Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

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Phoenix Rising
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Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Phoenix Rising » Wed May 23, 2012 7:39 pm

Browsing around (as you do) I came across a video on Youtube featuring some folks from Wolfshead bowmen. The video was very interesting, but I happened to notice that one of them had a sword in a half-scabbard attached to his belt. Thus intrigued (partly out of curiosity, partly from the fact it looked quite good) I had a look about and found some being made from leather by 'Traveller in Black' for £20 or so.

However, I'm interested to know if there is any real historical basis for the 'half-scabbard', or is it a modern invention? I've tried to find any sources for it, but to no avail, so be interested to see if anyone else knows anything about it! :)

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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed May 23, 2012 8:16 pm

What an interesting idea.
As I thought the point of a scabbard was both to protect you (and others) from accidentally getting mixed up with the nasty parts of it AND to protect the blade from being knocked and damaged AND to show off what a rich and important person you were to have a sword, why would you only make do with a half finished scabbard.


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Medicus Matt » Thu May 24, 2012 8:40 am

Looking at the 'Traveller in Black' website, he seems to be aiming his stuff at the LARP market, and that's where half scabbards belong.
Although my scabbard research is primarily focused on the early medieval, I'm not aware of any provenance for anything resembling a half scabbard.


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Phoenix Rising » Fri May 25, 2012 3:34 pm

Ah, did wonder anout the LARP side of it, but as most stuff does usually have a basis in fact (however loosley), I just wondered if this 'half scabbard' idea did.

Picking brains again - Is the same also true of the sword / axe rings that I've also seen being sold on some reenactment sites as well, or are they more of a reality?

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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Phil the Grips » Fri May 25, 2012 3:53 pm

Sword rings have been discussed at length if you search- in summary if you are in a judicial tournament there is evidence they were worn then, but not at any other time. Axe rings have no exidence at alll, likely tucked into the belt for carry (as was done extensively in the Americas during the C17/8th) or hung from the saddle for senior ranks (extensive evidence for such through the C14-18th).

The closest I have ever seen to a half-scabbard is "breakaway" sheath for large knives- developed in the '70s for quick deployment of defensive knives from a chest/underarm rig (on the back of the Randall/Bagwell revival of such), and even then it is the side that is cut away, not the tip.


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Simon Atford » Fri May 25, 2012 4:56 pm

Phil the Grips wrote:Sword rings have been discussed at length if you search- in summary if you are in a judicial tournament there is evidence they were worn then, but not at any other time. Axe rings have no exidence at alll, likely tucked into the belt for carry (as was done extensively in the Americas during the C17/8th) or hung from the saddle for senior ranks (extensive evidence for such through the C14-18th).



Food for thought for me that one. I do own and use an "axe ring" although I do tuck into my belt for battle as I find it falls out. Perhaps a reason why they might not have been used?



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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Medicus Matt » Fri May 25, 2012 7:40 pm

Advantage of 'axe-ring' versus just sticking the axe in your belt or carrying it, none.
Disadvantage, it falls out.


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Chris T » Sat May 26, 2012 12:43 am

C17th horsemans hammers etc often have a elongated hook, to allow them to be hooked to a belt.....not quite the same thing.

There is no evidence as far as I am aware for half scabards: as previously stated, these would be pointless, as they would neither protect the sword or the user/ others from the sword.

Most LRP and many re-enactment sword rigs (whether baldric or hanger....or even the dreaded 'back rig' for two handed or twin swords) are mostly or totally fantasy in every way except for the idea that they are worn round the waist or over the shoulder.

In general terms re-enactment leatherwork, both in terms of patterns and the leather used, is more equivalent to a crimplene doublet than their historical prototypes.



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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Simon Atford » Sat May 26, 2012 8:22 am

Medicus Matt wrote:Advantage of 'axe-ring' versus just sticking the axe in your belt or carrying it, none.
Disadvantage, it falls out.


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat May 26, 2012 11:20 am

I must have been asleep when they discussed axe rings. What is an "axe ring" or is it so obvious that I now deserve a good slap?


