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stitching early knife sheaths

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  • KenrickB
    In a number of books and articles I read that most very early knife sheaths (c. 7th c) were closed with a tunnel stitch on the edge side of the sheath. To my
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 6, 2013
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      In a number of books and articles I read that most very early knife sheaths (c. 7th c) were closed with a tunnel stitch on the edge side of the sheath. To my mind's eye, this would mean that you wouldn't see the stitch holes from either side. The thread would go in the flesh side of piece one, back out the flesh side, then into the flesh side of piece 2. Is this correct? I see examples in Esther Camerons book that say they are tunnel stitched but I see stich holes in the pictures, so there's a discrepancy somewhere. Thoughts?

      Thanks
      Kenric
    • Ben Arnold
      I m sure that each craftsman had his own way of doing things, not to mention those not yet skilled in keeping stitches hidden.   Not being a Medieval leather
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 7, 2013
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        I'm sure that each craftsman had his own way of doing things, not to mention those not yet skilled in keeping stitches hidden.
         
        Not being a Medieval leather expert, I'd be happy to defer to anyone with a better take on the subject.

        Ben Arnold, BSEE
        Pure Air Systems, Inc.
        954.721.5060
        -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
        "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." - Salvor Hardin 

        "It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"  -  Unknown
        -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -  
        My Blog:  http://benarnoldjr.blogspot.com/
        Web Site:  http://www.pureairsystems.info/


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Henry Plouse
        Part of the problem is terminology - the reference to a tunnel stitch can be interpreted to mean a slip stitch (still used in modern fabrication) in which
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 7, 2013
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          Part of the problem is terminology - the reference to a "tunnel stitch" can be interpreted to mean a "slip stitch" (still used in modern fabrication) in which the thread runs through a fold in the material, leaving a barely perceptible stitch (as in a hem) or through the folds in two adjacent pieces which are to be joined (which requires a somewhat loose stitch which is then pulled tight (which really does leave an invisible stitch), OR it can mean the kind of "blind stitch" used in shoemaking, in which a curved "channel" is poked through the leather, entering and exiting out the cut edge of the leather.  While that type of stitch is used in shoemaking for attaching soles, particularly, I question its use in a sheath, where the thickness of the leather is likely going to be much less than in a shoe sole, making it singularly difficult to guide the thread through a tunnel reamed into the thickness of the leather.  It's also unnecessary - the
          purpose of a "tunnel stitch" on a shoe sole is to protect the thread from being worn away while walking, hence its concealment inside the leather.  That is not a consideration in a sheath and there is no reason to put in the extra effort it requires.  Besides which, there is a real advantage to using the "slip stitch" technique on a sheath, since the folds at the joint double the effective thickness of the leather where it is exposed to the blade edge and where the two joined folds serve to make a nice little "groove" for the blade edge to follow.  So, I tend to think that the reference to a "tunnel stitch" in sheath making is a bit of a misnomer and what is actually meant is a "slip stitch".  Then again, I've been known to be wrong.
           
          YOS,
          ALRIC 

          ________________________________
          From: Ben Arnold <benarnoldjr@...>
          To: "medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com" <medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, February 7, 2013 6:18 AM
          Subject: [medieval-leather] Re: stitching early knife sheaths


           

          I'm sure that each craftsman had his own way of doing things, not to mention those not yet skilled in keeping stitches hidden.
           
          Not being a Medieval leather expert, I'd be happy to defer to anyone with a better take on the subject.

          Ben Arnold, BSEE
          Pure Air Systems, Inc.
          954.721.5060
          -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
          "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." - Salvor Hardin 

          "It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"  -  Unknown
          -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -  
          My Blog:  http://benarnoldjr.blogspot.com/
          Web Site:  http://www.pureairsystems.info/

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • silveroak@juno.com
          Greetings, I don t know if this will help or further muddy the waters... A baseball found on the Shiloh battlefield (American Civil War). Yes, it s out of
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 7, 2013
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            Greetings,

            I don't know if this will help or further muddy the waters...

