This is an in-progress project that I'm hoping to finish before Ragnarok. It's not a Dag sword, but I thought I'd share since we're all sword nerds.
I got my first steel sword last week. It's a Hanwei Tinker Norman - cheap, but made with attention to the little details like distal taper and blade geometry that separate functional reproductions from cheap wall hangers. I'm looking forward to doing some cutting with it when I get out of the city.
When it arrived, it was exactly what I had hoped it would be: a well designed blade and sturdy construction. But also kind of boring. So I decided to give it a makeover. Here's what it looks like from the manufacturer:
Not too shabby, but the pommel and guard were too shiny for my taste, and the black handle was boring (and the black chrome tanned leather wrap looked too much like a couch). The scabbard was really nice for something in this price range, but it was also a little boring, and it was made from fiberglass (covered in leather) and didn't fit the blade very well so that it rattled when the sword was shaken. The sword's blade looked machined (well, it is!). So I set to work!
First I spent an evening in front of the tv polishing the blade with progressively finer sandpaper to take off the machined grind marks and make it look a little cleaner. I didn't want a mirror finish, so I stopped once I hit 1500 grit sandpaper. I didn't take all the grind marks out, but I did manage to make it look less like it came out of a factory, which was my goal.
Then I attacked the pommel and guard with sandpaper, to try to replace the mirror finish with something more satin. I'm not convinced I took enough shiny off, yet - I might still try to dull it more once I get the new grip on it.
The I ripped the grip off, added some strips of leather to make it fit my hand better, and cut out a piece of thin veg tanned leather to re wrap the handle. My first attempt didn't quite work; this picture of is attempt #2. I ran out of glue here, so finishing the handle is on hold until I can get to the store.
In the meanwhile, I was also working on a new scabbard to replace the poorly fitting fiberglass one that came with the sword.
There's a cool book that discusses all the archaeological finds of Anglo-Saxon scabbards, Sheaths and Scabbards in England AD400-1100 by Ester A. Cameron. Using it as a reference, along with some helpful tutorials like this one
, I chiseled out two pieces of 1/4" poplar to fit around my sword blade and glued them together.
It took a long time to get the fit right, but it wasn't very difficult. The bandage on my thumb is from when I forgot that chisels are as sharp as knives; I cut myself almost to the bone, reminding myself to be more careful but also about how quickly cuts from really sharp things can heal (3 days later, the wound was completely closed!).
After I glued the two scabbard halves together I trimmed them to shape with a chisel and sandpaper.
Next up: glue linen to the scabbard to strengthen it. Then it'll be covered with leather.