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Phil the Grips » Sat May 26, 2012 11:27 am

Take a 2" dia. chromed metal ring from Le Prevo, throw it into the fire to burn off the chrome. When cooled, stitch a leather strap to it to make a loop. Pass belt through loop, pass axe through ring. Spend the next few hours repeatedly checking your axe hasn't fallen out...


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby ForTheMarshal » Sat May 26, 2012 1:31 pm

Always found an axe in the belt uncomfortable - then again, I'm weird and like my kit really tight (less of a problem as I adapt to the traditional re-enactor build over the years :P ).

Made something like the below (angled though), and its kept my spare axe out of the way in small of my back without ever coming loose, never mind falling out.
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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Medicus Matt » Sat May 26, 2012 2:04 pm

Simon Atford wrote:



MUSH?



Made Up sh**.

Like the thing "For the Marshall" keeps his axe in.


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Phil the Grips » Sat May 26, 2012 3:34 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:sh**.

Which stands for Seriously Hideous Inauthentic Trash, one stage worse than Can't Really Authenticate Properly.


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby ForTheMarshal » Sat May 26, 2012 5:45 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:
Simon Atford wrote:MUSH?

Made Up sh**.
Like the thing "For the Marshall" keeps his axe in.


Quite. Which is why joe public never sees it (incidentally, if you want a giggle/groan, backtrack the source of that image). Its ~2" long, home made (NOT the item linked, just most similar image I could find), for my personal comfort, and 99 times out of 100 covered with a slung shield anyway.
Possible? Yes. Probable? Meh. Proven? Certainly not. Hence kept out the way.

To go back a subject, Never really got the rings thing anyway. I mean, if you can afford a <pretty much any weapon name here>, why the hell would you not also afford the means to transport and protect it properly? As for belt tucking, I've had and seen plenty of things fall out when tucked into belts. It strikes me personally as daft as sending a modern soldier to battle with his bayonet in his back pocket. You want things where you put them when you need them.

/ Personal opinion only, does not reflect the views of Crusade blah blah blah, you get the drill.

// Related pet peeve #487. Anecdotally, also seems to mean that somewhere in the line, maybe not your group, maybe not a newbie even, but some dopey sod will inevitably get photographed with sword tucked into belt.

ETA: Ah-ha! Relevant old thread

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=26588#p318238


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Simon Atford » Sat May 26, 2012 7:54 pm

I always use a scabbard for my sword these days. The biggest problem is finding a reliable way of attaching it my belt. I have now made something similar to that pictured above.

My axe is more of posing weapon, although I do fight with it as well, and I find a ring is quite good for strutting round castle walls, although waving about is even more impressive.
Last edited by Simon Atford on Sun May 27, 2012 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun May 27, 2012 8:00 pm

I have carried a bayonet in my back pocket, It was very useful at opening cans. It was also very good at snipping wire. I don't know how good it would have been at actually killing anyone though, I also suspected it would be wise not to ever let them get that close.


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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Chris T » Sun May 27, 2012 11:25 pm

The best way of finding a reliable method to attach a scabbard to a swordbelt ( or anything else) is to follow the historical practice for your period.

When thousands of men carried a weapon on a daily basis for much of their lives they had a reliable method: depending on period this varied (suspension slots/ bars for Dark Ages, lacing through scabard covers for Early Medieval, hooks and bulged scabbards in captive loops for C17th) but it must have worked for them: there is no need to invent third rate solutions to problems which were solved hundreds of years ago....please!



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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby The Illustrated Man » Wed May 30, 2012 7:47 pm

Call me old fashioned but I've always found my hands really useful when faced with the predicament of where I should put me axe :p

On a serious note, wandering about a camp with an axe tucked into your belt is one thing. Falling awkwardly during a combat onto an axe tucked into a belt is another very painful and possibly life threatening thing.

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Re: Half-scabbards for swords - any basis in history?

Postby Simon Atford » Wed May 30, 2012 7:54 pm

Possably but then falling awkwardly in combat is a bad idea in general. I've got falling down dead down to a fine art. Even mastered rolling out of the way a first sign of tinnie about to land on me :crazy:




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