            A baseball found on the Shiloh battlefield (American Civil War). Yes, it's out of period, but later this year I'll be making some period tennis balls, and this is one way I'll be stitching them together:

            http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/02/04/civil_war_baseball_a_ball_used_by_soldiers_before_fighting_at_shiloh.html

            As an aside, do you think bleached leather, or painted leather? I'm assuming white for better ball visibility.

            Enjoy,

            -Carowyn

            ____________________________________________________________
            Woman is 53 But Looks 25
            Mom reveals 1 simple wrinkle trick that has angered doctors...
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          • legviiii
            ... From memory, the stitching on there is more properly an edge-flesh stitch where the thread goes in from the flesh side on one piece, out through the edge,
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 7, 2013
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              --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "KenrickB" wrote:
              >
              > In a number of books and articles I read that most very early knife sheaths (c. 7th c) were closed with a tunnel stitch on the edge side of the sheath. To my mind's eye, this would mean that you wouldn't see the stitch holes from either side. The thread would go in the flesh side of ...


              From memory, the stitching on there is more properly an edge-flesh stitch where the thread goes in from the flesh side on one piece, out through the edge, in through the edge of the other and finally out through the flesh side. Once the stitches are pulled tight, the two pieces together resemble the tunnel stitch used at attach show soles. In this case, you will see two lines of stitches, one either side of the join.

              Wayne
            • Ben Arnold
              I like this explanation much better, although he, too, has hedged his bets at the very last. Ben Arnold, BSEE Pure Air Systems, Inc. 954.721.5060 -   -  
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 8, 2013
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                I like this explanation much better, although he, too, has hedged his bets at the very last.

                Ben Arnold, BSEE
                Pure Air Systems, Inc.
                954.721.5060
                -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
                "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." - Salvor Hardin 

                "It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"  -  Unknown
                -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -  
                My Blog:  http://benarnoldjr.blogspot.com/
                Web Site:  http://www.pureairsystems.info/


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • bigfooted rockmidget
                Esther Cameron has this to say (in another book) about Seams and Stitching (Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York): Knife sheaths
                Message 7 of 7 , Feb 8, 2013
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                  Esther Cameron has this to say (in another book) about Seams and Stitching
                  (Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York):

                  "Knife sheaths of the 7th century were made of animal skin, 1-1.5 mm thick, of
                  which the species of some have been identified as calf, but the method of
                  tannage is unknown. The form of these well-fitting sheaths involved a fold
                  over the back of the blade and a join along the cutting edge, using tunnel
                  stitching in thong."

                  According to the accompanying figure, it's a half-tunnel stitch, so it's invisible on one
                  edge only (In your book, it's figure 1.f). You go in on the grain,out on the flesh, then in on the flesh and out on the flesh side. That way, the stitching is only visible on the back side (take the knife in your right hand, place it on the table, point away from you, with the edge on the left side. The back side is down, the stitching should be invisible and any decoration should be on top).

                  What Wayne is describing is a common way of making an invisible butted seam on the flesh side (so invisible on the grain side). This is quite difficult to do for knife sheaths because you either need to turn the sheath inside out after finishing (large sheaths only) or sew it with the grain side out. This was however done (for sheaths) in Scandinavia in the 13th and 14th century.


                  Best,
                  Nyso

                  To: medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com
                  From: legviiii@...
                  Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2013 05:50:38 +0000
                  Subject: [medieval-leather] Re: stitching early knife sheaths






























                  --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "KenrickB" wrote:

                  >

                  > In a number of books and articles I read that most very early knife sheaths (c. 7th c) were closed with a tunnel stitch on the edge side of the sheath. To my mind's eye, this would mean that you wouldn't see the stitch holes from either side. The thread would go in the flesh side of ...



                  From memory, the stitching on there is more properly an edge-flesh stitch where the thread goes in from the flesh side on one piece, out through the edge, in through the edge of the other and finally out through the flesh side. Once the stitches are pulled tight, the two pieces together resemble the tunnel stitch used at attach show soles. In this case, you will see two lines of stitches, one either side of the join.



                  Wayne


















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