This commission request was to base the design on a few photos of ancient African swords and to include the colors and theme of Barbados. Since this was made for a friend on a tight budget, there was a challenge in materials and technique. I worked up a few 3D concept designs, and went to work when we found something he’d like.
It was important to it’s owner that the grip be braided blue, gold, and black. He originally wanted it to be leather, but we quickly realized that was out of his budget. We settled on using cotton tapes which I braided over a cardboard tube, then coated in several layers of polyurethane. I was a bit skeptical, but I’m really happy with how it came out.
Brass compression rings were a natural source for effective design elements emulating key elements in the source photos. As an inexpensive found item, the rings would keep the budget down. In keeping with the aesthetic and sourcing challenges, the pommel is a brass bell mated to an older style brass compression ring.
The etched portion was inspired by the trident motif of the Barbados flag, the pelican and fish are from the Barbados coat of arms. The trident design was kept simple as this was meant to be on a budget and I had to cut the stencil out by hand, the fish and pelican benefited from the purchase of a vinyl cutter that will allow me to make more details designs in the future. Some of the imperfections were left intentional to give it a more “ancient,” and used feel as part of the owners parameters. The brass button and charge port housing is a machined from brass bar stock.
To keep as close to budget as possible this was planned to be a “dumb” hilt, but designed to be fully upgradeable to premium custom light and sound.