Wood For Jian Handle?

Sword typology and Edge Weapons forms of the Chinese Empire and related cultures with an emphasis on their relationship to Swordsmanship.

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Wood For Jian Handle?

Post by bond_fan » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:51 pm

Anyone know what type of wood was used for jian or dao handles back in the Qing and Ming dynasties?

I wonder if Japanese Hinoki wood would work?


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Re: Wood For Jian Handle?

Post by Nik » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:05 am

If it worked on a japanese sword that was really used, it works also on jian and dao. You might want to create your handle out of one piece with a broach and a drill (drill only a small hole enough to get the broach through), otherwise you probably crack your handle when it's glued from two pieces when using a nut to secure it. Alternatively you could use real rayskin, it will shrink and harden after applying it wet, keeping the handle tight.

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Peter Dekker
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Re: Wood For Jian Handle?

Post by Peter Dekker » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:21 am

In the Qing we often see elm as a handle for lower grade weapons such as village militia jian. Another type of wood is an unknown smooth dark red wood. High quality examples came with huanghuali or zitan wooden handles. I guess many kinds of wood were used.

I personally haven't had trouble with handles splitting over the glue line when using a nut. Old handles for quality jian were often drilled and of single piece construction such as Nik describes, militia-grade weapons often consisted of two parts joined together. These are often held together just by the pressure of the fittings, glue was not used. Pommels were always peened.

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