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Thread: Replacement P1796 LC grip

  1. #1
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    Replacement P1796 LC grip

    I plan to fabricate a leather covered wooden grip (beech or obeche) for a British P1796 light cavalry sabre. The back strap has no 'ears'.
    If any members have any tips for the construction I would be very interested to hear them. I have a couple of questions:
    Would it be best to make the grip in two halves, cut out the slots for the tang and then glue the halves together or is there an easy way to make the grip in one piece and bore out the slot for the tang?
    Is it be best to cut the ribs directly on the wooden grip or would it be easier to wrap the grip with cord and then cover with leather? I have seen both of these methods used on other P1796 swords that I have owned.
    Any help would be most welcome.
    Ian

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Knight View Post
    I plan to fabricate a leather covered wooden grip (beech or obeche) for a British P1796 light cavalry sabre. The back strap has no 'ears'.
    If any members have any tips for the construction I would be very interested to hear them. I have a couple of questions:
    Would it be best to make the grip in two halves, cut out the slots for the tang and then glue the halves together or is there an easy way to make the grip in one piece and bore out the slot for the tang?
    Is it be best to cut the ribs directly on the wooden grip or would it be easier to wrap the grip with cord and then cover with leather? I have seen both of these methods used on other P1796 swords that I have owned.
    Any help would be most welcome.
    Ian
    Ian,

    You might consider contacting Tom Nardi. I believe he told me that he has made a 1796 LC grip for a replacement sword. I think he had a pattern for it. He may be able to make you a generic grip that can be adapted to your sword.
    Andre F. Ducote
    Mississippi

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.Ducote View Post
    Ian,

    You might consider contacting Tom Nardi. I believe he told me that he has made a 1796 LC grip for a replacement sword. I think he had a pattern for it. He may be able to make you a generic grip that can be adapted to your sword.
    Thank you Andre.
    Ian

  4. #4
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    Grips

    Hi Ian, I have used Nardi,s grips, made from some kind of resin, easy to work with. The trick is to fit the grip snug to the tang. You can make a steel copy of the tang, then serrate it so it works like a file, will work easily on this grip material. I have used thin black leather with at least 1" of excess, once wet and wrapped with string over the grip, microwave no longer than 30 seconds. Watch as you do it because the leather shrinks quickly. Some may cringe at this but it really makes the leather tight and smooth to the grip and speeds up drying time. The leather will look smooth and hard like original ones, just add Renaissance wax.
    I am shure there are many other ways to do this and I would like to hear other ideas.

  5. #5
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    Unless you're an avid do-it-yourselfer, you might see what he would charge to do the whole thing. I can vouch for the job he did on fitting a grip for me and I thought his price was more than reasonable.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the input guys. I think I would prefer to either buy or make a grip which is constructed from materials that would have been used on the original sabre.
    Ian

  7. #7
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    Im not a woodworker, but it would seem to me that the difficulty in making a 1796 LC or HC grip would come in the correctly getting the curvature of the piece. It makes a rather shallow dip to the backstrap towards the pommel.
    Andre F. Ducote
    Mississippi

  8. #8
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    I will make templates from other P1796 LC sabres that I own. The problem that I envisage is the cutting of the slot for the tang. That is why I think that starting the grip with two halves of wood might be the easier option. I can then cut out half of the depth of the tang from each piece and then glue them together.
    I have contacted Tom Nardi. He doesn't produce a sword grip for a P1796 LC sabre. He advised me to buy a scrap P1796 sword and use the grip from that.
    Ian

  9. #9
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    Ian:

    In the woodworking world, there's a tool called a mortising chisel and bit that is designed to drill through wood as you are suggesting. It's essentially a drill bit surrounded by a square chisel, which you mount in a drill press/pillar drill. The bit removes most of the material and the chisel follows the bit's lead, taking out the corners of the cylinder left by the bit (that's not a great description, but do a search for "mortising chisel and bit" and you will better understand how it works). The tool comes in various sizes -- 1/4-inch is probably what you would need -- but it requires some careful set-up and clamping on the drill press. Because of the taper of the tang, you would likely need to drill two angled mortises side-by-side on one end of the grip so they would meet where the tang starts to bend. Another single mortise cut from the other end and angled to accommodate the curve in the tang would give you the opening, which you could then open-up as needed with narrow files.

    I did this when fabricating a grip for a cheap reproduction sword owned by the son of a friend. I would suggest not using a hardwood for the grip; it's much more challenging to cut. Also, it would likely be easier to make the slot first in a large block of wood (because it would be more stable on the drill press and easier to position and clamp), and then reduce the block to suit the grip profile.

