Andy gets a Cutlass
October 12, 2014

I'm working for a friend at a Halloween store - I get to meet a lot of people. One day last week, a smallish, older man came in, "just browsing" - as they all are. He had a Civil War hat on, so I asked him if he was a reenactor. Reenactors are fun people - truly crazy, complete nutbags, focused on a particular slice of history. It might be a period, it might be a day, it might be just a particular event or moment. They typically travel incognito and rarely expose themselves when alone - a learned protective mechanism, I think.

"No" he said. "I'm not a reenactor, I just like the hat." Rats, there goes my interesting contact for the evening. "But I do go to reenactments and renfairs - I sell things - buttons, silverware, swords, things like that." Swords? My interest perked again. "You wouldn't happen to have any cutlasses, would you? I've been looking for a good cutlass." He looked at me. "A cutlass? Sure, cutlasses are easy. Look, I have to go to a birthday party. After the party, I could come back and show it to you." Wow, that casual conversation took an interesting turn. "OK, but before we go very far down thus path, understand I am working at a Halloween store, I don't have a lot of money." He named a price, I had that amount on me. I said "If the sword is any good at all, I'll buy it for that price." He said OK and left. When he came back, the cutlass he had was more than acceptable for the price he wanted.

The blade is 22" long, a tad over 2" wide at the hilt and a wee bit over 1 3/8" wide just before it curves up at the tip. As close as I can measure, it's a smidge over 1/8" thick.

It was made by Frost Cutlery, and appears to be a Frost Cutlery Pirates of the Caribbean 28" Their site doesn't have anything in the way of specifications, though I did learn . . .

. . . the handle is made of Cocobolo (I'd guessed it was Rosewood.)

The sword is well enough made - full tang, three bolsters, nicely solid. I'm pleased with my purchase. One problem: It didn't have a scabbard. I'd never made a scabbard before, but figured I could if I tried.

  1. Choose your media - I picked 1/8" plywood scraps I had laying around.
  2. Trace the shape of the blade nice and close.
  3. Draw the shape of the scabbard bigger than the blade - I made mine about 1/2" larger than the blade.
  4. Cut out mirror images of the sheath walls
  5. Make spacers to hold the sheath walls apart
  6. Glue the spacers into place. I gave a tiny bit of space to make sure the blade wouldn't stick.
  7. Glue together, test for fit, shape as desired.

I didn't take any pics of the construction process because I didn't know if it'd work. As it was, it turned out pretty wonderful.

That's the opening.

I left a weep hole at the tip - it is a pirate sword, after all, intended for use on the high seas and inclement weather.

Pretty good shape for my first effort, in my opinion.

This is not the final form. I'm going to cover it with cloth or leather and figure out a way to hang it from a belt or sash.