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Old 6th September 2019, 10:56 AM   #1
Hombre
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Default Blades without a scabbard!

When you buying blades without the scabbard, how do you doÖ.
Do you let someone make a scabbard which will look correct and which will fit the bladeÖ. Or do you just display it as it is because in the end the blade is the most important thingÖ. Should like to hear your opinions about itÖ.

Best,
Stefan
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Old 6th September 2019, 11:50 AM   #2
Kubur
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Hi
I just let it as it is.
For 2 reasons: first a new scabbard will be modern and ugly, second to save some money.
The biggest problem for me is when the sword comes with an original and ugly scabbard...

Kubur
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Old 6th September 2019, 11:53 AM   #3
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Some collectors see a scabbard as vital but I have never cared that much for their presence, viewing them as a bonus only. Perhaps this is because I've always liked to display my swords with the blades naked and so I have a pile of labelled scabbards propped forlornly in a corner!

Of course, there are some exceptions to this (a brass scabbard on a British Victorian sword is sometimes more important than the sword itself, for example).
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Old 6th September 2019, 12:43 PM   #4
Martin Lubojacky
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Hi,

For me it is important to have the item "complete". Regardless of whether it is Austro_Hungarian sabre (the value is higher) or e.g. Salampasu short sword. In the case of some of African weapons the scabbard presents very nice example of African handicraft and culture. So I prefer "with scabbard" and from this reason I can wait for years for the complete item, or I buy old damaged scabbard and repair it. In some cases I buy scabbard even separately - but must be original. I never make new scabbards. In some cases of African weapons it is nearly impossible to reach original scabbard and - nothing can be done then
Martin
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Old 6th September 2019, 03:09 PM   #5
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Well, on July 2007 I posted a discussion on the subject under: Ethiopian scabbard: to fake or not to fake. Check it out. Ron
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Old 6th September 2019, 05:14 PM   #6
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Very interesting thread, Ron!
Thank you so very much for pointing it out for me and I must say that I am amazed about your skills. Personally I must admit that I have my thumb in the middle of the hand so to speak....
If I can choose, of course I prefer to have the scabbard together with the blade when I shall buy something but if it is an old interesting blade I do not hesitate to buy it without the scabbard too.... Things can happen with old scabbards so it is how it is....

Best,
Stefan
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Old 6th September 2019, 05:50 PM   #7
Jim McDougall
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A most interesting, and unusual topic Stefan.
Scabbard or no scabbard.........it is really a matter of preference it some ways.
In my early collecting days, I was able to afford regulation type swords which were without scabbard. These were deemed 'incomplete' by collectors usually so dealers would reduce price accordingly.

I later discovered (to my dismay and shock) that there were actually collectors who COLLECTED scabbards alone! which I totally could not understand.
In many cases of swords without scabbards, discounting the idea of them being collected away from the sword itself, the strong possibility of the sword being a battlefield pick up after being separated from the owner in combat, the scabbard usually still with him.

With ethnographic weapons, there are typically more pragmatic situations.
The kampilan for example, is typically fitted with a break away scabbard, slats of wood bound together which are sheared away as the sword hits first strike, without being drawn.
Many cultures regard the scabbard as a 'house', where the sword lives, and nomenclature uses according terms.

The idea of protection of the blade is also key. The Japanese typically store their blades in shira saya mountings, including a scabbard of plain wood which will protect from moisture.
Regular scabbards, often with decoration and treatments which attract moisture were deadly to these amazing blades as corrosion was inevitably attracted by these.

On regulation swords, one of the most intriguing cases was in India, where troopers were shocked by the effective potential of the deadly sharp blades of Indian warriors. It turned out they were actually old British blades, highly honed and kept well oiled in wooden scabbards.
The metal scabbards not only were noisy, gleamed in the light revealing positions, attracted moisture , but dulled the blades.

For me, if displaying a sword, the scabbard is simply extra and takes more space. If the sword is an investment, then having the original scabbard is key.
For ethnographic swords, as long as blade is maintained, no need for scabbard.
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Old 6th September 2019, 06:18 PM   #8
Battara
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However, for me the scabbard is part of the sword/dagger. It is a part of the culture. So that is why I make scabbards (as well as other things) and others have sent me pieces to make scabbards to match. I base my designs on the research I do on a particular culture, tribe, people, etc. and their examples.

