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R. Howard Dawkins




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2006 7:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Al Muckart wrote:
One thing I've never managed to work out from that picture is if the two thongs are coming down the sides of the belt, rather than crossing over at the back, what stops the lower portion of the belt sliding up the scabbard - a really tight fit?


Al,
I'm not sure, but I'm thinking the scabbard cover is slit below the secondary belt loop and the extreme ends of the renges are passed through the leather covering and knotted together after passing under the secondary loop on the left side and after being threaded through the slits in the secondary loop on the right side...
Rob
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Joel Whitmore




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Mar, 2006 8:23 pm    Post subject: Two Split design         Reply with quote

Al I made a belt f a sword scabbard a few years back following this illustration ( OakShott's Archeology of Weapns I think) but I only split that first piece into two sections.The uppermost has to be long enough to do some wrapping. I had to construct a collar for the belt to lace thorugh as the scabbard was already covered in leather. Normally these slots would be cut into the scabbard covering itself. Anyway that first strap is streaded through the slits, then wraps over itself and loops over the bottom strap, then around back, through the slit in the second strap , then around back and threads through the lower piece, then ties off underneath it all with the second strap. LOL Sounds complicated I know but if you e-mail me I can send you more detailed pics. HOpe this helps. One note here is that this suspension doesn;t work well with this sword because of the sword's size (BL 37") . It does hold the sword at aproper angle but is too high on the hip for this kind of sword or too low. With a shorter sword ( BL 30" - 34") it works really well. YOu don;t even need a buckle to authentic for 12th cen. as the two ends were tied through holes in on the recieveing end of the belt.


Joel



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Jared Smith




PostPosted: Wed 15 Mar, 2006 8:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the previous comment by Joel
"One note here is that this suspension doesn;t work well with this sword because of the sword's size (BL 37") . It does hold the sword at aproper angle but is too high on the hip for this kind of sword or too low. "

That is my experience with having made several scabbards and experimenting with suspension mockups for a Crecey. The lower suspension point needs to be quite far down for a bastard/ longsword. This really does not strongly depend on how many suspension points are used..the lower point will tend to bear most of the weight with the sword removed. Depending on how thin and well tapered the scabbard is, I like the lower suspension point to be at least 16" to 22" (400 to 560 mm depending on how far it takes to get below the balance point of the finished empty scabbard) from the mouth of the scabbard or it will tend to "see saw" and wobble anoyingly around the lower suspension point when the sword is removed. A tied on strap suspension with far spread attachment points is really the way to go if you want it to be stable with sword in or out...


http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/johnsson/brescia-scabbard.htm

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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Mar, 2006 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R. Howard Dawkins wrote:

Al,
I'm not sure, but I'm thinking the scabbard cover is slit below the secondary belt loop and the extreme ends of the renges are passed through the leather covering and knotted together after passing under the secondary loop on the left side and after being threaded through the slits in the secondary loop on the right side...
Rob


That could work, but I think it could concentrate quite a lot of strain on a fairly small portion of the scabbard covering.

Having stared at it a bit longer, and looked at things like the scabbard of the sword of St Maurice in Turin in Archaeology of weapons what I think is happening is that the tails of the thongs are lacing through the lower belt to hold it closed around the body of the scabbard but are also going through the covering of the scabbard to hold the lower belt in place on the scabbard.

It's just a theory, I just wish I had a sword to build such a scabbard for so I could try it out. So many ideas for scabbards, so few swords. What's a man to do ? Happy

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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Mar, 2006 10:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:

That is my experience with having made several scabbards and experimenting with suspension mockups for a Crecey. The lower suspension point needs to be quite far down for a bastard/ longsword. This really does not strongly depend on how many suspension points are used..the lower point will tend to bear most of the weight with the sword removed. Depending on how thin and well tapered the scabbard is, I like the lower suspension point to be at least 16" to 22" (400 to 560 mm depending on how far it takes to get below the balance point of the finished empty scabbard) from the mouth of the scabbard or it will tend to "see saw" and wobble anoyingly around the lower suspension point when the sword is removed. A tied on strap suspension with far spread attachment points is really the way to go if you want it to be stable with sword in or out...


http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/johnsson/brescia-scabbard.htm


Hmm. I'm coming to the conclusion that I made a little too much distance between the top and bottom belts on the scabbard I built. I won't know for sure until I've finished the buckle.

