How to deal with a cracked handle

How to restore antique arms & repair practice swords.

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Albert F
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How to deal with a cracked handle

Post by Albert F » Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:04 am

Dear All,

I have just bought a Huanuo jian and noticed when I removed the pommel that there is a 1.5-2 cm crack in the tapered wood that is normally hidden under the pommel. The crack starts at the internal nut and runs with the grain.

Would anyone have any suggestions as to how I should treat this?

Also if this is occurred from an overtightened internal bolt I read in another thread that perhaps an anti vibration washer / bolt may help to avoid any possible vibrations. If any UK or Irish forumites know of where to get such washers / bolts I would be grateful to hear from them.

Many thanks in advance of your help.

Albert
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Graham Cave
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Post by Graham Cave » Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:05 am

Hi Albert,

Can you post pics of the crack so we can see exactly what the problem is?

One of the functions of the ferrules is to ensure that the handle stays together if the wood should ever split - so the wood will probably repair ok and still be functional.

If you have an internal nut tightened against the wood then the best option is to cut a steel washer to the end-shape of the wood. this will help to spread the load and reduce compression of the wood fibres.

I've never bothered buying anti-vibration washers as I've always saved them from old domestic appliances but you should be able to buy them from your local DIY store, same goes for anti-vibration nuts with nylon inserts.

B.Ko
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Post by B.Ko » Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:06 pm

Hi,

If you don't mind spending a little extra money you could send it to Philip Tom and have him do a Hardwood handle for it. No worry about wrap coming loose then and his handles are superior to the stock wooden ones on the huanuo...even better than the hardwood ones Huanuo uses their sanmai peony jian.

I also find most production sword handles have a bit of 'bias'...that is the handle tilts a bit off true from the blade flat to flat axis. True even antiques have this, but Philip is able to make a handle that's pretty much lined up true to line of the blade.

The grip wrap came off of my Monosteel Huanuo carp jian and I discovered the handle was unfinished wood with a few swatches of stain to 'color' it where it showed under the grip wrap...which on the sword came loose even after I used polyurethane floor finish on it.

The wood was not packing crate wood, but it also wasn't the nice Walnut Philip uses in his hardwood handles.

To me the extra cost and time is worth piece of mind. I don't have that with a handle I know is cracked.

Ben

Albert F
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:16 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Post by Albert F » Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:11 pm

Graham Cave wrote:Hi Albert,

Can you post pics of the crack so we can see exactly what the problem is?

One of the functions of the ferrules is to ensure that the handle stays together if the wood should ever split - so the wood will probably repair ok and still be functional.

If you have an internal nut tightened against the wood then the best option is to cut a steel washer to the end-shape of the wood. this will help to spread the load and reduce compression of the wood fibres.

I've never bothered buying anti-vibration washers as I've always saved them from old domestic appliances but you should be able to buy them from your local DIY store, same goes for anti-vibration nuts with nylon inserts.
Hi Graham,

Thanks for the reply. I'll try and get a clear photo in the next couple of days, I'm a real amateur with digital pics!

All the best

Albert
Albert F



Dublin Ireland

Albert F
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:16 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Post by Albert F » Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:14 pm

B.Ko wrote:Hi,

If you don't mind spending a little extra money you could send it to Philip Tom and have him do a Hardwood handle for it. No worry about wrap coming loose then and his handles are superior to the stock wooden ones on the huanuo...even better than the hardwood ones Huanuo uses their sanmai peony jian.

I also find most production sword handles have a bit of 'bias'...that is the handle tilts a bit off true from the blade flat to flat axis. True even antiques have this, but Philip is able to make a handle that's pretty much lined up true to line of the blade.

The grip wrap came off of my Monosteel Huanuo carp jian and I discovered the handle was unfinished wood with a few swatches of stain to 'color' it where it showed under the grip wrap...which on the sword came loose even after I used polyurethane floor finish on it.

The wood was not packing crate wood, but it also wasn't the nice Walnut Philip uses in his hardwood handles.

To me the extra cost and time is worth piece of mind. I don't have that with a handle I know is cracked.

Ben
Hi Ben,

I hear what your saying. The handle is softwood I think and is stained a walnut colour. Depending on how the crack progresses I might have to consider a new handle eventually.

Kind regards,

Albert
Albert F



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Albert F
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Location: Dublin, Ireland

Post by Albert F » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:39 am

I hope the image comes out it's my first time posting pics!

Any help would be appreciated.

Albert

Image
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Graham Cave
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Post by Graham Cave » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:36 am

I would be very surprised if this split had been caused by pressure from the nut. When you remove the nut, does the gap close up automatically? If not then does it close up when you squeeze the wood together? If it will close up then it is a fairly simple job to fix it:

Remove the wooden handle from the sword, if the crack has closed then insert a wedge into the end to open it up again.

Rub white woodworking glue into the crack, remove the wedge from the end and cramp the wood together.

Clean off the excess glue and leave to cure for 24 hrs at room temperature (away from fires and radiators).

One possibility is that the threaded tang is just too large for the diameter of the hole. If this is the case then remove the wooden grip and enlarge the hole with a rat-tail file or riffler until you can replace the wooden grip without the crack spreading - then glue. Contrary to popular belief, a good glue joint is as strong as the surrounding wood so it shouldn't cause any problems in the future.

If the crack doesn't close up at all then it won't be possible to glue it without splicing a sliver of wood into the gap.

Albert F
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Location: Dublin, Ireland

Post by Albert F » Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:25 am

Hi Graham,

Thanks for the post. Yes the crack is more evident with the nut tightened. I'll take it apart again shortly and try the woodworkers glue and then fasten it up.

I'll let you know how I get on. I might eventually send it to someone, possible Philip Tom if he would do it, to put a nice hardwood handle on it.

All the best,

Albert
Albert F



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Scott M. Rodell
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Post by Scott M. Rodell » Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:49 pm

Albert F wrote:... might eventually send it to someone... to put a nice hardwood handle on it.
You know, I think that would be a great way to personalize your jian. I'd love to see an after market market grow up for things like repalcement grips etc.

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