Some would say that my work is an interpretation, but my counter is "so is the work of the original craftsmen."
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Old 6th September 2019, 08:15 PM   #9
Martin Lubojacky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roanoa
Well, on July 2007 I posted a discussion on the subject under: Ethiopian scabbard: to fake or not to fake. Check it out. Ron


This is very, very nice and skilled work !!! (btw the sickle weapon from the allied thread should allegedly be Borana machete from the Kenyan-Ethiopian borderland)

But I think in the case of old African weapons the patina on the scabbard is bonus. (In I think two Ethiopian cases I successfully adapted another old scabbard with a little bit different curvature and one even shrinked by using ethanol (wrap the scabbard with soaked textile and put it into plastic bag, and push the blade step by step deeper and deeper every ca 2 days ...)
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Old 6th September 2019, 08:54 PM   #10
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Default Direct Link to 2007 post by Ron

http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4951
Here is the link to Ron's 2007 post mentioned above.
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Old 7th September 2019, 08:23 AM   #11
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With the few things I've collected I've always made sure it comes with some sort of scabbard that seems original. Even if the scabbard is damaged, it feels like half a piece without one. The only exception would be my Collins and co. machete, which I made a sheath for (two actually. A first basic on and a later more advanced one).

Though I can make at least a sheath if not a scabbard (I do make a distinction and it's a long conversation i recall having here before) if I must. But I'm at the point with my organic crafting that I might even like to get a project blade at some point to make a simple scabbard for.
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Old 7th September 2019, 03:39 PM   #12
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For me personally the blade of the sword is the most important thing without doubt, but then I collect pre-19thC swords. I love if they have fullers, makersí marks, inscriptions, etc. The grip and guard are there for functionality and usually reflect fashions etc so are moderately interesting. For me the scabbards are mere accessories and Iím sure were regarded as such by the owners. They were just there to carry and protect the sword when not in use. Iím sure many scabbards were replaced several times during the useful life of the sword. My purpose for collecting is mainly historical and the scabbard is usually not important for me when I decide to buy. I just want to handle and care for the sword and display it, with or without scabbard. Having said that, sometimes the scabbards can be beautiful and complement the sword. From an investment point of view Iím sure the price benefits from the scabbard as the item is more ďcompleteĒ with it.
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Old 8th September 2019, 04:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi
The biggest problem for me is when the sword comes with an original and ugly scabbard...

Kubur

This is so true! Sometimes I wish some of my swords didnít have that ugly old/damaged scabbard at all. Itís like I donít know what to do with them. I donít want to throw them away but I donít want to display them either ... some swords have such nice scabbards that they outshine the sword itself , such as the silver Yatagans. They are amazing piece of work.
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Old 8th September 2019, 11:46 AM   #14
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I think it depend also from the weapons you collect. A keris for example isn't complete without a scabbard. But a kris I display also without a scabbard, it's the same with barongs. By gunongs I try to collect with scabbards but have a special one without. In general I can say that it's more desirable for my area of collecting to have a scabbard with the blade but I don't have problems when they come without.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 9th September 2019, 01:17 AM   #15
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There is an old saying that it is better to be young, healthy and rich than old, sick and dirt poor:-)

So it is with our sharpies: it is obviously better to get a sword with the original scabbard in a perfect shape than without a scabbard at all.
That being said, most of ( at least Oriental) swords dating 2-4 centuries had their scabbards changed not once and not twice.

Canít remember the source, but Russian Cossacks had to get a new scabbard every 3 years. With all the Imperial Russian graft, theft and negligence this period might have been extended to 5 easily, to 10 likely and to 20 quite possibly. But they must have been changed at some stage of the game. Scabbards were deliberately exposed to all kinds of damage, - mechanical, climatic, just age related deterioration of organic components, etc,- to protect the blade.
Even assuming 20 years as a reasonable estimate, an 18 century Shamshir, kilij or tulwar by now is on its at least 5th scabbard of itís working life only if it was out of military use around WWI.