With reference to Joel's scabbard, I can't see that much distance working well with an integral-belt arrangement - the key thing about all of the longsword scabbard suspensions I've seen so far is that they are effectively a couple of straps hanging off of a belt which sits quite straight on the wearer rather than a belt slung at an angle on the wearer.

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Jared Smith




PostPosted: Thu 16 Mar, 2006 5:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It also seems that with many (not all) medieval effigies and art that swords which were worn in a scabbard teneded to hang more vertical (a lot less than a 45 degree angle.)

I have not studied the whole issue of Arming and "dress / cermonial" swords seriously. I have seen it asserted that in the 1200 to 1400 A.D. period, Knights would wear an "Arming Sword" at just about all times when not in combat. A combat sword intended for use on the horse could be different (longer reach, longer grip, expected to be used with two hands if unhorsed with shield lost?, etc.)., and may not have actually been worn, but actually transported via shoulder strap or on a pack saddle. The ones shown in effigies (Black Prince, Ghent) seem to represent arming swords that are quite different than what they were described by chronicalers as having carried during actual battle. I have yet to come across a description of their combat sword suspension....

At any rate, a scabbard sized to fit a 36" plus blade tends to be longer than many people's legs. A straight up and down orientation of an appropriate scabbard just does not seem to be a good option for someone of average height, average arm length. I opted for a scheme that would accept either a shoulder strap or could have a smaller strap tied on for belt suspension. I have not made the belt yet though.

I would like to see your longsword suspension.

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PostPosted: Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:20 am    Post subject: Effigies         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
It also seems that with many (not all) medieval effigies and art that swords which were worn in a scabbard teneded to hang more vertical (a lot less than a 45 degree angle.)

I have not studied the whole issue of Arming and "dress / cermonial" swords seriously. I have seen it asserted that in the 1200 to 1400 A.D. period, Knights would wear an "Arming Sword" at just about all times when not in combat. A combat sword intended for use on the horse could be different (longer reach, longer grip, expected to be used with two hands if unhorsed with shield lost?, etc.)., and may not have actually been worn, but actually transported via shoulder strap or on a pack saddle. The ones shown in effigies (Black Prince, Ghent) seem to represent arming swords that are quite different than what they were described by chronicalers as having carried during actual battle. I have yet to come across a description of their combat sword suspension....

At any rate, a scabbard sized to fit a 36" plus blade tends to be longer than many people's legs. A straight up and down orientation of an appropriate scabbard just does not seem to be a good option for someone of average height, average arm length. I opted for a scheme that would accept either a shoulder strap or could have a smaller strap tied on for belt suspension. I have not made the belt yet though.

I would like to see your longsword suspension.


Ithink the reason you see the sword hanging straight down on a lot of effigies is that is it easier to carve a statue that way. Also if you notice some of the more famous effigies, the sword is not actually belted around the waist of the knight, but free standing. I can tell you from experience that the integrated belt/scabbard does make the scabbard hang at an angle. The tighter you wear the belt the greater the angle. It may not hang at an exact 45 degree angle, but it gets it out of the feet of the wearer.

Joel
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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Mar, 2006 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jared,

Jared Smith wrote:
It also seems that with many (not all) medieval effigies and art that swords which were worn in a scabbard teneded to hang more vertical (a lot less than a 45 degree angle.)


It's quite hard to work out from effigies since they are lying down and quite often holding their swords, rather than wearing them, but looking at period artwork and statues it depends a lot on the period, place, and type of sword. c15th longswords seem to hang closer to horizontal while late c13th single-handers hang slightly more vertically, though still definetly angled. There was a lot of change in the first half of the 14th century, both in armor development and in the manner of sword suspension. As a generalisation, there was more development of armour and weapons between 1346 and 1356 (roughly between Crecy and Poitiers) than there was in the entire 1200s. We're firmly in the transitional period there and in a lot of cases the transition was very rapid.

