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Thread: The Artful Dodger: A Rapscallion's Small Sword

  1. #1
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    The Artful Dodger: A Rapscallion's Small Sword

    Here is the Artful Dodger coming in at 1 pound 6 oz and POB 2" from guard. 28" blade, 34.5" total length. Knuckle guard, ricasso and ring forged from single piece of wrought. Although I had to reinforce the attachment point for the ring as my gnarly stuff doesn't like being split. The pommel was shaped on my grinder and with files. A do believe a lathe is on order if I continue along this line. The grip is antiqued deer bone with nickel silver wire wraps and copper nails.

    The styling of the sword is that of a relic or antique and could have been the weapon of an 18th century rapscallion or rogue.. somebody that has come into some money by disreputable means. He walks the streets with a swagger and is quite handy in the fence.

    The heat treat came out wonderfully for such a thin blade.. it came out essentially straight in the flat plane but took a subtle nose dive to the side. The blade is now dead straight in the flat.. but I had to leave that little bit of nose dive... I just didn't want to sacrifice any length. Next time I will do less shaping of the point before heat treat to allow for this.

















    Also... The Artful Dodger is in need of a home so please visit my website for details: http://bigrockforge.com/category/available/
    Scott A. Roush... bladesmith at Big Rock Forge
    http://www.bigrockforge.com
    For recent work and what's on the bench: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog

  2. #2
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    Also.. a couple of build shots:









    Scott A. Roush... bladesmith at Big Rock Forge
    http://www.bigrockforge.com
    For recent work and what's on the bench: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog

  3. #3
    That'sa beauty....!!
    Custom made handle slab laminations
    http://www.pbase.com/bensweet
    "A Liberal is a person who will give away everything he doesn't own." -Unknown
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  4. #4
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    A very nice piece; my envy is starting to cut in.

    (Oh, and covetousness; it's not my time period, but maybe it would fit in with 1812 reenactments...)
    Last edited by Bruce Blackistone; 02-08-2013 at 05:46 AM.
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  5. #5
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    Thanks a lot folks...

    Bruce.. I will have to check my references.. but since it has a loop hilt.. it fits in well with 'spadroons' which I think would be relevant??

    I've started on the scabbard today. It will have a birch laminated core with thin goatskin cover. I'm shooting for authentic as possible. So if anybody has good references for the suspension I'd love to see them.
    Scott A. Roush... bladesmith at Big Rock Forge
    http://www.bigrockforge.com
    For recent work and what's on the bench: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog

  6. #6
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    Hi Scott,

    A fine sword you have put together.

    Small sword carry was often via a baldric and then later in time the belt clips and chains come along. Early sword carriers were very much like a rapeir carrier, some with straps, others via a stud or hook locket affixed to the top scabbard mount. I wish I had saved (or I may have and just can't find it in my files) an auction page with near a dozen different belt clips. I am attaching some of those below. For a baldric and locket inspiration, there was a recent thread here with a fine effort for an Old Dominion sword. The thread shows both a hook or stud type for a simple baldric.
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...-Hunting-Sword

    From that Bashford Dean link I posted at myArmoury, is a page of that which shows some 17th century carriers but your loop hilt would have been a good bit later. Still, it will give you an idea how that method would hang.
    http://swordlinks.com/courtswords/p3.html

    The baldric and locket may fir best with your sword but the chains and clip method I think lends a bit of "dandy" flavor. Since the baldric and locket routine was used even up to the 20th century, a military motif would fit but an Artful Dodger might want something a little flashy like a clip. Neither would be out of palce for the sword. MAny old scabbards were just light stiff leather

    Spadroons are heavier than a small sword but chains and clip used even for those by some. Chains and multiple clips continue to this day for fraternal swords.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; the two b&w photos from auctions past and the blue background shots gleaned from Russ Ellis' Tritonworks pages
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  7. #7
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    I really appreciate it Glen. I was already salivating over Wick's work on that piece. Hmmm... decisions.

    I wondered if some of these scabbards would have been just leather. But my goatskin is way too thin for this application.. and the birch is very light. I'm assuming there were examples with wooden cores as well??
    Last edited by Scott Roush; 02-08-2013 at 10:51 AM.
    Scott A. Roush... bladesmith at Big Rock Forge
    http://www.bigrockforge.com
    For recent work and what's on the bench: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog

  8. #8
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    Leather on wood certainly found and if the core is thin/slim enough, I don't think the profile will hurt it much. Veeneer thickness should be fine for a core.. Definitely plain leather would be more common, as somewhat expendable and that we don't see a lot of them remaining. Follow the other thread link within the baldric thread and you will see one of mine that is quite thin leather.
    Last edited by Glen C.; 02-08-2013 at 11:12 AM.

  9. #9
    Scott,
    Here are a few images from Aylward's The Small-Sword in England and Neumann's Swords and Blades of the American Revolution.

    Jonathan
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    Last edited by J.G. Hopkins; 02-08-2013 at 11:55 AM.

  10. #10
    And some words of wisdom from Aylward... (If the print is too small I am happy to email you larger images.)

