Genuine antique swords and armor, as used by the knights and soldiers in the days of old, are very expensive and at the present time practically impossible to obtain. The accompanying illustration shows four designs of swords that anyone can make, and if carefully made, they will look very much like the genuine article.
The drawings are so plain that the amateur armorer should have very little difficulty, if any, in building up his work from the illustrations, whether he requires a single sword only, or a complete suit of armor, full size.
The pieces. or designs in this article are from authentic sources, says the English Mechanic, so that where names are given the amateur can so label , and will thereby greatly add to their interest and value.
An executioners' sword of the fifteenth century is shown in Fig. 1. The blade should be about 27 in. long with a handle of sufficient length to be grasped by both hands. The width of the blade near the handle is about 2-1/2 in., tapering down to 1-1/2 in. near the point end. Several ridges are cut around the handle to permit a firm grip. The cross guard is flat and about 1 in. in width.
Mark out the shape and size of the blade on a piece of wood 1/8 in. thick, using a straightedge and a pencil, and allowing a few inches more in length on which to fasten the handle. Cut out the wood with a scroll saw or a keyhole saw, trim the edges down thin and smooth both surfaces with fine sandpaper. The end for the handle is cut about 1 in. wide and 2 in. long. The cross guard is cut out and a hole made in the center through which to pass the handle end of the blade. The handle is next made, and if the amateur does not possess a lathe on which to turn the shape of the handle, the ridges around the wood may be imitated by gluing and tacking on pieces of small rope. The handle is then mortised to receive the 1 by 2-in. end of the blade. The cross guard is now glued and placed on the blade, then the hole in the handle is well glued with glue that is not too thick and quite hot. The blade with the cross guard is inserted in the handle and allowed to set. When the glue is thoroughly dry, remove the surplus with a sharp knife and paint the handle with brown, dark red, or green oil paint. The blade is covered with tinfoil to give it the appearance of steel. Secure some pieces of tinfoil and cut one strip 1/2 in. wider than the blade and the other 1/4 in. narrower. Quickly paint the blade well with thin glue on one side., then lay evenly and press on the narrow strip of tinfoil. Glue the other side of the blade, put on the wider strip of tinfoil and glue the overlapping edge and press it around and on the surface of the narrow strip. The cross guard must be covered with tinfoil in the same manner as the blade. When the whole is quite dry, wipe the blade with light strokes up and down several times, using a soft and dry piece of cloth. The sword is then ready to hang in its chosen place as a decoration, not for use only in cases of tableaux, for which this article will be especially useful to those who are arranging living pictures wherein swords and armor are part of the paraphernalia.
Illustration: Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4
A Chinese scimitar is shown in Fig. 2. The handle of this sword is oval and covered with plaited cord. In making this scimitar, follow the directions as for Fig. 1, except that the handle has to be covered with a round black cord. If it is found difficult to plait the cord on the handle as in the illustration, wind it around in a continuous line closely together, and finish by fastening with a little glue and a small tack driven through the cord into the handle. The pommel is a circular piece of wood, 1/8 in. thick and 5 in. in diameter. The length of the handle, allowing for a good hold with both hands, should be about 9 in., the length of the blade 28 in., the width near the pommel 1-1/2 in. and 3 in. in the widest part at the lower end. The sharp or cutting edge is only on the short side, the other is flat or half-round.
A Turkish sabre of ancient manufacture from Constantinople is shown in Fig. 3. The handle is painted a dull creamy white in imitation of ivory. The enamel paint sold in small tins will answer well for this purpose. The cross guard and blade are covered as described in Fig. 1. The sharp edge is on the longer curved side, the other is flat or half-round.
A two-handed sword used in the 14th and 15th centuries is shown in Fig. 4. This sword is about 68 in. long, has a cross guard and blade of steel with a round wood handle painted black. The ball or pommel on top of the handle is steel. Both edges of the blade are sharp. This sword is made in wood the same as described for Fig. 1.
Imitation swords, stilettos and battle-axes, put up as ornaments, will look well if they are arranged on a shield which is hung high up on a wall of a room or hall, says the English
FIG 1 FIG 2 FIG 3
Three Fifteenth Century Swords
Mechanic, London. The following described arms are authentic designs of the original articles. A German sword of the fifteenth century is shown in Fig. 1. This sword is 4 ft. long with the crossguard and blade of steel. The imitation sword is made of wood and covered with tinfoil to produce the steel color. The shape of the sword is marked out on a piece of wood that is about 1/8 in. thick with the aid of a straightedge and pencil, allowing a little extra length on which to fasten the handle. Cut the sword out with a saw and make both edges thin like a knife blade and smooth up with sandpaper. The extra length for the handle is cut about 1 in. in width and 2 in. long. The handle is next carved and a mortise cut in one end to receive the handle end of the blade. As the handle is to represent copper, the ornamentations can be built up of wire, string, small rope and round-headed nails, the whole finally having a thin coat of glue worked over it with a stiff bristle brush and finished with bronze paint.