Jared Smith wrote:

I have not studied the whole issue of Arming and "dress / cermonial" swords seriously. I have seen it asserted that in the 1200 to 1400 A.D. period, Knights would wear an "Arming Sword" at just about all times when not in combat. A combat sword intended for use on the horse could be different (longer reach, longer grip, expected to be used with two hands if unhorsed with shield lost?, etc.)., and may not have actually been worn, but actually transported via shoulder strap or on a pack saddle. The ones shown in effigies (Black Prince, Ghent) seem to represent arming swords that are quite different than what they were described by chronicalers as having carried during actual battle. I have yet to come across a description of their combat sword suspension....


Looking at the iconography of the period (particularly the mid 14th century which is my period of interest) there is _very_ little to indicate that people in civillian clothes wore any weapons than a dagger as a matter of course. There are a couple of pictures in the Romance of Alexander that show people in civilian clothes carrying a sword and buckler, and one which very clearly shows people practicing I.33 combat but they are not wearing scabbards. There is one picture I can think of off the top of my head of someone in the RoA wearing a sword and buckler, but that is very much the exception rather than the rule. I am certainly no expert, but as far as I understand it "arming swords" are a later-period thing.

From mid 13th to mid 14th centuries, details of combat sword suspensions are I think easier to find in iconographic sources rather than written records. The Maciejowski bible, the Manesse Codex, the Lutterel Psalter, and the Romance of Alexander all give a good idea of the suspension in use at the time.

Jared Smith wrote:

At any rate, a scabbard sized to fit a 36" plus blade tends to be longer than many people's legs. A straight up and down orientation of an appropriate scabbard just does not seem to be a good option for someone of average height, average arm length. I opted for a scheme that would accept either a shoulder strap or could have a smaller strap tied on for belt suspension. I have not made the belt yet though.

I would like to see your longsword suspension.


Something you see in mid c14th pictures of people walking around with longswords is that they often have their left hand resting on the pommel, pushing the sword to an angle. There is a picture of a section of plaque belt in Archeaology of Weapons which Oakeshott says is a hanger for a longsword scabbard, it has a hook which the scabbard was hung on by a ring, making it a flexible mounting that could easily be removed and transferred to a saddle etc. Such a suspension would definetly necessitate the use of a hand to push the sword to an angle while walking.

I haven't actually built a longsword suspension myself, I desperately want a Crecy so I can but finances just don't cooperate sometimes. I've built a suspension for an Albion Knight but that's the only one I've done so far.



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I.33 practice from the Romance of Alexander MS. Bodl. fol. 264, f61v

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Jared Smith




PostPosted: Thu 16 Mar, 2006 6:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I appreciate and respect the input. I have only two swords right now. My second purchase was the Albion Knight. I found suspension easy and not fussy with it. My first scabbard for the Knight worked, and it really does not seem to require any fuss (can just tie rope around it and it is still workable as far as wearing, walking, re-inserting the sword, etc.) In contrast, the first generation Crecey is probably on something like scabbard trial #10 right now, and I won't be surprised if I am not satisfied with it! It looks good, but my gut instinct is that I would still greatly preferr to discard the scabbard rather than wear it while actually practice swinging the sword.

This could all be one of those "popular myth" type of issues, but quite a few articles state that a Knight would wear a sword at all times. I have not seen it stated that civilians did so, as during the centuries I focused on (1200 to 1400 A.D.) the wearing a sword in public was supposedly a symbol of Nobility. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_sword

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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Fri 17 Mar, 2006 1:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jared

Jared Smith wrote:
I appreciate and respect the input. I have only two swords right now. My second purchase was the Albion Knight. I found suspension easy and not fussy with it. My first scabbard for the Knight worked, and it really does not seem to require any fuss (can just tie rope around it and it is still workable as far as wearing, walking, re-inserting the sword, etc.) In contrast, the first generation Crecey is probably on something like scabbard trial #10 right now, and I won't be surprised if I am not satisfied with it! It looks good, but my gut instinct is that I would still greatly preferr to discard the scabbard rather than wear it while actually practice swinging the sword.


