1) The scales are the coverings used on spring knife handles, that is materials such as horn, pearl, wood and even silver.

We know little about the word’s earliest history since ‘hafting’ developed as an independent craft only in the eighteenth century, but the first references in Sheffield inventories include those of George Harrison in 1690 who had 17 dozen of horne scale and John Shirtcliffe in 1713 with unwrought silver for embossed handles and silver scales and weights. It was used also of sword hafts: 1463 6C swerdscales, Hull.

places Sheffield Hull
dates 1463 1690

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0