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Replacement scabbard rings

 

It was been said by some that a sword without its proper sword knot is incomplete; I would think that is a matter for some debate. However, no matter your stand on that issue I would put forward the suggestion that a scabbard missing its suspension rings is a nearly useless object, unless you count it as simply a container for the blade. Recently I purchased a 1796 Light Cavalry Trooper’s Sabre with a steel scabbard minus the suspension rings. This didn’t really pose a problem for me as I have made a good number of “jump rings” or suspension rings for jewellery when I was engaged in that pursuit. On the other hand I thought that perhaps it might be more of a daunting project for others therefore this short tutorial.

 

I must admit to being a bit discouraged at times when I search for “how to” information on YouTube only to find that the presenter is suggesting thousands of dollars in specialized equipment to make something you can purchase for a fraction of the cost. Therefore I have tried to keep the process and techniques well within the talents of the average person, which for the most part would include me.

 

You will first need to know the size of the ring and the diameter of the steel rod you will be using to make the rings .If you don’t have other examples in your collection you can scale the size from the Internet “Images”. This will be close enough to fool almost anyone’s eye once you have displayed the finished sword scabbard in your collection. In this case the diameter of the steel rod was 3/8” (5mm) with the inside diameter of the ring at 7/8” (22mm); this is important as you will see later on. Take a trip to your local metal dealer and purchase about 2 feet (roughly 80mm) of mild steel. Do not purchase the more expensive “tool steel” as you will never be able to bend it into a ring shape...never.

 

Below is the scabbard section showing the suspension loops with the missing rings.

 

ringless scabbard.JPG

You will now need a vise and a steel pipe the same diameter as the inside of the ring you are about to make. Drill a hole in the pipe so that the metal rod will fit inside of the hole. This is to hold one end of the rod making life a lot easier as you bend the rod. There is no need for a blow torch as the mild steel will bend fairly easily. Bend the rod around the pipe as if you were making a spring. You might as well make several rotations to produce more ring than you presently need as you just never know when you or fellow collector might have need of them.

 

 

bending rod one.JPG

bending rod two.JPG

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Now that you have what looks like a large spring turn the pipe on its side and get ready to make rings. If the Lord of the Rings theme music is playing in your head let me know as this may or may not be normal at this point. You can cut these “ribs” with a hack saw but I used an air tool with a very narrow disc cutter as it was faster.

getting ready to cut.JPG

actually cutting the rings.JPG

Now you should have some rings that look like the ones shown below. The darker ones at the top have been aged and we will talk about that later on. At this time you can test the ring opening to see if you can actually put them on the suspension devises. They will probably need to be spread farther apart so do that now. Do not try to make the ends line up on the same plane as you can’t close a metal ring tightly enough simply by squeezing the ends together. You need to line up the ends then twist them toward each other. All metal, except lead for example, has what they call a memory to one degree or another and it will want to return to its former position. By lining the ends up then after the ring is in place twisting the ends toward each other the steel will stay in place. If you have never done this before I think you will be quite surprised as to how well this works.

 

the rings.JPG

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This shows the rings on the scabbard. You will notice that there is a space between where the ring meets itself but that is common even on original sword scabbards. Many of the original manufacturers, but not all, would braze or weld the two arms together. I chose the easier method and am happy that it is one of the original methods of attachment.

 

rings on scabbard.JPG

This shows the sword in the scabbard back in its place in the collection. I think that the aged rings match well enough and I must say with complete lack of modesty I am quite pleased with the outcome.

A word on ageing steel will follow next.

 

1796 in the rack.JPG

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When it comes to ageing steel I was at a loss and like most of us turned to YouTube. Some methods scared me somewhat. After all who doesn’t like wearing a lab coat, goggles and rubber gloves? On the other hand let’s not risk life and limb over a ring or two. This is where you can come up with some jokes on matrimony if you like.

 

The method that looked safe involved a two stage process first using vinegar and salt. First I would suggest wearing latex gloves, just in case (especially for the second part), though this seems safe enough to me so few worries. I took any oil off the rings with some mineral spirits. Then soaked the rings in a solution of salt and vinegar in a plastic yogurt dish; the quantity of salt and vinegar is not all that important, but don’t go cheap on the salt. Leave this for 4 to 5 hours.

 

Then replace the salt and vinegar with salt and hydrogen peroxide. This will start to “boil” but not with any heat. I did this several times over the course of probably 3 to 4 hours. It would take a lot less time had I used a large amount of the solution but that seemed rather wasteful. When it is “cooking” (again not hot) it looks like an evil conglomeration but that it the chemical reaction doing its work. Once this stops you will see what looks like brown moss at the bottom of the clear liquid. This tells you to check your progress and probably repeat the process. Cost-wise I only have a couple of dollars invested.  

 

Below is a photo of the solution “working”.

 

I hope, as in all of my tutorials, that this encourages people to try some DIY projects.

 

Regards

Brian

 

evil looking goop.JPG

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Thank you for your feedback, it really is appreciated.

I should have added in the tutorial that taping the metal rod as it is bent around the pipe helps a lot. Nothing too hard just tapping it a little. When I decided to try this I envisioned blow torches and the hammer of Thor but when I mentioned this to a friend of mine who is really good with metal he just laughed at my exaggerated imagination.

Thanks again fellows.

Regards

Brian

 

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