You're one sword up on me at the moment then Happy

Do you have pictures of your scabbards? I'd love to see what others are building. What style of scabbard are you building for your crecy? I want a longsword at some point so I can have a go at building something like the Westminster Bridge scabbard.

What is the problem you have with the Crecy scabbard? A completely unfounded theory I have about longsword scabbards is that you want them slung a bit further behind you and an angle closer to horizontal than with a single-hander scabbard so they don't get in your way. Would anyone who has actually worn one care to comment?

Another thing to remember is that people who did this for a living trained with their equipment, and what seems cumbersome intiially can be trained with until it seems perfectly natural. Just watch someone doing renaissance dance while wearing a long rapier Happy

Also, if you look at battle scenes, something you see quite frequently is people using polearms, or bows etc with a sheathed sword at their side so for at least some segments of your fighting force, moving and fighting with a longsword scabbard must have been possible.

Jared Smith wrote:
This could all be one of those "popular myth" type of issues, but quite a few articles state that a Knight would wear a sword at all times. I have not seen it stated that civilians did so, as during the centuries I focused on (1200 to 1400 A.D.) the wearing a sword in public was supposedly a symbol of Nobility. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_sword


I think this is one of these things that is part myth, part truth. Swords were worn for many centuries in many different places so we have to be careful about generalisations like this. I suspect that in the 17th century England, when the wearing of swords as part of civilian dress was commonplace it was certainly true and no gentleman would be seen without, but that itself is a generalisation, 100 years is a long time in fashion Happy

The other thing that makes it difficult to work out the accuracy of statements like this is working out what "Arming Sword" means, and in what periods it has relevance. I don't have any period manuscripts to look at, nor do I know how to read Latin or Norman French (I'm slowly working on the Middle English though ) Happy This means I'm stuck looking at the iconography for now. A couple of (general) things to consider, if we look just at the late 13th -> late 14th century, you will find people in civillian clothes wearing swords, but they are almost always hunting, or engaging in some sort of activity that isn't just going about their daily business.

I'm largely hypothesising from some experience here, I'd love to hear from people who have done serious research into this.

Some random links to look at, because they have pretty pictures of people with scabbards Happy

LINK

LINK

LINK

LINK

LINK

LINK
Check out the Saracen sword in the foreground!

LINK

LINK

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Jared Smith




PostPosted: Fri 17 Mar, 2006 8:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the links Al.

There seem to be some swords that are "worn", but not in a scabbard here and there. I would say based on scale of scabbards shown versus leg length depicted, not many of these would be pushing the 36" length range of a longsword. I admit, art at that time was more symbolic though.. and scale is no guarantee.

I am attaching a composite image of what I hope is my final scabbard for my Crecey. I will probably shoulder strap it, but will try rigging up a belt using two rings (one for forward strap, and one for strap closer to the chape.) I used one of the Mercier company chapes which was still not exactly what I had dreamed. It weighed 100 grams as recieved, and I have done a tremendous amount of grinding to get it to the point shown (still heavy walled, but I got it down to 60 grams.) It is the best I have come across so far, and I wish to thank Jean Le-Pauld for responding to my plea for sources of scabbard chapes. Having a roughly appropriate sized chape helped me avoid making a monstrously oversized tip area of the scabbard. The inside opening of this particular chape is pretty close to dimensions given in some archeological articles regarding chapes that have been recovered.

I used Rod Walker's tip on gluing nylon rope to the core to create the risers. I had been planning a family coat of arms prioir to your (Al Muckart's) post on the nearly complete Knight scabbard. That helped me make up my mind on how to do my (at least somebody's with the same last name and origin) family crest. I through in one of the oldest heraldic symbols (sort of the forerunner to Coats of Arms) near the tip just for fun. I was wondering how many people would recognize it and the story behind it.



