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Thread: Sword rack project

  1. #1

    Sword rack project

    After a year of storing my swords on some shelves in the guest room I decided it was time for a proper display/storage solution. I am not terribly handy--not because I can't learn how to make things, but in general I lack the tools and the willingness to invest in tools. So, what to do about a display...

    I decided that I wanted to buy ready-made rack, but I was not willing to pay very much. After searching eBay and various online retailers I decided to buy an 8-sword wall display for $29.99 (plus shipping for a total of about $40.00) from KultofAthena.com. I decided to buy from Kult of Athena for several reasons; their prices matched those found on eBay for similar products, they have a reputation for great customer service, and they accept PayPal.

    8-sword wall display from KoA:


    The rack is quite nice for the price. The catch is that it is made for Japanese-style swords, and is therefor too narrow for more hilt-heavy European swords (it measures 13 3/4'' wide x 40'' tall). This was easy to remedy since the rack is held together with dowels. After a short trip to my local home improvement store, I was ready to begin modifying my sword rack.

    Tools and supplies:


    I cut the dowels so that they were twice the length of the previous dowels. Unfortunately, this means that I need to go back to the store for one more dowel, but at abut $1.50 each, it's not a big deal. Here is the result of my efforts so far:



    In addition to adding the third dowel, I will also be painting the dowels. I will use leftover wall paint, so when I am finished the dowels will match the color of the wall in the bedroom (which is also a burgundy color, although not quite as dark). I will update this thread once this rack is complete. So far I am quite pleased with what I have done. The total cost for the project will end up at about $45.

    Please feel free to comment or make suggestions, or to post your own sword display/storage projects.

    All the best,
    Jonathan

  2. #2
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    sword racks

    J. G.
    i have used the same racks in my sword room for a couple of years now. They work beautifully. I store the swords with alternating hilt direction for more clearance. Give yourself adequate room between racks. and make sure they are screwed into a solid backing of course. I painted the whole rack a gloss black.. Paul

  3. #3
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    Looks like you're off to a good start

    This rack seems to be designed for Japanese swords, so if you intend to display swords with larger basket hilts, you might run into issues as regards wall clearance. Of course, you could always screw 1" shims on the back of the runners to give yourself some space...
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4
    Paul,
    I have considered painting the rack one color, too. For now I am going to settle for having dowels of a slightly different color to avoid buying paint. I may re-paint the rack at some point.

    Mark,
    Thanks. I tested my English basket hilt on the rack. The hilt touches the wall, but that is not a concern for me. This first rack will be for my Victorian swords, none of which have large inboard guards, so I don't anticipate problems. When I make my second rack I may need to add some blocks to the back to accommodate the disc hilt of the P1796 HC trooper's sword.

    The thing I like about this project is that it will produce a decent-looking rack for less than half the price of the cheapest 4-gun wall racks I found online, and that it is easy and does not take much time to do. What I did last night took maybe 10 minutes.

    Jonathan

  5. #5
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    I needed something for my 20th Century US Cavalry collection, and thought I'd do it myself, since it couldn't be that hard. Four months later, I finally had something I could use, and I'm rather proud of my first foray into carpentry...



    I've decided I don't like the top rack with the M1902s and M1905s in it, so I'm going to build something similar to the bottom rack with the M1913s, but smaller.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Scott View Post
    I needed something for my 20th Century US Cavalry collection, and thought I'd do it myself, since it couldn't be that hard. Four months later, I finally had something I could use, and I'm rather proud of my first foray into carpentry...



    I've decided I don't like the top rack with the M1902s and M1905s in it, so I'm going to build something similar to the bottom rack with the M1913s, but smaller.
    Pretty greedy with those Pattons & experimentals. Or is that your retirement plan?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WBranner View Post
    Pretty greedy with those Pattons & experimentals. Or is that your retirement plan?
    The idea with the Pattons is to collect one example of each year produced, and each type of the LF&Cs. I only lack a 1916-dated blade to have that completed.

    The experimentals grew by accident. I bought one Springfield example for the collection, and it had a pigskin officer's scabbard. Another one came up with an enlisted leather scabbard, so I figured for completeness I'd get that one as well. I decided to get an Ames for comparison purposes, and then another Ames came up that was 9th Cav marked and with nickeled furniture and blade. That was just too odd to pass up. I've also bought an Ames in relic condition so I can explore the construction without damaging one that's in good condition.

  8. #8
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    Also noted are the knots on the 13s. Repros I assume? Do you have the scabbard variations also? I've not met someone who specialized in them.

    I only have one, but it's a 1913 manufacture with a really low serial number (587). It has a blade that was broken & reforged (not so well).

  9. #9
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    About half the saber knots are WPG repros (which are VERY good, by the way). The other half are a mix of RIA, Boyt, and unmarked saddler's knots, with a Jefferson thrown in.

    I also have original knots for the other sabers (a saber is not complete without its knot), but with that method of display the knots just get in each others' way. That's one reason I'm going to make a different rack.

    I have examples of all the scabbard variations; tent peg, tent peg ground off, no tent peg and officer's, with examples in both green and khaki webbing.

  10. #10
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    When making a wall mount rack it's a good idea to have the spacing match up with the wall structure so that you are fastening into the wood and not just sheetrock.
    Thomas Powers
    CoFounder of the Intergalactic Union of Bladesmiths
    "when you forge upon a star"---you better have your union card handy!

