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Thread: woodstain for bronze age sword and bronze age art

  1. #1
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    woodstain for bronze age sword and bronze age art

    Hope folks can help! I have a Neil Burridge Wilburton sword that I'm making a handle for from oak. I thought a dark wood would look good against the bronze flanges, but the oak is quite pale. I'd like to darken it, but don't want to use anything not available in the bronze age. Does anyone have any ideas what I could use to stain it that wouldn't be anachronistic?

    Also does anyone know of any surviving bronze age artwork from Britain? I though I might decorate the scabbard, but again don't want to do anything out of the era.

    thaks for any help!

  2. #2
    I cannot say it was used in the Bronze Age, but vinegaroon is a traditional mix used to darken oak and leather.
    141. Not allowed to use a broadsword to disprove ‘The Pen is Mightier than the sword’.
    Some of my blades

  3. #3
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    Hey,

    I got my wood pretty dark by just using linseed oil.


    Wood before (digitally played around with the bits up near the waist.. ignore that :P)
    http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h1...hrange003c.jpg

    Wood after
    http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h1...e/IMG_8352.jpg

  4. #4
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    Oak will darken (including blues and blacks) when exposed to iron and moisture. I found this out the hard way when it rained on some fittings laid out on a nice oak sled.

    You may want to experiment with filings, or check out on the web (where several woodworking sites tell you how to undo the staining).
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  5. #5
    REALLy, Atli, IRON filings on a BRONZE age sword? Tsk.... I generally shy away from staining wood--it just strikes me as a modernism to make cheap pine furniture look like cherry or walnut. I can't say they didn't do it, of course, I've just never run into any real evidence that they did. Sure, leather was dyed, though again for a darker brown I'd say just oil it more. We know paints (maybe including *colored* stains?) were used for wood, though I don't know how far back in whatever areas. (There's a lot better evidence for Mycenaean Greece than there is for Britain at the same time, for instance.)

    So I guess I'm saying, if you want a darker hilt, use darker wood! Walnut is MUCH nicer to work with than oak, anyway.

    For the scabbard, there are some surviving scabbards and pieces that are sometimes decorated. You can probably find more on the Bronze Age Center:

    http://z8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/index.php?

    Have fun!

    Matthew

  6. #6
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    ok, was thinking too complex with aqua fortis... Bronze age right... and wood filler for oak... well how about just pitch and asphaltum that gives a rather intersting dark look and makes it water resistant.
    Last edited by Christopher Treichel; 08-12-2013 at 10:38 AM.
    "Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio."
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  7. #7
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    Thought I remembered asphaltum being used as a preservative back in the Bronze age... got to clear out the cob webs on the rest.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=COU...%20age&f=false
    "Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio."
    Elbert Hubbard

    Nakamura Ryu Batto Do, Order of Seven Hearts

  8. #8
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    "So I guess I'm saying, if you want a darker hilt, use darker wood! Walnut is MUCH nicer to work with than oak, anyway."

    Ah, but 'tis a pity black walnut is a New World species. It makes lovely handles and grips and much else. At the opposite end of the spectrum, holly has a beautiful smooth, dense white wood that would go well with bronze age associations.

    However, this begs the question: is there a database of handle materials used on Bronze Age swords? I've seen such list for Anglo-Saxon and Viking finds, and it would be useful for both what was used and how commonly it was used.
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Blackistone View Post
    Ah, but 'tis a pity black walnut is a New World species.
    Yup, I know, in fact I've heard that most European equivalents of dark American woods are not as dark. But I noticed the original poster was from England, so I didn't think that would be a big issue!

    However, this begs the question: is there a database of handle materials used on Bronze Age swords?
    A *database* of anything *Bronze Age*?? Wow, wouldn't that be nice! I mean, you can find publications with sword and spear typologies, of course. But when wood survives, it isn't always identified. Though now that I think about it, it may be more likely to find the wood identified on Bronze Age finds than on Roman ones, hmmm... Unfortunately, I'm drawing a blank for hilt parts, besides horn and bone. Ivory for the Aegean area, too. I know hazel was used for scabbards. Of course down in the Eastern Mediterranean there's also ebony (what we now call African blackwood), but using that on a British sword is probably a stretch, ha!

    There MUST be more information on the Bronze Age Center!

    Matthew

  10. #10
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    Wow, thanks for all your help out there! I used oak on an Ewart Park I have, and used copious amounts of linseed on it. Did that one a couple of years back, and it's darkening off a bit, with the grain startng to show trhrough more, probably helped by grubby hands!

    Bit of a curve on this now, we've got hold of some copper, and came up with an idea of sand casting copper plates. I'm not aware of any examples of this from the period, and can only assume that it was due to the cost of the raw material. Obviously have to keep it clean so it doesn't go green, just wondered what people would think? I reckon the contrasting metals would look good.

    The only similar thinga that jump to mind on this are the Witham and Urnfield swords. they're obviously one piece, but it does give a precedent for metal grips.

  11. #11
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    "That's not dirt; that's patina!"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Blackistone View Post
    "That's not dirt; that's patina!"
    Ha! Like that! I'll have to remember it!

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