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PostPosted: Fri 17 Mar, 2006 10:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks very nice, good job.
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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2006 12:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Thanks for the links Al.

There seem to be some swords that are "worn", but not in a scabbard here and there. I would say based on scale of scabbards shown versus leg length depicted, not many of these would be pushing the 36" length range of a longsword. I admit, art at that time was more symbolic though.. and scale is no guarantee.


You may well be right, iconographic sources are annoying like that. A scabbard for a 36" blade would only be 3-4 inches longer than my knight scabbard though, and I think I could move and fight wearing one fairly easily.

Jared Smith wrote:
I am attaching a composite image of what I hope is my final scabbard for my Crecey. I will probably shoulder strap it, but will try rigging up a belt using two rings (one for forward strap, and one for strap closer to the chape.) I used one of the Mercier company chapes which was still not exactly what I had dreamed. It weighed 100 grams as recieved, and I have done a tremendous amount of grinding to get it to the point shown (still heavy walled, but I got it down to 60 grams.) It is the best I have come across so far, and I wish to thank Jean Le-Pauld for responding to my plea for sources of scabbard chapes. Having a roughly appropriate sized chape helped me avoid making a monstrously oversized tip area of the scabbard. The inside opening of this particular chape is pretty close to dimensions given in some archeological articles regarding chapes that have been recovered.


Very nice work, I particularly like the definition you got on the risers and the crests.

I made a chape for my one with the help of a metal worker friend of mine, and let's just say it definetley looks hand made :-) I'm hoping the buckle and strap end will turn out a bit better. That said, having seen how rough some of the period fittings and armour are I'm not that worried.



Out of curiosity, what made you decide to put the belt attachments so far apart? does it mean the lower strap sits against the back of your legs?

Jared Smith wrote:
I used Rod Walker's tip on gluing nylon rope to the core to create the risers. I had been planning a family coat of arms prioir to your (Al Muckart's) post on the nearly complete Knight scabbard. That helped me make up my mind on how to do my (at least somebody's with the same last name and origin) family crest. I through in one of the oldest heraldic symbols (sort of the forerunner to Coats of Arms) near the tip just for fun. I was wondering how many people would recognize it and the story behind it.


I used thick linen for my risers and didn't quite get the definition I wanted out of them, but I think that had more to do with the leather I used being a bit too thick.

I couldn't make out what the lower charge is from those pictures, what is it?

From reading his post I think Jared already knows this, but the heraldry geek in me feels compelled to point out to the other readers of this thread that there really isn't any such thing as a "family" crest or coat of arms. Armory is only ever issued to individuals. It's one of the most common myths about the way heraldry works - most often perpetuated by dodgy hack-shops trying to sell junk online from what I've seen - and it regularly causes heralds to bang their heads against tables Happy

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Jared Smith




PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2006 6:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I really need some one to teach me how to utilize the quote feature (where previous different member's text appears in white...)

Al wrote: "Out of curiosity, what made you decide to put the belt attachments so far apart? does it mean the lower strap sits against the back of your legs?"

I would like to wear the scabbard tilted at a 45 degree angle. The Inner Bailey shows what I have in mind, part way down their sword belt page titled as "sword belt for longsword XVth century longsword". http://www.theinnerbailey.com/swordbelts.htm I actually weighed the scabbard with the scape and rough cut leather to find balance points with the sword inserted and withdrawn. The lower attachpoint is about 60 mm lower than the balance point of the empty scabbard. The upper riser center line is about 60 mm higher than the balance point with the sword inserted. With the attachment points this far appart on the scabbard, I can make the scabbard tilt angle stable in terms of verticle motion while positioning it over a wide range of verticle tilt. This helps allow my average arm length to re-insert the sword without too awkward a reach.

All wrote: "I couldn't make out what the lower charge is from those pictures, what is it?"

