Hilts. Wood, horn or bone?!

Viking, Saxon, and Early Christian Irish cultures

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Hilts. Wood, horn or bone?!

Postby Cuda on Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:27 am

What would be the most accurate matireal i could use for making hilt's for swords/daggers around the 13th cen? Horn and bone i have access to through my workplace and last i heard, wood grows on trees. But if i am going for realism, what SHOULD i use?
Your thoughts?
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Re: Hilts. Wood, horn or bone?!

Postby the_power on Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:20 pm

It depends on the status you are looking to portray. Certainly antler/bone doesn't seem common past the 11thC, though it shows up intermittently in italy in the 1400s & 1500s. Keep with wood, perhaps wrapped in leather. It's important to make sure it's a good hard wood, that's well worked. There are some images elsewhere on the forum, don't be afraid to use the search.

I'd highly recommend getting a copy of Oakeshotts 'Archeology of Weapons'. It's a wonderful book. I'd tell you what it says, only I think Martyn took my copy to Leitrim with him, and it's years since I went travelling up that direction. For Irish stuff particularly, The Archaeology of Celtic Britain and Ireland is good, and has chapters on knife & axe finds.

John
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Re: Hilts. Wood, horn or bone?!

Postby Cuda on Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:30 am

Thanks a lot, i'll have to try and find a copy. I'm not big on buying online but book store should be able to order me a copy.
I'll say this, you are a heap of help! Other sites i have asked questions on have simply passed me onto other sites, rather than actually answering and explaining.
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Re: Hilts. Wood, horn or bone?!

Postby Freebeard on Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:15 pm

the only problem, archaeologically, is that bone or wood rarely survive, unless in anaerobic conditions, most often waterlogged places. Outside these conditions, t find bone or wood is not too common, and when found it is hailed as brilliant.
Most people would consider that wood would be the most used for handles, as it is easier to work than bone, or antler. but that does not mean that they cannot be used either. as john mentioned above, it might be safer to use wood, and wrap it in leather, as this method can cross social classes, and be used by all.
-'Dligid Diummus Dermat'

"Wyt ti’n ffrwtin fel gwyddel"
(you are farting like an irishman)
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Re: Hilts. Wood, horn or bone?!

Postby Guthrum on Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:31 pm

Freebeard wrote:the only problem, archaeologically, is that bone or wood rarely survive, unless in anaerobic conditions, most often waterlogged places. Outside these conditions, t find bone or wood is not too common, and when found it is hailed as brilliant.


It is, however, possible to identify mineralised wood grain in the corrosion deposits on tangs. I'd go with the others, and agree that leather-bound wood is the most commonly occurring form of known hilts.
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