would have a personal preference for something darker. Knowing you, I'm sure it is historically accurate and was available in the region/time of the original. That gets high, high marks from me because a lot of people don't even take this into consideration.

Please forgive my dumb question, but how is the hilt assembled? Is there a pommel nut of some type?

Maybe another stupid question, but I'm trying to learn here: are these spathas ever found with metal fittings on their wooden hilt components? (spacers, pommel nuts, etc)
I second Nathan's comment - historical accuracy is very important to me. I, also, would like to see a photo of the full piece. Perhaps a contrast between the blond birch grip and a darker wood for guard and pommel would be good - though maybe that is too main-stream, since that is very similar to the Albion NG gladii hilt arrangements.

I like your saber very much, but this sort of piece is not in my collecting area of interest. Also, love Julie's gladius.
I added the remaining few pictures that I snapped before I took the sword apart. The side view tricks the eye as far as the pommel thickness goes since the blade and guard were resting on the surface, so the pommel was a couple mm above it. Many of the Roman swords do have a decorative pommel "nut" finial type of thing that people often times today will just modify the lamp parts to replicate. The original hilt that I was going from on this one just have a peened tang over a metal washer, so I just went with that and inset it a bit. Peening directly over wood parts doesn't work very well, but that small little washer just distributes the pressure evenly then to secure things rather than the peen just digging into the wood.

Just like blade thickness is totally overlooked in most acedemic studies, the study of organics used in period is as well. Even when it has been tested, many times they are just able to get it down to the genus. So this can get you down to a few possibilities after taking the genus and the particular species that it could be at that time period. Most of the woods that I have found that are known to be used for weapons, tools, handles, and etc are the lighter browns and blonde woods. Walnut is one exception to this, but because it is so commonly used I have tried to avoid it. Elm can be darker, but most of the stuff that is easiest to come by is american elm. Apple is a wood that I love that can also be darker, but it isn't easy at all to come by. Most of the time when you can find it, it is green and used for turning. I have enough apple right now for a few handles, but haven't been able to get any bigger sizes for guards and pommels. While I haven't found any documentation for its use as of yet, Olive is one that would have been available that I would like to try at some point. It is another one that is almost all ways sold green and very expensive. I also love the way the cherry looks on Julie's gladius, the color variations just don't show up and do it justice in the pictures. I'm trying to compromise a bit from here on out, so I'm going to be trying to use period woods that are highly figured, burled, spalted, etc. That way maybe I can have it be more flashy for some, but still be something that at least might have been used. I picked up some highly figured curly maple that should be on its way right now. I missed out on some curly cherry, but would really like to get some of it as well.

Looks like I almost forgot about your metal fittings question Nathan. You have some early British types that were pretty much clad in bronze/tin, and then the Behmer type I's also were this way. I can really only think of about one example off the top of my head of the typically thought of Roman hilts being done this way. The Roman area isn't so much my thing though, but I have had to dive into it much more than I ever dreamed with this project. Of course there is just metal fittings in various forms used here and there. There are similar disk pommels like the one I did also found in Vimose that do have some metal fittings, these seem to be more like repairs or reenforcement though. For some reason on all the others they decided to cut the disk pommels out so that the growth rings would be visible on the main pommel faces. This might be pretty and an easy way to get a good round disk, but it isn't the most sound way of cutting it. Probably about the worse way you could really do it since the bonds between growth rings isn't very strong. So most of these have some metal fittings riveted onto them in attempts to hold sections that were coming apart together. Also from Vimose you have the giant spherical pommels that are covered in domed tacks, and some of these domes are rather large as well.

Thanks Steve, I'll pass that on to Julie. I'm not sure about the saber really. I think about redoing it and maybe going with a basket of some kind after doing on for my falchion blade, then I pick the dang thing up. It just fits into the hand so well and feels so much more lively then blades like this typically do, that I end up decided to just wait on it.

Won this auction for some curly cherry on ebay today, so I'll be using some of it for the spatha.



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