In our ( collectors) case, storing swords within their scabbards invites rust.

Itís nice to have a scabbard, but it most likely will not be original and prudently stored separately.

Last edited by ariel : 9th September 2019 at 02:22 AM.
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Old 9th September 2019, 01:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
... Itís nice to have a scabbard, but it is most likely will not be original and prudently stored separately.
My thoughts exactly. Scabbards are purely for transporting the blade, and were replaced frequently in most areas of the world. In some cases they were intentionally disposable, and were often discarded in battle. I primarily collect the edged weapon and not the ensemble.


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Old 27th September 2019, 10:52 AM   #17
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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I think I agree with most of what has been said here.. The question was quite specific however and not otherwise related...Thus I prefer to have the entire complete weapon and scabbard from the outset where possible.

... BUT ! since a lot of scabbards are either eaten by bugs or have simply fallen to bits in time...so there is nothing wrong with having a restored scabbard... Many Omani Khanjars have this happen. Perfectly reasonable to have a restored item so it is all complete... I mean how else can you either wear it or display it as the scabbards tell a story in support of the actual weapon Ö and I think this is the case in most bladed weapons.

As pointed out by Ariel the blade will rust if kept stored in the scabbard.
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Old 27th September 2019, 02:52 PM   #18
Will M
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In regards to British pattern swords, scabbards can be as valuable as the sword itself. Swords are always priced lower when missing their scabbard.
I tend to pass on scabbard less swords and wait for a complete sword.
Only when the sword is rare, one of a kind do I consider collecting without its scabbard. Some scabbards are interchangeable but difference in manufacturer and time period makes it difficult to source a good fitting scabbard and inevitably can cost more to complete than purchasing a complete sword and scabbard.
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Old 27th September 2019, 04:55 PM   #19
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Blade and scabbard are preferred. However I will not turn down a nice blade just because it does not have a scabbard. I buy the blade, nice fittings are a bonus as is evidenced by my last two kaskaras. No scabbard and hilts in a less than optimal state.
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Old 28th September 2019, 11:03 AM   #20
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Thank you all for your interesting answers.... I really appreciate it!
I look at it like this:
I bought this barong without scabbard and I do not regret it....
I also bought this Cold Steel Magnum Tanto II San Mai, Seki Japan made, without a sheath.... Maybe not a so smart move... I do not know yet....
Anyone who have the correct sheath for this one for sale?

Best,
Stefan
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Old 1st October 2019, 11:09 PM   #21
Philip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel

In our ( collectors) case, storing swords within their scabbards invites rust.

.


Hi, Ariel

A debatable point. You can't convince the Japanese sword crowd of that, haha.

In my experience, keeping blades clean and oiled inside well-fitted scabbards with clean interior channels (i.e. no accumulated gunk or even deposits of old rust) is the best.

It is important that if made of wood, that the body be made of a timber that is as acid-neutral as possible. No pine or coniferous timber (due to the acidity of sap which those woods are prone to holding in their cellular structure even after a long time) or oak (high in tannic acid). Deciduous woods of species along the lines of alder, poplar, magnolia, etc. are fine, and their relative softness will not scratch or dull the edge. It seems that a lot of traditional cultures realized this. Not only the Japanese, who came to regard the magnolia ( ho -no-ki ) as ideal.

Note that the Mughals also had the concept of a shirasaya or resting scabbard, as Stone comments on in his Glossary, and supported by the large number of Indian swords seen in cloth covered sheaths without metal fittings for wearing, or field use.

The one type of scabbard that seems to be an unfailing rust magnet for blades is the one made entirely of leather. The tannic acid used in the processing of hides in most cultures is responsible. I would not store blades for any extended period in such sheaths.

With any type of scabbard, a blade is best preserved with a protective coating. Some guys like Renaissance wax, which is fine. Others stick to oil (my preference are the Japanese magnolia or clove oils made specifically for blades, I use it on any blade that is "in polish" or etched to reveal watering, no matter what the culture). A little bit goes a long way, it it has a fragrant smell, and it protects for a long time without affecting the wood.
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