    Jonathan
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  11. #11
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    Lovely piece Scott,
    the wrought work look's really nice,
    grand piece overall,

  12. #12
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    Oh this is great stuff.. I'm really glad I asked about this because I wasn't all that interested in working on a scabbard for this one. I figured I'd send that out when a buyer comes along. But now I'm excited to finally work on a baldric that isn't some fantasy nonsense. I will probably go with a locket/stud and leather 'sleeve'.

    And that article is great. So far my construction is very similar.. although I wasn't originally planning on the linen wrap. But I may do that just to give some nice texture beneath the leather. So.. are there any decent close-up photographs of the leather over linen/wood? Was it done in such a way that the thread shows through as an impression in the leather??
    Scott A. Roush... bladesmith at Big Rock Forge
    http://www.bigrockforge.com
    For recent work and what's on the bench: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog

  13. #13
    I am not sure, Scott. Not that I have seen. This may offer some insight for a leather scabbard:

    http://www.mfa.org/collections/objec...aistbelt-41388

    Or you can do a Google image search:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=smal...ih=979#imgrc=_

    This thread may have some info:

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...he-Small-Sword

  14. #14
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    Nice stuff on there. I need to learn how to utilize that Google images search. That is great...

    GlenC.... I was reading your comments on Wick's work and you mentioned that the frog stud was usually some sort of folded sheet or tube. My intuition would have went the way of Wick and just ground or forged from a small block. Searching through Google's archives.. it seems that there are way more examples of the 'belt clip' hanger method. My only hang up on going with that method would be the chain and clips. I COULD take the take to forge the chain.. but the clips are probably beyond my skill level. Can any of the re-enactors here recommend a supplier of period correct implements like that???
    Scott A. Roush... bladesmith at Big Rock Forge
    http://www.bigrockforge.com
    For recent work and what's on the bench: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog

  15. #15
    G. Gedney Godwin offers a number of options, for example:

    http://www.gggodwin.com/ProdList.asp?scat=87

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Roush View Post
    Nice stuff on there. I need to learn how to utilize that Google images search. That is great...

    GlenC.... I was reading your comments on Wick's work and you mentioned that the frog stud was usually some sort of folded sheet or tube. My intuition would have went the way of Wick and just ground or forged from a small block. Searching through Google's archives.. it seems that there are way more examples of the 'belt clip' hanger method. My only hang up on going with that method would be the chain and clips. I COULD take the take to forge the chain.. but the clips are probably beyond my skill level. Can any of the re-enactors here recommend a supplier of period correct implements like that???
    Hi Scott

    What I wrote is that the hook/locket type that was fashioned out of a block of iron was _sometimes_ just a brass tube that had been bent in an L (then crimped or soldered to the chape) and not a solid piece of brass rod. In my opinion, the soldered block of iron is a bit overkill and that the contemporary lockets and studs were only there to keep the scabbard from slipping through, not necessarily to hold the weight of the weapon.

    They may seem a fragile method but most were lost when someone tried to pry one out of a baldric frog. Really meant to be a single installation and not frequent removing and replacement. For instance, I have an 1800ish age sabre that had lost the stud type and another steel button on my Starr nco that I would never try to pry out of a dry old frog. In watching many of those Starr listings, about half have lost their steel button and post.

    I really feel they were not breaking off in period but later monkey wrenching.

    The clip might be fashioned pretty easily out of a sheet of something cut to profile, then drill and file work for the fretwork/decorative openings. Folding the tab around a small round or other edge should be fairly simplistic. The ggGodwin clips surely ok but you might want a more personal touch to flow with the project. Keep in mind that folk in the old days had lots of time to do things, so filing out some decorative openings something to do. The ring hooks and chains another task to think about in terms of found items (cheap pocket watch chains of other jewelry sources). Making wire loops kind of like how some make their own mail. Think about how they ere doing these things back then.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; I think it was Craig Johnson of A&A that mentions how not to think of a detailed process as tedium but to come up with a very practical tool to do it for you
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  17. #17
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    Thanks again. It's tough to make out but it looks like the stud on that closeup is flat stock with a pin through it?

    As to a clip.. most of the samples I've seen seem to have springs in the clipping mechanism. If some were essentially just hooks.. then I could certainly handle that.

    edit: I was just looking at the Godwin site and see that they are selling the whole thing. I meant that I could make all of that.. i just meant the little hooks to clip into the rings on the scabbard. Fashioning and heat treating that little spring doesn't.... look fun. Yeah.. I would want most of it to be 'custom' to flow with the piece as you say. But if actual period attachment clips didn't have springs.. they I would be fine with that. The more I think about it... the leather baldric method seems to be too 'military' for the feel of my sword.
    Last edited by Scott Roush; 02-10-2013 at 05:09 AM.
    Scott A. Roush... bladesmith at Big Rock Forge
    http://www.bigrockforge.com
    For recent work and what's on the bench: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog

  18. #18
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    Well I've decided to go full tilt with the belt clip method. I've found a local craft jeweler that makes beautiful custom spring hooks and chains.. so I will combine those with my own work on the belt clip itself. Wheew.. glad that is settled.
    Scott A. Roush... bladesmith at Big Rock Forge
    http://www.bigrockforge.com
    For recent work and what's on the bench: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog

  19. #19
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    Oooooh; once the belt clip is finished; more pictures!
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

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