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More on the handle today.


Center punch prior to drilling and pinning. I use a copper nail when I can. They are my favorite pins. 1/8". Actually, they are just about 8-15 thousandths under (.117-ish). Perfect for peening.


There is now a peened pin (rivet) there. Can you see it? I can't, and I put it there. I countersink by hand with copper, clean oxides off the pin stock, and carefully peen. Then, file the whole are with a coarse and then a smooth file. This is what you get. I had to go over the grooves some with a chainsaw file, though.

Height gauge measuring and marking for ridges on the handle. I tried with just putting a strip of paper around the handle, but this way worked better.


Use tape to mark backsaw for depth of cut.


Cutting in the lines for handle ridges.


Rasp, chisel, and finally, a coarse file, all used to remove the extra material on the handle.


I taped the handle to protect it, and then used files to shape the raised sections. I wish I had a lathe.

Lots and lot of hand sanding followed, with a fair bit still remaining (I got the whole handle smooth filed and then sanded to 220 grit today).


Look how much material I rasped and filed off of the handle today (sawed and chiseled, too.).


Refining transition between tenon and rest of handle. It goes from sort of diamond shape (like the guard) to round.

Edited by Kevin (The Professor)
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Hello Everyone, Here is the pro pic of the sword and fittings. Coop worked his magic yet again.   Thanks for reading/looking.  

I have been plugging along for the last couple of days. This is all just basic work on the sheath.


I have to get the guard inlet at the throat of the sheath, the wood nice and flat on all four sides, and the chape seated at the toe of the sheath. After I get those things set, I can do the majority of the wood removal. There is at least double the amount of wood on this blank that is needed for the final sheath, and I am slowly removing until I get the throat, chape, and sides worked out. Then, I can work faster (somewhat).




One of my favorite chisels. It is the tang of an old file, repurposed.




Tools for upcoming work. Chisels, rasps, riffler, and files.




Not inletting traditionally, instead I am making a pencil mark next to the area that needs to have material removed when the guard is on the sheath. Take the guard off, rasp or chisel, and then file a little to clean up, and refit. It is sort of the process on fitting guards on knives, too.




Picture of fitting the guard. It is almost there.




Layout lines for rasping down. Rasp, then file to clean up. I needed the exercise, so it was good.




Rasp (love this rasp)




Filing with a coarse file. I don't have a plane. So, I am using the file to get the surface smooth. I am getting the edge and the faces smooth. Only the middle portion matters, though, because the sheath will have a flattened diamond cross-section for the top half (it turns to oval for the bottom half, at least that is the plan).




I actually like filing wood. In the left side of this pic, you can see the wood that I have filed to prepare for the next steps. The flattened diamond will have flats on the edges where the vertices would normally be, and corners on the front and back face of the sheath. That is why I am smoothing the wood out. You can see the curl appearing on the left when compared to the unfiled wood on the right.




Fitting the chape. Tap with dead blow hammer, and look for where it rubs. Remove where it rubs, and sometimes a little exactly opposite from where it rubs, too. Also remove in front of rub, so it will slide down. It is a lot like what Alan does with tomahawk heads, I imagine.




Here you can see the place where the chape is rubbing. Once I get this on, I can then shape the rest of the wood on the bottom section of the sheath. I need this oval to go by for the rest, though.


More tomorrow, hopefully.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Been awhile, but I am still working on this one. Almost done. Hopefully over the next 3 days I will finish.




Here I am sawing the lines to then chisel between for an mounting for the scabbard slide.




Cleaning up the area.




Using a Braun Block (from Ed) to sand the sheath. 100 grit paper and good backing, to get all the dips and stuff out.




These sheaths have a central ridge for most of the length that transitions to an oval near the chape.




Vise with neoprene on the jaws in a bullet vise, Braun block to sand.




More fitting of chape.





You can see the marks, where wood needs to be removed (and sometimes exactly opposite of there).




I soft-soldered (stay-brite) a hidden pin made from a copper nail into the guard. This is to make ultra-sure that the guard can't rattle, come what may.




Matching pinhole on the handle. Normally, you braze a ring to the guard, and then have the handle come inside that. This can keep the guard from moving. But, with these fittings, there wasn't enough room to use a ring like that, and have a tang that was very wide/thick. Therefore, I abandoned the ring, and you can see even the wood doesn't take up room on the sides of the handle. That leaves max room for tang, and the pin will take care of making doubly-certain that the guard can not rattle.




