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How to Forge a Sword Part 5: Make the wooden grip

In this part of the tutorial I show you how to make the wooden grip. If you need to start at the beginning of this series of tutorials it is right here: Part 1

And there are a lot of different kinds of handles you can make. I show you a plain wood handle and a wire wrapped handle. From here you can improvise all kinds of different handles to make anything that you like.


Here is one of the handle variations. This is a wooden handle and the wood is purpleheart. I started out with a raw piece of wood and I cut it with a hand saw until it was roughly the right size and shape then I worked it on the belt sander to bring it to its final shape. This grip is 4 1/2 inches in length. As you are making the grip you should be wrapping your hand on it to check for the feel of it. It is meant to be held in your hand so you have to insure a good feel and size.

The wooden handle

Wood selection: There are a whole lot of different woods you can use. You could use almost any wood but lean toward using a hardwood that doesn't easily crack or split. This one is Purpleheart. I also made one out of zebrawood.


drilling the slot

Next you have to drill out the handle so it fits on the tang snugly. You have to take your time with this. I put it in a vise and drilled three holes side by side. The drill bit isn't long enough to go all the way through so I flipped the handle over and drilled three holes on the other end too. This way the slot goes all the way through.

I can't give you exact dimensions on this because the tang of your sword will be different than mine. I did measure the thickness of the tang and use a drill the same size. And you want that slot in the grip to be wider on one end than the other because that's the shape of the tang.

The slotted grip

This picture gives you a really good look at the slot I drilled out in the grip. This is what you are shooting for.

The handle on the tang

As you are working it be sure to constantly check it on the sword. It should fit snugly yet go all the way to the guard. And there should be a fair amount of room on the end so you can pin the pommel on.

The handle looks good

Later in the process we will drill holes through the handle and through the tang of the sword. They will be pinned with brass rod. And this wood handle can be polished with an oil. Tung oil works very well for this.

wire wrapped handle

We can also do a wire wrapped handle for this sword. To do this you use a 16 gauge annealed wire. I used aluminum wire. You need a surprising amount of wire. To do this handle took about 30 feet of wire. You take two 15 foot lengths and you twist them by putting one end of each in a drill and slowly twisting. Clamp the far end of those wires in a vise.

Drill holes

We will wrap that twisted wire pair around the grip. To secure it in place you drill a small hole as shown in the picture. You insert the end of the wires in there and then wrap the whole handle. You drill another hole at the other end to insert the end of the wires after the wrapping is complete.

Wrapping the Wire

Next you wrap that twisted wire around the handle. Make it nice and tight.

The wire wrapped handle

And here is the wrapped handle.

The Brass Wraps

I also made some brass wraps for this handle. (They look good on the plain wood handle too) These are pretty easy to make.

The brass parts of the handle

To make the wraps I used a sheet of brass .032 inches thick and cut out two strips with a pair of scissors. Wrap one around the spot on the handle then solder it together to form the loop. The strips are about 1/2 inch wide.

The picture here gives you a good look at the brass work. It shows a strip, the soldered bands and them in place on the handle.

NextLet's continue on with the tutorial and make the Pommel




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