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      IMPORTANT Registration rules   02/12/2017

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67 posts in this topic

Peter, I love this thread. I have taken the leap and began doing leatherwork for simple knives. I have to start somewhere. It is indeed an entirely new area to learn after metal and wood. However, it is relaxing and I can be contemplative while I do it (or listen to Great Courses histories, I am hooked).

I may try your swivel-knife derivative. The modern design that you hold with the rocker on top is alien to me. A pen-knife approach may work better. I have to test things out.

Off to make some sheaths. These swords are outstanding. The use of acanthus leaf motifs lately has been a nice thing to watch. I have been practicing them due to the Chinese use of that same pattern.

 

take care...

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Scabbard is unreal - great work. Complements the sword greatly. Simply magnificent. 

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I've seen this sword and sheath in Solingen and it is an exquisite package. The leatherwork really is something to behold.

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On 4/5/2017 at 3:51 AM, peter johnsson said:

Since there are three layers that are glued together they stay true to the form of the cross section of the blade after the glue has set. Step two is to glue the two sides together along the thin outer margins where I added a strip of plywood alongside the edge on each side.

Another fantastic, informative, and immensely inspirational WIP post Peter. Please don't ever stop! 

I think I'm following most everything you have explained and will likely copy and print this of for an in-shop reference, but I would like to confirm my understanding of the glue-up process for bonding the glued and formed scabbard scales to one another... Are the "plywood strips" added to the margins as shown in my rudimentary diagram below? Sorry I don't have the programs or skill to draw anything prettier, folks...

Scabbard Assembly.JPG

with the final product looking something like this before rasping the excess trips away:

Scabbard Assembly2.JPG

Edited by T Swenson

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Thank you :-)

Yep, that is basically it, except that the spacers/strips are added after initial forming. You press the two sides without the spacers/strips to get more curvature in the plywood.
Also, If you cut the veneers or plywood too wide they will not conform to the cross section shape of the blade well (there will be more of a gap alongside the edges of the blade). If you cut the facing with less material outside the contours of the blade it will reach to "pinch" closer to the cross section. However, don´t cut it too closely, as it will then be tricky to keep the facing well centered to the blade during the gluing process. Too narrow will also make the final fitting with the spacers/strips rather fiddly with little surface area left for spreading the glue.
It is a matter of finding the best balance. I cannot give a number or dimension for the "correct" amount of extra material, since it will depend on number of layers, thickness and flexibility of the layers and the cross section of the blade. Once you start working you´ll figure it out easily if you just keep this aspect in mind.

This is the principle of construction, step by step:

ScabbardConstruction.png

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Time has passed since last updating. The scabbard for the second sword is also completed and should be shown here for full satisfaction and to bring this thread to a closure :-)
This scabbard was made to be in a style that was still in use in the early 14th century when the sword belt was an integral part, laced through slits in the outer layer of leather.

The manner of the lacing varied greatly. Finds of scabbard leather fragments show quite a bit of creative solutions and sometimes it can be difficult to make out exactly how it was accomplished. I often use a lay out for the lacing that I worked out some 30 years ago (Yikes!!) after looking at depictions in art as well as some actual surviving scabbards (very few remain!) and fragments of scabbards. 

afbeelding_15_enkele.jpg

The set up of the belts makes the sword sit at a comfortable diagonal on the hip. It should be carried with the contact point right at the hip joint. That way the sword will remain steady as you move around and will not flop around or get caught between the legs as you are walking (resulting in instantaneous embarrassment).

The top belt end is cut in two tapering tongues. One is laced around the very top and passes around the back while locking itself in pace. The two tongues then cross at the front, locked by passing over/through a slit loop in the leather cover. They then pass diagonally to the back, crossing as they pass through slits in the lower belt and the scabbard cover, locking the lower belt in position. 
Finally the two tongues (by now tapered to narrow strips) pass to the front again and are fastened with a little square knot.
This construction is sturdy while allowing for some motion between the belts and the scabbard.