Surface prep for epoxying scabbard slide.






I feel like a criminal every time I do something like this, but I just had to put a pin through Charle's beautiful chape.





That's it for now. The sheath is fully polished, and now the scabbard slide and chape are attached. I just need to put a couple more layers of tung oil on it.


I also need to polish the handle, wrap some leather cord around the scabbard slide to make it more secure, do the final polish and etch, and epoxy and pin the handle.


That is it. Not much, really.


Thanks for looking. Will be done soon.

Comments welcomed, as always.



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Thanks for the pin, guys.

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Here is another set. This will be the last one until I get the leather cord to wrap the scabbard slide. If there is interest, I will provide a link to a Smithsonian article called The Scabbard Slide in Asia (or something close).


Here is a pic of the handle in place, but not pinned or epoxied. I am just looking to see if adjustments are needed. As you can see, I use tung oil. This stuff is great. Build it up slowly, in many layers. Wipe on, rub on. Let sit about 12 hours, repeat for several days. The sheath has a layer of tung oil that has filled the pores. It looks a little like a CA finish, only easier to do, and historically accurate.


Everything was stained with aqua fortis, which I learned from Alan, through this forum. I just buy Ferric Nitrate crystals and dissolve them in water. It is easier than nitric acid plus steel wool.



Charles Wu goodness.


This is some of the most interesting walnut I have ever seen. Tung oil and AF go together so very well.


Charles Wu goodness.


This is it until the leather arrives. Thanks for the kind words. There will be more when I get leather. Almost done, though. Wrap the scabbard slide with leather cord to help bind it. Then, sharpen, final polish, etch.

This one is going to Coop.

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Wow great job Kevin .. How did I miss this thread before!


I was just thinking the same thing. It's because there is so much stuff on this forum that sometimes you just miss something. Good thing Alan pinned this.


Kevin: This is magnificent work. Thanks for posting the entire process.

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Aaw! I thought it'd be done by the time I got back.. Cliff hangers, F****** hate cliff hangers. Especially when it's an unavoidable fact of life and not just a cheap trick by some director or producer because then you've got no one to blame but your own impatience.

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Thanks everyone. This is definitely the best thing I have made so far (just nosing out the grosse messer and the willow leaf dao). It would be close, except that Charles's fittings are incomparable. I am always honored to work with him.


I have to wrap the scabbard slide with leather, and then I am done. I am planning to put a very light and thin coat of (probably warmed) epoxy under the leather, so the leather can't move. I want it to really add support to the scabbard slide, which is only held on with Devcon 2.5 ton. It needs some protection from peeling and shear stresses. I wish I had brazed a pin to the back of it, and put it through the scabbard half and peened and epoxied it before I put the thing together fully. However, that is not possible. So, the leather wrap will have to be structural as well as decorative.


Lesson: Next time, glue the two halves of the sheath together in a way that I can pull them apart just before final finishing. This will let me pin the scabbard slide down, so I can rest easy about the connection.


I realize that epoxy and leather is strong enough. However, as you saw from the chape, I have this obsession thing that prevents relying just on epoxy. Even with things like the chape, where it should last more than 1 lifetime.


More pics later tonight, probably. Then, off to Coop for him to work his magic.

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That looks absolutely great, Kevin. Beautiful work all around (yes, the fittings are awesome but the blade remains the heart of any sword and without a good blade, the nicest fittings are worthless).


I am very much looking forward to seeing the final stats to get an idea of size and handling... the functional aspect is always what interests me most.

Edited by Lukas MG
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Lukas - thank you very much!

Kip - thanks also. You have been on this forum as long as I have, and you know that I have learned almost everything I know from the good people here.


Alan, if you ever read this - I tempered the blade back to 55/54 RC. Thanks greatly for the advice.


I am anxious about the leather wrap, which I am going to begin in about an hour. Wish me luck.



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Kevin's been in contact with me and I will get to it when it arrives.

WHAT an impressive build. :) I shoot hundreds and even thousands of knives, and a bunch of swords. It's rewarding and educational for me as well to understand the processes BEFORE they come to my door.


I don't think I've posted in the forum for many years. Blame Kevin for the return! ;)





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Coop - if you come around here more often, you will see wip stuff that is way better than what I can do. That is a certainty.

take care,


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Hello Everyone,

Here is the pro pic of the sword and fittings. Coop worked his magic yet again.


Thanks for reading/looking.



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