    Mark

  10. #10
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    Thanks very much for that Mark.
    Ian

  11. #11
    Ian.
    Your solution to make the grip in two pieces is the best one.The problem is the tang is tapered and probably square shouldered so boring would be difficult.Mark the tang on one slab and carefully rebate it to the full depth of the tang.Get the best fit you can.The other slab can then be glued on.I would suggest using traditional hide or pearl glue,its very reversible and would be contempory.Its a little bit more complicated,but who wants to do things the easy way.Some 'sharp' carving gouges and a bit of practice will do the grips.Be sure and use a vice or some other holdfast.
    The first one is always the hardest.Think, could be an opening out there??
    p.s. Wooden scabbards are usually made in two parts.
    Niall Dignan

  12. #12
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    Thanks Niall. I think I am leaning towards this method rather than boring a hole for the tang out of a solid piece of wood. I may actually have a go at both methods to see which one is the most successful.
    I used to own a P1796 LC sabre which had lost a little of its leather grip covering. Underneath the leather the grip was wrapped in a thickish cord to create the ribbed effect. This might be an easier method rather than cutting the ribs out of the wood. Again, I might try both methods.
    Taking orders shortly.
    Ian

  13. #13
    Ian.If you weren't confident with chisels, wood rasps would do the job very well.There's a wide range available.Beech would work nicely with these.The cord method is very feasible also.I would suggest marking and filing a light spiral groove to act as a guide.A size of glue would fix it.Looks like your going to experiment to get the best solution.You'll certainly be a wiser man when your done.I'm sure it will look great as well,you might keep us posted.
    Last edited by niall dignan; 10-02-2009 at 02:02 PM. Reason: grammatical error
    Niall Dignan

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by niall dignan View Post
    Ian.If you weren't confident with chisels, wood rasps would do the job very well.There's a wide range available.Beech would work nicely with these.The cord method is very feasible also.I would suggest marking and filing a light spiral groove to act as a guide.A size of glue would fix it.Looks like your going to experiment to get the best solution.You'll certainly be a wiser man when your done.I'm sure it will look great as well,you might keep us posted.
    I certainly will Niall. Thanks for your help and advice.
    Ian

  15. #15

    1796 grip replacement

    Hi Ian,

    It seems you have more than enough advice on the best way to make and fit the grip to the tang.

    I have personally restored the grip and covering on one 1796 Heavy Cavalry troopers sword, one 1796 Light Cavalry troopers sword and one early military basket hilt sword.

    In my opinion, the most critical aspect of any such restoration is the finished shape of the grip, which will either make or break your restoration; on an equal footing with the shape of the grip, is attention to the finished appearence of the riveting of the tang and the rivet through the grip, with the overall patina of the new work, with an old sword given careful consideration as well.

  16. #16
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    Thanks Gordon. Luckily there is no rivet through the tang as the back strap is plain with no 'ears'. I will shape the grip carefully to match other P1796 swords that I own.
    Ian

  17. #17
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    grip

    Her is a pic of an older replacement grip, I believe using twine/rope under the leather. Has a good shape.


    http://s697.photobucket.com/albums/v...6LCgrip002.jpg

    http://s697.photobucket.com/albums/v...6LCgrip003.jpg

  18. #18
    Due to the shape of the grip we would probably have made the grip in two halves, glued together and then shaped the grip.

    Cut the wire grooves into the grip rather than trying to build them up with cord.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    Her is a pic of an older replacement grip, I believe using twine/rope under the leather. Has a good shape.


    http://s697.photobucket.com/albums/v...6LCgrip002.jpg

    http://s697.photobucket.com/albums/v...6LCgrip003.jpg
    That looks excellent Will. I hope mine looks as good.
    Ian

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by R. Lowe View Post
    Due to the shape of the grip we would probably have made the grip in two halves, glued together and then shaped the grip.

    Cut the wire grooves into the grip rather than trying to build them up with cord.
    Thanks Richard. I have already made a start. I have cut the slot for the tang in one piece of beech and glued the other to it.
    Ian

  21. #21
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    Update

    How about an update on the progress. Always interested. Photos?? I wrote one thread "sword grip preservation". Did you see it? ofcourse not needed for this project type. The stuff works really well with damaged grips..
    Good luck!

  22. #22
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    Hello Will,
    Yes, I did see your thread on the use of Paraloid B72. It would be very useful to fill in an area of loss and I may try it on on of my other P1796 sabres which has lost a small area of grip near the pommel, as many of them do.

    I have cut the basic shape of my grip after cutting the slot for the tang in one half of wood and gluing another piece to it. I have also cut and shaped the area under the ferrule. My next step is to plane the wood to size on the top and sides and get the back strap/pommel to fit. I will then shape the underside of the grip and round off the entire grip to the final ergonomic shape. Finally I will cut out or file the ribs.
    I am on hold at the moment because my vice has broken. :-(
    Ian

  23. #23

    Smile

    You can never have enough vices,Ian.
    Niall Dignan

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by niall dignan View Post
    You can never have enough vices,Ian.
    Totally agree Niall
    Ian

  25. #25
    What are you covering the grip with? Make sure you allow for the thickness of whatever grip covering you're going to use.

    A set of callipers is particularly useful to make sure you get all the sections of the grip the same size as the original.

    A coarse half round metal file is very handy for removing decent amounts of wood when you're forming the shape of the grip.

    The other tip is to mount a spike in the vice and slide the grip onto that rather than holding the grip in the vice. You can then get access all the way round the grip with your file and spin the grip as you file to keep the curves flowing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Knight View Post
    Hello Will,
    Yes, I did see your thread on the use of Paraloid B72. It would be very useful to fill in an area of loss and I may try it on on of my other P1796 sabres which has lost a small area of grip near the pommel, as many of them do.

    I have cut the basic shape of my grip after cutting the slot for the tang in one half of wood and gluing another piece to it. I have also cut and shaped the area under the ferrule. My next step is to plane the wood to size on the top and sides and get the back strap/pommel to fit. I will then shape the underside of the grip and round off the entire grip to the final ergonomic shape. Finally I will cut out or file the ribs.
    I am on hold at the moment because my vice has broken. :-(
    Ian

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