If viewed in normal light, most people can quickly recognize it as a fleur di Lis, surrounded by a dotted texture circle, with vertical lines running behind the whole pattern. Presented this way (similar to Plantard family crest, but without bears on the sides), it is genericly similar to banners of Merovingian kings (Clovis I changed his banner after baptism from "toads/bees" to the lilly around 480 A.D.) There is a lot of controversy about it. Some gnostic conspiricy advocates claimed it originally indicated hereditary blood descent from Jesus Christ. One way or another, it came to represent divine right to kingship/ nobility. The following links should be regarded as somewhat plausible, largely imagined tales.
http://www.scoutmaster.ru/en/hist/pk_toad_lily_en.htm
http://ordotempli.org/the_merovingians.htm
http://www.davincicodedecoded.com/page2.html


What I called a family "Coat of Arms" is a composite of two very similar banners used by a Smythe and Smith family in central England during the 1300's. Banners were used and actually recorded (can be paired to the Abbey Battle Roll in some cases) and preserved as far back as the Magna Carta. Few helms appeared in these banners as of the 1300's (about the time frame for the Crecey), but I added it since the banner was very plain without it. Truthfully, I chose it because it was simple enough for a beginner to detail in embossing! I wished to convey personal identification of the scabbard without having to do something like write a name on it. I figured this was the most reasonable way.

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Jared Smith




PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2006 6:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Al also wrote: "From reading his post I think Jared already knows this, but the heraldry geek in me feels compelled to point out to the other readers of this thread that there really isn't any such thing as a "family" crest or coat of arms. Armory is only ever issued to individuals. It's one of the most common myths about the way heraldry works - most often perpetuated by dodgy hack-shops trying to sell junk online from what I've seen - and it regularly causes heralds to bang their heads against tables."

I actually was not aware that crests could not originally be inherited. I do know that eventually "Armiger" came to mean a person who applied for a registered (patented) crest. This really did not happen until around 1400's. Around that time, these crests came to be associated with businesses that could continue past the life time of an individual. Thus the practicale result was that crests actually did generally continue past the life of the original applicant.

I think the topic might make an o.k. dedicated post. Many forum members probably have enough knowledge to offer a feature article about it, whereas I do not.
Just to seed the topic in case someone else is also interested;
http://www.fleurdelis.com/coatofarms.htm

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PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2006 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I really need some one to teach me how to utilize the quote feature (where previous different member's text appears in white...)


Simply click the button at the top of the post you want to quote. This will start a new reply with that person's text already put into "quote tags". Check out our Info Pages for more infoformation on these quote tags.

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R. Howard Dawkins




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2006 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At the risk of copyright infringement Eek! , I thought I’d post a couple of reference images from the Osprey Publishing book “Knight of Outremer: AD 1187-1344”, by David Nicolle and illustrated by Christa Hook, showing some scabbard lacing techniques, for the benefit of those who may not own the book…





Hope this sheds some light.... Big Grin
Rob
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2006 5:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R. Howard Dawkins wrote:
At the risk of copyright infringement Eek! , I thought I’d post a couple of reference images from the Osprey Publishing book “Knight of Outremer: AD 1187-1344”, by David Nicolle and illustrated by Christa Hook, showing some scabbard lacing techniques, for the benefit of those who may not own the book…

Hope this sheds some light.... Big Grin
Rob


Rob, thank you. That has answered a question I've been puzzling over for a couple of days now, and for any copyright holders who may be reading this, this has just sold another copy of your book.

My understanding is that the osprey books are generally very well researched, if a little spotty on the bibliograpic information, does that sound right to other folk?

I'd been staring at the Maciejowski bible illustrations for other things and had noticed that the scabbards in there are almost all illustrated with having a single diagonal on the front of the scabbard a-la the scabbard of Sancho IV, King of Castille in the frontspiece of The Archaeology of Weapons. The notable feature of the Maciejowski Bible sword belts is that the rear belt is split, and I hadn't quite worked out how that worked. The illustration above seems to explain it nicely.

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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Scabbard lacing reference pics
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