The Shabbard

Written by Noctivox

The Shabbard is a type of sheath meant for a range of longswords and great swords. It is worn on the back and secured by a large strap across the chest and a smaller supporting strap under the dominant arm. It is meant as an alternative to the normal scabbards worn on the hip.

They are most commonly made of two slabs of wood with a layer of leather over it. The two pieces of wood are held firmly together with three or more thin C-shaped brackets of metal on the closed side, allowing for the sheath to be flexible, but firm enough to hold the blade snugly inside. Inside of the sheath is usually a thick padding of wool to prevent rattling and to protect the blade.


The issue with a typical scabbard being strung on one's back is the draw length. When pulled from the sheath, one's arm will fully extend, but the sword will still be at least partially stuck in the sheath. Beyond this, if one were able to manage getting the sword free, then sheathing it after would be quite a challenge! There's no easy way to guide the sword into the sheath without turning one's head and/or stablizing the scabbard with the other hand.

These are the two main problems addressed by the Shabbard.


The sheath of the Shabbard itself has a long slit on the side that runs about halfway down the length of the blade, so that when drawn with the dominant arm, the tip of the blade can slip free and the blade can pivot. The rest of the length of the sheath is clasped shut with large brass buttons, which allows for personal adjustment based on an individual's draw length over their shoulder.

Starting from the bottom of the slit, a small panel, called the wing may fan out, serving both as a bit of protection to the user's back and as a guide for when sheathing the sword. The wing of the Shabbard is often customized and decorated with many designs; shops may offer their own, or blank ones are available for personal additions. In the military, these may be inlayed with a coat of arms or symbols of one's rank, matching their sword.

Because the strap across the chest is so large, allowing for a greater distribution of weight, many come with pouches along it, and with accessory pouches that can be attached or detached whenever desired. Many small metal eyelets run the edges of the strap, allowing for adjustment in the smaller strap for a better custom fit.

To aid in comfort, the sheath of the Shabbard itself is detachable by small four small metal clasps; two at the shoulder, and two along the back. This keeps the Shabbard secure, but allows for removal of the sheath if one wanted to rest without the need of removing the entire strap.


With such a large gap on the side of the Shabbard, it means the blade is partially exposed to the outside, meaning there is very little water protection with the stock Shabbard. This is addressed in two ways:

  • Most Shabbards have one or two small holes near the tip of the blade to allow water to drain out if it does start to pool inside.
  • Because Shabbard contain an inner lining of wool, that lining can be soaked with oil to keep the blade properly oiled upon each time it is sheathed.
  • Sheathing

    Sheathing a sword can be done with one hand and without even needing to look; all that is required is some muscle-memory. Reaching the sword up and over the head, the wing of the Shabbard can be used to guide the tip of the blade down and in to the sheath.
    by Shad Brooks
    Invention Date
    Voqt Grövur VA
    Demonstration / Original Idea
    Shad Brooks' Video

    Cover image: by Sebastian Wagner


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    13 Jul, 2021 03:42

    Thank you for having an explanation for this thing I see in fiction and never bothered to ask "but how that work, though?"

    16 Jul, 2021 02:58

    Nice solution!! Kinda solves the whole actual issue with scabbards where one would run into technical problems. XD Loved reading this!

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