Tipping swords with rubber blunts is a common practice in HEMA to provide added safety when sparring. Rubber blunts can be found cheaply from a number of sources such as the one linked here. While these devices work well, my school is not a fan of the rubber tip option as they tend to stick to the opponent’s mask rather than glancing off as metal does, providing a much harder impact. I prefer to use thick leather on the tips of my swords. It provides safety, does not stick in the same way, and feels more….authentic. I also find that it does not interfere as much with bind work where you slip the tip of the sword. Here is how I go about tipping my swords for anyone that would like to try this method out.
- Thick scrap leather from a hobby store.
- Artificial Sinew
- A razor blade or sharp scissors
Cut out a strip of leather just wider than the tip of the sword. Make sure you have enough length to accommodate the wrapping process.
Check your fit on the tip of the sword and do any needed trimming.
Create a loop with the sinew facing the bottom of the leather (away from the tip). Make sure you leave enough extra at the tip of the sword to leave a good handhold to pull on later. Start wrapping the sinew tightly around the leather to secure it to the sword. The sinew’s waxy coating makes it stick to itself and makes this process fairly easy.
Finish wrapping at least ½ inch of the leather and cut the sinew with a few inches of extra. Put the end of the extra through the loop you created earlier.
Pull on the extra sinew left at the top of the sword to close the loop. Pull hard enough to bring the extra sinew up and behind the wrapping for a secure fit.
Cut any excess sinew and leather