The decoration of the scabbard is inspired by finds of scabbard fragments from Leiden (Thanks to Marquita Volken for helping me to track down that article!). The lines are "cut" into the dampened leather with a  bone knife. The surface of the leather is therefore not broken or cut through. It is a very simple method that relies on the decorative effect of the lines. When the leather has reached the perfect semi-damp state it is easily marked. Some care has to be taken not to scar the surface unintentionally. I also cut small quatrefoil and threefoil stamps for some of the details.

afbeelding_9_zwaardschedes.jpg

DSC01676.jpg

DSC01669.jpg

 

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Peter I have really enjoyed this thread your attention to detail is amazing! If this is the end you need to start something new soon for everyone's enjoyment and inspiration. Your explanations are detailed and easy to understand thank you for taking the time to do all this. 

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This is beautiful work, Peter! Do you have to apply a lot of pressure when you "cut" the lines with the bone knife? Or does that depend on how wet the leather is? Also do you use a guide for the lines, like a straight edge, or do you freehand everything? The lines are perfectly crisp and straight! I'd also like to know if you have any plans for a chape. Last question, I promise, is the belt the earlier style with no fittings? Again Peter, your work is incredible and you make it all look so easy! It's all very informative and inspiring, thank you for sharing!

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Thank you guys.

Matthew: you only need a moderate to light pressure to mark the leather. The pressure is only a little more than a firm hand with a pen. For the lines along the edges of the scabbard, I use a specially formed bone knife that marks lines at a set distance. For the long straight lines I use a straight edge while other lines are freehand. 

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Peter, for the record, could we please have a picture of the bone-knife? (assuming your dark elf slave is finished with it) :D. Thanks.

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Charles, here you go. You can make these tools from bone, antler or hard wood. You use them for scoring lines, polishing, folding or moulding/shaping the leather. Aside from knife and awl these are my most commonly used leather tools. Absolutely essential for work. They need to have a polished surface and the "sharp" edges should not be truly sharp or you will cut through the leather. I keep them with a few different degrees of sharpness for various applications. You will probably find additional ideas if you look at the work of bookbinders and shoe makers. 

All the edges and surfaces of these tools are useful. Radiused edges, semi-sharp edges, radiused points, groves and notches...

DSC01721.jpg

Close up of the parts that I use for making parallel decorative lines along the edges of scabbards and belts. They polish the edge at the same time as the groves are made. You can see from the difference in the shape of the "teeth" that the groves they produce will be slightly different. Experiment with this and you will find countless new options and applications.

DSC01725.jpg

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Your willingness to share your knowledge and skills, and the clarity with which you do it are almost as impressive as your swords, Peter. Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your work and answer our questions!

Edit to ask: Could you please take a photo of the other side of the scabbard? I'm going crazy trying to figure out how the leather belt is tied and terminated.

Edited by Collin Miller
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This is a drawing I made many years ago, explaining a method for lacing the belt to a scabbard. This method of lacing is basically the same as I used for this project. Some aspects of the making of the scabbard I now do differently (like folding over the upper end of the covering leather), but the drawing will still give you a general idea to start from. 

 

ScabbardLacing.gif

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Thank you Peter

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On 5/23/2017 at 0:46 AM, peter johnsson said:

Thank you :-)

Yep, that is basically it, except that the spacers/strips are added after initial forming. You press the two sides without the spacers/strips to get more curvature in the plywood.
Also, If you cut the veneers or plywood too wide they will not conform to the cross section shape of the blade well (there will be more of a gap alongside the edges of the blade). If you cut the facing with less material outside the contours of the blade it will reach to "pinch" closer to the cross section. However, don´t cut it too closely, as it will then be tricky to keep the facing well centered to the blade during the gluing process. Too narrow will also make the final fitting with the spacers/strips rather fiddly with little surface area left for spreading the glue.
It is a matter of finding the best balance. I cannot give a number or dimension for the "correct" amount of extra material, since it will depend on number of layers, thickness and flexibility of the layers and the cross section of the blade. Once you start working you´ll figure it out easily if you just keep this aspect in mind.

This is the principle of construction, step by step:

ScabbardConstruction.png

To echo sentiments of all others, THANK YOU, Peter, for taking the time to reply to all of our queries, and go to the effort to so clearly explain things. Your outstanding gifts as a craftsman are rivaled by your gifts as a teacher. We are blessed to have you as part of this community.

Definitely staying tuned to this...

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Peter, truly magnificent!  As always your work simultaneously conjures both Awe and Inspiration.  Thank you as always for your incredible generosity.

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