  11. #11
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    Here's my newest thing I'm doing. I change my mind regularly. I prefer a non rack type if arrangement and really like an invisible look. My first real success came with using fishing line attached to push pins & it was ok, but made handling them difficult as I always had to string them up again.

    Now, I'm using plexiglass that I bend with a heat gun. It works real well although it took a lot of mistakes to get to something practical. It also has the advantage of not needing a lot of support as the pieces are relatively light when hung individually. Another advantage is that the screws into the wall are hidden by the sword/scabbard.

    Finally, I like to have some separation so each sword displays on it's own. I want to fill in the spaces with paintings/pictures/photos of the soldiers who carried the sabers and the descriptions to get some kind of context and let anyone who may view them a chance to get all the pertinant info they want without having to listen to me go on and on and on.

    Finally, I have some glass shelves I can just set some swords on.
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  12. #12
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    Looks Like a Nice, Proper Arms Room Sean, well done

  13. #13
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    for what its worth please see my cheapo idea for a rack.
    2 lengths of timber with what are sold in the uk as "shaker" coat pegs glued into holes drilled at even intervals.
    the photo looks a bit odd as I had probs getting the size of the file down enough to load.
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  14. #14
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    Although I have some skilz, I am lazy at heart and make do with sheet rock screws and the occasional bit of cord or ribbon for virtually anything I have on the walls. In considering a better way to condense my mess at exhibition, I went looking for ready made solutions to rack cruciform type reproductions on. Rubbermaid to the rescue! I have had this loaded with some twenty swords and it is suprisingly stable. I may get around to painting it basic black but either way, it will be handy for saving table space when out in public. I'm still looking at some other table display solutions and may yet knock together something else to rack some horizontally, or do something like a silverware tray. Upside down dish drainers might be just the ticket. Tacky though.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; lots of projects, little impedus
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  15. #15
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    Glen,

    Isn't there a 'man-law' in effect against using any Rubbermaid products?
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  16. #16
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    Hmm. I need to seriously think about improving my storage it seems. T-Pins in a wall and a dresser drawer for the rest is suddenly very boring.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McMorrow View Post
    Glen,

    Isn't there a 'man-law' in effect against using any Rubbermaid products?
    That's were the basic black stove paint will come in. A huge plus is that it breaks down quickly for transport and storage, while weighing next to nothing.

    Man-law would have also dictated I go dig out a cordless electric drill, find the charger and libate while charging today for drilling a bunch of holes (some through stainless) but I went more period (like from when men wore wigs and stockings) and used an old fashioned egg beater type. The batteries recharge quicker with those.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; I did pout some having to wait two weeks for some nails

  18. #18
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    First Rubbermaid, now wigs and stockings?... You're beginning to weave a disturbing tapestry.
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  19. #19
    Thanks for bumping this topic back to the top. Seeing it motivated me to dig out the paint and finish this project. I painted the poplar dowels the same color as the wall. I think it turned out nicely. I just need to decide how I want the swords displayed on the rack:

    like this...



    ...or like this?



    The rack holds eight swords, but I only have seven on display now because that is the number of Victorian swords in my collection. I like how this turned out and at some point will be making one for my Georgian swords and one for my miscellaneous swords and bayonets.

    Jonathan

  20. #20
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    Finally I want to add my share too

    If you have a jigsaw and a little time plus some pieces of sand-paper, you might do something like this (see pictures below).
    But I must admit: It's nothing for huge collections as seen above, but might be an interesting acessoir in a corner of the living room, if the lady of the house allows


    William
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  21. #21
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    Looks good Jonathan! Can't wait to see the Georgian display.

    Here's my solution to constantly moving nails and repairing screw holes in my wall.

    Construction is 2x3 pine in 6' lengths, spaced 20" apart. Each piece was stained and mounted using 3 x 2.5" screws into secure drywall mounts (as none of the planks lined up with a stud). Swords are hung on simple brass cup holders, which can be easily bent to accommodate the scabbards or pinched to hold bare blades.

    Apart from the obvious space saving the biggest advantage is how easy the hooks can be moved to accommodate additions or removals. Thanks to Richard for the idea!

    Rob
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    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McMorrow View Post
    First Rubbermaid, now wigs and stockings?... You're beginning to weave a disturbing tapestry.
    I guess I'll not mention breaking a couple of nails but I'm not sure I like the color and shaping anyway.

    That looks great Jonathan. If it were me, I'd face them the same way, if wanting to focus on the hilts. Though, alternating does make the eye catch the whole sword individually.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; the tapestry would be in the other loom

  23. #23
    Rob,
    I love your display. I may need to give that a whirl for the Georgian swords since they are not as regularly shaped as the Victorian swords, or for all swords at a much later date. Thanks for posting your collection display again!

    Jonathan

  24. #24
    Glen,
    Thank you for your opinion. I prefer having the hilts all together, too. They are now displayed as they appear in the first image.

    Jonathan

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.G. Hopkins View Post
    Rob,
    I love your display. I may need to give that a whirl for the Georgian swords since they are not as regularly shaped as the Victorian swords, or for all swords at a much later date. Thanks for posting your collection display again!

    Jonathan
    My pleasure Jonathan. Sadly the wall has been dismantled as we have the house up for sale. The real estate agent said potential buyers might find it 'intimidating'...go figure. Collection has changed a bit too.

    Rob
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

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