stabilizing cord grip wraps on reproduction swords

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Philip Tom
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stabilizing cord grip wraps on reproduction swords

Post by Philip Tom » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:25 am

I've heard some martial artists complain the the newly made swords from China have a tendency for their braided-cord grip wrappings to loosen after hard use. They don't become untied, but rather slip a bit in a rotational fashion. This is despite the fact that the cord is wrapped around the handle and knotted just the same way that it's been done for centuries.



Seems that in many such cases, the problem may lie with the use of synthetic materials for the braid. This stuff may be durable but synthetic fibers often knot as tightly as natural fibers do. Thus, the cord does not "grip" the surface as snugly.



I've found that a good way to stabilize these wraps is with a thin application of satin-finish (non-glossy) polyurethane wood finish to the grip. Several light applications are better than glopping it on heavily. Let is soak into the fibers, and get in between the open "over/under" weave on the sides, all the way down to the wood underneath. This should lock everything in place, and the grip should provide a secure handhold and last for years with routine use.
Phil

josh stout
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Post by josh stout » Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:14 am

There may even be some historical precedent for this technique. The only original wrap I have is on a dadao where it looks like someone actually varnished over the wrap. It sounds awful, but the varnish impregnated the cord without making a slippery surface, while preserving the wrap for the last hundred years or so. Thin polyurethane would work even better.
Josh
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Philip Tom
Rank: Chang San feng
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Post by Philip Tom » Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:59 pm

I've seen quite a few examples as well, but involving what might be an opaque lacquer instead of a varnish. In one case, the surface of the cord was so smooth that for awhile I thought that it was woven of narrow strips of leather. Only when examining a frayed edge under magnification did I see evidence of a weave. Whatever was applied, it apparently did its job for a very long time, nothing had come un-knotted and there was only minor rotational shifting on the wooden grip.
Phil

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