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Medieval Combs

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  • almaric_despenser
    Hello everyone, My wife would really like a medieval comb, one of the doublesided intricately carved ones. I am fairly new to woodworking, and I was wondering
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 14, 2009
      Hello everyone,

      My wife would really like a medieval comb, one of the doublesided intricately carved ones. I am fairly new to woodworking, and I was wondering if anyone here had any experience in making combs. I have some hickory that I thought to use in making it, but I am not even sure if that would be the proper choice. Any advice, patterns, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      Almaric De Spenser

      "I have a cunning plan." - Baldric
    • Mike King
      Greetings Almaric, I ve been making combs for several years, a few examples can be seen here http://www.spanishpeacock.com/catalog/hair_combs.htm I would
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 14, 2009
        Greetings Almaric,
          I've been making combs for several years, a few examples can be seen here http://www.spanishpeacock.com/catalog/hair_combs.htm
        I would suggest a wood like holly or if you can find it, boxwood would the most correct.  If you can give me a time and place I can probably send you an example of a comb that would work.  Keep in mind that a lot of the combs that have a great deal of carving are liturgical combs and huge.  Several that I saw while in Spain last were 12"+ wide.  One with some incredible inlay and pierce work was slightly over 9" wide. 
          The teeth can be cut with a jewelers saw, a scroll saw or band saw with a very thin kerf blade.......unless you are very motivated and a geek like me, you could make a stadda.....it's a twin bladed hand saw with small, adjustable spacers between the blades, one set deeper than the other, designed to cut consistantly spaced teeth on combs.  Comb Geek, I is one! 
          Let me know if you have any other questions.....love talking combs!
         
        Saludos,
        Baron Miguel Estevan de Cabra, OL
         
           


        From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of almaric_despenser
        Sent: Sunday, June 14, 2009 6:35 PM
        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Medieval Combs

        Hello everyone,

        My wife would really like a medieval comb, one of the doublesided intricately carved ones. I am fairly new to woodworking, and I was wondering if anyone here had any experience in making combs. I have some hickory that I thought to use in making it, but I am not even sure if that would be the proper choice. Any advice, patterns, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

        Almaric De Spenser

        "I have a cunning plan." - Baldric

      • Alex Haugland
        Baron Miguel is dead on about the species of woods that are period appropriate as well as the liturgical nature of the detailed carved combs you see. All of
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 14, 2009
          Baron Miguel is dead on about the species of woods that are period appropriate as well as the liturgical nature of the detailed carved combs you see.  All of the extant ones I've seen (Largely in the UK) are boxwood, a traditional hedge bush, which can take a hundred years or more to grow big enough to get any reasonable "lumber" out of.  It is very hard and dense with almost no visible annular rings, which gives it a great deal of strength when carving intricate details.  Unfortunately, It's almost impossible to find outside of specialty lumber yards in small pieces (which would be fine for combs). Places that cater to the musical instrument and fine furniture trade are most likely to carry it or other similar woods.  Holly would also have very similar properties as far as carvability and strength.  The question comes with how fine toothed a comb are you looking at and how detailed is the carving you wish to attempt?  As far as whether a particular species of wood will work, the best I can say is try it.  Take a test piece of it to a band saw, cut comb teeth as close to your desired fineness and length as possible and then see how well it stands up to use and how easily they can be broken.  If they break more easily than you'd like, try a different species.  I suspect that you may have good results with hickory, but other woods to look at may be hornbeam, lignum vitae (not necessarily as carvable), or any other dense very finely grained hardwoods.

          --Alysaundre Weldon d'Ath
          Barony of Adiantum, An Tir

          almaric_despenser wrote:

          Hello everyone,

          My wife would really like a medieval comb, one of the doublesided intricately carved ones. I am fairly new to woodworking, and I was wondering if anyone here had any experience in making combs. I have some hickory that I thought to use in making it, but I am not even sure if that would be the proper choice. Any advice, patterns, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

          Almaric De Spenser

          "I have a cunning plan." - Baldric


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